As I’m back to walking the familiar hills of my campus, I can’t help but think about how much my life has changed in the past year.
Rewinding to fall 2009, I thought I was doing everything right. I ate as few of calories as possible, ran as far as possible and said “yes” as much as possible.
I was pursuing an image of perfection, but I was falling short of happiness.
Now, the image of my life is much different.
I know I’m not perfect. I accept I’m not perfect. I even revel in the fact that I’m not perfect.
This is because, despite all my imperfections, I have the one thing that eluded me last year: Happiness.
If I could go back and avoid all the difficulties I faced, I’d be seriously tempted. Battling my ED undoubtedly one of the most emotionally, physically and mentally straining battles of my life.
Why shouldn’t I just erase it all?
Because, for better or worse, hindsight is 20/20.
My experiences come with the consequence of sensitivity. I notice subtle signals of girls who are dealing with similar torments.
While sitting in the food court, I see girls order salads, only to push their naked lettuce around and feign fullness.
As I fit in a whole workout of running, weight lifting and stretching, I see girls pounding away on treadmills.
When I get to class, filled up with breakfast and looking forward to lunch, I overhear girls talking about having “no time to eat.”
I see all these things through a magnified lens. I understand the logic (or lack thereof). I’ve been there…
Unlike most forms of sympathy, I don’t feel the urge to “forgive” or “overlook.”
Instead, every time I see someone exhibiting signs of disordered eating or low self-esteem, I want to shake them and say, “You deserve better!”
I resist, lest I get kicked out of the university with allegations of abuse.
Still, I can’t let it slide. I just have a little voice inside of me, which nags me to no end.
“If I can help one girl feel a little better about herself…”
“If I can let one girl know that beauty isn’t based on waist circumference of jean size…”
“If I can demonstrate to one girl that she is her most disapproving critic…”
Then, I have succeeded.
Just as recovery, I take this mission one day at a time. One blog at a time. One conversation at a time. One connection at a time.
Questions: What have you learned from struggles in life?
To learn about how you can pass it forward, check out the Operation Beautiful website or buy the recently released book by Caitlin Boyle.