You Know Her

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Three years, and yet it seems like a lifetime ago. Three years, and yet it seems like I don’t even know who that girl was. But I do, because she was me and deep down inside I know what it was like to be that girl. I remember every detail of my sweet therapist Shelley’s office. I remember the paintings hung on the wall. I remember the chair I sat in. I remember the tears that began to stream down her face when she told me I needed more help than she could provide. I remember the sobs that came from me and the Kleenex she handed me as she held my hand. I remember standing up and giving her a brave smile. And I remember the hug she gave me as I left her office, knowing I had a decision to make.

If you had bumped into me in a coffee shop a little over three years ago, you would have thought I had it all together. I always had the right outfit with the right accessory. I had bow in my hair and the biggest smile you have ever seen on my face. If you were my friend a little over three years ago I would have sat across from you at coffee and told you that I was just fine. I might have admitted that I had a little issue with food but that I had it under control. Deep down inside I knew I had a problem but I was okay with the problem because I didn’t want to let go of the control. Ed was ruining and wrecking my life.

That day in counseling three years ago I made a decision. I decided that I would stop letting Ed take control and I would start fighting for freedom. And I haven’t stopped since that day. Because of His amazing grace, and an incredible support team professional and personal, I am where I am today, living a life of freedom.

While it seems like much more than three years ago that I sat there terrified of what may come, I remember who that girl was and even more I see her all around me. She is the one who looks like she has it all together. She is the one who is involved in everything. She is the one who always has a smile on her face. She is the one who is the first to help you with all your problems. She could be your best friend, your sister, your boss, your mom, your wife.

You may have no idea she has a problem because you think she has her life all together. You may see her comment on food. You may see her be a “picky eater”. You may even see her count calories or exercise. But you think nothing of it, because in today’s society, talking negatively about our body or food is acceptable. You may think nothing of it because you too have those behaviors.

Can I tell you a secret? She needs you. Whether she wants to admit it or not. She needs you to hold her hand. She needs your hugs. She needs your love. She needs your support. Even more she needs to know that you don’t love her any less because of this. She needs to know that you don’t think she’s crazy. She needs you to know she will mess up and it will be hard but you will stand by her. That smile on her face is hiding her pain and her put together outfit and life are facades in order to fool you into thinking she has her life together. She wants you to think she has it all under control when really her control is slipping through her fingertips.

So love her and show her grace. Help her when she needs it and listen when she asks. If it weren’t for those people in my life I would have never made it in recovery. Eating Disorders are horrendous for the people dealing with but they are also terrifying for the people surrounding them. Loved ones often want to help but they have no idea how. So for those of you who are struggling, let someone in today, I promise you won’t regret it. For those of you who love someone struggling with Ed, hold their hand and listen. You can’t fight the battle for them but you can love, support and show them grace while they do it, and I promise you it will make a bigger impact than you know. And to my lovely support team, friends, family, professionals, thank you will never be enough. Because of your support, love, and pointing me back to His grace, I am living three years of freedom. Oh happy day indeed!

Know today and everyday, you are loved and you are worth it!

xoxo,

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*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or any kind of counselor or medical professional, just an Ed survivor and advocate.  I also in no way believe that only women suffer from Ed so know that this could easily be for men as well. Even more, I don’t want you reading to believe that if you or someone you know smiles a lot, wears put together outfits and is a driven person that means you or they have an Eating Disorder. I simply want others to take notice that often the people we least expect to have issues are the ones that do. If you or someone you know has an Eating Disorder these websites below are great resources:

http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/

http://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/

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Choosing Love

I think we would all being lying if we said we hated Valentines day. In reality, I think it’s hard it hate an idea that centers around us being cared for, cherished, adored and frankly loved. We all long for that. However, celebrating on one day with every other person in the world your love. That concerns me. Because what happens the other 364 days? What about the teenage girl who doesn’t have a boyfriend? The single mom? The orphaned son? On this day I don’t believe these people feel the love that everyone oozing about their VDay presents does. I hope though in spite of this day they they learn the love doesn’t happen once a year it’s an all year, every minute kind of thing. It’s not a feeling but it’s a choice…

I would be lying if I said that somewhere deep down inside I don’t long to be a princess. In fact, I used to think love was this fairy tale princess story that ended with a Happily Ever After and a ride off into the sunset with my Prince Charming. If you had asked me what love was two years ago that is exactly what I would have told you. It was Happily Ever After, tied with a beautiful bow around it. Now I know better. My friends, that is not love, because love is a choice, love is an action.

