Aerie Promotes Body Positivity With #AerieREAL Campaign

Aerie Promotes Body Positivity With #AerieREAL Campaign

"The future is #AerieREAL" - Aerie

Body positivity is not only about accepting your body the way it is. It's also about making others feel confident in their skin. This is exactly what clothing store Aerie accomplishes. Aerie is an intimate, swim and apparel store that sells clothing for girls of every shape and size. Aerie recently started a body positivity campaign known as #AerieReal which sends the message that all women are beautiful no matter their size. Aerie does not retouch their models to show off these women's real, beautiful bodies.

Aerie has four role models who promote body positivity through modeling their clothing. These women include singer-songwriter Rachel Platten, actress Yara Shahidi, gold medal gymnast Aly Raisman and body positivity activist Iskra. All of these women are passionate about embracing their true selves and lifting others up, which is true girl power!

To learn more about what these #AerieREAL Role Models have to say on body positivity, watch the video below!

Cover Image Credit: Business Insider

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Yes, I Had A Stroke And I'm Only 20

Sometimes bad things happen to good people.

Recently, I read an article on Cosmo that was written by a woman that had a stroke at the ripe old age of 23. For those of you who don't know, that really doesn't happen. Young people don't have strokes. Some do, but it's so incredibly uncommon that it rarely crosses most people's minds. Her piece was really moving, and I related a lot -- because I had a stroke at 20.

It started as a simple headache. I didn't think much of it because I get headaches pretty often. At the time, I worked for my parents, and I texted my mom to tell her that I'd be late to work because of the pain. I had never experienced a headache like that, but I figured it still wasn't something to worry about. I went about my normal routine, and it steadily got worse. It got to the point that I literally threw up from the pain. My mom told me to take some Tylenol, but I couldn't get to our kitchen. I figured that since I was already in the bathroom, I would just take a shower and hope that the hot steam would relax my muscles, and get rid of my headache. So I turned the water on in the shower, and I waited for it to get hot.

At this point, I was sweating. I've never been that warm in my life. My head was still killing me. I was sitting on the floor of the bathroom, trying to at least cope with the pain. Finally, I decided that I needed to go to the hospital. I picked up my phone to call 911, but I couldn't see the screen. I couldn't read anything. I laid down on the floor and tried to swipe from the lock screen to the emergency call screen, but I couldn't even manage that. My fine motor skills were completely gone. My fingers wouldn't cooperate, even though I knew what buttons needed to be pressed. Instead of swiping to the emergency call screen, I threw my phone across the room. "Okay," I thought, "Large muscle groups are working. Small ones are not".

I tried getting up. That also wasn't happening. I was so unstable that I couldn't stay standing. I tried turning off the running water of the shower, but couldn't move the faucet. Eventually, I gave up on trying to move anywhere. "At what point do I just give up and lie on the floor until someone finds me?" That was the point. I ended up lying on the floor for two hours until my dad came home and found me.

During that two hours, I couldn't hear. My ears were roaring, not even ringing. I tried to yell, but I couldn't form a sentence. I was simply stuck, and couldn't do anything about it. I still had no idea what was going on.

When the ambulance finally got there, they put me on a stretcher and loaded me into the back. "Are you afraid of needles or anything?" asked one EMT. "Terrified," I responded, and she started an IV without hesitation. To this day, I don't know if that word actually came out of my mouth, but I'm so glad she started the IV. She started pumping pain medicine, but it didn't seem to be doing anything.

We got to the hospital, and the doctors there were going to treat me for a migraine and send me on my merry way. This was obviously not a migraine. When I could finally speak again, they kept asking if I was prone to migraines. "I've never had a migraine in my whole life," I would say. "Do you do any drugs?" they would ask. "No," I repeated over and over. At this point, I was fading in and out of consciousness, probably from the pain or the pain medicine.

At one point, I heard the doctors say that they couldn't handle whatever was wrong with me at our local hospital and that I would need to be flown somewhere. They decided on University of Maryland in Baltimore. My parents asked if I wanted them to wait with me or start driving, so I had them leave.

The helicopter arrived soon after, and I was loaded into it. 45 minutes later, I was in Baltimore. That was the last thing I remember. The next thing I remember was being in the hospital two weeks later. I had a drain in my head, a central port, and an IV. I honestly didn't know what had happened to me.

As it turns out, I was born with a blood vessel malformation called an AVM. Blood vessels and arteries are supposed to pass blood to one another smoothly, and mine simply weren't. I basically had a knot of blood vessels in my brain that had swelled and almost burst. There was fluid in my brain that wouldn't drain, which was why my head still hurt so bad. The doctors couldn't see through the blood and fluid to operate, so they were simply monitoring me at that point.

