HeartSupport http://www.heartsupport.com Hold Fast. We Believe In You. Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:58:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Andy Williams of Every Time I Die http://www.heartsupport.com/blogs/andy-williams-every-time-die/ http://www.heartsupport.com/blogs/andy-williams-every-time-die/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 19:19:59 +0000 http://www.heartsupport.com/?p=18676 Guitarist Andy Williams shares the need to be normal and accepted through his music and shows

The post Andy Williams of Every Time I Die appeared first on HeartSupport.

]]>
Guitarist Andy Williams shares the need to be normal and accepted through his music and shows

The post Andy Williams of Every Time I Die appeared first on HeartSupport.

]]>
http://www.heartsupport.com/blogs/andy-williams-every-time-die/feed/ 0
Meaning Behind #UNITETHESCENE http://www.heartsupport.com/blogs/meaning-behind-unitethescene/ http://www.heartsupport.com/blogs/meaning-behind-unitethescene/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:22:54 +0000 http://www.heartsupport.com/?p=18602 When you’re at a concert, you feel connected to everyone there–you love the same music, you wear the same clothes, you feel brave enough to talk to strangers you might never anywhere else. When someone falls over or gets knocked down in the pit, swarms of people rush over to pick them back up. The rules of life at a […]

The post Meaning Behind #UNITETHESCENE appeared first on HeartSupport.

]]>
When you’re at a concert, you feel connected to everyone there–you love the same music, you wear the same clothes, you feel brave enough to talk to strangers you might never anywhere else. When someone falls over or gets knocked down in the pit, swarms of people rush over to pick them back up. The rules of life at a concert are simple: here, we’re family.

#unitethescene is about bringing fans, bands, and music lovers alike together to be family outside of the venue walls. And we’re trying to make HeartSupport the first step towards that. To have it be a place where when you get knocked down in life–bullied, abused, stuck in addiction, struggling–you have people to pick you up, you have a place to go, a home, where you’re safe and people love you. It’s the place where you check judgment and division at the door and step into that a sanctuary of acceptance and understanding. Our hope is that we would transform this world so that no music fan would have to go through their struggles alone because they have family. That’s what #unitethescene is all about. Us, together. Because we’re better, stronger, more hopeful united.

In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season there are many who aren’t excited for this time of year. They’re dealing with depression, loss, family issues, hurt, pain, and even entertaining thoughts of suicide. But this holiday season you have the unique opportunity to give towards changing their lives. If you haven’t seen our life change map, you can read numerous stories of lives that have been changed through the power of unity and community.

So this Christmas, consider giving up a coffee once a month….and see lives radically transformed.

GIVE NOW

The post Meaning Behind #UNITETHESCENE appeared first on HeartSupport.

]]>
http://www.heartsupport.com/blogs/meaning-behind-unitethescene/feed/ 1
Your Story on Our New Page http://www.heartsupport.com/blogs/life-change-map/ http://www.heartsupport.com/blogs/life-change-map/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 00:42:45 +0000 http://www.heartsupport.com/?p=18213 We’re releasing a new page next week on the site called the Life Change Map. It’s a map on our site that shows all the stories from people whose lives have been changed by HeartSupport. It will inspire people on our site to have hope that their lives really can change because so many others across the country have had theirs changed too. And […]

The post Your Story on Our New Page appeared first on HeartSupport.

]]>
We’re releasing a new page next week on the site called the Life Change Map.

It’s a map on our site that shows all the stories from people whose lives have been changed by HeartSupport. It will inspire people on our site to have hope that their lives really can change because so many others across the country have had theirs changed too. And we want you to be a part of this.

Your story has power–in the small things and the big things alike. Maybe HeartSupport has helped you overcome one of your struggles, or maybe it gave you the hope you needed to hold on in the moment you needed it most. However HeartSupport has impacted you, tell us how your life was changed because your story might be what someone else needs to change theirs too.

When we launch our Life Change Map next week, we’re also going to be releasing a new video that we’ve been working on. It tells the story of HeartSupport and has some special guests in it from some of your favorite bands (WCAR, BTF, TDWP, TCM, TIJ). If you share with us your story of how HeartSupport has changed your life by Friday, December 12th at 7PM CST, we would love to give you a sneak peak of that video for taking the time to spread hope with us.

The survey is short and asks for your name, email, city, and story. It will only take a few minutes, and it could be the reason someone on our site finds hope that they too can overcome.

