Messy and Beautiful

I was reminded today what it means to be truly beautiful and truly messy…There are a lot things and a lot of people who have impacted my journey through Ed recovery. However, I can honestly say that without this real messy and beautiful community I wouldn’t be where I am today. There are many memories that I will look back and cherish when I think of the last several years in recovery and those spent with this real community of people will undoubtedly be my fondest. Throughout my life I have had many dear, dear friends and if you asked many of my friends they would say I have an abundance of best friends. Today I was reminded of the importance of a community and not just a community but of people who I can be real with. It is through my real and raw community that I have made it this far in my journey…

For many years I tried to walk the journey alone…I kept the “I’m fine smile” plastered to my face while my heart broke. It didn’t matter what hardship or hurt came, I held it together because I could handle it. I didn’t need help. I didn’t want to open up and I certainly didn’t want to be a burden. Until one day, I broke…I couldn’t do it anymore. My life with Ed and so much other pain was too much. I needed help and I needed a community that could come alongside me. I needed people who could hold my hand, people who could wipe my tears, people who could speak truth, people who could see hope when I couldn’t. And when I reached out, when I cried help I was met ten fold with the most loving people I have ever met. I was surrounded with people who saw the light when I didn’t and who loved me in spite of my flaws.

I once had a friend tell me that he didn’t know anyone who had people who had real burdens or baggage in their lives. This statement made me sad because I knew that not only was it not true but it also meant that people in his life weren’t being real with one another. The fact of the matter is, we all have struggles, we all have burdens, we all have a story that has shaped and changed us. However, we have community to share in those struggles to help and love one another when life is too hard to bear alone and it is in that real community that we find our purpose for our struggles and helping others through theirs. I remember sitting in a car with a dear friend one night and after sharing my story and struggle, through tear filled eyes I looked straight at him and apologized. I apologized, for my story?! If I have learned one thing my friend, it is that you should never apologize for your story!!  I am so grateful that dear friend looked back and me and smiled and not only told me not to apologize but he also told me that this is what we are here for to help bear each others burdens and loads. I am grateful for that dear friend and the many since who have come along side me and not only helped bear my burden but also lighten it.

We all walk through some kind of our own personal wilderness and it is during those times that we are taught the most…it is there that we learn to love, to hope and to give and accept grace. The people in my life who are the most beautiful are the ones that have the most messiness in their lives. They are not only the ones with messiness in their lives but they are the ones with messiness who are not afraid to share it with each other and be real about their mess. They are not afraid to come up along side one another and love each other well through the mess and speak truth. They love unconditionally and give grace freely. They are the beautiful people who help give hope in the darkness and share the truth which brings life. It is with this community of real, messy, and beautiful people that I have experienced love and grace more freely than ever before.

If we are being truthful we all have a messy life and those of us who deal with an Ed (or whatever your Ed may be) know bondage all too well. Friend, let me speak some truth to you today, find that community to share in life’s messiness. Find people you can be real with, who you can share your story with. Find people who will share their own story with you, people who will give love, grace, and truth freely. Find people who can help you bear your burdens and you can help them bear theirs. These my friends will become the most incredible friendships you will ever imagine. It is never easy to be real, to be vulnerable, to be messy but it’s worth it. Once we are real and we take off the really pretty masks only then are we able to become the truly messy beautiful people we were created to be.  Believe me there are more people out there than you could ever imagine who will LOVE the real YOU…  and may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it!

<3MK

The Beauty of Recovery

This week I got to celebrate a week that I have never celebrated before…National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. It is a week that up until a year ago I had no idea it existed and even last year I wasn’t ready to celebrate it. However, this year I was ready to put on my party hat and go.  You see my friend, that’s the beauty of recovery…

This week I have learned all about the beauty of recovery and I am so beyond blessed to be at this place in my recovery, to not only get to experience recovery everyday but also see the immense beauty in it. This past week I got an opportunity to be interviewed on the news. In my interview, I talked about how beautiful life can be and is, one you make the decision to recover. I’ve said it before but it is definitely not all roses and sunshine but it is so beautiful even in the midst of the mess. I can’t imagine sharing that view point a year ago but I was told that this year my eyes sparkled with the joy of recovery and I can’t imagine a better compliment. That is the beauty of recovery.

During this week, I also got to bring an amazing woman and dear friend to speak at TCU, Lori shared with nearly 5oo women about her journey with an eating disorder and her story of recovery. There is nothing more encouraging than seeing young women and men listening to how to recover and then making the decision to recover. Lori has a passion for helping other women and I am grateful to be able to work with her this semester and help other men and women who struggle with Ed. As I sat in the room Tuesday night and listened to Lori speak my eyes couldn’t help but fill with tears as I thought back to myself a year ago. I can’t count the amount of times I heard about eating disorders and sat there in denial, that it wasn’t me they were describing and that I didn’t need help. Yet, my life was collapsing around me and I could barely keep my head above water. However, Tuesday night I got to be the one who introduced Lori and I got to share part of my story. That is the the beauty of recovery.

