She struggled for 17 years with eating disorders, body image and self-esteem issues that all stemmed from the belief that she wasn't 'enough'. In 2010 Michelle Fetsch founded Women Enough, a global network of women supporting other women in igniting personal and professional greatness. Michelle is the visionary behind the BARE Campaign that is empowering women of all shapes and sizes to expose their bodies and life stories with the world.
Michelle's story is a story of one woman who's had enough of combating her body image with an eating disorder, and decided to not be a part of the statistics but instead, grew to be a leader carrying this as a cause to help others who might be struggling with same thing.
A glimpse of her story and journey In her words:
"My greatest fear has been believing that I wasn't good enough. Most of my life, I had an eating disorder, poor low self worth and esteem, regardless of size or how much I weighed , I realized I needed to change thoughts about myself. I sought to mindfulness and meditation which taught me to watch my thoughts, to retrain my thinking at all the areas by looking at all the areas my thought limits me, to watch my language such as using affirmation words and surround myself with people that believe in me and will listen for me.
I am a very futuristic person, that is who I am by nature. I have always been someone that is a dreamer, ideator, thinks about he future and how I can make things happen. I have a vision for the future and the next generation, to make the world better.
I realize the influence of media and I wanted to disrupt media which is why I started my media campaign, 'Bare Campaign' that inspires and addressed conversations and beliefs that women and girls inherit in the society.
Women are told who we are supposed to be in the society, through the media; messages we are told of what our place should be...
On my 29th birthday, I had a dinner/intention ceremony with friends to decree what I want in my life; I decreed that I wanted to travel to Bali, Launch 'Women Enough' and give myself space...
In January 2013, I got fed up and quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Bali and I lived there for seven months. The amount of support I got from people was very uplifting.
One experience I had in Bali while riding a bike, was the realization that I am not even present; so I started asking myself how can I become more present? I did a ten-day silent meditation, it was a new experience that helped me with my anxiety, anger and panic; gave me a sense of surrender and trust.
I am awakened by each new thing I learn, sort of the more I know, the more I feel like I don't know because there is just so much to learn. Most of my AHA transformation moment has come from painful pasts; and these moments come from my willingness to surrender. With each level of self-discovery I encounter, I am more conscious, more awake and I get a more profound realization of how really so small I am compared to the Vastness of this world..."[I think she meant small in the sense of very humbling to be a part of the greatness of this world]
The Bare Campaign has received over 300,000 comments from the press, with people's opinions about women's bodies. Michelle says she deals with comments (positive or negative) as part of the conversation being held. She says, "There are people that criticized us showing women that were not skinny as us promoting obesity, but in the end we are disrupting media with a positive mission and an inspiring cause, to create a change and a new way that media can start representing women's bodies."
Michelle's full story will be featured in the coffee-table book including some "feel alive" tips that she shares. The Art of Being Alive is all about conversations and stories that matter and Michelle is just one woman who got fed up and said ENOUGH! Now, her work and her cause is something that is creating a global impact.
I want to feature many more stories in The Art of Being Alive -- to celebrate our aliveness as humans, the connections we share and the inspirations that keep us going feeling alive.
What is your story? What are you saying ENOUGH to? and how are you being inspired to live fully ALIVE? email me AT firstname.lastname@example.org for a personal connection, if you are interested in sharing your story for this series and the book.
When I look at the title of this book project "The Art of Being Alive", I certainly feel a huge sense of responsibility because I hope I can create something and tell the stories that will do justice to the essence of this project.
The Art of Being Alive to me is living life being a rebel against the norm; it is being a non-conformist, being a person that looks at life from an awake and conscious perspective enough to decide that "I am not going to be another statistic" or "I am not going to be just another matter occupying space with no apparent purpose to self"; the people who are the true artists of this life are those that seek to do more of what makes them feeling alive, not what society or circumstance subjects them to but more of what they have discovered gives them aliveness beyond all odds and they battle to do it.
I have learned that it is not always comfortable to do that which gives us aliveness; in fact anything that will truly make us feel alive which we feel we ought to be doing will more than likely take us out of our comfort zone, have us fight for it creatively -- it will make us misfits, turn us to rebels and make us look insane in the beginning.