We look forward to reading your story and giving you our exclusive clip!

Sincerely,

Jake Luhrs & the HeartSupport Team

SHARE YOUR STORY

The post Your Story on Our New Page appeared first on HeartSupport.

]]>
http://www.heartsupport.com/blogs/life-change-map/feed/ 0
When a City is in Ashes, Will We Finally Care? http://www.heartsupport.com/blogs/city-ashes-will-finally-care/ http://www.heartsupport.com/blogs/city-ashes-will-finally-care/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 15:40:17 +0000 http://www.heartsupport.com/?p=18131 “I read about this stuff in history books! I didn’t think it was still going on. Man, I was naïve.” Andre peers out into the group of predominately white 20-something’s gathered around him listening to his story. “I tell her parents I make straight A’s, I’m involved in extra curricular activities, but her Dad doesn’t care. He doesn’t want me […]

The post When a City is in Ashes, Will We Finally Care? appeared first on HeartSupport.

]]>
I read about this stuff in history books! I didn’t think it was still going on. Man, I was naïve.”

Andre peers out into the group of predominately white 20-something’s gathered around him listening to his story.

“I tell her parents I make straight A’s, I’m involved in extra curricular activities, but her Dad doesn’t care. He doesn’t want me dating his daughter.”

He pauses and rubs his hands together. “But again, I’m naïve and stay for dinner and basically tell him ‘I’m gonna date your daughter anyway’. It doesn’t really hit me what’s going on. I just figure he doesn’t like me. What finally woke me up was the day that girl I dated called me crying hysterically because someone had written ‘NIGGER LOVER’ all down the side of her car.”

The room remains pin-drop silent as he collects his thoughts and then continues:

“The thing you don’t understand is how what’s going on in the news affects me and how I’m hurting. For 3 weeks now I’ve kept this bottled, but it hurts. Like, the whole Ferguson and Michael Brown case? We don’t know all the details and I’m not passing judgment. But to have a Grand Jury not even decide whether to send to trial to see if excessive force was used? To investigate if there was foul play by a jury of peers? And then the whole Eric Garner deal tonight? Well….it’s a slap to the face and like someone wrote ‘NIGGER LOVER’ all over that car again.”

The other night Ben Sledge asked his church small group of 20-year olds to talk about racism and recent events in light of what’s happening around the country with public outcry and protests. He did this because his group is mixed ethnicities and wanted the predominately white members to gain insight from a perspective outside of their own and how they’re to respond to one another in light of being Christians. How they should be sympathetic and as Romans 12:15 states “mourn with those who mourn”.

The problem is that many of the comments on the civil rights issues being raised that we’ve seen from white “self proclaimed Christians” is one of back-biting, snide comments, and pointing to statistics on crime within the African-American community as opposed to getting to understand their brothers and sisters in Christ’s perspective and exactly why and how they’re hurting. Many don’t understand the systemic injustice and profiling that can happen to our brothers and sisters simply because of the color of their skin. And it’s because they’ve never taken the time to ask them or hear their story, let alone care.

Instead they like to pretend that if we stop talking about racism that it will magically disappear and our churches and cities will suddenly become multi-cultural. Instead we can’t fathom that a town is being burnt to the ground when it’s the only thing that’s caused the majority of people (and the church) to even notice that black Americans are reasserting their humanity. That much like a soda can shaken for several years, one small poke has finally made it explode.

Recently I’ve been recording a new album and writing new lyrics. One of the topics I wanted to cover was an objective view of a non-Christian critiquing the church and their systems of injustice and then a Christian’s response on how we’re to act and love. We didn’t use the song for the album, but Brent (one of our guitarists for August Burns Red) encouraged me to write a blog about it. After hearing Ben’s story from the other evening, it fits well with this topic.

One of the lyrics was “A slew of hypocrites within four walls. You’ve got wolves disguised as shepherds. Leading the sheep into their feeding. Your ‘brothers’ walk on the backs of the broken with cheap talk to pad their pockets.”

