When you wake up in the morning what do you do first? Do you lay in your bed, pat your tummy and feel if it has grown? Do you check yourself in the mirror, notice that your hair is a mess, there’s a new pimple on your forehead and your eyes are puffy? Then you lift up your shirt and check out your tummy or turn around and criticize your butt? Or maybe you stand there and make sure your thigh gap hasn’t gotten any smaller? If it has, you make a mental note that you have to exercise more and tell yourself that sugar is off limits and maybe feel a little disappointed that you have come to this. Over all, on most mornings you feel disappointed with yourself even before you make it out of the bathroom, even if you just went there to brush your teeth.
I’ve been that girl. I’ve ruined countless of mornings and even days feeling inadequate, because I was disappointed with myself. And I don't even prioritize my looks. Never have. I have mentioned in my previous blog posts how I’ve found a better balance now, how I think it’s important to respect myself rather than be my worst enemy. One could say that I’ve embarked on a mental process of finding my identity and figuring out who I am and what my values are. I’m in a better place already, but I believe it will be a life-time process and one will never be ready. By simply living your life, rather than executing a project after another, you will get to know yourself better. What you like and what you want to do and what makes you you.
I used to compare myself to others and think I was inferior. I knew I shouldn’t and I didn’t want to, but I did, because I didn’t know any other way to find out if I was good enough. The world had silently pointed me to believe this. It's a sneaky thing. We might not even notice it, but still for some reason we end up believing that we should look a certain way or act like the others do if we don't regularly get back to ourselves to make a reality check. I’m a perfectionist and the world offered me goals in the form of other people, so I took my pick, and started comparing myself to those goals. I thought my self-worth was dependent on whether I would accomplish them or not. And I never would, because I wasn’t them. In some areas of life I was confindent and even thought I was doing well, but some areas felt like I was never good enough. My appearance was one of them. And they were just tiny things I was telling myself: Brunettes are sexier. I wish I was taller. I wish I had brown eyes. I wish I didn't have these chipmunk cheeks... Just this year I got so fed up with feelings of inadequacy that I finally decided for real that I will be just me and that’s ok. I still don’t think that I’m perfect, but I really want to be me, which is the coolest thing I can be! I don't care if I look a bit like an alien. At least I look special. And I'm damn good in so many things. I want to be a girl like me.
It has been about three weeks now since me and Janni Hussi revealed our brain child called Girl like me. But it has been about three months since we came up with the idea. We were in LA with the intention to produce some promotional material for a few sponsors and at the same time spend a little time together. It was constant chatter about the stuff that girls usually talk about: body image, make-up, hair, exercise, food… But for the first time in ages we felt like we weren’t alone with our thoughts. In the industry we both work in it is very normal to be on constant diets, exercise regimes, to wear make-up every time you leave out the door, to be judged about the way you look like and to desperately then prove through social media that you are beautiful after all. In addition to the image in the mirror, one’s morning might be ruined by a very unflattering photo of oneself in the entertainement-section of the newspapers. And right after this you end up desperately selling yourself short either on social media or to someone who promises you something that soothes your self-esteem.
Girl like me is a campaign that me and Janni started to promote genuine individuality and help women feel good about themselves, just the way we’ve started to feel good about ourselves. The campaign is to some extent focused on the pressure women feel to look a certain way, but we also wish to promote individuals’ talents and capabilities, to help them see what the package of me consists of without feeling one bit unapologetic about it. We are who we are and finding peace with it and wanting to focus the energy on improving oneself is extremely empowering. It also allows energy to support others in doing their thing rather than trying to pull them down. I bet you’ve had these experiences in life, too. When you feel more comfortable with yourself, you find the energy to be there for others.
Our debut of Girl like me was an Instagram challenge of smiling genuinly. The idea was to use social media as a tool to improve self-esteem rather than cause feelings of inadequacy. We used hashtags #uskallanhymyillä (I dare to smile) and #girllikeme and everyone challenged a few friends to do the same. Seeing all the beautiful smiles under these hashtags was so AWESOME!! When normally Instagram feeds are full of duckfaces and sexy poses, this time people posted a feeling rather than a carefully edited photo to add to their polished social media-persona. We got a lot of positive feedback and many beautiful women posted their brave stories about accepting themselves. We are so so proud of you all! It is a huge priviledge to be a part of this group of thousands of women who want to make the world a happier place. Thank you to all!
What comes to Girl like me: we will keep on reminding you throughout the summer how worthy you all are, how beautiful and powerful and unique. There’s quite a few amazing things coming this way! And in August we will take a roadtrip around Finland and have workshops in schools. We hope that by the end of this round of the campaign, there will be women who will have started the process of getting to know themselves and loving themselves. We hope there will be women who will go to the bathroom in the morning to brush their teeth, wink at themselves in the mirror and say to themselves: ”It’s gonna be an awesome day. I’m gonna rock my world and be happy, feel great, and look awesome doing it!”.
Ps. These awesome campaign photos are taken by Petteri Peltonen. We've been so touched to see how many people want to be part of this campaign. You can check out some more info on the campaign on girllikeme.fi. You'll also find our wall of smiles there! :)