We are so lucky to have this next lovely lady as part of our Embrace Series on our BLOG. Jess Ryder has been the driving force behind multiple screenings of EMBRACE in the Toowoomba Region so we thought it fitting to ask Jess her take on how she embraces her body!
Over to you Jess:
I never wanted to be the pin up girl for body image in Toowoomba. I was never completely comfortable with putting myself out there and sharing my journey about my body, opening myself up to the possible internet trolls that lurk around facebook waiting to pray on someone like me, laying myself vulnerable to the world. I am still on my EMBRACE journey and like you I sometimes have days when I struggle with my body too but through my journey with EMBRACE those days are easier to deal with and I am stronger to overcome them.
For those of you who haven’t heard of me or seen me in the news my name is Jess Ryder. I am a Body Image Movement Global Ambassador and the voice behind Embrace Darling Downs and the reason why there is a small ripple of change starting to happen in Toowoomba as a result of my passion to share EMBRACE the documentary with the Toowoomba community.
How did I come to be in this position?
Well when the trailer for EMBRACE popped up in my facebook feed in May last year, I watched it with tears streaming down my face. Here was a film that described exactly how I felt about myself when I looked in the mirror, when I thought about my body. I’d never actually voiced out loud about how I felt about my body or told anyone but had always had these thoughts and feelings inside hoping that one day I would be beautiful, be perfect, be slim. Here was a film that was giving a voice to what I was feeling and thinking. I knew instantly that I had to see this film. It was just sheer dumb arse luck that I had actually booked a trip to Sydney 12months earlier that just happened to fall on the same weekend that EMBRACE was going to have its world premiere at the Sydney Film Festival. I couldn’t believe that I was lucky enough to be able to be there for the first ever screening of this film. It was like the universe already knew what it had install for me and what was about to happen.
I had tears in my eyes within the first 30secs of the movie starting but managed to hold back until the last 30secs when the tears over flowed and rolled down my cheeks. Seeing Embrace made me realise that I wasn't alone, I wasn't the only woman who thought and felt like this about my body. That perfect woman I see, who I yearn to look like is feeling the same way about her body as I do about mine. At the end of seeing Embrace I felt empowered, motivated and inspired, I turned to my friend and said I need to get this film to the women (and men) of Toowoomba.
I don't usually get on board with campaigns but after seeing EMBRACE and when I heard that there was a possibility that it might not be shown in Toowoomba I suddenly had this fire burning inside me and this drive that I knew I had to get this film to Toowoomba. I had to share this message with everyone because although I still have body hang ups and struggles I am able to feel better about myself and more confident and grateful for the body I have and what it can do, than how I felt before I saw Embrace.
When I first set up the campaign and facebook event I invited my measly but important 20 friends, I just had the hopes of meeting the minimum number of tickets sales of 60 but within 48 hours my event had been shared and word of mouth had spread and before I knew it there were 350 people invited, then 400, then 500, then over 650!! My little cinema of 85 sold out in 7 days and so I was bumped up to a bigger cinema and the extra tickets sold out in 48 hours!!! When I announced the event had sold out for a second time my facebook lit up like I had never seen it before. The outcry from the people of Toowoomba who had missed out on tickets was overwhelming and before I knew it my first screening was bumped up a second time to a bigger cinema and before I knew it I had sold out a 250 seat cinema.
Needless to say over the next 6 months I would go onto to do this 4 more times and end up hosting 4 sold out screening in Toowoomba and a sold out screening in Roma!! ROMA!! I didn’t even know anyone or have any contacts in Roma but I do now!
I have been humbly rewarded for my passion to bring Embrace to Toowoomba and now with over 900 people following me on facebook through Embrace Darling Downs I am now Daring to Dream in 2017 and want to Inspire, Motivate and Connect people to go forward on their own journey to start loving themselves now NOT WHEN. You see we all say I’ll be happy when....*Insert dream or goal here* but the thing is sometimes WHEN doesn’t happen, sometimes WHEN gets pushed back AND sometimes WHEN is unrealistically unattainable that if you wait for WHEN you may never be happy. I believe and am inspired by the words of Taryn Brumfitt (star and producer of EMBRACE)....
“Every breath you take is one step closer to your last. Don’t think about it in a negative way. We don’t know how long we are here for, so let’s not be at war with our bodies, let’s have fun with our lives. Don’t let a bit of tummy define you. These things don’t define us – these wobbles, these stretch marks, these lines, these things don’t matter, just go out and dive into your days”
Toowoomba has been amazing and as a result of my dedication and (unpaid) work to share the message of EMBRACE things are going from strength to strength for me and I have big big goals on the horizon for my own journey and for inspiring others journeys.
The next big thing for Embrace Darling Downs is HUGE and I am so excited to be able to be part of this and be working with some amazing, supportive people to drive my message and if it’s ok with the Food For Life team (who I know are excited about this anyway) here is a shameless plug for what is next.............
OUTDOOR SCREENING OF EMBRACE
EVENT: Youthconnect TRC will be hosting an outdoor screening of EMBRACE
WHEN: Saturday 11th March
WHERE: Frogs Hollow, Queens Park
TICKETS COST: Gold Coin Donation
ENCORE SCREENING OF EMBRACE
EVENT: Embrace Darling Downs cinema screening of EMBRACE
WHEN: Tuesday 14th March
WHERE: The Strand, Toowoomba
TICKETS COST: $21 + booking fee
WHERE TO BOOK: https://fan-force.com/screenings/embrace-bcc-cinemas-toowoomba- strand-qld-6/
EMBRACE TOOWOOMBA with Taryn Brumfitt – star and producer
EVENT: Your journey after Embrace with - TARYN BRUMFITT
WHEN: Thursday 16th March
WHEN: Session 1 - 10am with trade stall available from 11am to 1pm Session 2 - 6pm with trade stall available from 5pm to 8pm
WHERE: Rumours International, Toowoomba
TICKETS COST: $25 per person + booking fee
WHERE TO BOOK: https://www.stickytickets.com.au/48008/embrace_toowoomba.aspx
Thanks Jess - Follow Jess via "Embrace Darling Downs" on Facebook for further updates!