#lifestagesBullied and a Lingering, Unshakeable Shame

3 comments | January 1st, 2012

chestist black scratch

(story submitted by Leah, a 22 yo Chestist)

Leah's story was actually submitted as a comment to this story.  We thought hers worthy of bringing to everyone's attention too.  We hope you'll get why we chose New Year's Day as the day for this less-than-feel-good tale when you get to the end.  This is her story shared:

The memories are too hazy to tell if there was a pattern of bullying, but that's what I assume happened. That's what my Mom says happened. There was always this one girl with whom I had some conflict from the very first days of elementary school. I remember sitting with two girls reading a book on the school bus. The one who owned the book pushed my five-year old face into a window and told me I wasn't allowed to read with them. Why? Who knows? Maybe I did something. Maybe I was the bully (probably not). I became a silent, insecure child who had a anxious Hell of a time trying to socialize. I was a loose cannon, ready to lash out at the slightest perceived insult, and ...

#bodiesCoverGirl, Taylor Swift and The Self Esteem Act.

1 response | December 22nd, 2011


We think it's great that CoverGirl is taking down their Taylor Swift ads because the lashes they show and the lashes you get have nothing to do with each other.  But is the lie they told photographically any more or less significant than the lies any ad or editorial that's photoshopped and digitally-manipulated the human body shows?  Here @OOC HQ, we don't think so. We think it'd be even greater, and help a lot more girls and women (to say nothing of boys and men) feel good about themselves, if truth-in-advertising was proactive and not reactive, and not simply done because and after you've been caught. Photoshopping isn't necessarily bad. Pretending the ideal is real and attainable when it's not is bad, and the consequences of it can be dire. If you agree, and if you support transparency and truth-in-advertising, we hope you'll sign and forward this:

#lifestagesMy Image of Me Looks A lot Like You

3 comments | December 22nd, 2011

cloudy talk burst

(story submitted anonymously, by a Chestist)

Sometimes our story titles are almost as long as the stories themselves.  This is a reminder that we should be more brief, and that some stories don't need a lot of words to hit you right between the eyes.  Here's one of them, shared by one of you:

Because I didn't know who I was, I let you tell me who I should be.  {end story}

Do you know who you are?  What about who you want to be?  Yes, deep thoughts and questions for this time of year...But could there be a better day to figure it out?  Party on and #discuss.  XO, OOC


4 comments | December 16th, 2011

mean girls

(story submitted by RES, an 18 yo Chestist)

Bullying, digital, physical, out of control.  Has it gotten worse, or are we getting more intolerant of its intolerance?  Here's one reader's story:

I've always been teased or bullied, and sometimes I don't feel like I love or respect myself enough (or I'm not strong enough to stand up for myself) and so I let people take advantage of me.

It takes a lot to wear my tolerance/patience down, and it's become a problem. Even after my family and true friends tell me how proud they are of me and how much they love me, I have yet to love myself as much. I don't know what's taking so long for me. {end story}  

Have you - or someone you loved - been bullied?  Why; for what?  Maybe back in the day you were a bully?  What happened?  How's it affect you now?  What advice do you have for RES and anyone else going through this?  Why do you think it's so much "easier" to feel the wrath of the bully than the love of your friends?

And for any of ...

#bodies…A Stupid Waste of Time

17 comments | November 9th, 2011

stupid waste

(By OOC and via

So you might have heard about The Self-Esteem Act we've proposed, requiring "Truth in Advertising" labeling be attached to any ad or editorial that meaningfully changes the human form through digital manipulation, like photoshopping.  It's our hope that the Act might help contribute to stemming the epidemic cirsis of confidence affecting girls and women.  Not everyone agrees with us.

We bumped into the story below (reposted here with the author's permission) at  We love their site, their vision and mission, and everything they're trying to do.  We also love that they disagree with us so openly and productively and allowed us to disagree with them, equally. 

