More Inspiring Stories

This is a photo of Joan Smalls the fashion model who is highly coveted on the runway:

joan smalls

I use her photo to illustrate that beauty comes on the inside too. Her inspiring story was used along with other fashion models’ stories on the Allure magazine website a couple of weeks ago. Their stories were part of the “Beauty and Diversity” feature.

Reading the fashion models’ stories empowered me to have no fear. I thought: If those beautiful women can face down their detractors and be victorious, I can carry my head high too.

Joan Smalls’ quote was the most inspiring: “If someone else doesn’t like me that’s their problem not mine.” Mental health peers should take this tip from her as regards so-called stigma.

I’ll be 52 in three weeks. Soon I’ll have been in recovery 30 years. This month I want to write a blog carnival about the beauty of getting older and the beauty of individuality.

Having lived in recovery 30 years I know that for too long mental health peers have internalized shame about having a diagnosis, as if our illness is transparent for others to see. We’ve given up on ourselves because other people gave up on us.

Though it seems unrelated, the Joan Smalls’ quote inspires me now to take this stand: “The diagnosis is on the table. Take it or leave.”

The gloves are coming off by necessity. It’s because turning 50 is one thing. Turning 52 is an entirely different, bigger thing. I realize now that my time on earth is getting shorter–so what do I want to achieve in the time that’s left?

At mid life another quote sums up perfectly what the fashion model alluded to:

“The only power a person has over you is the power you give them.”

Right–absolutely right. All of a sudden I’ve been buying fashion magazines and obsessively poring over the photos of the models in clothes. Who knew they weren’t just pretty faces?

Yes, reading the Allure Beauty and Diversity feature empowered me to have no fear in going after what I want.

I’ll end here with this: it’s high time to not only honor “diversity” it’s time to embrace “individuality.”

In the next blog entry I’ll talk about a recent experience that changed forever in me the notion of judging a person by their appearance.