Herd Member | Julia Lees

I don’t have a catastrophic “life changing” moment.

I don’t have a moment in time that pushed me to change based off a life altering moment. What I do have ... a new perspective. A new outlook. And a new life. Let me start off the polite way ... hey, hi, hello, bonjour, my name is Julia! Nice to meet you. In order to understand my small story, I should start at the beginning. Well. A year ago. Last year, I moved out of my parent’s house and dove headfirst into the world of “adulting”. Let me tell you. Hard slap of reality right there. Of course there were all the tasks that come with moving out and becoming a real human and unfortunately there were some other .. things ..that popped up without warning. Mainly, how quickly food can go from a necessity to an

addiction. Throughout this I also discovered how harmful social media can be. Confused? Thereis a connection, I promise. Allow me to explain. Let’s start with the food. My own fridge, my own freedom ... wow what a joke. I put on over fifty pounds in less than a year. Now, to be fair, some people may say “What’s the big deal? Tons of people are bigger than they would like and are perfectly content.” Well that’s the thing. I didn’t care so much about the health side of gaining weight, or more accurately, the health issues surrounding it, I was concerned with what my friends from high school and invisible people on the Internet would think.


The universe revolves around this idea of putting your “best face forward”, which is natural, but has somehow morphed into us putting on this fake persona to make our lives and ourselves look super polished and glamourous. Apps are promoting this behaviour by creating editors that enable you to shave off those couple pounds and make little imperfections invisible. This idea

can work for people who have no self esteem issues or anybody who isn’t obsessing over that perfect shot to post ... wait. There is no one around who isn’t even a little like that. It’s human nature! And there is nothing wrong with it. Until it takes over your life.


From my personal experience, I would obsess over what photo to post and then would go and reward myself with all the crap food I could shove in my face. I would wonder why some

positions worked better to show off my “curves” and why some wouldn’t. I would post shots I deemed fit for public consumption and then I would be offended when no one would comment. I would spend hours editing and using filters to accentuate the parts of me I thought were okay. This quirky little editing took over my life, tainted amazing experiences and I ended up throwing

my friends under the bus. The point of change happened when I spent hours editing a photo of a school friend and me to make me seem slimmer than she was. I adjusted so many things ... it wasn’t even a good edit .. but I posted it anyway and thought I did a good job. Weeks later, I got the original photo up and

sat back and was absolutely disgusted with what I had done. Suddenly, I realized what I had been spending my time doing. I wasn’t working towards change! I was working against it. No one was commenting because this type of behaviour shouldn’t be encouraged. I didn’t see what needed to change. When I finally did, it was both refreshing and horrifying at the same time.


During this realization, I came to another one. Social media had become an addiction of mine in the same way food did. Apparently, the only way to counteract my own behaviour was to do a complete 180. So I did.

The next day, I cleared every single one of my social media platforms. I spent an entire day creating new biographies, new profile photos and new photos in general. I decided that if I was to post anything, the only filter that would be on would be a simple black and white, sepia or colour changing one. No more shaving pounds off. No more photoshop. No more tilting to make

myself look slim. No more .. lies.


Throughout this change, I found my mind and soul was more open to new opportunities. I found an amazing place full of positive ladies to help pull my most badass self out, true friends and despite the fact they live across the world, I know are always there and a school to go to after two years of searching. Change and perspective comes through at a funny time and shows up in

different ways for everyone. I was lucky enough to find myself relatively young and hope to inspire someone with my tiny story out of my small Canadian town to find themselves again. Whatever that may be, I challenge you to find your stripes and brandish them with pride. I challenge you to create your own positive circle and never let it go. I challenge you to be

yourself.


Unapologetically .. truly ... yourself.