Unpolished Journey is dedicated to raising awareness for eating disorders through the elimination of societal ideals of beauty. In addition to the Unpolished Journey mission, founders Morgan and Emily Blair launched the #imnotsorry campaign in order to debunk what society considers acceptable or normal. Morgan and Emily are asking people to post selfies with #imnotsorry in the caption explaining something that society has lead them to believe needs to be changed about them. In addition, Unpolished Journey’s blog will begin posting personal #imnotsorry stories from individuals they know or have connected with within the Unpolished community.
Loren Kleinman (LK): Can you talk about the meaning or inspiration behind Unpolished Journey? What's been the inspiration for this important initiative?
Emily Blair: The roots of Unpolished Journey lie in both Morgan’s personal recovery journey from an eating disorder as well as my struggles with mental health. Morgan is the one to accredit this amazing initiative to. She started this off as a blog, and it grew into a community. We want this to be a place where people feel comfortable in sharing their stories, where people realize that being vulnerable fosters connection and teaches us that we are not alone in our journey. Unpolished Journey seeks to create a recovery community within the real world. Essentially it is a group of mental health survivors helping each other create meaningful lives. We have coined our mission statement as the following: At Unpolished Journey we believe that the creation of a transformed life is discovered through connecting with others to achieve their full potential.
LK: What's been the most "unpolished" aspect of getting a campaign like this up and running, or activated?
Morgan Blair: The most “unpolished” aspect of this campaign would be creating a space where people feel comfortable enough to share their #imnotsorry stories. The #imnotsorry stories are where people begin to stop apologizing for characteristics about themselves that society has deemed unacceptable. This is a social media campaign where we encourage people to post a selfie of themselves with their #imnotsorry story in the caption. Some examples from the campaign include #imnotsorry for being an introvert, #imnotsorry for being single, and #imnotsorry for having acne.
LK: How is Unpolished Journey NOT just about weight? What's the core message and why should women and men care?
Morgan Blair: Unpolished Journey’s values and beliefs lie deeper than appearance. At Unpolished Journey, it has nothing to do with societal standards of beauty, rather it has to do with redefining what is beautiful in the world. For example, looking into the soul, looking at a more spiritual side of the world, and starting to take away the focus from what the eyes see and instead finding beauty in one’s passions in life.
LK: What's it like working as sisters? And, what's been the response to this campaign?
Emily Blair: Working together as sisters is a dream come true. My sister and I are extremely close. Working together on Unpolished Journey and the #imnotsorry campaign has brought us closer together and has given me more insight into the struggles within an eating disorder. It’s a really cool balance between the two of us. Morgan provides insights into what having an eating disorder looks like and I am able to share about what being a supporter looks like.
Morgan Blair: Working together as sisters also gives the organization a firm foundation to stand on. It has also allowed both Emily and I to have more meaningful conversations about our own battles and insecurities and in turn opens up a conversation within the community as well.
LK: What's been the most talked about story on your site? Why?
Morgan Blair: There are really two stories that have sparked a lot of conversation and positive response from our community. One of them was a video posted by Victoria on Instagram in which she stood boldly in just a bra and underwear and wrote on her stomach “I’m not sorry.” The reason this was so powerful for viewers was because it was a beautiful display of vulnerability and learning to claim one’s own body. The second story that resonated deeply with our community was a post by Kelly in which she openly talked about the struggles of depression and thoughts of suicide. This sparked so much conversation because it opened a gateway into conversations about a topic that so many struggle with but has been labeled as “taboo” to discuss.
LK: If there was one notable body image stigma fighter (man or woman) you'd like to participate in the campaign who would it be any why?
Emily Blair: A notable body image stigma fighter we think could inspire and open up even more conversation within our community through this campaign would undoubtedly be Demi Lovato. She has such a strong voice for recovery, and we think her participation would encourage so many people to stop apologizing for who they are. My sister and I especially admire Demi Lovato because we know she has struggled with similar mental health issues as the two of us, and she also attended the same residential treatment center as Morgan.
LK: What is your #UnpolishedJourney in 6 words?
Emily Blair: “Every day is a second chance”
Morgan Blair: “To recover I must transform”
Victoria’s #imnotsorry story:
"#imnotsorry for loving my body,
The way it curves, the way it bulges, the way it takes a certain amount of space.
I'm not sorry for my fair skin and the freckles on my nose.
I'm not sorry for my thunder thighs or the size of my jeans.
I'm not sorry for the hair on my legs in the winter. I'm not sorry that I'm blunt; I'm not sorry that I'm loud. I'm not sorry for my Northern tendencies and I'm not sorry that I curse. You see, I have spent so many years dieting, skipping meals, sucking in my stomach, conforming to society's standards of beauty. I've spent so many years shrinking myself; I won't do it anymore. So I'm not sorry for my body; I'm not sorry for my mind. I'm not sorry for my values, my opinions, or my voice. And I'm sure as hell not sorry if you do not approve. Being sorry means you hurt somebody or you did something wrong... What did my body ever do to you?"
You can learn more about creating your own #imnotsorry here.