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Diabetes Documentary Diary, Part 3: LOOK vs ARE

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One of the side effects of effectively managing diabetes can be weight-loss. I have lost almost 50 pounds since my diagnosis. I’ve lost 15-20 since this shoot. This is a major chunk of my total body weight, and on a 5’3 frame, it is shocking to see.

Prior to my diagnosis I was chillin at 189.5 pounds. I had been on a journey to love my body that started with a 27+ mile backpacking trip across Catalina Island at the end of 2016. Come September 2017, I had identified the societal standards that were holding my happiness and joy hostage and released myself from them.

LOOK vs ARE is a bit of a PSA for me. Allow me to demonstrate:

You look beautiful.
You are beautiful.

Can you feel the difference? LOOK sounds like it’s fleeting, like it could go away. ARE feels like a state of being, something inherently true about you, something with more depth.

I do LOOK beautiful in these pictures, thank you. I’ll take it.

ANDBUTALSO more than my looks, which can change dramatically in the span of 5 months thanks to a chronic condition, I AM beautiful.

My personal standard of beauty is something I am rediscovering and redefining, and the part about outward appearance is basically non-existant on this pie chart.

SYDNEY’S STANDARD OF BEAUTY:
Do you treat yourself with respect? You’re beautiful.

Do you treat others with respect? You’re beautiful.

Do you speak kindly of others even when they aren’t around? You’re beautiful.

Do you actively work to explore yourself and understand yourself? You’re beautiful.

Are you capable of checking in with yourself, recognizing where change needs to be made, and taking action? You’re beautiful.

Do you speak truth to power? You’re beautiful.

Do you believe in equity, in addition to equality? You’re beautiful.

Do you genuinely want to make this world a better place? You’re beautiful.

And you can do all of that at any weight, in whatever you want to wear that makes you feel amazing, starting immediately.

Beauty isn’t a destination you have to wait to get to. You’re already here. Take off your shoes. Stay awhile.

📸 @thomasvanveen / @documentaryassociates

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