In A Society That Profits From Your Self Doubt, Liking Yourself Is A Rebellious Act

I knew immediately upon stumbling across Caroline Caldwell's quote on Instagram that I was going to use it in the little iMovie video Melanie and I created after my stand for self-love in the marketplace last August. It hit me deep in my heart and couldn't be more fitting for the way I felt about our consumerist culture's crap and how it has normalized body shaming in America.

Caroline is a young artist and wordsmith in New York City and a recent graduate from Sarah Lawrence College and is a master illustrator and guerrilla artist. She often creates thought-provoking graffiti work around the cities she frequents, and when she first penned the phrase:

In a society that profits from your self doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act

on her dorm room wall, she didn't think much of it. She later wrote it on a blank poster frame on the train and snapped a photo of her roommate in the seat next to it, posted it to Instagram, and, well, the rest is history. People were so struck by her words that it was spread and used repeatedly, including by me in my now viral video and again in my TEDxBoise talk just last week. Her words are so powerful that it was the one quote several TED attendees pulled from my talk and tweeted about repeatedly.

Caroline's art is extraordinary (those houses on her website OMG), and we're kindred spirits in more ways than one. After many, many requests from her fans (and mine) all over the world, Caroline has created a few styles of a tee shirt now available for purchase, and when she sought out my opinion on which body positive organization to donate half the shirt sales proceeds to, I was thrilled that she immediately took my suggestion of the National Eating Disorders Association.

 I ordered the Ladies Dolman, $30, in heather gray and an XL and it fits like a dream. I haven't washed it yet, but it's 50/50 blend so shouldn't shrink.

I ordered the Ladies Dolman, $30, in heather gray and an XL and it fits like a dream. I haven't washed it yet, but it's 50/50 blend so shouldn't shrink.

I'm still nursing an emotional hangover while riding the high that was my TEDxBoise experience and I'm so excited to share the fancy final official TED video with you all in just a few short weeks. I was the last speaker of the night and left my heart on the stage of that beautiful historic theater with a standing ovation and tears. It was powerful and exhausting and such a life-changing experience. I wrote my talk one night early November and began reading through it daily in December, memorizing it in January & February with twice daily practices and a handful of sessions with my amazing TEDx coach, and was solid and ready a month ago probably, but my coach Nancy says that's the best way to be and she's right, the words came so naturally and poured directly from my heart I didn't even have to think about what was coming next. I shared some super personal stories that I've never ever told before and I have to say, I hadn't felt that nervous since the day I stripped down at the market. Again, though, it proved to be so, so worth it.

 Photo by Dahlton Grover

Photo by Dahlton Grover

Caroline got to watch the livestream of my talk and wrote to me about how she cried, twice, and that my strength has made her stronger. I'm so honored to be connected to this young woman, and she's absolutely right. Courage is contagious and sharing strength does indeed make us all stronger. Here's to being brave and being rebels, from the eclectic bustling streets of NYC to the mellow downtown avenues of Boise.