Monthly Archives: May 2015

A Letter to Dancing Man

Dear Sean,

You don’t know me, but I feel like we’re sort of friends. I know a lot more about you than you do about me. I’ve read your story. I even wrote about your story.  I’ve seen the photos. I  watched you dance with Megan Trainor on Today, then followed along closely on Twitter while you geared up for a fantastic party. I wished I were there. Even though I wasn’t able to be there, I danced along.

I have to be honest with you, Sean.  I’m not always comfortable dancing. After years of being beat down, it is still really hard for me to get up and dance in front of others.  I still feel judged. I know I am judged. But I screw up the courage and do it.  The night of your party,  I danced ALL NIGHT LONG  and borrowed my strength from you.  I was invited to the party. Even thought I wasn’t able to go, I was with you in spirit. I was at an Ed Sheeran concert and I danced ALL NIGHT LONG.  I thought of you, and what amazing things were happening. My whole family was dancing with you. Each of us know what it’s like to  want to JUST DANCE, but being ridiculed for it.

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I hope you realize how impactful this dance party was.  I’m pretty sure you do. You’re not just DancingMan, you’re Sean,and I’m sure, like me,you’ve lived through many, many times you’ve been bullied because of your weight. I’m sorry.  I’m sorry it happened, but I am SO  thankful to you that you answered the Twitter call, and decided to put yourself out there. I know from experience the pull to hide, to not acknowledge the pain, or to laugh it off as if it doesn’t bother you even as it burns a hole into your soul.  Thank you, for standing up for yourself, and ALL of us.

I  really hope that  Hope CassandraElyse and all the amazing ladies who decided to stand up for you and up TO those who fat-shamed you realize that they didn’t just stand up for YOU, but for SO MANY other.  Man, they know how to #BeBrave, for sure. The fact that they started the Dance Free Movement is incredible.

This was about you, but it was also about every single person. who has been made to feel unworthy. It was for every person who isn’t a size 2 or 6 or even a 16 that is told to sit down, back down, fade into the background  simply because their body isn’t what some one else deems attractive.  It was for every person  who  felt like they weren’t allowed  to dance as if it were a right reserved only for the thinner people.  Dancing is a right for everyone.

I loved seeing the photos of the party. I loved seeing you smile, the dance floor FILLED with people of all colors sizes, genders, style and become just a group of people CELEBRATING EACH OTHER.  That’s what a dance party should be about!

You are completely right when you say: Big-hearted-People-1.pngI wish this world would become a place where people are judge by who they are, not how they look.  If we can do that, I’m am sure we can help end bullying.  I think that the #DanceFree movement can catch on, If we all decided to #BeBrave and stand up for ALL of us and reclaim our right to dance, we can make it happen.

Distractred Driving- Just Don’t Do It

You know how parents tell you all kinds of things and they mean them, but maybe they don’t always live them, all the time? Well, my parents aren’t perfect.  They talk to us a lot about  things, like drugs, and who our friends are, and all kinds of important things. They preach to us ALL THE TIME not to text and drive. ALL THE TIME.   My Mom is pretty good about telling up to quiet down, or she’ll make my turn down my music if she’s trying to concentrate on her driving.

That is why I freaked out when one day while stopped at a light she grabbed her phone to check her messages.   One thing my Mom has told me about driving is that although it appears easy, you must always be alert and pay attention. Even at a light.  Because there is a chance that someone else is distracted and might hit you.  What you think might “just be a text” might not be.  Check out this video.

This video gave me chills.  Because it’s so right.  What if it’s not just a text?  What if it’s a moment that changes your or someone else life, forever?

What’s really cool is that video was made by a teen,  just like me.   Marlowe Lexvold a high school student from South Haven, Minnesota who made the video for Project Yellow Light.  Project Yellow Light is a national contest and scholarship program that asks students to create short videos teaching other students how dangerous it is to use mobile devices while driving.  Marlowe won the grand prize with  her video going on to become a Public Service Announcement along with a $5000 college schlorship.

There were  a bunch of winning videos. Go watch them. Then come back and tell me that you think driving distracted is ok.

