We all have dreams. Realistic ones, such as getting a degree or getting married… or getting that bikini body (but I think we have to agree that getting Doutzen Kroes’ butt is not the most realistic ideal ever). We also have big dreams. Mine was to create a platform that will help people who struggle with the same issues as I did (and do), where we can share and discuss views and experiences. Today, my dream has become reality.
How it started
During my recovery from an eating disorder, I wanted to know how other people experienced it: what they struggled with, how they overcame certain anxieties. I read books and searched the internet, but I often found that these stories did not really help me — I needed more depth. Rarely did writers talk about why they had certain thoughts, feelings, and behaviour patterns. Their stories were often retellings of the events that happened, rather than what was going on inside. I realised that if I wanted someone to step forward and speak about eating disorders in more depth, maybe it should be me. I approached a Dutch online women’s magazine called Ze.nl, where I started writing anonymous columns to hopefully help people like me, people who know people like me, and myself.
These columns were like writing therapy for me, but seemed to truly help others as well. I received many heartwarming and eye-opening replies, and so I consider my columns as quite successful. They were discontinued after 1.5 years, but I was left with the urge to write and help. That’s when I decided I’d set up my own initiative one day. It wasn’t until I wrote a one-time column for Healthy Is the New Skinny that I knew what this initiative would look like. The title of that piece (and for very first column I wrote for Ze.nl) was Beauty is Not a Number. I couldn’t let go of that idea, and it became the concept and title for this website.
I registered the URL on 24 May 2013 and Beauty Is Not a Number was officially founded. As I’ve seen only one side of eating disorders, and because I wanted this website to provide a variety of experiences and views, I approached others to see if they were interested in contributing on a regular basis. I invited Imme, a former fashion model and currently a curvy model, and she’ll be blogging mostly about body image. Whereas I have been underweight for years, Maria was the opposite and will publish her first piece on her struggles next Tuesday. But just finding writers was not enough.
I wouldn’t be my perfectionist self if I weren’t trying to achieve the highest level of quality possible. Even though I have a bachelors degree in English and I’m quite capable of writing proper English, it’s not my native language so I’m more prone to mistakes than a native speaker. That’s why I asked Bonnie (a native speaker) if she’d like to edit all articles.
Quality is also about being recognisable on the web, and what is the first thing you notice when you visit a website? The layout and logo. I’m extremely happy with the layout Naomi made for Schrijfmeisje.nl (my personal blog), so I thought she’d be the right person for the design and coding of Beauty Is Not a Number.
And there we are. After a few very intense months, I managed to launch my dream with the help and support of a great team. I still can’t believe it, but it’s true, so I proudly present to you: Beauty Is Not a Number. Read more about the concept here. Welcome!