The power of the hash tag

So here I am with a blog post.  I know.  Don’t faint.  I could provide a list of excuses, both valid and fictional, for not posting sooner, but I won’t air the laundry today.  I think my number one reason why I haven’t posted on the blog is because I’ve been waiting for that perfect topic to start it off with.  Well.  I have it and it’s time to talk about it.  

As many of you know I have a public Instagram that shares the same name as this blog: @beyoudesignsut.  In the beginning I started it as an experiment to lend some helpful tips to clients in my dayjob on maneuvering social media; especially the life in small squares.  I also needed a way to post my outfits here and there because people regularly ask me where I get my clothes.  And then there was this constant bombardment of hooker thin, photo-shopped women ALL OVER THE FREAKING INTERNET flaunting their plastic and fakeness and I just couldn’t take it anymore.  I am anything but plastic and I wanted other women, especially women in Utah, to have that outlet to share their look.  I have spent tons and tons of years thinking I’m not good enough because my shirt tag said XL instead of XS and my hips were curvy and my calves too wide.  Additionally, I’m a child of the 80’s and 90’s and it’s safe to say that I’m still a bit scarred from being that kid that wore clothes from second-hand stores when everyone else was sporting their name brands.  But, I digress.  I promised no dirty laundry airage.

Day by day this whole thing has flowered into a seriously amazing journey and connection to some of the most COURAGEOUS people I know.  Like for reals.  I could talk for days and days and days about my lovelies, but I am going to focus on one today because SHE has changed my perspective on life.  


I found Anneke through a common thread that was also one that brought me to create this Instagram.  Hiya Papaya Photo-a-day is a photo challenge that was started by my friend from college,Cristi.  Anneke had participated in her photo challenges and I started to figure out that this woman was one.incredible.human with a LOT of challenges, but a sunshine soul and attitude that could be bottled up and sold for top dollar.  As I started following her feed, I started to learn about her biggest hurdle in life and that is one of a recovering anorexic.  Oh boy…the taboo topic that we all whisper about when we see people we suspect might ‘have one’ but never really take the time to learn about.  It’s not just about the eating people.  It's just NOT.  It is so much more.  And I can say that because I have lived it on a very small scale.  You may not believe it if you see me now because I’m just a normal weight, not a super model skinny bean.  But, because of some emotional struggles of my own including a lifelong marriage to depression, food is the first to go for me when the road gets rough.  When I was in college I lost 50+pounds in 6 months because I quit eating because I couldn’t cope.  Yep.  It happened.  So, anyway.  I connected with Anneke the minute I started reading her heartfelt posts about putting on her sassy crown and facing her fears.  About 8 weeks ago she started to talk about the possibility of entering a treatment facility to address some other struggles that come with an eating disorder.  My heart hurt for her because it is so desperately hard to make decisions that revolve around you being in trouble and it means you’ll have to face it and talk to strangers about it.  Been there too.  Another story for another day.  

As the time drew near for her to enter the facility I could just feel my empathetic heart swell even more.  The good-byes to family, friends, and her cat named Couch along with the bags being packed and the tears and the reality.  So very hard to read about.  That was the week before Palm Sunday.  Now, one more thing I forgot to mention….Anneke lives in New Zealand.  I am in Utah.  Do the math.  I will do the math.  16 hours ahead.  She lives in the future.  The Saturday before Palm Sunday in the US, I was at my friend’s house and I had this thought, “we’ve got to do something for Anneke.  She needs this.  What could we do?”  Because we are on opposite corners of the globe I couldn’t just drop a care package in the mail or send a card that would arrive in two days.  I just couldn’t.  And it sucked.  Because that’s my nature.  As I wracked my brain to think of her common interests and something that was easy for anyone to share it dawned on me:  shoe selfies.  Some of my MOST favorite pictures that Anneke would post were shoe selfies as she would go on her adventures of photography.  And how do we start a revolution?  We make a hash tag.  So I started searching for that specific set of words that weren’t taken.  And then it came.  #shoeselfieforanneke.  Because I was a geek and had done the math I knew that if I posted my idea on Sunday morning and could get the Yankee ladies to do it that Anneke would wake up to HER Monday and would see these posts.  I didn’t expect mountains of response.  I shot for 10.  Because let’s be honest, even knowing that 3 people care about you can change the world.  Well….it was/has been/is more than 10 posts.  As of this morning we are at 227 posts.  I am floored.  I am humbled.  I cannot tell you how much stress and hurt has gone through that lovely woman’s heart because she has to be cooped up in a place that is full of people with issues far greater than her own.  It’s hard to heal when you’re amongst this type of thing.  Healing amid toxic is nearly impossible.  It just is.  But she is doing it.  And I am so proud of her.  

Because this is NOT ABOUT ME I will not go into the details of how this has blessed me, but it truly has on insane levels.  Service heals the heart and I thank God for the whispering in my heart to create this hash tag.  

The moral of the story: If you have a whispering to help someone, do it.  Even if it seems so simple and trivial.  It is not.  Nothing is a coincidence.  NOTHING.  

Until next time, my lovelies.  

And there will be a next time.  

I promise.  


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