Wednesday, 25 February 2015

EDAW - My biggest battle

Considering that it’s Eating Disorder Awareness Week - I’ve felt really compelled to share the following with you.

It’s something I feel quite embarrassed about and extremely vulnerable sharing because it’s something I didn’t really open up about but it’s not something I wish attention for. It’s something I’m sharing with you because I feel I need to show to you that I haven’t got it all sussed – that I am not all sorted – it’s a journey and not one that we have to go alone.

Basically: I have had (and still do on the occasion) a massive struggle with my weight. Growing up I was always the super annoying type who could eat 8 meals a day and not look the slightest bit different. It was obviously too good to be true dammit!

My weight was never something that bothered me much, I went to the gym on the odd occasion (with mum of course), and ate normally (with the usual pig-out session several times a week).

However, when I went away I found my body trying to adjust to a new diet and to a distinct lack of exercise. It didn’t bother me too much at first until the dreaded day when I discovered that some of my clothes no longer fitted…

I entered into a period of time when weight dominated my thoughts. It dominated everything.

I entered into a period of time when comparison dominated my thoughts – when how much and when I exercised dominated my thoughts – and when how much and what I ate dominated my thoughts. What I ate controlled me. But it still didn’t stop me eating (I flipping love food too much!). No matter whether someone told me I was ‘slim’ – it didn’t matter. In my head I obviously wasn’t slim because I didn’t look like that girl, my jeans didn’t fit as well as before, and my leather skirt wouldn’t zip up.

I suddenly felt surrounded my slim, beautiful models with thigh-gaps and toned stomachs and felt deep envy, frustration and pain in the pit of my stomach. Comparison robs joy. My brain was constantly assessing how much I ate against how much I could exercise that day – it dominated everything. I obsessed over it. It was exhausting.

An Idol; anything you draw your strength from or give your strength to...its how you spend yourself.

My weight was my idol.

It’s something I feel I now see the end of. My faith has been a considerable factor in the healing process. On a more practical note, the combination of exercising regularly and eating normally (a lifestyle I absolutely love!) is also what has helped me. I no longer let my weight control me. It no longer holds its power over me.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?" (‭Matthew‬ ‭6‬:‭25‬ NIV)

I know now that my weight doesn’t affect my desirability, and I know that my weight doesn’t define me, it doesn’t control me. I know I am worth more than how I look. And it’s my prayer that you will truly know that too.

Please if you feel this way - tell someone. Or tell me. Let's journey it together!

I haven’t got it all sussed. I’m still on a journey – we all are!

I’ll keep you posted.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015


Now don’t get me wrong; social media is great. However, naturally we have the tendency to use it as a showcase for the great stuff that is going on in our lives. It’s a place where accolades and achievements are shared, dressing up to look our best and nights out with friends are exposed and the highlights of travel adventures are boasted. Though there’s nothing wrong with these things – we have to be aware that we’re building a culture that hides behind the mask of social media.

Something that’s been challenging yet encouraging to me recently is the power in our vulnerability.
We live in a vulnerable world thus in-turn we numb vulnerability. We selectively numb certain emotions (such as fear, sadness, shame); but when we do, we numb everything (joy, love, peace). It’s a mask we wear to depict perfection.

Let’s break through this mask. Let’s wear a cloak of vulnerability. Let’s be authentic. Let’s be REAL.

Let’s have the courage to be imperfect. Let’s let go of who we think we should be, to be who we truly are and stop trying to live up to this ideal of perfection in a broken world. No one is perfect and everyone is wired for struggle, but we are worthy of love and belonging.  Let’s have courage in owning who we are and actually LOVING that.

The beauty of who you really are shines through in your brokenness.

Vulnerability is not weakness.

Brene Brown has done heaps of research into vulnerability and found that the ‘whole-hearted’ live in vulnerability which makes them feel embraced, beautiful, necessary. This vulnerability is the birthplace of joy, creativity, love and worth.

Vulnerability is at the core to transformation.

Let’s create a shift in the cultural norms.

