She posted and deleted it six more times before deciding to leave it up. The video shows the 29-year-old Vermont woman dancing around her living room in a bikini, yelling motivational phrases, and making her body "jiggle for joy" (her words).
This video—in all its down-to-earth, goofy, and encouraging glory—is Kate Speer in a nutshell. She’s on a mission to destigmatize mental health conditions and spread body positivity through her honest, unfiltered videos. As exuberant as many of the videos are, Speer’s inspiration to help others love themselves stems from a painful place.
Speer’s Path Toward Self-love Has Been Winding And Full Of Complications.
Speer has struggled with her mental health for a long time, she tells SELF. She was first diagnosed with an eating disorder when she was 7 years old. At 16, she was diagnosed with depression. And at 18, she was incorrectly diagnosed with bipolar disorder. "My life pretty much changed after that," she says. Speer spent the next eight years in and out of psychiatric wards—the medications she was taking to treat her supposed bipolar disorder were inducing all kinds of symptoms, like hallucinations. She struggled with anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder—as well as self-harm and suicidal ideations
It wasn't until Speer was correctly diagnosed with an extreme anxiety disorder in her mid-20s that things began to change for the better. "What I've come to know now is that I don't have bipolar disorder," she says, explaining that many of her symptoms subsided after she stopped taking the bipolar disorder medications. "I feel thrilled to have this second chance at life.
Speer Says Body-positive Instagram Posts Are Her Way Of "Celebrating What She's Got.
Even on days when she feels like sh*t.
"For me, recovery is a process," she explains, adding that viewing self-love as a journey instead of a destination helps on her “bad days.”
Feeling embarrassed about a pimple doesn't mean she's failed—neither does taking down a body jiggle Instagram video. It means she's experiencing a moment of insecurity, and that's OK—it’s part of the process of self-love and acceptance, she says.
So, instead of trying to be perfect, Kate Speer just tries to be Kate Speer. When this becomes a struggle, she recalls an exercise from when she first started therapy. Her therapist would ask her to write, "Dear Kate, who are you today?" every day. And she'd respond with things like, "Hello, my name is Kate. My favorite color is electric salmon, and I like the woods." This helped Speer focus more on defining herself through her interests, instead of her appearance—and that's stuck with her to this day
Now Speer wants to help others realize they, too, are so much more than their looks.
“We are all unapologetically human, and we deserve to be seen, validated, and celebrated as such,” she says. “That's a tremendous thing for everyone to hear—and that's why I put [this stuff] out there.
And For The Record, Every Body Jiggles.
"Bodies shake, bodies jiggle, and bodies squish," Speer says. "The more we can acknowledge that this is a part of the body and how it exists in the world, the more it will become a reality—not a problem," Speer says. Humans just jiggle. Everyone has skin, fat, and muscle, and sometimes those things shake when you move your body—it doesn't mean something's wrong with you
"Let's say your butt jiggles," Speer says. "Does that mean it's too big? Too small? The answer is: There's no perfect butt—it's just your butt." The same goes for your arms, your thighs, your stomach, or any other body part. "We're all trying to be each other instead of just being proud of who we are," Speer laments. "You're awesome, and that's enough!"
Content Originally Published By: Lindsey Lanquist @ Self