Life truly has come full circle and I am amazed that a year later I am in the place that I am. It is nothing short of a miracle. This year I have learned that recovery is truly beautiful and there are so many things to be enjoyed in recovery. I can enjoy eating chocolate cake. I can enjoy getting dressed and going shopping. I can enjoy a meal out with friends. I can enjoy precious time with my friends and not be distracted. I can enjoy being vulnerable. I can enjoy being a mess at times because I don’t have it all together. I can enjoy my life to the fullest. I can enjoy sharing my story with others. That is the beauty of recovery.

There are so many things that recovery has taught me and once again I was reminded of this during my week of celebration. I used to never be able to deal with a change of plans, a surprise, or the unknown. None of these mixed well with my desire for control. This week I feel like my life has been filled with the unexpected surprises, twists, turns, blessings and more. And now all I do is laugh and say I should have figured:)  Not having to have my life, my week, or my day planned/or turn out how I thought it would, that is the beauty of recovery.

My life is full and I am grateful for this journey that I started on two years ago. It makes life amazingl, messy, fun, joyful, and a little crazy at times but sooo beautiful! So my friend I hope if you are reading this you know that this can happen for you too. Next year during this special week I hope you will be celebrating with me and soaking in all the beauty that is recovery…and may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it!

<3MK

O Love That Will Not Let Me Go

There is a hymn that has been on my heart the last few weeks and while it has always been my favorite in the last few weeks it holds an even deeper significance. When I sang this song last night, my eyes couldn’t help but fill with tears as I sang the words that I knew were true. Much like the title of this blog post the hymn is entitled, “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go”. I wanted to share with you what has become my favorite verse and my heartsong the last few weeks:

“O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.”

That joy spoken about in the song is a joy that I have had to rely on the last few weeks for if I didn’t have that Joy and assurance I have no doubt that my life would look very different today and there is NO WAY that I would be standing here today with a smile on my face…

My last few weeks have been some of the hardest weeks I have endured in recovery. For whatever reason lack of medicine, new medicine, circumstances, or a combination of all of the above, my body or more my head decided we weren’t friends. By that I mean for the first time since I began my recovery from Ed I began to deal with a new onset of depression and anxiety and it was worse than I have felt. For those of you who have experienced depression and anxiety you know what I am talking about and for those who haven’t let me explain to you, it’s not something you can control. And I believe that lack of control is what made it the worst. I couldn’t stop the overwhelming feelings, the panic of being around people, the anxiety about merely getting out of bed, the lack of desire or motivation to do anything. It scared me…scratch that it terrified me because I had felt all those feelings before with Ed and in no manner was I going back to that place, EVER!

However, I didn’t have to because I now had the tools to use to help myself, I had support in my life to help me deal with it, and I had doctors to help me feel better physically. So after weeks of doctor phone calls, appointments, counseling sessions, missed classes, more appointments and lots of rest, I am beginning to feel back to the real MK but let me tell you as with anything we must go through in life in order to become stronger it was and still is really difficult.

I say it is difficult not because I am scared that I can’t do it but because suddenly having your world shaken at the core, dealing with issues you thought you had “overcome” and feeling helpless are not on my top three fun things to do list. I can’t begin to describe the feeling of not only not feeling in control but also having others do things for you because mentally and physically you can’t. While each day I make huge progress, I have to remind myself that I am not in a sprint, that slow and steady indeed does win the race and in fact that is what is going to help me get to the finish line.

Even though the last few weeks have remained some of the most difficult that I could ever imagine, I remain joyful and grateful not because life is so good but because He is so good all the time. It is His grace, love, and comfort that have been with me through the entirety of this healing and will continue to be. There is a passage in the Bible that says He will never leave or forsake you. One of my friends added her name to this stating that just like Jesus she would never leave my side. Not only has she proven this to be true but so have so many others in this journey. There is no way I could have made it through the last few weeks without the unconditional love and support from my friends and family who put my healing at the top of not only their prayer list but also in their everyday lives. The amount of calls, texts, letters, visits, presents, food, and prayers I have had in the last few weeks is unimaginable, not to mention the amazing women who have taken me to lunches, coffees, appointments and more. This does not even begin to include my parents and brother who have shown me more love and support than I thought possible. There are those of you have been especially important in my healing and you know who you are, whether you are the best friend who comforted my tears at four am or the  two amazing women that came to see me and pick me up out of bed in a distraught state and haven’t left my side,  my sweet kiddos and best friend who came over with bright smiles when I needed you most, each of you know who you are and what a huge role you have played in the last few weeks. While it would take an entire book to thank each of the MANY of you who have loved on me, know that each word, each gesture, and each prayer has been felt and that I am so grateful for YOU!