If you’ve listened to the podcast I did with BadChristian you might have been able to tell I have a chip on my shoulder with the church at times. Recently, I just got back into attending church and realizing sometimes I was angry for no reason when it hadn’t done anything to me. I even realized I needed to apologize for that (I called Ben since he’s a pastor, ha). But other times that stigma is true. Our church leaders will turn a blind eye to the suffering of the oppressed and continue, proverbially, to “walk on the backs of the broken” while some of them even get rich off it.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. eloquently voiced this when he wrote his famous letter from Birmingham jail:

“I felt we would be supported by the white church. I felt that the white ministers, priests and rabbis of the South would be among our strongest allies. Instead, some have been outright opponents, refusing to understand the freedom movement and misrepresenting its leaders; all too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained glass windows….In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched white churchmen stand on the sideline and mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. In the midst of a mighty struggle to rid our nation of racial and economic injustice, I have heard many ministers say: ‘Those are social issues, with which the gospel has no real concern.’”

 To be silent is something we cannot afford to do for those of us that call ourselves Christians. We cannot allow to be further “led into the feeding” and turn a blind eye to those asking us just to simply validate that what they’ve experienced as minorities is, indeed, legitimate. The point of this blog is not a discussion about respecting authority, crime, looting, or any of that. This is about noticing that something within our churches and society IS broken. Far too many of us (Ben and I included) have stayed silent or championed “justice working” instead of showing compassion and mercy to those mourning that justice works differently for them. And as Christians what’s mind-boggling is we love God’s mercy and tend to want to skirt away from his justice, but when we’re asked to show mercy to others we instead champion justice. Yet the mindset of Christ in our lives is just that – showing love and mercy to others.

i_am_a_man_close

One of the other lyrics I wrote that quantifies this was “Grace is freely given, never deserved, nor has it cost me anything. It reminds me I am no different than all of mankind. I’m blemished and stained, not perfect or blameless. To accept the broken misled sheep, along with broken misled wolves, it goes to show that none of us are true leaders. I understand the scrutiny, it’s hard for a man to tell the story of Love.

So many people are turned off by Christianity because we don’t live that faith feeling – the love we feel from God – towards others. We’re known more for our criticism, condemnation, and lack of love. But the faith we feel and the love we receive from God should make us emphasize with our fellow man. That grace given to us should remind us “we aren’t different from mankind. We will oppress. We will hurt others if left unchecked. But when we truly begin to take the mindset of Christ, he changes that heart issue.”

Ben and I recognize this. We fail often and instead of helping can hurt and oppress people. But if we call ourselves a Christian organization we should be trying to kill those portions of ourselves that are destructive to our fellow man. We’re not writing this as a “look, we’re doing this, and so should you” but instead as “we recognize the brokenness within us and we want that to change and impact others

We at HeartSupport believe it is our responsibility to help be a voice for the voiceless, to champion the marginalized and oppressed, and sympathize with those hurting regardless of their background, rap sheet, race, gender, or sexual orientation. Many will not come to believe what we do in Christ, but we’re okay with their hurts, doubts, and disbelief. We will not be silent, but be a microphone to champion truth and love.

We ask that you in return, if you do indeed call yourself as follower of Christ, live the values of Romans 12:

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

(Romans 12:14-21 ESV)

Don’t stay silent. Lift your voice. Overcome evil with good.

Jake Luhrs & Ben Sledge

 

READ OUR POPULAR/MOST HELPFUL BLOGS

The post When a City is in Ashes, Will We Finally Care? appeared first on HeartSupport.

]]>
http://www.heartsupport.com/blogs/city-ashes-will-finally-care/feed/ 7
The Day My Life Was Interrupted by A Male Prostitute http://www.heartsupport.com/blogs/the-day-my-life-was-interrupted-by-a-male-prostitute/ http://www.heartsupport.com/blogs/the-day-my-life-was-interrupted-by-a-male-prostitute/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 21:19:28 +0000 http://www.heartsupport.com/?p=18043 “One-night stands became group scenes and fetish play, and eventually, I was prostituting myself online.” Jim looks out the window while the pretty blonde barista washing the window smiles at us, completely unaware to the conversation on the other side of the glass. Jim gives a half-hearted courtesy smile and continues, “But you know the beginning…..” My mind wanders as […]

The post The Day My Life Was Interrupted by A Male Prostitute appeared first on HeartSupport.

]]>
“One-night stands became group scenes and fetish play, and eventually, I was prostituting myself online.”

Jim looks out the window while the pretty blonde barista washing the window smiles at us, completely unaware to the conversation on the other side of the glass.

Jim gives a half-hearted courtesy smile and continues, “But you know the beginning…..”

