After being told by an Internet commenter to color her gray hairs, food blogger Rachel Farnsworth responds
It only takes one rotten apple to spoil the bunch. For 31-year-old food blogger Rachel Farnsworth, that rotten apple came in the form of a nasty internet comment. But instead of letting the rotten comment spoil her mood, confidence, or self-image, Farnsworth responded with a video message that has gone viral with its inspiring message of positivity.
At the end of October, Farnsworth received a comment to a 2013 post with a recipe for beef chili that included a video of her making the chili on her YouTube channel. The commenter wrote: “You look like you are 70 with your grey hairs. You really should consider dying them for tv so you don’t look like such an old hag. Just a suggestion.” Wow.
When Farnsworth read the comment, she said she wasn’t surprised. “Lots of people have commented about my gray hair over the years and I have never been ashamed to share my reasons.”
But then she had an idea – why not respond to the comment and address the issue in a video? She had recently been honored with YouTube Next Up award, which came with an invitation to film a video at the YouTube Space LA, so she decided to use the opportunity to address gray hairs, body shaming, and aging.
In the video shared on Facebook last week, Farnsworth explained that she has a rare autoimmune disease, which means she “will most likely never live to be 70 years old.” Through tears, she went on to say, “Every sign of aging that I have is a sign that I’m still alive…I don’t have time to waste criticizing myself and I don’t have time to waste criticizing other people. I care a lot more about what my life is like right now.”
She admitted that her inner self-confidence did not come easily. In fact, she said that she was born with a genetic jaw deformity and she “let it completely break” her. After years of waiting for a surgery to correct the condition, she developed the “when-this-then-that” attitude that so many of us have. When she had the surgery, then she would feel beautiful and then she would be happy.
But it didn’t quite work out that way. “The surgery came and went,” she said, “and I was really happy for a little bit, but once the excitement wore off, I realized that I was just me and I was the same person I’d always been and I still felt the exact same way about myself.”
After a decade of hard work, she said she changed the way she views herself and her physical appearance. “I have a crooked nose with a hook in it. I have freckles and bags under my eyes…I have hairs that grow in places I don’t want them to…I’ve got wrinkles and stretch marks and sun spots and scars all over my body and I also have grey hair and I love all of it.”
Viewed more than 2.5 million times, the video has started an avalanche of positivity. The video has been shared more than 42,000 times and even inspired the hashtag movement #bethatperson, with other sharing photos of ways they are embracing body positivity and lifting others up.
“The world needs more people who will build each other up instead of tearing each other down,” Farnsworth says. “Be that person.”