“The Main Character”

“The Main Character”

I’ve been seeing this new saying a lot lately, and as silly as it may sound at first it’s so incredibly relevant. And I am here for it. 

 

Let me tell you why.

 

First of all, the first time I heard of this was actually on TikTok. What I love about that platform is that it has a whole lot of honesty. And, on top of that, unlike other social media platforms, we get to actually see anyone and everyone that we aren’t following but who are relevant to what we are interested in. Similar to the explore page on Instagram but not quite, because that is more dedicated to larger accounts. On TikTok, you can see an account that may be normally never seen on other platforms that is creating incredible content, come up on your “for you page”. You get to see all different cultures, ways of life, and unique individuals normalizing typical “taboo” topics. I love it. 

 

But, going back to the honesty of TikTok, one prominent thing I’ve noticed is the huge influence of Gen Z and how much they really make an effort to make the effort. I’ve really taken a liking to Gen Z, because the culture surrounding it seems to be a lot of accountability and honesty around topics that tend to be “uncomfortable” to many but incredibly relatable. Topics, most often our generations before us will beat around the bush with, or not pay much attention to. 

One really relevant one I have seen on TikTok, which has also been a topic of discussion more and more in the past decade, is self image/body image.

 

There is still to this day, major editorials, fashion brands, magazines, product consumer advertisements, etc. projecting a very specific body-type out there. And while I am all for health, there comes a time and place where we have to recognize the toxic culture around Photoshop, and other editing apps. The lack of different sizes in clothing brands, the adoption of more European sizes (which are actually even smaller) and the lack of diversity in different body types in campaigns.

Additionally, there is a lack of diversity for different races and cultures as well. AND, this also plays a huge role in self image. How people of different races see themselves, comparatively to not only the typical body type that’s shoved in their faces, but also someone with white skin all over campaigns plays a huge role in their overall self image. This has been a more relevant topic over the past two months or so, but it’s not enough. How often do we see consistently diverse feeds that fill up a brand’s Instagram page. What about the dolls sold at the toy stores, the commercials we see on TV, the typical TV shows we watch, and movies? Can you say to yourself that you actually pay attention and notice if the screen is only filled up with white people playing characters in these TV shows/movies? Or, have you never really noticed? 

 

In fact, I think there are plenty of times that we DO recognize it, but it still is a struggle that has not been entirely adopted and fixed. The fact that we see a lot of these magazines and brands still predominately only showcasing a very specific body type and skin color is appalling.  And it’s not enough to say that one post on Instagram of every 20 is a person of color, or a curvy model and therefore makes the brand “inclusive”. The representation is lacking. It’s simple enough to point out how this makes someone that’s not depicted as the “perfect body type” or “ideal skin color” every day of their life feel. Constantly comparing . . . and constantly trying to “fix” themselves. But, what is really done about it?

“Because, it’s not about shaming the “ideal” societal body type by addressing the issues we see that have been going on for decades in the fashion and entertainment industries. It’s not about that at all.

It’s about representing and bringing to light the other body types out there that actually exist. AND other cultures.”

And, I’m aware there are bodies out there that do look like what is portrayed. There’s no skinny shaming here. But, are we aware that there are also natural and healthy bodies out there that don’t look like that? THAT, is the question I want to address. Because, it’s not about shaming the “ideal” societal body type by addressing the issues we see that have been going on for decades in the fashion and entertainment industries. It’s not about that at all.

It’s about representing and bringing to light the other body types out there that actually exist. AND other cultures. The U.S. is a country of immigrants. If you want to go back into history, the only real owners of the land were the Native Americans. Everyone else came over to America from other countries and adopted the “American” way. But, what is an American? You can say an Italian from Italy has the culture of the Italian heritage. What is the American culture or heritage? It’s a giant melting pot of adopted cultures that soon became the “American” culture. When you go out to eat, what are your options? Italian, Chinese, Greek, Mexican, etc. Sure, we have what we call “American” food, but American food is simply adopted recipes from different cultures, pub food, like Irish food, mixed with Italian, and a bunch of others. You want real native “American food”, then look at what the Native Americans ate. “The three staples of Native American food are corn, squash, and beans. Other foods that have been used widely in Native American culture include greens, Deer meat, berries, pumpkin, squash, and wild rice.” (Read more).

Can you tell me of any “American” pubs that actually serve this type of food on their menu and only that?

