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Tuesday 6 June 2017

Real-Talkin' Mommy Guru Is Slaying Social Media One Viral Post At A Time

Real-Talkin' Mommy Guru Is Slaying Social Media One Viral Post At A Time

 It really inspires me when people dedicate time and passion into something they feel very strongly about. I feel like there aren't enough of us out there who really do it.
I can't remember the last time I boldly took a stand for something I believe in, and I kind of want to change that about myself. If you were to look on my Instagram or Facebook right now, you'd think that all I care about are my cats and Twin Peaks and maybe Kevin Spacey.
(You wouldn't be wrong to assume those things, but there's more to me than that!) 

There's one woman on social media who is making a difference by posting body positive messages, self-love encouragement, and love for all humans.
I'm going to tell you more about Ms. Leigh and an eye-opening exchange I had with her.

This is Tova Leigh.

She is a U.K.-based actor, writer, and mother, but not necessarily in that order. Her Facebook page, My Thoughts About Life has almost half a million followers! Each one was earned by creating a safe space to laugh and share the struggles of what it's like to "mom" in this day and age.

What makes her especially wonderful is that she is using her presence to talk about some important topics that a lot of us, myself included, tend to shy away from. 

One of my favorite videos of hers is one she posted in defense of periods. Well, not that anyone wants them or enjoys them, but trying to make girls feel more comfortable with experiencing them. 
For something that is so natural, we shouldn't be as embarrassed as we are. 

 Who cares if your classmates, coworkers, partners or friends know it's your time of month?! The people in my life can probably make accurate guesses about when aunt flow is in my town because I will cry at cute dogs I see on the street and eat a ridiculous amount of cheese. 
Anyway, I digress. We will talk a little more about this video later. 
Right now, I want to talk about a selfie she posted that is literally going viral all over the internet. 

Leigh posted this selfie on Instagram a couple weeks ago.  

It collected almost a thousand likes and tons of comments celebrating her beauty, which makes sense because she is literally a stone cold fox. What a babe, right?

Leigh saw how popular her selfie was and saw it as an opportunity to be brave and share something important about herself.

A week after she posted her selfie, she shared an honest and moving message on her Facebook page. 

She put up a picture of herself looking into the camera of her computer, and in the corner she posted the selfie that had so much attention. 
With it, she wrote a refreshingly honest explanation of what was going on — that this picture is a true, behind-the-scenes look at her smokin' selfie.

The post was strong and passionate. 

She really wanted to make it clear that when it comes to social media, things are rarely what they seem.
To me, this seems like something that a lot of us know but so often forget when we compare ourselves to others. I can't tell you how many times I've felt discouraged because I will never look as beautiful as other model-like women online.
Here are her powerful words explaining the life behind her selfie:

"There is nothing sexier than being real." 

What I found most powerful about her post was how I participate in the same culture that I find harmful and frustrating. 

I also take at least a hundred selfies, pick one or two that I like and that add a bunch of filters that even out my skin, maybe make me look skinnier and my eyes brighter — you know, that typical #InstagramLife... 
But maybe Leigh has a point. Maybe the issue is not that I don't find myself particularity attractive, but that I'm part of a culture that is hell-bent on perfection. And if we're honest with ourselves, this is unachievable because there's no concrete standard for beauty — or at least, there shouldn't be.
Each and every person is absolutely stunning in their own way. No two people are alike, think about that! 

 So why do we go so far out of our way to post pictures of ourselves that don't even really look like us? I don't remember the last time I took a selfie without at least the Snapchat filter on! 

What is wrong with us that it seems like all that is necessary? If we all know we do it, why is it so powerful to be told we're all beautiful the way we are?

I was lucky enough to have a chance to talk to Tova about her post and ask her some other questions.

I wanted to ask her what inspired her, and why it was so important for her to get the message behind the selfie out there. Where did Leigh find the courage and confidence to be an actual human woman on social media, when she has such a big following?
 I was really moved by her responses, and I'm excited to share them with you!  

The first question I asked her was about her selfie post that was going viral:

"What was it that made posting that "behind-the-scenes" selfie important to you?"
 Her answer was beautiful, and it reminded me of the support and love I constantly get from my own mother.

Tova's "real-life" photo didn't make her any less beautiful, and I'm confident that not one of us thought less of her than we did when we saw the first selfie. So, maybe she's on to something.

I wanted to get to know her and what she was about a little better beyond the selfie; what made Leigh the person she is? 

I asked, "On your Facebook page, I looked at your mission and it simply says "spread love," which I really like. But, I am wondering, what does that look like, in your mind? Can you share with me some moments where you think that this has been accomplished?"

She went on to explain how that influences her other work.

And contextualize the way she approaches her videos and posts and to support cake in general, which is a message we can all get behind. 

After spending some time on her Facebook and Instagram, I noticed an obvious theme: self-love. 

So, I asked her: "On your Facebook page and your Instagram, you say a lot of really powerful and awesome things about embracing ourselves and advocating for self-love. Has this always been something you've felt or was it something that you had to learn over time? What helped you get there?"

Then I got to ask her one of my favorite questions:

"If you could go back and talk to your childhood self, what would you say?"

 I was incredibly touched by this response and spent a lot of time thinking about it.

It's beautiful and simple but carries so much power to it. How many of us have spent time in our lives feeling like we weren't seen? Maybe this has been the problem all along — maybe the reason so many of us put in so much effort to look flawless is because we just want to be noticed. 
But this isn't the way.

I'm really glad that I had the chance to ask her some questions and get to know her better, both as a person, a mom, and a social media presence. 

I know that I'm really inspired by her and think that she has some important things to say, things that we could all maybe say a little bit more ourselves. Don't you think? 

I am guilty of the sleeve trick, it's so true. Like, if we put as much energy into being okay with periods as we did trying to hide our tampons from other people, the world may be a better place. Plus, I can fully get behind the ice cream. Who wouldn't love that?

Well, I can only hope that you're all as inspired as I am! 

Tova is doing some amazing things that I think we can all learn from. My hope is that all of us can be better at embracing ourselves and sharing that love. Maybe that will make things a little easier for people along the way. 

Do you like Tova's work? Tag someone in the COMMENTS who would like it as well and don't forget to SHARE to keep the convo going.

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