It may seem strange to say that I am grateful for the last few weeks but  I am. I am grateful to be reminded that He is the only one my life should be focused. I am grateful to know that I am not perfect nor do I have to be. And I am more than grateful to be reminded that I have a community/family of loved ones who anyone would be beyond blessed to have. More than anything I am grateful that I have a hope that is so much bigger than the mess of my depression and anxiety.

Like I said in my last post, I believe that God brings us through tough times to help and comfort others and to help us understand that He is who we need more than anything. So maybe my last post was just a forward to the last few weeks because I am certain that I never thought I would see the other side of much of this. However, like ALWAYS He remains faithful and no matter what trial may come I know I can make it through because of Him. I have learned even more what treasures I have for friends and how I truly am beyond blessed. I may be teased quite a bit for my catch phrase beyond blessed but I have never felt it more than the last few weeks.

Maybe this has been you or maybe you know someone who has experienced these things. I tell my story to let you know that no matter how crazy, sad, hard, or unimaginable life gets…it will be OKAY and that there is HOPE! There is soo soo much hope and my prayer is that you would find that hope, love, and grace. No matter what happens I hope YOU ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it,

❤ MK

Comfort in an Imperfect Journey

This week has been one of many articles, much story sharing, much attention that has led me back to the question: why do it? Why share with the world the most painful, intense, difficult, and messy part of my life? Why admit to having a disorder/addiction/problem/whatever you wanna call it that many may consider embarrassing and shameful? And I can tell you I didn’t have to think long about it, because sharing my story…sharing my journey…sharing my pain…makes all that I went through..it makes it all worth it…

I remember sitting in my therapist office at the very beginning of my recovery and sharing with her that one day I wanted to help others who struggled with Ed. At that point I had no idea how to even help myself. At that moment it was a wish, a dream, a small piece of hope that I held on to. All I knew at that moment was that if somehow, someway I could see the light and I could make it through the darkness, than I wanted to help others do it too. Believe me, I had no idea what it looked like and I couldn’t actually imagine actually being in a place where recovery meant freedom but today I am living in that freedom.

Fast forward a year later and I am blogging, speaking, advocating,networking, meeting, sharing, doing whatever I can to get the message of hope out there. I want people to know that Ed is real and he’s the worst “person” you could ever get into a relationship with but even more I want people to know that hope, that recovery is even more real and even more possible than you could ever imagine. At the end of the day my story is one of millions. I am one girl who had a relationship with Ed and decided to share. At the end of the day it’s not about me and it’s not about my own story. It is about the message of hope and the message of recovery…

I could have never imagined sharing my story with thousands. Being real, being honest, being open, and being imperfect were not things I knew how to do, but here I am today sharing all of that with all of you and it’s worth it more worth it than I could have ever dreamed. And the truth is, doing all of those things above are still difficult because I still am and will always be a work in progress. I still struggle, I still have bad days, I still get upset, my life is still far from perfect but that is OKAY.

I have said this many times before but my life today is beyond blessed and beyond beautiful; in the chaos, in the mess, in the imperfection it is beyond beautifully blessed. Even more than the incredible support that I received from those who love me the most, I have a God that led me through the darkness into the light. One of my favorite verses has become: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God”. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

So why do I blog? Why do I share? Why do I reach out? Because I received the ultimate comfort, the ultimate grace, the ultimate love. Now it’s my joy and even more a blessing to share that comfort, to share that hope, to share that grace, to share that love that is way bigger than me, that is way bigger than just my story. I hope my friend, that fills you with hope and you feel loved today, because that darkness doesn’t have to be there forever… and may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it!

<3MK

Scary but NOT Impossible

There is a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, “Do one thing everyday that scares you.” I feel as if this has been the mantra of my life the last few weeks. Now if I am being honest, I did not set out for this to become the motto of my current life. However, I am also not so opposed to it after I have lived out the last few weeks and they have turned out incredible. You see if I were to describe myself even six months ago, fearful was something I fully embodied. Ed loved the fearful MK, she was obedient to her relationship with him and she would do anything for fear of losing that. Well this MK doesn’t live that life anymore and let’s just say the last few weeks have been all about being fearless, not fearful…