 

Why is this relevant? BECAUSE, we as Americans, need to represent what AMERICA is. A GIANT MELTING POT. So therefore, there are tons of cultures, and tons of body types, ethnic groups and races being misrepresented. And, with so many misrepresented, WHO is the main “body image” that is portrayed to us all over the place actually speaking to? If not for forcing it into our heads as the “only” and “ideal” image of what we should be like/look like. And if we don’t, then we feel as though we don’t fit in. Into the American culture . . . that is a giant pot of many cultures. Doesn’t really make sense, does it?

 

“…we have to take into account the even larger ramifications of toxic culture that is put into our faces everyday.”

When we are faced with a social media intense world that has now only intensified even more because of COVID-19, we have to take into account the even larger ramifications of toxic culture that is put into our faces everyday. It isn’t enough that our feeds are full of what we wish or want to look like, be like and one day accomplish. But, we are now stuck in our homes, slowly getting back to normal life (whatever the new normal is), and even less around real friends and people in our lives that bring us back down to reality. 

 I don’t know about you, and I know my daily hours spent on social media are higher, granted I do a lot of work on it as well.  But, if you have the feature on your phone that tells you how much time you spend on it, has it increased?

And if it has, which is understandable, how have YOU been feeling lately?

Do you have a case of fomo, are you feeling down when you open the apps, do you feel anxious, angry or stressed?

 

Now, let me ask you, how much time are you spending on yourself?

Now that we’ve spent some time with extrospection . . . of the world around us, your environment on the daily, the media that surrounds us and the feeds that are fed to us every day.

Lets look introspective. 

 

“If looking back when you are older, are you going to be the one to regret not having done this or that? Or, are you going to be the one to say ‘I’m so happy and lucky to have lived the life I have lived, I feel fulfilled’.”

Let’s go back to the idea of being the “main character”. And, no, I’m not talking about a book, tv show, play or movie. I’m talking about you and your life. 

 

Do you feel that your life is centered around yourself? If you were to depict a movie based around your life, would you be the main character? Silly, maybe, but relevant. I’m not talking about being self-centered, I’m talking about putting yourself first, first.

The reason I find this to be so incredibly important is because as both an entrepreneur and natural defyer of societal norms myself, I still find it difficult to make myself the main character in my life. Granted, I am an empath. I am constantly stricken with the desire to help everyone else first and tend to their every need before my own. I end up often being an empty and drained battery with nothing left for myself.

 

I saw a great TikTok the other day and it went like this. (credit to @mattcama23)

 

5 Important Affirmations For My Fellow Empaths

1. I fill my cup and give from the overflow.

2. What’s in my cup is mine and what overflows is everyone elses.

3. I will care but not carry.

4. I am not responsible for other peoples happiness.

5. The love I give to others is what I deserve to give to myself”

If you are an empath, you’ll appreciate these, and I suggest trying to make it a daily habit to tell yourself.

I’ve always told anyone that has come to me for relationship advice the same thing: you have to love, care for and be strong enough for yourself first before taking on being in any sort of relationship with someone else. *This can include friendships too* Sure, you can go into the relationship not having done that, but I can almost guarantee that at some point you are going to run into issues in the future. Why? Because, the whole “two halves make a whole” cliche term is bullsh**.

 

You need to be a whole. Not a half. What kind of life are you living that you are only half yourself?

 

If you are depending on your partner for happiness, frankly that’s a damned place to be, and vise versa.

 

Be the main character of your life. As I’m constantly reiterating, life is short. 

If looking back when you are older, are you going to be the one to regret not having done this or that? Or, are you going to be the one to say ‘I’m so happy and lucky to have lived the life I have lived, I feel fulfilled’.

 

“I always say to never compare yourself to others, but as well to appreciate what you do have compared to others.”

When we talk about self image, I think this is one of the biggest and most important topics to also resonate with you loving yourself and putting yourself first. And with our social media intense world, only portraying this specific type of person “we all should be”, we need to spend EVEN MORE time making ourselves the main character in our own individual lives. There are so many reasons why – but here are a few.

 

1. Your Health: The more time you take to care of yourself, the healthier you treat your body and the higher your view of your self image will be. Your body is basically your vessel. It’s carrying your soul (at least, that’s how I view it) and it’s your way of staying on this earth. It’s how you’re physically here, regardless of your religious beliefs. Without it, you don’t exist physically on this earth. So, take care of it. Fuel it. Give it what makes it happy, and makes you feel actually good. Not just that junk food (we all do need sometimes), but also the food that makes you feel energized and gives you higher levels of serotonin.  

