The Words You Say

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I was two when I said I didn’t look pretty and meant it. I was three when I learned what a diet was and how to do it. I was five when I was called the word fat and it devastated me. I was nine when I noticed what the scale said and what those numbers really meant. I was ten when I was called skinny and it encouraged me that starving myself was okay. I was twelve when a boy commented on my physical appearance and it stayed with me. I was fifteen when I missed a state mandated fitness test because I was terrified to see the numbers on the scale and what the teacher would say. I was too young to learn and be impacted by those words and yet it happened.

And the truth is it is happening to young girls and boys no matter how young they are and no matter whether we want to admit it or not. We think they are too young to fully understand the impact of our words, too young to have these struggles, too young, they aren’t

So today I want to take a moment to talk to those young girls, the moms of young people, the teachers to these kids, and anyone who interacts with these young people on a daily basis. Take notice of these young people because they see the world in a manner that you can’t. They see the beauty and they see the pain. They are confused and trying to become the best individuals they can, so stop putting pressure on them to be the best. Encourage them, love them.

Today across the world, there are young girls skipping lunch, running to the bathroom, literally running for miles, pouring over magazines, crying in the mirror, trying to fit into a certain perfect size jeans, writing in their diary because some boy told them they weren’t pretty. And it matters…it is not just simple words. Your words, their words, they matter and they hold more weight than you could ever realize. We have to start changing this and it starts with changing the conversation.

Stop telling them they are beautiful solely for their physical appearance. Tell them they are beautiful inside and out. Tell them they are important, their opinions matter, they are going to change the world. Their physical beauty is fleeting and could change in an instant but their beautiful hearts are forever. Tell them they are loved for the unique individual they are. Tell them there is no one like them in the world, because it is true.

Moms, Dads, teachers, friends, pastors, mentors, young people, you have a chance to change the conversation and it starts today. I hope today that you feel loved and tell others how loved they arefor who they are on the inside and not just on the outside because that is what matters. From a young lady who has fought harder than anyone should ever have to, to believe this truth, I promise changing the conversation, it is worth it.

You are so very loved,

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When Perfection Destroys

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At barely two I looked into the mirror, about to take a photo with my family and new baby brother and I starred back at my reflection. In the video that records this scene, you can hear my mother telling me to come on. I refuse to come take the picture and there I sit in front of the mirror and announce to myself and my family around me, “My hair don’t look pretty”.

Now some may think that little two year old girl was precious for saying that but honestly I think even at two that statement was a huge indicator of my personality. For whatever reason, I “knew” that I couldn’t take a picture because my hair didn’t look, “pretty”…it had to be perfect. And that is how I lived the first twenty years of my life striving for perfection that was unattainable.

Growing up I was the epitome of the “Little Miss Perfect”. And while I claimed to hate the nickname, deep down I loved it, because it meant I was doing something right. It meant that I was achieving what others thought was perfection. Oh how wrong they were, because inside I was dying. Do you know how hard it is to try to do everything right and perfect all the time.  It was exhausting. And that is where my eating disorder helped me out, he told me exactly what I needed to do to achieve the ultimate perfection and that was be the thinnest possible.

ED had a solution for every failed test, bad situation, breakup, loss, and it was, control it, with food. And the more I let ED take control, the farther I moved away from all that made me happy. Of course he told me the thinner I got, the more I was reaching perfection. However, the thinner I became, the more I lost, grades, relationships, friendships, social events, energy, and ultimately happiness. Yet, ED promised just a few more pounds and I would be there. Well, it never happened. No matter how thin I got, it never worked. And then one day I realized, this whole perfection thing wasn’t any fun, and it sure wasn’t getting me anywhere but despair.

That’s where grace came in and that is where the healing began. However, I didn’t learn that grace overnight but it was the  pain and suffering that got me there. Without these circumstances I am not sure grace would be as real to me as it is now. It finally sunk in that the God that I loved, didn’t love me because I was perfect, He loved me in spite of the fact that I wasn’t. And nothing I could do would make Him love me any more or any less than He did right then. As my dear friend says, “It’s okay that we’re not okay because Jesus is better than being better.” It was that message that made the darkness bearable and reminded me that there was light at the end even when I couldn’t see it. And those people who thought I was so perfect, well they loved the not perfect MK even more, because she was real. Unlike, perfect MK they could identify with the real MK (funny how I was convinced they wouldn’t know how to handle not perfect me).

So what about today? Do I still strive for that perfection? Even those questions make me laugh out loud. Because, today I cannot live without grace, because I am one big mess! And the fact that I am not perfect is totally okay. “Perfect MK” lived a really miserable life that led to a really horrible relationship with ED and other destruction. MK today, she messes up about every other minute. However, she is learning to accept the fact that it is okay, because in her imperfect mess she is loved deeply.

Maybe perfection in any aspect is your goal. My guess is on some level it’s tearing you apart. Let me tell you no matter how hard you try it’s not going to get you anywhere but misery and heartache. And even more, I bet the people in your life would love the not so perfect you even more than you could ever imagine. So just remember it’s okay to not be perfect, in fact it is extremely freeing!

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Thank YOU and A Giveaway

 I cannot say thank you enough to all of you for your support of my post Why I Won’t Call You Skinny .Your love and support has truly been overwhelming. While I am in the process of a follow up post I wanted to give you all a chance to have some fun.
One of the best things that has come from this blogging adventure is the sweet friends and fellow bloggers that I have met along the way. It truly makes a world of difference to feel as if you have a friend in this crazy world of blogging. So I have teamed up with some awesome bloggers to offer this Kate Spade Holiday Giveaway in the most festive of colors. The earrings are so glam and can be dressed up or down and the engraved compact is just that: darling. Make sure you not only enter the giveaway but also check out these beautiful ladies blogs.

