Your Words Matter

FullSizeRender 2

I remember standing on the scales getting my weight read to me and marked down in my file for my seventh grade dance class. I was traumatized, I knew the exact numbers and how it had changed since last semester. Years later, during the middle of my junior year I would miss a state mandated fitness test because I was terrified to step on the scale and to know my weight and BMI. Of course, I would fake sick to get out of it but internally I knew I could never know those numbers because they would haunt me. For years, each time I went in for a check-up no matter how sick I was I made sure to pay attention to my weight, how it had changed. I would prep for days going into my appointment so I “maintained a good weight”. I was so very sick and I had no idea.

Today I still struggle when I hear women my age and older talk about diets and the way they should look. It breaks my heart. It may start as young boys and girls but it continues into adulthood. It is why for so long it was hard for me to eat lunch with women who didn’t know my story because five minutes into a lunch it was diet chat and scrutinizing the food on their plate and marveling that others could eat what they could. It mad me sick and sad. I can’t help but wonder what if something had changed sooner, when I was younger. And that gives me hope for the young people now that struggle, that a change can be made but first we have to change the conversation.

As I watch the kids I babysat grow up, as I watch my sweet flower girl go to kindergarten, it makes my heart leap for them because I know how MK was even at that young age. She was a mess and she had no idea what to do. More days than not she didn’t get the nutrition she needed as she missed meals and hid her double life. She strived to be the beautiful girl that all the boys wanted to date, and all the girls thought was gorgeous. And it got me to thinking about how early these issues start especially for young girls (young men are definitely not exempt). And even more it made me realize there are so many young people who deal with the same issues and we don’t address it because we assume they are too young to have those struggles. 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 for 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 for who you 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.

May you truly know how loved you are today and always,

image

Advertisements

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