PRO TIP: When someone says that “you need to eat healthy” it’s imperative to understand that everyone’s version of what healthy is, is also different. Not just because they may have their own qualms about what the best diet is and what works best for them. But, if you want to get real scientific, there are tests you can actually get to see based on your body, what the best dietary needs are for YOU. Because, guess what – everyone’s bodies are different! Everyone has different functions, abnormalities, levels, etc. What may make you feel good, may make someone else feel like crap after consuming the same food. So, remember that. And don’t be shamed by someone else’s toxic diet culture.

 

2. Your inner self and happiness will also determine how you see and view yourself AS WELL AS how your body reacts, ages, and treats health issues.  If you are not happy, which is totally OK, then understand how you are also going to be treating your vessel. When we are unhappy, our brain sends negative signals throughout our body and can result in physical problems. Not just mentally but also eventually real physical ones. Just look up the effects of stress on the physical body. You;ll find a ton (for my hypochondriacs out there – probably not the best idea). 

But, also learning about who you are can be directly tied to your happiness as well. And it can sometimes take a lifetime, especially if you don’t prioritize it. But, if you take the time to learn about yourself, practice healing the tough parts of your personal struggles, and work on gravitating to what will make YOU, yes YOU, happy in life and day to day, then you will slowly but surely lean towards a happier life. We all go through our own person struggles in life. Whether that be mental illness, physical disabilities, trauma, triggers, etc. It is up to you on how you want to decide to come out of it.

PRO TIP: I always say to never compare yourself to others, but as well to appreciate what you do have compared to others. Even if you say that 90% of your life is horrible, well then let’s focus on that 10% and make it the main picture. Learn to grow it to become the larger percentage of your life. So, we increase your personal value of your own life, how you value yourself and how important you are to yourself.

 

3. Your confidence. Your confidence plays a large part in your self image/body image as well as your take on who the main character is in your life. Often times, we see someone who is genuinely confident being called “cocky”, “self-absorbed”, or “conceited” and yes, there are definitely times where someone does need some humbling life lessons. However, if someone is just loving their life, putting themselves out there and actually happy with their body, with their choices and with their life, are we going to call them self-absorbed? No. They just found what you haven’t yet, and so it may make you mad, upset, or jealous. Maybe you feel annoyed at their constant state of joy, or their ability to put themselves out there in front of anyone and always act like their authentic selves. But, guess what, we shouldn’t be shaming them. You should be admiring them, taking note and realizing the feelings and emotions you have and why. Why do you have them? Take the time to look introspective and figure out what it is that’s making you so angry, annoyed or irritated. This could be a trigger of something that if you spend enough time on you can figure out why.

PRO TIP: To gain more confidence, start telling yourself positive affirmations. Set goals little by little and achieve them. Only compare yourself to your past self as you move forward. STOP valuing other people’s opinions of you so much, whether they be the negative OR positive ones! Why? If you place so much value on the positive ones so much, then the negative ones will really impact you and bring you down. Find a middle balance of neutrality (a great tip I learned from Gary Vee). But, also learn to value your opinion of yourself! If you hear yourself talking down to yourself in your head, cut the thought and tell yourself to stop it. Change it to something positive.

 

4. Your culture. Whatever your roots are, learn about them and discover your own heritage.  If you don’t know enough, then take some time to put some time into it.  Appreciate what your culture stands for. If it’s something you don’t agree with, that’s fine too! Then find something you actually do identify with. Sometimes, our culture does not have to be directly correlated to our actual genes.  But, it is imperative to at least understand yourself to then identify yourself. And that means learning about everything. 

PRO TIP: Take a 23andMe if ya have to – start there and move forward!

“Our ‘advanced first world country’ has not taken away from the systematic oppression still in place for many races that are even born American.”

So, taking this all into account. If you are someone who feels like an outsider in your own world. Take a look at your extrospection and then dive even deeper with introspection. 

 

Our “advanced first world country” has not taken away from the systematic oppression still in place for many races that even are born American. Additionally, it has amplified a very specific “body image” and “self image”,  that represents not only race but body type. And, if you realize you are unhappy with who you are and where you came from. Start realizing that while the world may be forcing this notion on you through mass media, you are the only one who is going to make yourself feel better.

 

You are the only one who can make yourself The Main Character.

 

Stay Motivated.

 

xx

 

Jessica Hanna