Distracted driving kills! According to a 2013 NHTSA report, ten percent of all drivers aged 15-19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted. To help spread the students message about distracted driving, NHTSA, along with the Ad Council is turning  winning videos into public service advertisements, which will be distributed to more than 1,600 media outlets nationwide.

“Distracted driving is deadly and young drivers are most at risk, so we need to make sure they get the message,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. “The Project Yellow Light contest, which uses peer-to-peer messaging, demonstrates how creative public awareness efforts can reduce distracted driving on our roads.”

Marlowe wasn’t the only winner. There were High School and College categories. High School Second Place went to Aneyza Clark of Dallas, Texas with a $2000 scholarship and third place to Ryan Robert Reid of Fairburn, Georgia with a $1000 scholarship. The college grand prize winners were brothers Sam and Wrenn Senser from South Bend, Nebraska, ($5000)  and second place  Lindsey Brown of Culver City, California, ($2000) and third place Tiago DeSouza of Hagerstown, Maryland. ($1000). All scholarships were provided by Mazda Motorsports. U-Haul will also provide both first place winners with up to $2,500 in moving expenses.

The thing is, studies have shown over and over again that distracted driving kills kids our ages. In Connecticut, where I live, even when I get my license, I’m not allowed to drive in a car with ANYONE ELSE, for at least 6 months unless it’s  my parents or someone over the age of 20 who has had their license for 4 years. There are restrictions after that, as well. I’m not allowed to use a cell phone, even hands free, until I’m 18!  They are serious about distracted driving.   We all need to take it seriously. And a great big shout out to other teens working hard to make a difference!

Selena Gomez Is NOT Fat!

Yesterday I had a chance to talk to Selena Gomez. I got to take a few photos with her.  I got to hug her, dance a little with her, and tell her what an inspiration she is. I got to tell her that I thought she was wonderful. I got to tell her EXACTLY what I thought of her, and nowhere was the thought that Selena Gomez is Fat. 

Selena Gomez

Yeah, I know, right? I actually took a once in a lifetime moment and started dancing with her  while we were both grooving out to Jennifer Hudson at We Day Illinois.   Then I screwed up my courage and asked her, PLEASE, for a pic.    Selena introduced me at WeDay when I performed with Colbie Calliat and Babyface as part of a HUGE celebration of young people who are doing their part to change the world.  Selena was a co-host, and  I was hoping all day to meet her.  When the moment came, I took it.   She was so gracious and kind and honestly, I would have loved to just go sit down and chat with her.

Today, When I saw this screen grab of an Instagram exchange I was FLOORED.   WHAT??


Honestly.  What the hell is this?   THIS is  why young women (and men!) have body images issues. This is why people think that no matter what they do, they can’t win.  Being judged solely on a your physical appearance sucks.  I know.  The most common thing I used to hear about me was that I was fat. (Well, actually, I HAVE fat, but that’s a whole other story). The size of my body was what people judged me on.   They didn’t see all the other things I’m about. Now people are beginning to see me, the REAL ME -the person inside who is dedicated to helping others #BeBrave and stop bullying. I’m all about teaching others to #BeMoreThanABystander and stand up for the bullied. I’m a fantastic singer and songwriter who hopes to share my music with the world someday. I am so totally more than a size on a pair of jeans, or what some people decided was acceptable as beautiful.    For what it’s worth, Selena is flat out gorgeous, incredibly talented, and NOT FAT.  More importantly, she LIKES herself and her body. That, my friends, is TRUE beauty.  At one We Day, Selena had THIS to say about Bullying:

“I know what it’s like to be judged and to be put down. I know what it’s like to have other people form opinions about you without even knowing you, trying to dim your light. I know what you guys go through because I go through it every single day. But I don’t let it get to me. You are not defined by an Instagram photo, by a Like, by a comment. That does not define you.”

Selena Gomez Bullied

I decided what I think is beautiful.  And I think both myself, AND Selena Gomez are beautiful.

I love Selena and you know what? After hating myself for years, I love me, too.  We’re both strong women who have decided to love ourselves for who we are, and not let others petty  opinions rule us, anymore.