My mind wanders as he pauses.

“I call Him a fake.”
The beginning.
“I tell Him that I don’t think he exists.”
The beginning.
“I give Him the finger.”
The beginning.
“All this because I had felt abandoned by Him, forsaken, betrayed, and left for dead by Him and His Church.”
The end.

One night Jim gets invited out by his pastor for drinks. They both have too many, and soon enough, the pastor is hitting on him – and not in a flirtatious sort of way. He’s crude and direct. When they close their tabs, they find a quiet place on down the street where he stuck his hands down his pants and tongue down his throat.

“I told him that I couldn’t go forward with what he wanted, but when I got home, he sends me a text message: ‘Are you okay? You don’t seem okay. PS. We didn’t do anything wrong.’

Jim and I have been talking for a year now and are finally meeting in person. And across the table sits a man desperate to be healed. Desperate to clean the cobwebs of inner demons. Desperate to slough the past like a snake sheds skin. But Jim is a full-blown sex addict battling his way through the 12 Steps and losing hope with each relapse. His past littered with the remains of his innocence stolen.

“My SAA [sex addicts anonymous] group has shared a lot about this rehab center most of them went through…but…I don’t have the money.”

Jim and I finish our coffee and I pray for him and embrace him like I would my brother. I sit in my hotel room for a long time weighing my options and then I make a call.

The next time I speak with Jim I’m sitting in a Starbucks parking lot crying.

“I’m an addict. I’m worthless. I ‘m unworthy of love and deserve to be used only for sex.”

He pauses.

But those were all lies. I’m more than enough. I’m loved. I have value. Today, I am learning how to live in healthy relationships with other people. Day by day, I am learning how to trust and follow my Father in Heaven. Today, I have hope, joy, purpose, and satisfaction in the life God has given me. Today, I am thankful for a friend like you and HeartSupport, because the encouragement gave me the strength to go just one more step towards the recovery I desperately needed.”

As of November 28th, Jim had 97 days of sobriety and continues to fight. The phone call I made that evening was to the rest of the HeartSupport team. We had just got back from Warped Tour and were damn near broke. But we saw a need. We saw a member of our community who’s soul and healing was worth more than what our bank account said we didn’t have. So along with the help of his friends we helped pay to send him to rehab.

In my own life, my wallet dictates my action instead of my heart. When I see people in need I quickly think, “Someone else will surely get that.” But just maybe I am that priest that passes by the man beaten on the road to Jericho. Maybe I am the Levite that steps around a man bleeding in a ditch. Maybe I’m not the Good Samaritan. Maybe I just think I am.

It hasn’t been until I’ve knelt next to the man bleeding and helped drag him to an inn that I really saw the good other people have empowered us here to do at HeartSupport. The people who have given generously were the reason we were even able to send Jim to rehab.

And we want to continue that.

Every week someone reaches out a bloody hand on our forums saying, “I can’t make it. Can you help?” Each week we continue to pray and rely on God to help us make bills so we can keep reaching a generation drowning in an ocean of despair.

And, you, enable us to do that.

Tomorrow is #GivingTuesday. — a global day dedicated to giving back in the midst of a world bent on what they can get out of it.

On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more. Then tell everyone you can about how you are giving.

When a wave is started in the ocean, tiny molecules bounce around until they ultimately gain enough energy and momentum to create an unstoppable force of nature. When enough of us collide into one another, we can be a force for good, or destruction. We, as individuals, can be the collective tidal wave of change in other’s lives.

We want more stories like Jim’s and starting the wave is easier than you may think. If our community and those that support us worked like the molecules and gave up one coffee a month and donated $3/month recurring we could change hundreds, if not thousands, of lives.

So help us create the tidal wave. Help us, help good….go viral.

CHANGE A LIFE

The post The Day My Life Was Interrupted by A Male Prostitute appeared first on HeartSupport.

]]>
http://www.heartsupport.com/blogs/the-day-my-life-was-interrupted-by-a-male-prostitute/feed/ 2
Kevin Jordan of This Wild Life on Relationships http://www.heartsupport.com/blogs/kevin-jordan-wild-life-relationships/ http://www.heartsupport.com/blogs/kevin-jordan-wild-life-relationships/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://www.heartsupport.com/?p=18004 Kevin Jordan of This Wild Life shares stories of heartbreak and growth as well as the importance of friends and what happens when you lose those deep connections.

