Oh boy! I cannot believe that another walk has come and gone. I can remember being at the walk last year hopeful, motivated, but struggling immensely on the weight side of things. I did not speak because I felt it was hypocritical. I felt I had accomplished so much, so why was the ED mind still winning? But I remember so many therapeutic, cathartic, eye opening conversations and experiences throughout that day. That was the jumpstart to get me to move onto where I am now. This past year has been a year of continuous growth, lessons, tears (both happy and sad), full of love, inspiration, and forward movement.
This year as the walk approached I felt differently than I have before. I felt pure excitement. I did not feel nervous about my appearance, where I was at in life, or my situation. I walked into it happy and proud of the person everyone was going to walk up to when we met again for the first time in months, weeks, or even years. My life is transforming into what I've envisioned all along. I walked proudly, with my head up high, happy and willing to share with anyone anything that they asked me. This is different. This is what I've worked for. But my work is not done. We are in constant evolution, growing and changing.
This year I decided it was right for me to get up and say a few words. I wasn't expecting to, nor could I hold it together to get out all that I wanted to say. I grabbed the mic and I took a look around and was in almost instant tears (don't worry, they came later). I saw countless people I recognized and knew of their struggles, the turmoil they've experienced, the hardships they've overcome. But that was fleeting; I then looked at those same people and I saw the beauty that was overflowing throughout the cold tent. The light that shone from everyone in there made the cloudy day sunny from where I was standing. A huge beam towered over and instantly overwhelmed me. I wasn't just proud of everyone for their ability to keep pushing on, I was impressed by their ability to move beyond the illness. I saw writers, artists, pageant queens. I saw support systems, encouraging therapists, mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends. I saw people who have gone back to school and excelled and do not think about food the way they used to. It was the most humbling moment, and I lost my breath and had a hard time taking it all in. This is so important for this reason: so many people never lose their eating disorder identity. But I saw none of they peers as that; a once sick person still struggling to survive. I saw people so far past that.
Then I looked over and saw my mom for a brief moment. That's where I could no longer keep in the tears. My mom has been the one constant support for me. Not only that, but until recently, she's also been the most neglected in my support system. I thought of all the times I've said hurtful things, the times that I've lied and have been the furtherest thing from myself while in the eating disorder, and I realized that she has never taken her support away from me. She has never given up, even when I have. She does more for me than I ever could ask of her, and she showed up to support where I am now. Healthy. & she doesn't even know the immense role she has played in this. Without her I'd be dead. I looked at her and I knew she deserved more than the grand gesture of gratitude in front of my other family, my RCC family. She deserves all the gratitude in my heart and that is what I expressed to her in that moment. Mom, you do all you do for me and have never expected as much as a thank you. Your love is unconditional, and the most selfless love I've ever witnessed in my life.
With now being healthy, I am able to love someone with all that I am, I know my worth, and I am moving forward bit by bit each day. I thank everyone who has shown me love in all its forms, compassion, and understanding throughout my journey. I'm walking forward, and I plan to continue on this path. What a difference a year can make. I am humbled, I am thankful, and I love each and every one of you. When you struggle, remember, it's a process. Until next year, friends!