The I am movement
Ali Miller wanted women to feel empowered so she started the 'I am movement' encouraging women to reclaim who they are.
I am a woman of color.
Often the compliments Navya Prabhushankar hears seem conditional. "You're pretty ... for an Indian." But Prabhushankar did not want to be defined by narrow beauty standards. She knows that she is more than her skin color and appearance and she celebrates her strength, intelligence, independence, and creativity over her exoticism.
I am not here to please you.
Throughout life Megan Deslauriers doubted herself, causing her to be a follower. Yet she felt this was unfulfilling and decided to follow her own path. Charting her own way allowed her to realize that it's okay to be different than her friends.
I am not a vicitm I am a survivor.
Ali Miller started the I am movement after she decided to become public about her sexual assault. When she was 17, a man she thought was a friend raped her while she was drunk. While she kept quiet at first, she realized she needed to tell her story so that others wouldn't feel alone if they also experienced sexual assault.
I am in control of my own future.
Growing up, Andrea Dahl's parents always bickered and eventually divorced. Dahl developed trust issues and struggled with anxiety. She feared love, thinking her romantic future would be like her parents and she'd experience nothing but heartbreak. When she left home for college, she soon learned that she controlled her future and her love life didn't have to be scary and hurtful.
I am schizo and proud.
After a house fire when she was 16, Anna Herpers began experiencing hallucinations. For years she felt ashamed of being schizophrenic and hid who she was, hoping that others would accept and love her. She soon realized that being schizophrenic was a strength not a weakness.
I am not a cancer daughter.
When Hannah's father became sick with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2012, she put on a brave face to show the world. She felt like everyone pitied her because her dad had cancer. After he recovered, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. She felt as if people only saw her as a daughter of people with cancer. But she realized that her parents were more than just cancer and she was more than just the daughter of cancer patients.
I am not broken.
Julia's ex-boyfriend often told her she was worthless and sexually abused her. While she left the relationship, feelings of worthlessness still lingered. She redefined herself as a survivor not a victim, taking the power away from her abusive ex. She struggles to be open and trusting, but understands she needs to improve day by day.
I am present.
Katherine Bosio lived in her mind, focusing on the past too much. She overthought and felt full of guilt, preventing her from enjoying her life at the moment. She stepped back and focused on the present, which helped her to gain insight and clarity that worrying could not. While she's still working at improving, she feels gratitude and awe.
I am in control of my own life.
Growing up, Leah Rohweder never knew which mother she would meet at home. Her mom feared people and living life, but Rohweder didn't want fear to rule her life. She decided to be strong and fight to live life on her terms, not her mother's.
I am beautiful in my own skin.
When Elizabeth Ogunkanbi was 5, she and her family moved to Minnesota from Nigeria. Being surrounded by so many blond-haired, blue-eyed people made Ogunkanbi feel as if she didn't belong. She scrubbed her skin raw in the shower, hoping to lighten her skin and no longer be the "ugly girl" that no one wanted to play with. As she grew older, she realized her skin made her who she is and she is beautiful.
I am changed by loss, but inspired to be more.
After Lulu's father died of cancer, she became the emotional strength of her family. Growing up watching her mom struggle with depression felt difficult for Lulu especially as she struggled with her own anxiety and depression. While she still misses her father, she realizes this experience made her stronger, more empathetic, thoughtful, and caring.
I am loving myself...better.
Two months into her freshman year of college, Maddy tried killing herself. She had long lived with depression and anxiety. But a friend found her, saw the pills on her desk, and rushed her to the hospital. After therapy, medication, and a weight loss of 40 pounds, Maddy learned to love herself. She feels grateful that her friend saved her and gave her the opportunity to practice self care so she can live a healthy life.
I am not defined by the numbers on a scale.
Growing up Maria Perez was overweight and felt worthless. As she shed the weight and improved her physical health, her mental health strengthened, too. She knows she's more than a weight and no longer allows society to define how she should look--and feel.
I am straight, gay, bi, happy.
After Ali Miller took Monica Nordgren's picture, Nordgren began crying. She felt so happy to finally come out as bisexual. She feared the judgement she would face but she now feels proud that she can fall in love with both men and women.
I am worthy of love from myself and others.
Nikki Dietz often heard the advice "be yourself." Yet she wondered why she would want to be herself; she often felt she wasn't pretty enough, smart enough, or good enough. While she long struggled with her self esteem, she realized she was enough. She started being kind to herself, loving her for her a bit more each day.
I am not defined by that day.
When Sydney Kaye was in preschool an older boy tried raping her. Since then, that day came back to her as a nightmare, playing over and over again. She experienced anxiety, depression, and fear. But she decided to not let one day define her and works to confront her feelings to live a healthy life.
I am not a representation of my past.
In middle school Taylor Everett began experiencing mental health problems and she felt alienated from her friends because she thought she was abnormal. By the time she was in high school every day was a struggle, but she started talking about her mental health. She found she grew stronger and hopes that others experiencing the same thing do not feel afraid to talk about it.
I am bigger than tears and bruises
Growing up, an adult man in Taylor Mueller's life repeatedly told her she was worthless. That constant verbal abuse sunk in and she believed it. Then when she was 16, someone sexually assaulted her, making her feel even more worthless. After confronting the abuse and sexual assault, she regained some of her power. She will never let another person take her worth from her again.