Halfway Hump

Canada just celebrated its birthday, and with it, a load of red and white and fireworks and Canadian pride! For those of you who aren’t Canadian I apologize for the irrelevancy of the last sentence.

Some explanations regarding project courage. First of all, we have passed the halfway hump. It was quite the incredible process making it this far, and I am so proud of my readers as well as Team Courage for sticking through to the halfway mark. Unfortunately there are some things we should discuss… By discuss I mean I am going to continue to type out what I have to say and you can choose whether or nor to read it. July marks the beginning of the second half of Project Courage 2014, but it also marks the end of Team Courage’s role in this project. Kyndra, Hannah, Jeremiah, and Nathan have all had an incredible experience writing to all of you and they wish you their sincerest regrets that they have to leave the blog. A year is quite the commitment and unfortunately with changing lifestyles, not everyone has the time and effort to commit to the blog.

Well, 2014 is half over. 6 months come and gone in the blink of an eye. A lot has changed, that’s for sure. Sadly, one of the things that is changing is this Project. I sincerely thank you, the readers, for all your support and love. It’s been a heck of a ride, and I have you to thank for that. I will be sad to leave you all, but alas, the world works in mysterious ways, and sometimes things turn out differently than we expect them to. Who am I kidding, things never work out the way you expect them to! Anyways, thanks again, and I bid you all farewell. And as always, keep your stick on the ice. -Nathan

There is no way I could have envisioned this becoming as big as it did. The support and enthusiasm from you guys was unreal, it made every week exciting and worth it to write the reflections. Remember the most important thing though; just because this part is over doesn’t mean anything we stand for is over. All we’ve been saying is still relevant, we’ve been reminding you for 6 months and now it’s time for you to remind yourself and each other, you do matter. You are your most important person, and you should judge yourself not on what you’ve done, but what you do. No matter who you are, you are an awesome creation, an amazing person and can get through whatever it is you have to to make it out okay. Adios comrades, keep it real. -Jeremiah

6 months in with 6 months left. This year has actually just zoomed by. I must admit when I joined I didn’t expect this project to grow as large as it did. I knew it was a commitment and that it would take lots of time and effort, but it was the part where you guys came in that really caught me off guard. I didn’t realize that my words could help you or change you, not a single clue. So when they started to, I was blown away, just baffled. I would personally like to thank you all for this amazing journey, it was filled with smiles and laughter, as well as pain and tears, but I’m glad I endured every part of it. I’m sad to have to go, but I know I must move forward. I hope you guys continue to fight, to make yourselves better people because you’re worth it, you most truly deserve it. -Kyndra

Project Courage is going to shift a little bit, changing up the format of challenge and reflections. I feel like its too much of a pattern (though I know we find safety in repetition). What’s in store? A total surprise.. But I hope that as loyal readers, you stay tuned for your weekly dose of motivation, inspiration, laughter, or just a way to pass the time. When I was younger, my friend and I used to write this email newsletter called Fantabulous. I’m pretty sure that word is trademarked but we felt super original coming up with that name. We were so popular at one time that we had over 50 monthly subscribers! Although that pales in comparison to the Project Courage reader base, it was quite the daunting task for thirteen year olds! The newsletter had random debates, weird facts, quizzes, contests, and articles about the weirdest possible things we could think of. But in the end, it was always a lot of fun to write, and we both now run blogs (for separate reasons of course). My point is, I want Simply Smiles to be like that. I want to be able to write and put a smile on your face, and I want you to look forward to every new post.

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Some riddles because why not? (Highlight for the answer)

I can run but not walk. Wherever I go, thought follows close behind. What am I?

A nose.

What can you catch but never throw?

A cold. 

What goes around the world but stays in a corner? 

A stamp.

The man who invented it doesn’t want it. The man who bought it doesn’t need it. The man who needs it doesn’t know it. What is it?

A coffin. 

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Let’s talk about July. This is the month of self-image. 

Throughout this month the posts will revolve around how to have a positive self image and see your image and your body in a positive light. I thought that this theme was suitable for July because it is currently summer in Canada, which means it is the height of bathing suit season. The hot weather and sunny days means more layers of clothing to be shed as well as more beach days. Gone are the thick sweaters and layers of fall and winter and out come summer dresses, “short-shorts”, flip-flops and crop tops.

It makes me sad to hear about how much a pain that people can have going bathing suit shopping, or even shopping for summer clothes, and it’s not just girls either. Of course, I believe that girls have a tendency to be more directly affected by the media’s take on body image, but boys and men are affected as well. We live in a world where self-hatred seems to be forced upon us. We are starting to realize that the media has a twisted sense of beauty, and as we rise into our teenage years we are faced with the need to fit in, the need to be attractive, the need to be wanted. 

I see beautiful girls complain that their thighs are too large. I see boys become consumed with the idea of gaining muscle because otherwise they are not “manly” enough. I see the media and advertising digitally recreate photos so that the model is slimmer, so their skin is smoother and lighter. I watch as girls try on clothes and then cringe at themselves in the mirror. I see boys who are too self-conscious about being shirtless and swimming. I see ten and eleven year olds complain about their weight and their clothing size. I see a world where the term “beautiful” and “healthy” do not seem to coincide. But I also see a revolution.

I see a wave of positivity, of beauty, of acceptance. I see more and more people take stands against what societal norms tell us. I see girls of all shapes and sizes embracing their bodies, their curves and their edges. I see celebrities acting as positive role models and changing the lives of young children. I see companies campaigning for true beauty and bodily acceptance. I see YouTube videos and channels dedicated to self-acceptance and a better self-image. The revolution has started, the spark is ignited, and Project Courage is joining along to catch fire. This month readers we will focus on your self-image, because we have all had times where we have looked at ourselves and hated something about it. Perhaps our hair is too frizzy, perhaps we have too much acne. Perhaps our thighs jiggle, our feet are too big, muscles too small, skin too pale. But all of that is beautiful, all of it is handsome, is gorgeous, is noteworthy, is acceptable. There’s a wave of acceptance coming; so where will you begin? 

 

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You are beautiful image from http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/7-steps-to-positive-self-talk. Fireworks photo from http://www.blogto.com/city/2011/06/canada_day_2011_fireworks_in_toronto. Dove poster courtesy of http://www.girlsleadership.co.za/gll/dove-movement-for-self-esteem.

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