There are a lot of things that make me cringe and standing on a scale is one of them. In the last year, my treatment team and I made the decision for me to not know my weight and to this day I still don’t. The only time I step on the scale is when I go to the doctor and even then I have some incredible doctors who have techniques to make sure I never see or find out my weight. However, just the anticipation of stepping on the scale this week brought me into a panic. Even though I knew I would never see the number and no one would let me know my weight I still didn’t want to do it. That number used to hold so much power over me and the action of stepping on the scale has always brought back that same sinking feeling it did for so many years. This week though it didn’t. I went to the doctor, stepped on the scale, and stepped off it. Nothing happened. No fireworks, no fainting, nothing. I didn’t see the number and I didn’t think twice about it. In fact, my doctor and I didn’t talk about my actual weight at all. For once, I didn’t care about the number I didn’t care that other people in the office knew the number. While even as I type this it sounds crazy thinking about my former life, for once the scale didn’t hold the same power. Because for once in my life, I finally believe that I am not defined by that number. In truth that number means nothing. And not only did I conquer a huge fear in that realization but it also showed me how Ed doesn’t dictate my life anymore.

While we are on the subject of things that make MK cringe, another thing that has always made me cringe is form fitting clothing. And when I say form fitting, I mean leotard tight fitting clothing. The kind of clothing one might wear to dance or work out in. I have always felt incredibly self-conscious in any type of clothing that even slightly revealed my shape but especially in a dance/workout leotard type outfit. It brings me right back to my days of dance as a three year old, when I sadly was aware and focused on whether I was smaller or bigger than the other girls in the room. So what did I do this semester? I signed up for Ballet. Now this is in no way because I was itching to conquer my fear of leotards and mostly focused around the fact that in the last semester of my senior year I wanted to take a class that I loved. While I may have always hated leotards I have always loved dance. When I showed up for my first day of Ballet I was not altogether shocked that leotards and tights were the required attire. However, I was shocked when I went and bought my new dance attire and didn’t have a breakdown in the dressing room. Even more, I was severely shocked when I went to Ballet the next day wearing my mandatory leotard and tights and I felt fine. I even felt more than fine. In fact, I felt normal. I didn’t freak out, I didn’t have a melt down, I didn’t stare at my self in the mirror criticizing every part of my body,I just danced and I loved it! For the first time ever, I didn’t worry about how I looked in something or how other people thought I looked, I just enjoyed dancing.

And if conquering my leotard fears weren’t enough I decided I would conquer my other exercise fears as well. Part of my Anorexia revolved around my obsession to run and the over exercising I did only furthered my disorder. When I started treatment, I wasn’t allowed to exercise. In fact, I was forbidden from even going on a walk. That was how much my body needed to recover from all the damage that I did to it through exercise. I needed to rest and rest I did. This summer I started back to exercise in moderation but I knew I needed a little more support than solo exercising. So once again, I signed up for a fun class, jogging. And much to my surprise I have loved it. Because deep down MK loves exercise, it was Ed who warped her mind and made it torture. Even after class on Tuesday, when I learned that every machine in the rec shows how many calories you burn (Side note: This truly enraged me as I don’t think anyone needs to knows this info and it only furthers Ed’s lies.), I didn’t freak out. I found a way to use something to cover that part of the machine and moved on with my workout. I truly loved my workouts during my class and am looking forward to more. It’s not about the exercise anymore it’s about being able to feel my body move and even take time to think and clear my head. I wanted to reaffirm to myself that exercise in itself wasn’t awful but the way I had used it in the past certainly was, and even more that I was no longer that girl anymore.

So maybe you just read some of my accomplishments this past week and you are laughing to yourself because in the scheme of things these are all pretty minute accomplishments. And I totally understand that but for me they were all pretty huge deals and I think I speak for most with a relationship with Ed, when I say that these are just a few things at the core that we struggle with. For me the last week was spent doing things that scared me and learning that my life didn’t come crashing down when I did them and even more that I was not the same girl I used to be.

Now I don’t want to paint the rosy picture that none of these were hard to do. My best friends can tell you that I had quite a few panic sessions before I accomplished any of them and that everyday is not a great day and even more that I am in no way perfect in my recovery. However, the point is I accomplished them and learned to face my fears, some of my biggest fears. My eating disorder was about so much more than just food and control over my food. My relationship with Ed, encompassed much more, including: my relationship with my body, my body image, my weight, my exercise habits, my wardrobe and on and on, but my life isn’t dictated by any of those things anymore.

My point in writing this post is not to receive a pat on the back or a compliment on how great doing all these things are, while those are all very sweet things it’s not what I want. The purpose in this blog has always been to encourage others who are struggling with Ed and provide hope. Hope that there is life after Ed and that this life without Ed, is a beautiful life. So when you read this I want you to know that you too can do it. You too can accomplish all these things and more. I want you to know that recovery is possible and oh so worth it. Just reread what I just accomplished this week. MK with Ed could have never accomplished any of those things but MK without Ed sure can and has and even more she knows that this is just the beginning of a life without fear! Be encouraged my friend all this and more is possible for you too and always, ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it!

<3MK