A large part of what we're hoping to accomplish with and through The Self-Esteem Act is to help mainstream a conversation about the aforementioned epidemic  - because no matter what the right answers are, they'll happen faster and with greater scale if the problems come to be understood and recognized at a mainstream level. Dissent (productive dissent) helps do this. 

And, we don't pretent to suggest that the act is the final answer or ...

Happy HatingNobody Cares

6 comments | November 1st, 2011

chestist eyes

(story submitted anonymously, by a Chestist)

Nobody cares.

It's one of the cruelest things a person can say to someone.

You just told me that nobody cares.

And I'm starting to think you're right. {end story.}

Little can hate on your happy like feeling nobody cares about your happy.  It's a sad, dark and lonely place to be.  Have you ever been there?  Are you now?

How'd you move through it?  How can we here help if you haven't? 

It may sound trite, and it may be cold comfort, but when you're here, there's always somebody that cares.  Really.  XO, OOC


#lifestagesToday, brought to you by the word: Embarrassed

13 comments | August 31st, 2011


We've all been there, haven't we?  Um, it's not just it?  That would be so embarrassing.


Ok, you get it (even if it wasn't very funny).  Let's talk embarrassment.  When were you, where were you, what happened?  Does it still hate on your happy and make you cringe or are you over it and can laugh like everyone else did?


Us, there was this one time at band camp....

#bodiesSay Cheese

50 comments | August 30th, 2011


(story by the amazing @MIr from Woulda Coulda

A few years back, my mother gave me my baby book. Inside I found twelve years of school pictures, and with them I could make a virtual flip book to page through my formative years. I could watch my hair go from short to long and back again. I could watch my wide, happy smile go from baby teeth to a jumbled mixture of permanent and temporary teeth and then... my smile disappeared for a while. It returns---post-orthodontia---at the end of high school. But even then, it's different.

It's not just that my teeth are straight in the later photos, either. You can see that I don't smile as widely or easily as I used to. The unselfconscious glee from my early days is just gone.

There's an argument to be made that very few of us retain our happy-go-lucky "oh yay, a camera! LOOK AT ME!" joy past kindergarten. Age and maturity mellow and dilute our enthusiasm, of course. But for me it wasn't just a getting-older thing. It was a growing awareness of my teeth and how prominent they were.

"Don't ...

#thecumulativeeffectMexican Is Beautiful. But Missing.

17 comments | May 20th, 2011


(submitted anonymously by an OOC reader)

We first posted this piece sent in by a reader a few months ago.  We're putting it up again because we think it raises an important question about what we (that's all of us) don't see when we look out at the cultural landscape around us.  "I googled "Mexican is beautiful" and all that popped up was half naked pictures of mexican women and enchilada recipes. so i tried typing in "latina is beautiful" trying to see if the broader term would help me out. no luck."

Let's discuss this. Surely it's not for a lack of beautiful mexican women in the world, though it's def easier to list 5 blonde american women without even thinking. Who else don't we see images of in popular culture?

#bodiesAt Least I’m Able To Express It.

6 comments | May 19th, 2011


(submitted by OOC reader "MD")

"It all started when i was a child. I think? Not feeling comfortable in my skin and hating who I was is what eventually almost killed me. I am 20 and I have been sober for almost 18 months, and its been a rough journey. I've had this expectation that things will get better with time. And they have, but not to where I've wanted them to get too. Does time really heal all wounds? Either self-inflicted or by someone else?

I spent years destroying myself both emotionally and physically and let everyone in my life walk on my face time and time again. Yet today I find myself wondering whats wrong with me? Why am I alone? Why do I feel alone all the time, even when im not? Why do I feel sad, when I should feel happy? And why can't I tell anyone that? I put other peoples actions and reactions on myself-wondering what i could change about myself to make it different. im tired of letting people affect me so much and beating myself up. And I ...

#bodiesToo Pointy

23 comments | May 6th, 2011


(submitted anonymously by an OOC reader)

"I think I have the weirdest nipples ever and my boobs are too pointy. I'm so afraid what guys will think when they see them." 

Can you relate?  What, if anything, would you change about your boobs?