Happy Thanksgiving Eve! Weather aside, I’m so excited that my favorite holiday is finally here. So excited in fact that I was jumping through all the rain puddles this morning. Pumpkin chai in hand, I’m ready to go. In the spirit of the holiday, I’m going to share some news a little earlier than I originally planned. Today makes me realize how lucky I am to have all that I do. My family and friends, my health and job, Mike. I know I don’t count my blessings nearly enough, but I’m going to make sure everyone knows how thankful I am for them today. You should too 🙂
A couple of months ago I reached out to a photographer who was looking for people to be involved with a piece that she’s doing. After reading her story, I decided to contact her. While I was hesitant at first, I figured at the least I could share my story with a complete stranger and leave it at that. No harm done. A few days before my race, she got back to me. She said she thought working with me would be an emotional challenge because we’re similar in many ways, but that it would be an honor for her to share my story. Not the email I should have been reading in the middle of work, but definitely one that changed my life. While we’re still working out the specifics, the project involves a year-long photo and video diary that will benefit Rewrite Beautiful, an organization focused on preventing eating disorders in young girls.
Eating disorders are an all-consuming habit. My time was spent obsessing about thoughts of food and calories and exercising. When I wasn’t thinking about food or exercising, I was comparing myself to other people, hoping it would make me feel better. But it never did. I would look at girls and think “I wonder if she thinks like me. How does she eat that and not want to cry? Does she count every calorie like me? I wonder how much she works out. What does she eat every day? Does she drink a lot?” I couldn’t escape the nagging voice inside my head. I didn’t feel like myself anymore, but I didn’t know how to change. The more I talk to girls about this project, the more I realize how common it is, even more among runners. It feels good to finally know that I’m not the only one who has went through this. My hope is that one girl finds some kind of connection to the things I share and gains the strength to work through it. If I can positively impact one person’s life, all of this will be worth it.
Aside from my immediate family and Mike, no one really knows about my struggle with eating and exercising. I’m sure it’s no surprise to some who are close to me, but I’ve never come out and admitted it was an issue. While I wish I could say that it’s something that is now in the past, I can’t. It’s something I still deal with on a daily basis. To be completely honest, I never wanted to shake the habits I formed because they made me feel so safe. I didn’t want to lose the one thing I had complete control over. But when Mike came into my life, all that changed. From the second I met him, he made me feel like I was the only girl in the room (literally though…we met at a crowded house party/bar). I wanted to be the best person that I could be, so I started to make small changes in my routines. Small changes that made a big difference. I’ll wait until the project starts to share more of my story with you. I’m excited but I’m really scared. This huge secret that I’ve carried around with me for 6 years is going to be out in the open for everyone to see. I hate the feeling of being vulnerable. I’m a perfectionist, a control freak. I hate knowing something is completely out of my hands. This project will be the ultimate test of my strength.
Thank you for allowing me to share this little piece of myself with you. I hope everyone spends the holiday with the people who they love and are most thankful for. All my love, from Philly to you 🙂