Body positive advocate Kate Speer has a special message for everyone: You are fabulous just the way you are.
The 29-year-old blogger and mental health advocate garnered a lot of attention last week with a high-energy, dance-filled Instagram video of herself doing a “jiggle for joy.”
“This is your weekly reminder that just as you are, you are fabulous,” Speer said in the clip as she danced around the room. In the caption, Speer noted that she had been struggling with body image during the week, and posted then deleted the video seven times.
Now, Speer, of Norwich, Vermont, tells PEOPLE that she ultimately left up the clip because, after years of struggling with mental illness, she is happy to be alive.
Your midday reminder that YOU – just as you are – are FABULOUS! • I've been struggling with my beautiful bod this week (and note, I know I have a thin-privileged, able-privileged, beautiful bod even if I can't always feel it to be so) and beating it up in my mind and trying to suffocate it with binging. So, today, I'm posting this 👆even though it is terrifying me to do so (yup, deleted it 7 times). • I'm also saying this for me (and you)… • My body is MORE than its appearance. My body is NOT my value. My body is simply the vessel for my god damn fabulous self. • And no matter what my emotional mind thinks or others say, MY BODY IS PERFECT. MY BODY IS WHOLE. MY BODY IS BEAUTIFUL. AND, MY BODY – IN ITS ENTIRETY- IS WORTHY OF LOVE. • Repeat it. • MY BODY – IN ITS ENTIRETY – IS WORTHY OF LOVE. • ALL OF THAT applies to YOU too, sweet warriors! • So dear ED that has been plaguing me as of late, go duck yourself. Yup, 🖕you. • I am doing #jiggleforjoy and gosh darnit ED, you aren't going to stop me. • With love, dork and zinc sunscreen on fleeeek, Kate Speer #nowrongway #hereforyou #thisislearningselflove #takebackthebeach PS my quote for self love bootcamp is on my new stigma blasting/community building narrative art project feed 👉 @_humansofmentalillness by the one and only Carrie Fisher about how WE ARE MORE THAN OUR ILLNESS!!! Check it, lovers!!! 😘😘😘
“There are no words for my gratitude, so when I am super psyched, I jiggle for joy — literally happens every single day,” she says. The inspirational video has been viewed more than 126,000 times on the social media site and has amassed more than 3,000 “likes.”
These are both me. And today, to my surprise, I accept and love both versions. • The photo on the left was taken in 2012 at my sister's college graduation. • • At the time of this photo, I was unemployed, agoraphobic, suicidal and completely and utterly ashamed of my entire being. • My life back then consisted of waking up, writing a suicide note, binging, ritualizing til dusk and then driving from McDonalds to McDonald's binging on anything and everything I could suffocate my emotions with. • • Back then, my rules were simple – Ritualize. Binge. Don't leave the house in daylight. Research suicide and suicide notes. Repeat. • I followed those rules religiously except on extremely rare occasions👆where klonopin was very much involved. • This is one of the only images I have of that 4 year period in my life. • • I struggled to even find it and realized this – Nobody takes pictures of their daughter in a psych ward. Nobody takes pictures of the blood splattered floor or vomit covered bathroom after a self harm and purge incident. And above all, nobody takes pictures of a person if they refuse to be seen. • Even a year ago, if I had seen the image on the left I would have been horrified. • But today, today I don't see my weight or sedation or unemployment or psychiatric hospitalization record. • I see a human. I see my story. I see the adversity that makes me the badass warrior babe I am today. • • If you had told me – that young woman in 2012 that she would have a job, a life, a community or shake her booty in a video that went viral, I would have laughed and said, in another life maybe.' • Well dear self, listen up because you have done it. • Yes, doctors said I would live in a ward. Yes, friends gave up on me and abandoned me. Yes, I was hospitalized 21 times. Yes, I attempted suicide. Yes, I survived. • And motherfucking yes, I am better for it. • I am resilient. I am strong. I am a recovery warrior. • And no matter your fight, so are you. • Yes – no matter your fight – so are you.
“It is humbling, inspiring and overwhelming all at once,” Speer tells PEOPLE of the positive feedback. “I sobbed last night for a good hour. I sobbed because I’m alive. I sobbed because I am seen.”
“I work in marketing and see firsthand the detrimental mental health results of all the advertising in the summer. I wanted to remind people that raw is beautiful. That you — as you are — no Photoshop, no makeup, no Botox, no nothing, just skin the way it is, the body the way it is — is gorgeous and enough,” she tells PEOPLE.
On her blog, Positively Kate, Speer shares her history with mental illness — “I survived a misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder, 21 psychiatric hospitalizations, over 50 medication trials and 4 years of constant suicidality.”
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Now, “I am here to love and live the hell out of that second chance” at life, Speer wrote in a post on her site.
She adds to PEOPLE: “Truth be told, I post everything for me as much as I post it for everyone else. We all need these reminders. We are worthy, enough and beautiful — JUST AS WE ARE.”
- REPORTING by JULIE MAZZIOTTA