I had a hard childhood. Not in the usual sense. My parents were both married. I did well in school. I had friends. I had what most people would think of as, "a great childhood". This is what sucked, I was a perfectionist. I was put on a pedestal and expected to do great things. I put a lot of pressure on myself to do all of those great things. I was shy and unsure of myself. I was extremely insecure. I was a typical adolescent. Boohoo right?
When I was reaching the age of 11 we moved to a new school district. Not far from the old one but smaller, more close knit and less diverse. Did I just say small minded? no, not really but you get what I mean. All I wanted was acceptance. I wanted to be cool. I wanted to feel pretty. The usual stuff. What I got was an eating disorder. At age 11 I developed an eating disorder. That is insane to me when I look back on it now that I'm 38 and alive. I couldn't control my environment but I COULD control what I was doing to myself. So fucked up. It's not like I woke up one day and decided to change my life forever, but that is exactly what happened. It's probably the only time in my life where I remember every moment vividly. This is the past I talk about when I think about my present life. This history created who I am now. I used to be ashamed at what people would think when they knew. I don't really care what you think to be quite honest. Not anymore.
Funny thing was that it didn't get me acceptance. It didn't give me anything but a lot of heartache, emotional trauma, a messed up mentality on health and wellness and a lot of psychological damage. It created lifelong habits(both good and bad), emotionally hardened me and made me look at things in a new light. It wasn't all bad. I learned a lot about myself as I grew up through it. Spent 3 months in a hospital. Tons of therapy with doctors that had no idea how to deal with it. It was a huge learning curve. My family and I learned together. I don't really think I had a hold on it until about 10 years ago. That's a long time to be consumed with food and how it effects your self image. Why do we give it so much power? Why do we let it consume us like we do? Why do we emerge ourselves in social media and yearn to be just like the images we know to be filtered and fake? I don't have an answer to that. I no longer let those things control or persuade me but I did for a very long time. I talk to people every day who do it. I see it everywhere.
It's a hard concept for people to understand. I was told all the time to just eat something. I still get told that. Things like eating disorders, cutting, alcoholism, any other sort of power seeking thing or addiction is mental. I never thought it was ever about the food but about lack of control. I still like to have total control, I just deal with it in other less damaging ways. Or deal with the fact that I just can't control it. A process.
I get judged for being thin or fit. Eyes get rolled when I go to the pool. (Yes, I see it and hear it but that's ok.) I wasn't born this way. I was created this way. This is the path that was chosen for me. It's my job to teach, educate and empower others who have gone through something like this or feel even a little of this. It's a process to understand the mind and how powerful it is. It's a blessing to be able to do what I do. I don't think I'm crazy. I have found a great outlet to reach others. It's powerful.
There is a lot that I cannot put into words about the years I wasted on an eating disorder. It was a terrible time. I don't even have photos because I couldn't stand to look at the physical damage that was done. I still don't like to have my picture taken. The outside damage is long gone, but the emotional damage will always be there. Even after almost 30 years I know that there's not a lot I can do about that. I don't even really think about that time anymore but I know that experience is what gives me the strength to get up every day and take care of myself. To set a good example. God gave me another chance. That's all I can believe. Whether I feel I was deserving or not, He thought so and I can't ruin that.
Like I said, it's a process. I use that mantra for my fitness clients and I use that same idea for life. There is no perfect day, but each day is a new opportunity to start over. I am almost 40 and only in the recent years have I been comfortable in my own skin, with my own personality, and my own mind. I wish I knew then what I know now..or maybe I don't. I'm not ashamed of it anymore because it's part of me. Much like being a mother, a coffee drinker, someone who likes travel..it's there.
As I share my story I find that there are many out there like myself. Struggling with something in their past or something in their present. We all have something..it feels good to get it out there. It makes me feel like a superhero. A badass. And really, who doesn't want to feel that way?
**my story was originally posted on my FB page in 2014. Different details but same thing.
***this is written from the heart and unedited. Please excuse my terrible grammatical errors if any.