When The Inside Doesn’t Match The Outside

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I could feel her looking at me as I stared out the window. She asked the question again and I knew I had to respond. “So you don’t think you’re thin enough to have an eating disorder?” I stared at her defiantly as I replied,”No”. But even as I said those words my voice trembled. Because I knew. I knew I was sick but I just couldn’t admit it. Not to her not to anyone. And the truth was I didn’t see it. When I looked in the mirror I didn’t think I looked thin, I didn’t think I looked like someone with an Eating Disorder. I didn’t think my insides matched my outsides.

I remember the drive to her office, how at every light I wanted to turn my car around. I remember walking up the stairs barely able to breathe and I remember sitting the open lobby waiting for her to come out and signal me back. And as I sat down and we began to talk. I remember wanting to jump up and run out. But I didn’t, I couldn’t leave because even then, even when I didn’t believe it I knew I needed to hear those words.

Three years later I can remember that conversation like it just happened. Those words were such a pivotal point in my recovery and my dietician words that followed forever impacted me. As I sat in her office that day and we talked about how even if I didn’t think I looked the part or believe it, I was sick.

The stronger I become in my recovery the more it impacts me the way we literally look at people with eating disorders (and people in general). I know for myself and many others there was the misconception that if I didn’t look a certain way I didn’t have a problem. I was small. I was thin. I was little but I would have never deemed myself anorexic. Yet I was.

The fact is that eating disorders come all shapes and sizes, they do not discriminate. No matter how much someone doesn’t believe they fit into a certain category because of the way they look. Size is not the determining factor in an eating disorder. Frankly for many years I “looked” healthy. I wasn’t what someone would consider too thin or too large. I was just average. However, even in my average days I was so so very sick.

The more I work with women who have struggled with an eating disorder the more that constant fact rings in my head that we cannot judge someone by their outward appearance. We have no idea the thoughts going on in their head. The control or lack of control that dictates their life.

Because here is the thing my friend, eating disorders are so much more than what the public sees. There is hiding. There is deceiving. There are things that go on that you would never know about when you look at their smile, at their darling outfit, at their laughter.

I was the girl who had it all together, who had the world at her finger tips, who truly seemed to be on top of the world. But I was sick. I was struggling. I was so desperate for help. But had you seen me, you would have never known.

You may have seen me comment on food. You may have seen me be a “picky eater”. You may have even see me count calories or exercise to the point of exhaustion. But you thought nothing of it, because in today’s society, talking negatively about our body or food is acceptable. You may have thought nothing of it because you too have those behaviors.

As a woman in today’s world, we are taught to care so deeply about what our outsides look like. We are taught to be put together. We are taught to look presentable even “pretty”. We are told to act as if all is okay. Here is the thing though, often times it is not okay. We struggle, we hurt, we often need help and sometimes we need to show that on the outside but we feel like we can’t. Many times the insides don’t match the outsides.

So my hope is this, that the next time we look at someone’s outward appearance we wouldn’t assume they have it all together. We wouldn’t assume that they don’t need help. We wouldn’t assume that they aren’t sick. While this so very much applies to eating disorders I believe it applies to so many other aspects of our lives as well. May we not judge the book by it’s cover but may we learn to read the book and know the story by heart.

All my love,

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Taking A Snapshot

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I am pretty obsessed with pictures. To say I love them would be an understatement. When I was younger my room had huge amounts of photos plastered all around it. Even today our house has quite the amount of pictures displayed in it.  Part of my fascination with pictures is that you are capturing a specific moment in time, one that can be remembered for many years through a photo. Another of my favorite things about photos is seeing people smiling. I love seeing others genuinely happy in photos and seeing them smile. However, I also know that behind these photos and smiles there can be a lot of pain and suffering. Unfortunately, pictures do not always portray the most accurate representation.

Awhile back, I heard a quote that resonated with me, “We live life exposing ourselves through a series of snapshots…carefully edited snapshots that we let others see.” As I thought about that statement I thought back to my pictures or snapshots and how I used to live my life in a manner that only showed a nicely edited photo. And it was only this nicely edited photo that I let others take a quick glimpse at because I was too afraid they might see the real raw negative version of me if I let them see me for too long.

I talk quite a bit here, about my perfectionism and my relationship with Ed both of which were intertwined. Both fed off the desire to appear to others as a nicely portrayed unrealistic snapshot of myself. For years, I only allowed others to see the perfect snapshot and so it is no wonder that most had no idea the internal suffering and pain I endured daily. Even those who were closest to me didn’t know for a very long time how truly bad off I was.

You see, to go along with the perfect image I showed everyone, I carried around a set of rules in my head that I lived by. Never tell people that you aren’t doing okay, in fact tell them how great you are. Always look your best, never ever leave the house looking like a mess. Never show extreme emotion in public or in front of anyone unless it is a big smile. In fact, you should always wear a big smile. Try not to ever say anything about problems in your life, always minimize them. Don’t cry in front of anyone and the list went on and on. I didn’t want anyone to know the real me because I wasn’t nearly as glamorous as I seemed in fact I was really messy.

When I decided to be real, I learned that those rules were going to have go straight in the trash and the only snapshots that people were going to see were snapshots of the real me. Most days that isn’t bad at all. I actually like not having to worry about putting make up on and fixing my hair every morning. I really love yoga pants and could live in them and honestly constantly trying to create a perfect picture is exhausting. But sometimes showing the real me isn’t about how I look on the outside, it is about the way I look on the inside and that’s when things get hard.

It is so easy to skate through life letting others see the glamorized, photo-shopped versions of ourselves. It may be easier but it is not worth it. For me it meant accepting that people loved me as I was, the real me and that my Savior would never love me any less no matter how messy I was. And here’s the deal, the same is true for you too. No matter how messy how awful, how desperate, you think you are right now there are so many people who love you for who you are and will love that person so much more than the glamorized snapshot you show them. And I can guarantee that there is one girl who loves you for the messy, real, version of you that you are when no one is looking.

Much love,

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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.

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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