Not Mad. Motivated. to Share – Carrie, the Photographer

I was once very thin and it took a random shopping trip for me to figure that out. As a graduate student, I worked in a research laboratory within my department. Somehow, I ended up going shopping with a undergraduate student with whom I worked. She suggested a size 2 pair of jeans for me. I doubtfully tried them on and, surprisingly, I could “fit” them. After reading Carrie, the Photographer, the latest book from author Kira Parris-Moore, I remembered just how difficult it can be to see an honest, unbiased image of one’s self.

Book cover of Carrie, the Photographer

About Carrie, the Photographer

Carrie is a young woman who is forging a successful career as a photographer. Although Carrie takes beautiful pictures of others, she struggles with how she sees herself and develops an eating disorder. This book, for children age 9 and older, follows Carrie’s journey from self-doubt and self-harm to self-love.

Carrie, the Photographer is not just a story, it is a great way to start a conversation with children about body image. Please do not underestimate how important it is to help children develop a healthy image of themselves. A negative body image can lead to many self-destructive behaviors; conversations and modeling healthy behaviors can make a big difference.

After the Book: Let’s talk!

The lack of body confidence as a child or young adult can follow a person for a lifetime. Imagine the negative health impact caused by the mental angst over food and exercise. This is not only an “invitation” for the development of eating disorders, but can also

  • lead to other mental health disorders (including depression and anxiety)
  • affect one’s ability to be an integral part of the community leading to isolation and feeling unaccepted
  • become a building block for toxic relationships with harmful people.

There are direct and indirect messages telling children and young adults that they are not good enough. Play an active role to enforce that they are! Here are a few ways to help:

  • Let them know that every BODY is different and make being different normal – because it is!
  • Help them find beauty everywhere and they will learn to find beauty in themselves.
  • Compliment them often; not just about their looks but on their skills and intelligence, too.
  • Don’t insult anybody’s body – not even as a joke. Children can internalize your words even if your words are not aimed toward them.
  • Love your own body. Be the model that they need!
  • Listen to them. Make their voices matter and help build their self-worth.

Lessons From Carrie, the Photographer

There are many great lessons that you can take away from Carrie, the Photographer. This book is about a young adult named Carrie, but the story is actually told by a younger cousin. This help us remember the need to model healthy behaviors.

Carrie finds strength to get better with support. This lets us know that good support is the key to our success. No matter what your goal is, having support makes it easier to attain that goal. Children need to know that they are never expected to go through any difficulty alone.

We also learn to accept our differences and to focus on what makes us special. Let us make a point to show our children just how special they are to us and to the world.

The final lesson that I want to share is one that I did not expect from a children’s book. Remember: your benchmark for success will change as your self-worth and self-awareness improves! I love this. Too often, we gauge success on the money we make and the things we can buy. However, often, when we value ourselves more, the positive impact we have on others defines our success better than our bank accounts.

I’m Not Mad. I’m Motivated.

I was very active as a teen and a young adult. Running track and participating in marching band, along with many other activities, kept me moving throughout high school. I walked SO MUCH in college and graduated school because I did not start driving until I was 24. And with the diverse group of students I interacted with in graduate school, I also danced a great bit! I stayed active. My body weight was healthy. Yet I found myself worried about how I looked physically many times during those years.

Did my lack of confidence in my appearance leave me vulnerable to a toxic relationship as an adult? Probably likely. But I am Not Mad. I am Motivated. Motivated to share stories like Carrie, the Photographer in the hopes to remind you that you are Beautiful – so that you can remind the children in your life that they are too!

Go tell someone that they are beautiful! This card I made will go to my 16 year old niece.

#Read4MentalWellness

Communities across the U.S. have celebrated Read Across America (RAA) Day on or around March 2 for 22 years. This year, RAA Day is also the inaugural World Teen Mental Wellness Day. Since reading can have a positive effect on mental health, let us encourage our communities to use reading as a tool for mental wellness! Let’s #Read4MentalWellness!

#Read4MentalWellness today and everyday!

Read Across America

The National Education Association (NEA) launched RAA with the main focus of motivating children to read. As the nation’s largest celebration of reading, a major goal of RAA is to improve performance in school.

“The year-round program can fit reading fun into your calendar daily, weekly, or monthly and includes big celebrations of reading on March 2 and throughout National Reading Month in March.”

ReadAcrossAmerica.org

On Read Across America Day, you can expect a great number of schools, bookstores, libraries, and more to host reading events. However, one event that is especially exciting is the #FillEveryShelf matching opportunity at DonorsChoose.org! When you donate to a DonorsChoose book project during this event and your donation doubles! You can help get books to students quicker! The match will be available from 7:00 AM ET on March 2nd until 3:00 AM ET on March 7th, therefore making this an ideal time to give!

World Teen Mental Wellness Day

Retailer Hollister is declaring March 2, 2020 the first World Teen Mental Wellness Day. Hollister is wants teens to use March 2 to practice self-care and silence self-doubt!

“World Teen Mental Wellness Day aims to raise greater awareness of mental health issues among teens, as well as provide education about removing stigmas surrounding preventative mental health.”

February 12, 2020 Press Release

Up to $12,000 will be donated to the Hollister Confidence Project Fund when teens use #WorldTeenMentalWellnessDay to share how they recharge!

Positive Effect of Reading: #Read4MentalWellness

My oldest son, who will be 13 this summer, has been struggling in a couple of classes. I told him to read more! I explained that reading will help improve vocabulary and writing; therefore allowing him to communicate better and feel more confident. I also mentioned that reading would allow him to be exposed to situations and experiences that he may never experience, or not yet experienced, first hand. In other words, giving him new insight and point-of-views from which to learn. But how much does reading help mental health and wellness?

8 Science-Backed Reasons to Read a (Real) Book

The article 8 Science-Backed Reasons to Read a (Real) Book, from Real Simple, discusses eight reasons we should read books. Amazingly, reading literally changes the mind. Here’s how!

  • Increases intelligence
  • Boost brain power
  • Make you more empathetic
  • Flipping pages can improve understand
  • May help fight Alzheimer’s disease
  • Can help you relax
  • Reading before bed can help you sleep
  • Reading is contagious

Establishing a love for reading is easier at a younger age. However, it is never too late for that one special book to create a life long reader! So this week, provide a classroom with books and get students a step closer to mental wellness. Need help finding a classroom to support through DonorsChoose.org? Check out this Twitter thread for ideas.

Support Not Mad. Motivated.

This week, Not Mad. Motivated. will help support students and teaches with daily donations to at least one DonorsChoose book project while the #FillEveryShelf match is active. We will also share projects so that other donors have the opportunity to make a difference!

We are brainstorming how to make a bigger impact within our communities and would love your support to ensure that we are able to grow! We invite you to shop at our online store, subscribe to and share our blogs, and subscribe to our newsletter. We may be small but we are eager to make our impact great!

So when you take your favorite books to share with your favorite people, have your Not Mad. Motivated. tote ready to help you carry the load. And remember to #Read4MentalWellness today and everyday!