Before you stop reading because you think that I am about to mush and gush about my love story and favorite guy. Hold on…I am not. I am talking about love with your friends, with your community, with your parents, with your extended family, with your kids, with yourself. I no longer hold the belief that love is this mushy, gushy feeling. If that were true then love would last very briefly. In the last few years I feel like I have gotten a crash course in love and what it means to love others and have them love you back.
I once had a conversation with a friend who told me that loving someone should be easy, it shouldn’t take work, it shouldn’t be messy and we should just have that love feeling. I tried to explain that was the opposite of what I believed love to be, because, love was all of those things, messy, hard, complicated, work, and it was anything but a walk in the park. We are human, we mess up and we are in no way perfect so why should love with other people be anything but imperfect. I believe there is only one true perfect love, filled with grace and that is from a Savior much bigger than any of us. So when it comes to imperfect people love is difficult. We often give up easily because love requires grace. It requires looking at someone and seeing their imperfections and loving them all the same.
Every day we wake up and we have a choice to dig deep with people. We have a chance to roll up our sleeves and walk through the messiness of life hand in hand. We have a chance to forgive and keep forgiving. We have a chance to live out grace. We have a chance to not treat others in ways they have treated us. Sometimes it gets really messy, sometimes it requires us to do things we don’t want to do, awkward things. It may require kindness to a stranger, it may be asking to help with a task you absolutely cannot stand, it may be physically cleaning up a mess, it may be time consuming. Each time we dive in and show that kind of love we are giving people a chance to see that beautiful face of grace and love.

This week I got to spend time with one of my favorite friends who is beautiful inside out. She has mentored and loved me unconditionally. She has held me when I cried. She has talked me through the toughest times, shared her family and seen past my flaws. Most of the time I had nothing to offer her back but my mess and she still chose to roll up her sleeves, pick me up and help me out of my mess. She made a choice to love me when I was unlovable. That my friends is love, when we have nothing to offer and someone comes in sacrifices for us and scoops us up in their arms and makes a choice to love us.

Sometimes we forget to extend this same courtesy to ourselves. It is easiest for us to love others and not ourselves. My friends I want to remind you to extend that same grace and love to yourself, even when you are a mess and feel at your worst. You too need love, even from yourself. Real love is hard even for ourselves because it requires sacrifice. It may mean that we don’t get to watch a marathon of our favorite TV shows, maybe it means putting part of your paycheck into something less fun than a rainy day fund, sometimes it means telling the honest truth in grace and risking a relationship. That is where we often get caught up in a predicament, we are all about love, until it affects our bank accounts, our home, our time. I want to challenge you friend, true love requires this sacrifice. It means loving when the person isn’t deserving. It means loving when you want to quit. It means loving despite the fact that the other person can do nothing for you. It means loving the mess of a person laying in bed, who hasn’t showered, has bad breath and greasy hair. That is love.

This week I hope you think about the ways you can love others…truly love others, ways you can sacrifice and love people when it isn’t fun. It might seem hard and weird but just remember it is not a feeling you’re going off, it is a choice, it is an action. And as you begin to love others this week I have a feeling you will really begin to live and I pray you get that love and grace you are dishing out, served right back to you.
And may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it,

<3MK

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Batman and Robin: Real Life Superheros

Batman, Batgirl, and Robin Our first photo together taken nearly four years ago the day after we met.

Batman, Batgirl, and Robin
Our first photo together taken nearly four years ago the day after we met.

Col Col, MarMo, and Tripper Our most recent photo this past Sunday with our newest member Sweet Charlie. Four years later and all grown-up.

Col Col (Robin), MarMo, and Tripper (Batman)
Our most recent photo (four years after the top photo) with our newest member, Sweet Charlie.

“True friendship is a sacred, important thing, and it happens when we drop down into that deeper level of who we are, when we cross over into the broken, fragile parts of ourselves. We have to give something up in order to get friendship like that. We have to give up our need to be perceived as perfect. We have to give up our ability to control what people think of us. We have to overcome the fear that when they see the depths of who we are, they’ll leave. But what we give up is nothing in comparison to what this kind of friendship gives us. Friendship is about risk. Love is about risk. If we can control it and manage it and manufacture it, then it’s something else, but if it’s really love, really friendship, it’s a little scary around the edges.”