The post Kevin Jordan of This Wild Life on Relationships appeared first on HeartSupport.

]]>
Kevin Jordan of This Wild Life shares stories of heartbreak and growth as well as the importance of friends and what happens when you lose those deep connections.

The post Kevin Jordan of This Wild Life on Relationships appeared first on HeartSupport.

]]>
http://www.heartsupport.com/blogs/kevin-jordan-wild-life-relationships/feed/ 0
When Our Body Image Determines Our Worth http://www.heartsupport.com/blogs/body-image-determines-worth/ http://www.heartsupport.com/blogs/body-image-determines-worth/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 06:57:38 +0000 http://www.heartsupport.com/?p=17913 When I was 15 years old I was what singer Avril Lavigne would come to dub as a “skater boy”. I was skinny, wore baggy JNCO jeans, had long hair, and enjoyed playing Nirvana songs on guitar. I looked like this: By age 26, however, I looked like this:   As a teenager I quickly learned that longhaired skinny kids […]

The post When Our Body Image Determines Our Worth appeared first on HeartSupport.

]]>
When I was 15 years old I was what singer Avril Lavigne would come to dub as a “skater boy”. I was skinny, wore baggy JNCO jeans, had long hair, and enjoyed playing Nirvana songs on guitar. I looked like this:

Sledge-teen

By age 26, however, I looked like this:

1929851_562209266132_6098_n

 

As a teenager I quickly learned that longhaired skinny kids were only cool in the movie Dazed and Confused. In real life? Not so much. So I cut my hair, and bleached the tips like what I saw in the magazines. People noticed and the attention felt good. I wasn’t getting picked on anymore for the way I looked. So I paid more attention to the things society said makes the man and quickly found that 6 pack abs were what the ladies craved.

By the time I entered the military I ended up as human petri dish for every muscle supplement known to man. I was obsessed with the way I looked. Do I feel fat today? Better put in an extra 30 minutes at the gym. Every mirror became a critique. Every gain and every lift reminding me “I’m not that dorky kid anymore. Try and beat me up now.” The more attention I got, the better I felt. Tell me I’m worth something. That I matter. That I’m not transparent.

The reality for men is that even our identity gets wrapped up in body image. We think it defines who we are. Oh, he’s the fat kid. That guy is the athlete. And the skinny guy over there is emo. And that guy probably just eats gyms and is a meathead.

Yet what we believe of our appearance is the internal stock of what we believe about ourselves. Society has trained us to think we need to look, act, and dress a certain way in order to be accepted. To have worth. For most of my life I’ve lived in such a way as to cast myself in the spotlight. I want my 15 minutes of fame and if I get shafted at 14:59 then I’ll do whatever it takes to get that extra second. If we’re honest, most of us tend to live that way. Most times I post on Facebook and Twitter so that I’ll get more likes and retweets, and if I get those, then I believe I have worth. So we take provocative selfies that show we’re losing weight, getting chiseled, or are “bikini ready.”

We desperately want to be told that who we are and what we look like matters to people.

I think that’s why everyone saw Kim Kardashian’s ass plastered all over the internet recently. In the grand scheme of things having my bare ass plastered on the internet isn’t going to win me a Nobel Prize nor is it going to end world hunger. But if enough people take notice and approve then it tells me I have worth. However, that mansion of approval is nothing more than a house made of straw and approval is a monster fed that is never satisfied. We help feed that monster when we compare our bodies to others to garner acceptance. Spending more time in the gym to cut. The latest fad diet. Or potentially starving ourselves to live up to an ideal that’s a façade, airbrushed, or downright fake.

I’ve spent the better part of a decade now shackled by the idea that the way I look determines my worth. I’m just now getting to the point where I can pass up mirrors and spend time at a gym that’s focused on my health and longevity, not the way I look.

But how do we go about actually believing this? How can we change our perception with a society that’s hell bent on air brushed perfection and an inferiority complex?

There’s a Cherokee Indian tale in which an old brave is teaching his young grandson about life. He sits him down by the fire one evening and explains there is a battle between two wolves that rages inside us all. One wolf is evil. Full of anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other wolf is good. Full of joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

The question is asked, “Which wolf wins?”

To which the old brave replies, “The one that I feed.”