Stepping out in vulnerability is pretty petrifying – standing up in Church and telling part of my story (oh and for the online download world) made me feel incredibly vulnerable, it’s allowing ourselves to be truly deeply seen, it’s owning who we truly are. We have to break the patterns of avoiding being truly seen for fear of how we will be received.

So I am going to pursue vulnerability. I am going to try to be openly broken, authentic and real in the fallen world that we live in. Because, through this choice to be vulnerable I have faith that God will show his almighty, powerful, healing strength; and it’s all about his glory.

Hold me accountable!

I’ll keep you posted.

Friday, 6 February 2015


Self-esteem: the beliefs a person holds about themselves, their ability to make decisions and deal with the circumstances they face in life.

The UK has one of the highest rates of self-harm in Europe
In the UK, 1 in 100 women aged between 15 and 30 suffers from anorexia
1 in 4 16 year old girls know of someone else who has been hurt or hit by someone they are dating
These statistics are merely a glimpse of the issues facing young girls today. 

We became increasingly aware of the issues facing young girls today throughout secondary school, then affecting their life post education. Secondary school is a time of rapid change, growth and challenges. Thus, there are overwhelming effects that poor self-worth can initiate (such as depression, eating disorders, self-harm, anxiety, suicide etc.). Although we recognise there are some websites/charities that operate – they aren’t always easily accessed. In Berkshire alone there is a waiting list for child services of 18 months. With this in mind we wanted to create an organisation that can signpost to multi-agencies and to support girls on discovering their value, identity and purpose and then proceed to walk alongside them in their journey. This gave birth to ‘Belle’, a non-profit organisation in 2015.

Founder: Jessie Faerber. I am currently studying a Bsc in Theology and Youth Ministry at St.Mellitus College and work as a Youth Worker across Warfield Church. 

Belle is an organisation with a Christian ethos to equip, encourage and empower young girls in Berkshire.

VISION: to inspire hope into the lives of young girls governed by issues surrounding self-esteem.

Belle aims to tackle issues surrounding self-esteem in 3 key ways;
·        equipping; value, identity and purpose
·        encouraging; mentoring
·        empowering; social media

Belle aims to work alongside schools and youth groups in Berkshire to inspire hope into the lives of our young girls who are governed by issues of self-esteem through equipping, encouraging and empowering.
Belle focuses on working with girls between the ages of 11 and 18 (but also recognises an increasing need in Primary Schools – something Belle will be exploring).

For Belle to be most effective we aim to build in 3 core elements outlined below:

     1.   equipping; value, identity, purpose:
We are fully trained facilitators of Cocoon; a 6/10 week course for a small group of girls, focusing on their personal value, identity and purpose. The course contains links for the National Curriculum in both PSHE & Wellbeing and Citizenship. It is a brilliant, all-     encompassing, tried course that covers areas such as value, feelings and emotions, interests and skills, personality, body image, media and appearance, dreams and aspirations and planning for the future.
Cocoon is an exciting and fresh course which allows young women to delve into their complex feelings and explore emotions healthily. The course allows today’s media driven young people to take a step back and evaluate who they really are and what they want out of life, giving them practical ways to face everyday situations and challenges
Head of PSHE, Sutton Academy
     2.   encouraging; mentoring:
We offer an opportunity to mentor (and have a level 5 certificate in Christian Mentoring) within a school or youth group; to meet more personably in a one-to-one setting with a young girl as a listening ear in a safe and controlled environment. It is important to offer girls the opportunity to have someone to speak to about a range of issues; to be someone who cares. We are firm believers that through building relationships with young people, we can inspire hope and initiate positive change. Mentoring provides the opportunity to do so.
NB: We are not fully qualified counselors. Our role as a mentor is to listen and to provide relevant and appropriate ‘signposts’ or referrals where required.

     3.   empowering; social media:
We have created a social media presence on Facebook and Twitter in order to continually equip, encourage and therefore empower young girls through the sharing of relevant pages, articles, resources etc. that cover issues surrounding self-esteem. This is in order to counteract the many issues facing girls that we believe have stemmed from social media.
The aim is to eventually have a personal messaging dimension to the social media          presence in order to discuss issues in a regulated and controlled manner.

For more information contact

I'll keep you posted.