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Anne | Martha Kate | Liz | Mia

Autumn | Claire | Tabitha | Nina

 

CLICK HERE:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

xoxo,

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Remembering Why

 

When I was a sophomore in college I wrote a book. I never published it, in fact I never wrote it down because truth be told it was all in my head. I worked at a doctor’s office and that summer as I typed up documents, filed patient’s charts, scanned paperwork and worked silently, I “wrote” my book. I thought about everything I would tell young women and men who struggled. I knew even then that your story mattered and was worth telling. Years went by, and I put the book on the shelf, never to be published or read. Because it is tough to tell your story and it is scary but even through the pain and tears it is what we have to do.

Nearly two years ago, I started this blog to tell my story and in doing that I did one of the bravest things I’ve have ever done, I told my story to the world. I thought it stopped there. I thought if I shared my story here I wouldn’t have to keep doing it. I wouldn’t have to continue to be real and vulnerable. I wouldn’t have to continue to open myself up to others but I was wrong. Because my story is about leaving perfection and learning grace. It is about a journey through recovery. It is about saying that some days are extremely hard and tear worthy and some days are filled with sunshine. But even more it is saying that my story in no way, in no manner is about me. It is about a grace so big that it wipes away all my shame and says you are made clean. You are not your eating disorder, you are not your depression, you are not your anxiety, you are not your past mistakes and shame because you were made clean by grace. You are dearly loved and always will be.

So because I know that grace, because I know that love I share my story and I will continue to share no matter what. And my friend I hope you share your story too and know that grace is bigger. And may you always remember…

You matter and you are loved,
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Getting Joy Back

I was barely four when I noticed the other girls in my ballet class. I remember distinctly my friend who had long, dark, flowing hair and was tall, at least tall for a four year old and had a thin build. I on the other hand was a normally sized not tall but not short, not large but not incredibly tiny either four year old.  However, all I knew was I didn’t look like my friend who I thought was beautiful. And all I wanted was to look as beautiful as I thought she was and whether I realized it or not it changed the way I danced and acted in the class because I didn’t see myself as good as she was. Theodore Roosevelt once stated, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” At four years old I learned what it was like to have joy stolen because of comparing myself to someone else. I may not remember that friend’s name but the lesson she taught me will forever be imprinted on my heart…

Today I had ballet, and as a twenty two year old I could  have reverted back to my four year old self in dance class.  I was reminded in class how easy it is to revert back to those thoughts and that attitude of comparison. Here we are college women  in unflattering leotards and tights standing in front of a full length mirror taking up the whole side of the room. Even more it’s a class where you are constantly required to look at yourself in the mirror to make sure you are doing the right dance moves. Let me be really honest here and add to that of list of things  and say that I am in no manner the most skilful ballet dancer. I may have had times in my life where dance was an important part of my life and I was a decent dancer but that is not now and my ballet skills now are definitely less than great.:)

For years Ed tortured my thoughts in everything from ballet to clothes shopping. I constantly compared myself to the models in magazines, to women I passed in stores, and even my best friends. I was never pretty enough, skinny enough, smart enough, fashionable enough, good enough, to name just a few. Today I looked at the girl in the mirror, the one who got ready for class in less than ten min, hair in a messy bun, no make up, in the not so flattering leotard, the girl who wasn’t quite keeping up with all the steps, and I smiled at her. I even laughed a little to myself, because I like that girl, in fact I love her. She is real. She is messy. She is completely imperfect. She may not be the best dancer or look incredible in that leotard but she is beautiful inside and out.

If I let myself I could compare myself to the beautiful people around me in the ballet class and otherwise…it would be so easy to do that. However, they aren’t me and I am not them. We don’t share the same stories, struggles, passions, and desires that make us who we really are, so why would I compare myself to someone who I am not? If I have learned anything in my relationship with Ed it is that he uses lies to tell you, that you aren’t worth it etc. and that so and so over there is better and if you looked and acted like she did you would be better. I spent years and years in this desperate trap and ended with up with nothing but despair. Comparing yourself does nothing but as Roosevelt says steal your joy. And steal my joy it did for so many years, but not anymore!

I would be lying if I said at times it wasn’t difficult to compare myself to someone else, not just in looks but in their life in general. It’s easier to do than we might think and it takes guarding your thoughts to learn not to succumb to such lies of comparison. However, it is so worth it!! When I spend less time looking at others lives and comparing them to mine then I have more time to see the blessings and joy mine is filled with. There is so many wonderful blessings in our life that we often never see when we spend time focusing on the things we don’t have. Believe me it is still a lesson I am learning. However, it is a lesson I couldn’t have learned with Ed’s lies still swimming in my head but when they went away it was easy for the comparison to go too.

Friend, maybe you hear those lies and they cause you to compare yourself with others. Maybe you are desperate because your joy is being stolen. Maybe you don’t have an Ed but you have something else in your life that causes you to compare yourself with others. Let me say this loud and clear…IT IS NOT WORTH IT!  I say that with so much love and compassion because I know how difficult it can be to realize this and let go of  what is stealing your joy but you CAN do it! I want you to realize that only YOU can be the most amazing, wonderful, beautiful, wise version of you, no one else can do that, so why compare yourself with someone who can NEVER be you?! Know that comparison only steals your joy and I want your life to be filled with joy!! And may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH IT!!

<3MK