The more we feed the wolf of society that tells us we have no worth, demands perfection, and breeds lies the more we’ll believe that about our identity and appearance. But the more we feed contentment, hope, and truth the more we begin to starve the wolf that would seek to destroy us.

Which wolf will you feed?

 

 

 

The post When Our Body Image Determines Our Worth appeared first on HeartSupport.

]]>
http://www.heartsupport.com/blogs/body-image-determines-worth/feed/ 2
JT Cavey of Texas in July http://www.heartsupport.com/blogs/jt-cavey-texas-july/ http://www.heartsupport.com/blogs/jt-cavey-texas-july/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 17:22:59 +0000 http://www.heartsupport.com/?p=17892 JT Cavey, the new lead singer of Texas in July, spoke with us shortly before their album released. He shares open and honestly about the need for community to make it through struggles, and treating people equally and why he takes issue with a “macho” attitude.

The post JT Cavey of Texas in July appeared first on HeartSupport.

]]>
JT Cavey, the new lead singer of Texas in July, spoke with us shortly before their album released. He shares open and honestly about the need for community to make it through struggles, and treating people equally and why he takes issue with a “macho” attitude.

The post JT Cavey of Texas in July appeared first on HeartSupport.

]]>
http://www.heartsupport.com/blogs/jt-cavey-texas-july/feed/ 0
Perfectly Imperfect http://www.heartsupport.com/blogs/perfectly-imperfect/ http://www.heartsupport.com/blogs/perfectly-imperfect/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 00:33:39 +0000 http://www.heartsupport.com/?p=17692 I’m by all means and classifications underweight. And a lot people say that’s not a bad thing. Except it is. A few months ago, I walked into the doctor’s office for my regular physical and he told me I was too thin. He said my weight was making my heart work too hard. He said I couldn’t even think about […]

The post Perfectly Imperfect appeared first on HeartSupport.

]]>
I’m by all means and classifications underweight.

And a lot people say that’s not a bad thing. Except it is. A few months ago, I walked into the doctor’s office for my regular physical and he told me I was too thin. He said my weight was making my heart work too hard. He said I couldn’t even think about having kids yet. He said I needed to see a psychiatrist.

I walked out in tears.

I’ve always been skinny and on the shorter side, and I’ve long dealt with the names that come with that. I’ve felt like the bag of bones next to my curvier friends, and I hated it, and after that appointment, I felt sure that I weak, and worse, that I looked it.

After that doctor’s appointment, I started checking the scale religiously to see if I had gained a few pounds. I stopped wearing jeans because I was sure they hung too loose on me and made me look sickly. I was sure my husband didn’t want a skeleton wife.

I changed my diet, among other things, and months later, I’m still thin, but I’m at a healthier weight. I had to buy all new jeans in a larger size. I’m running 50 miles a month. I’m eating right, and I feel great— the best I have in years.

But if I could, I’d change something about this whole experience. I wish I had loved my body a little more a few months ago.

When the doctor warned me about my weight, I was mad at my body. It was failing me. I wish I had loved my body, instead of treating it like some project. I’m afraid we do that with our bodies. We, as women, say “if I could just lose a few pounds” or “get a few curves” or “tighten my thighs,” instead of loving our body here and now.

Victoria’s Secret has a campaign right now called the Perfect Body, in its ads, there are a line of curvy and tall women posing with the words “Perfect Body,” promoting “perfect fit and comfort.” Instead, the retailer has come under fire for implying that the perfect body looks like the airbrushed models.

In return, another campaign has launched, #PerfectlyImperfect, meant to showcase women of all ages and sizes. I love that idea. I love that perfectly imperfect is exactly what we are.

But it doesn’t stop at the hashtag.

We need to love ourselves right there.

The truth is I did need to get to a healthier weight, but I didn’t have to hate myself to get there. I don’t blame the doctor. He did his job. The trouble was in seeing myself as a project that needed to be fixed.

Our bodies are not a work-in-progress. They are ours and meant to be loved and hugged and cherished. They are meant to boast sweatpants and leggings and dresses and faded, but comfy T-shirts and all kinds of jeans— not just skinny ones.

Honestly, my favorite jeans are a little baggy and my favorite shirts are ratty T-shirts from college. That’s the body I love: the one that isn’t trying to look better in the mirror or on the scale, the one that is perfectly and imperfectly me.

The post Perfectly Imperfect appeared first on HeartSupport.