Sometimes you meet people and you know you are going to be friends forever. You share a smile and you realize you get each other. You look each other  in the eye and you just know that the other person gets you. After one conversation you realize that this is the kind of friendship people talk about and that you have found a forever friend. I have said it before but I truly am beyond blessed with wonderful friends and doubly so when it comes to my friendship with two of the most amazing men Trip and Collin or as I like to call them Batman and Robin. We met nearly four years ago, not yet college freshman, at a time where we were all trying to figure out who we were and what we would become as we entered the new chapter in our lives. The fact that we met, shared less than 24 hours together and then continued to talk until we were back together months later doesn’t shock me, for I think we knew that when we met, something special was born, a friendship that is everlasting…

I have so many wonderful friends many who I consider best friends and many who have gone through the journey of the last four years with me but when I think about the last four years of my life these two men come to the forefront of my mind. They were the first people I met on this journey and here they are four years later  still standing by my side. I think that the three of us would all say that  when we met when we were very different people and throughout the years, we have grown up together, we have become better versions of ourselves and we have loved and learned from each other while we  have grown. These two guys have seen every stage in the last four years of my life and have stuck by my side through thick and thin. So as I sat with them last weekend, reminiscing on the last four years I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear at the memories I will forever cherish with them. Both of them is so special to me in their own way but together they hold a place in my heart that will be there forever. For those of you that don’t know them, this is Batman and Robin my real life super heroes:

Batman, Trip, Tripper, he is the guy who brings the laughter and the excitement to the group. He was my very first friend at TCU and to this day he is still one of my best friends. In the last four years, we have shared more meals and stories together than I could ever count. He was the first TCU friend who came to my house, who I went to dinner with, who met my parents, who went to church with me, who met my friends. He was there before the craziness of college started. He was the guy who texted me bible verses of encouragement. He made me feel safe about coming to TCU, knowing that someone had my back. He is the one guy who can make me laugh so hard I cry and who can tell it like it is to me and who I will actually listen to. We have been thorough heartache and pain together along with happiness and joy. He has cried with me when I was hurting and then dried up my tears. He has a heart as big as the world and a genuine love for people that few could ever come close to. He is the spontaneous one of the group, always causing us to have more fun than we could have ever imagine. He has taught me more about life in the last four years than he will ever know. He has saved the day more times than I can count and will always be my real live Batman and Superhero!

Robin, Collin, Col Col, is the heart of our group. While his superhero  status would imply he’s the sidekick there is nothing further from the truth. He is the one that started out quiet and who’s personality has grown into a guy who doesn’t know a stranger. He was a huge support  to me before we even started school, taking breaks during life guarding to hear about my life problems. He was the first friend that when I shared my struggle with him cried with me, not because he felt sorry for me but because  he cared so much about me that his heart broke when mine broke. He is the one that always points me back to the gospel and who encourages me to find the good amongst the wreckage. He is a soul that is wise beyond his years. He is the one who keeps us on track  and makes sure we know how much he cares. He holds a kindness and compassion for each and every person in this world and I truly don’t believe that there is a hateful bone in his body. He has taught me more about being real in the last four years than many learn in a life time. He is always ready to come to my rescue and for that he will always be my real live Robin and Superhero!

Together this band of superheros has had quite our share of adventures. Together we have spent late nights studying and talking, we have drank pots of coffee,  we have shared more hairstyles combined than any friends should, we have sang Usher and rapped Ludacris, we have been to Christmas plays, we have spent time with family, we have cheered for our Frogs, we have shared my birthday together every year, we have made late night DQ runs, we have danced at Billy Bobs. Together, we have shared broken hearts, we have shared family struggles, we have shared disappointment and hurt, we have shared failure. However, also together we have shared more joy than I could imagine, more laughs and inside jokes than I can recall, more insight to each others lives than many know, and more nights of fun than I could have imagined.  The point is I couldn’t do life without the two. They have become the best friends and guys imaginable and thank you could never suffice for the love and friendship they have and I know always will show me. As Robin says to Batman, “We had to trust each person to do their jobs. That’s what being partners is all about. Sometimes, counting on someone else is the only way you win.” That is us in a nutshell, constantly counting on one another and knowing that together, we always win!

To their families, their beautiful sweet ladies, and other friends, thank you for sharing these amazing guys with me, they have changed my world. And to my Tripper and Col Col, my Batman and Robin you are two of my very favorite people and grown to be two of the best men I have ever known, I am honored that I can call you my best friends. Know that my love for you is bigger than you will ever know! Thank you for walking into my life four years ago and never stepping out. You have changed my life for good!

And for all you out there who think that this kind of friendship is impossible, it is NOT and you deserve these amazing friends like Trip and Collin. Don’t be afraid to open and share your story and life with people, because who knows they could become your best friends and may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it!!

<3MK

I couldn’t resist sharing a few of my favorite photos from the past four years…like I said combined we have had more hairstyles than any friendship should… 🙂

End of Freshman year

End of Freshman year

Sophomore year at Billy Bobs

Sophomore year at Billy Bobs

End of Junior Year

End of Junior Year

Beginning of Senior Year

Beginning of Senior Year