When they could finally see, they went in to embolize my aneurysm and try to kill the AVM. After a successful procedure, my headache was finally starting to subside. It had gone from a 10 on the pain scale (which I don't remember), to a 6 (which was when I had started to be conscious), and then down to a 2.

I went to rehab after I was discharged from the hospital, I went to rehab. There, I learned simple things like how to walk and balance, and we tested my fine motor skills to make sure that I could still play the flute. Rehab was both physically and emotionally difficult. I was constantly exhausted.

I still have a few lingering issues from the whole ordeal. I have a tremor in one hand, and I'm mostly deaf in one ear. I still get headaches sometimes, but that's just my brain getting used to regular blood flow. I sleep a lot and slur my words as I get tired. While I still have a few deficits, I'm lucky to even be alive.

Cover Image Credit: Neve McClymont

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To The Person Struggling To Look In The Mirror

Once in a while, just stare at yourself in the mirror. Trust me.


This object can be tall, small, circular, rectangular, silver, bronze, gold, black, brown, or white. The list could go on forever. This object does not talk aloud, but it does talk through words. This object does not walk or run, but it can be walked or run from. This object does not cry, but it definitely has a shoulder to cry on. This object does not smile, but it definitely watches you smile.

This object is not just an object. It has many different jobs, many different people, and many different purposes. Whether you reside in a mansion on the beach, a bench in a park, or a dorm room on campus, this object can change your life.

Have you ever hated looking at your own reflection? Have you ever struggled with finding yourself? Have you ever hated your outfit one day? I think it is safe to say that we all have experienced some sort of disconnect within our own minds.

This object is definitely a common denominator between self-image, self-expression, and self-empowerment.

When you are just a toddler running around, you would never think of this object as an important piece of life. When you're staring at yourself for the first time, you probably do not even understand the concept. However, this object has a lot of importance in our lives.

Poor body image. Self-esteem issues. Disappointment. Regret. Depression. Anxiety. Happiness. Beauty. Confidence. Each and every one of these things can be found within this one single object. No matter how big or how small your object is, there is a big meaning inside.

As I sit here writing this, I am wondering how often we as humans look at our reflection a day? If I'm being honest, probably an insane amount of times!

This object has value. Not monetary value, but spiritual value. Value that will never be taken from you. Value that sticks forever. Value that can be changed. Value that can be positive. Value that can be negative. Value that is imperative for human growth.

Close your eyes. Can you remember the first time you looked at yourself in the mirror? What did it feel like? What did you think about? What did you say?

Well, no matter what time in your life you are thinking about, I can assure you of one thing: you saw yourself in a way that no one else can see.

The best thing about a mirror is the endless chances you receive to change the image that you see. You have your entire life, if you need it, to make this view the BEST view of your entire life— the view of yourself!

It may feel weird at times. It may be depressing at times. It may be short at times. It may be amazing at times. Hey, it is okay. I promise.

The beauty about looking into the mirror is achieving and changing what YOU want to look at. If you want to see a skinner waist on yourself, you have the ability to change that view. If you want to smile bright, you have the ability to change that. If you want to cry your eyes out to this object, you have the ability to do so.

Anything with this object is possible and forever changeable. A mirror is a significant part of our everyday lives. We may be brushing our teeth staring in the mirror, posing for a selfie, or even crying our eyes out. In each of these instances, one thing remains the same: no one else can change this view that you see.

When you look into the mirror, you are creating what you see. You are creating the way you view your own reflection. No one in this world can make you think, feel, or view yourself differently in this mirror. The only person who can truly paint this view is YOU.

There are times in life where it may be really challenging. Maybe you got broken up with, maybe you failed a test, or maybe you are overweight still. But at the end of the day, you have endless chances to change this, to make yourself comfortable looking in that mirror.

Day to day, I do not expect each and every one of you to think about this object. I do not expect you to change that view overnight or even be pleased with it on a specific day. You may love the view on Tuesday and hate it on Wednesday. But guess what— you have another chance!

Between classes in college, working a 9-5, or even being a parent to a child, we lose the value of small objects in our lives. We do not think about these objects on a daily basis. Without this object, our world would lack individuality, self-empowerment, and confidence.

I truly believe this object can change people's lives when they start paying attention to "that view," that view that sticks to your soul that no one can take from you.

Next time you have the chance to stare at yourself in the mirror, I want you to ask yourself one question: "Do I like the view?"

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