]]>
http://www.heartsupport.com/blogs/perfectly-imperfect/feed/ 1
Suicide Stigma and Death With Dignity http://www.heartsupport.com/blogs/suicide-stigma-death-dignity/ http://www.heartsupport.com/blogs/suicide-stigma-death-dignity/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 17:06:52 +0000 http://www.heartsupport.com/?p=17380     “How’s he doing?” “He’s okay….he had to hold the other guys brains in the back of his head while waiting for a medic. The suppressive fire was too strong to get anyone out there. Guy seized a bunch and eventually died after about an hour.” “Damn man…” He puts his hand on my shoulder and then walks off […]

The post Suicide Stigma and Death With Dignity appeared first on HeartSupport.

]]>
 

“To run away from trouble is a form of cowardice and, while it is true that the suicide braves death, he does it not for some noble object but to escape some ill” -Aristotle

 

“How’s he doing?”

“He’s okay….he had to hold the other guys brains in the back of his head while waiting for a medic. The suppressive fire was too strong to get anyone out there. Guy seized a bunch and eventually died after about an hour.”

“Damn man…”

He puts his hand on my shoulder and then walks off without saying a word.

In war I’ve rarely seen moments of dignity in death. And if there happens to be any it’s because someone went out swinging. But it’s still ugly. And it’s never pretty. Sometimes the death is slow, long, and extremely painful. The dying are reassured that they’ll make it and to hold on to hope even when we know all hope is expended. There’s a common misconception, however, among popular culture that if there’s a dying man on the battlefield it’s okay to perform a “mercy killing” (aka battlefield euthanasia) to put him out of his suffering. But it’s nothing more than that. A stigma. And is also universally condemned under the Geneva conventions and highly illegal. Instead, what you will see is often what’s portrayed in the movies. Men weeping and begging their brother to hang on.

If art imitates life then I wonder what it is that makes us create movies where hope is held onto even in the midst of a hopeless situation? Why can we put down Old Yeller but even terminal cancer patients and dying soldiers we want to hold on to hope?

In light of Brittnay Maynard’s recent death I pondered these questions. I examined the arguments of those that are advocates for her being able to take her life and those fiercely against it. And if I’m honest, I was torn. I understand both sides of the argument. Would I want to continue living if each day was increasingly unbearable and involved suffering? Or would I hope the doctor slipped me a lethal concoction that sent me to sleep? I’d probably opt for the painless death in all honesty.

But here’s the problem I ran into when I played with the idea of it being okay to take your life if you’re terminal. What kind of message are we sending to our youth in advocating that type of death? What kind of message are we sending to those that are suicidal?

Every last one of us can name someone we know that’s gone through horrific circumstances. The pain of the present (or even past) haunts and torments them daily. We each probably know someone whose depression is intense and unrelenting. We can probably name someone who lives in a situation where they may think suicide is the only way out. And these people have been there for years. Not 6 months. Not 3 months. But years.

Because their pain, mental anguish, depression, or unrelenting abusive situation is continual, by condoning “Death with Dignity” are we not telling them “if your situation is hard enough and painful enough, it’s okay to take your life”? I speak with so many men and women already who believe that a painless death would be far more merciful than to walk another day in the agony that consumes them. So where do we draw the line?

For so many of us in the mental health battle Brittnay’s death is a massive blow towards destroying this suicide stigma. Instead we just might be unintentionally advocating for it while blanketing it under the term “mercy”.

What we fail to remember, because we don’t like dwelling on it, is that we’re all terminal anyway. And when we lose hope, other people lose hope. But when we give hope, other people find that too. Garret Rapp’s Instagram succinctly states: “There are two kinds of pain in life. Pain that hurts you and pain that changes you.” I believe his point is that the two aren’t exclusive from one another. You let the pain hurt you and bring you to despair. Or you let it change you. Just what if Brittnay Maynard instead spent her final days becoming a voice for suicide prevention? What an amazing way to repurpose that pain and needless suffering she was experiencing.

Regardless of circumstance, we can always repurpose pain. We can truly have some semblance of dignity even when we’re dying. We can spend what little time we all truly have holding the wounded on the battlefield and saying, “Hang on. You can make it.”

 

 

The post Suicide Stigma and Death With Dignity appeared first on HeartSupport.

]]>
http://www.heartsupport.com/blogs/suicide-stigma-death-dignity/feed/ 1