Birth of Beautiful Me
Beautiful Me Campaign was founded in 2013. Founder Molly Jean McElroy wanted to find a way to help women who battle with eating disorders and negative body image find a path to recovery, like she did.
One afternoon her mother, Pat McElroy, was sitting down at the kitchen table reading a book about how to overcome an eating disorder. Pat asked Molly; “Mols, if you were trying to help someone else who has been through what you are going through how would you help them? What would you do?” Molly replied, “I would want to help them find what makes them shine… like what makes them different from everyone else that gives them motivation in life to be who they want to be.” At that moment, Beautiful Me was born.
Molly struggled with a learning disability growing up and was often teased and bullied because she could never keep up academically with other kids. She was never the popular one or first picked for the dodge-ball team but wanted to make everyone around her happy even if she was not. Molly struggled to find herself and often fell into what she described as a “dark cloud”. That cloud was very heavy on Molly and she did not know how to break free from it. Molly struggled with self harm and panic attacks that caused her to lose her sense of self.
One thing that Molly could always escape to was the farm to ride horses, which she believes saved her life. Even in the midst of her eating disorder or that dark cloud when she thought everything was falling apart, her horses were always there waiting for her.
In 2013, Molly stood up in front of her whole high school and shared her story about the struggles she had with anorexia nervosa, the challenges she faced, and how she found recovery. Pat, Molly’s mother, also started sharing her story from a parent’s point of view and how she was able to aid in Molly’s recovery process.
After that first speech people started coming to Molly and Pat asking them for help and guidance in their own recoveries or how to express a positive body image. Together, they began speaking to youth groups, girl scout groups, school assemblies, and college students
However, Molly’s story was not over. On New Years Eve of 2018, Molly’s dog of 6 years Finnegan attacked her and bit her bottom lip half off. She was rushed to the hospital where they performed reconstructive surgery. She had emotions come back that she had not felt in the longest time and began hurting her body again for something she had no control over. She felt like she needed to control something again because she couldn't look at herself in the mirror for a while. She hated the scar that made her go back to the version of herself and that dark cloud that she thought she left behind.
Molly says, “My scar is a part of who I am now. Someone told me that it matches my personality perfectly! I didn't know how to take that until I realized I am different. I have always been different and that makes me who I am. I know that many girls and women doubt themselves because they do not see the beauty in who they are. I am more than what I weigh, I am more than how fast I can run or how much I can lift, I am more than a grade on a test, and I am more than the scars on my body.”
Talking is one of the best ways to help people to process emotions. Once Molly started sharing her story with others she realized she was not alone in her fight. Through Beautiful Me, she has met some beautiful people who have inspired her to continue in her recovery and to keep sharing her story with others.
Plans for the future
Molly found that by helping others see the goodness in themselves, she started to see that in herself. Molly found her passion in life through her own recovery. Now Molly wants to help people find their own path to recovery.
Molly has suffered from an eating disorder, negative body image and self-confidence, self harm, endometriosis, and trauma throughout her life. Her past struggles allow her to relate to others who are going through similar issues. Struggling with these obstacles left her wanting to know what it felt like to be confident in herself. After years of hard work and dedication, she has overcome these challenges. She can finally say that now, she has reached true happiness. She knows who she wants to be, and she is strong enough to fight for it.
Molly wants to thank her parents Pat and Thomas, sister Maggie, cousins Elaina , and Annemarie, best friends Emma and Ryan for all the continued love and support with the Beautiful Me Campaign