Again and again I am reminded of why I am where I am. I, by no means, want to paint my life that I live currently as easy or free of struggle – because that is FAR from the case. But I have been left in awe time and time again – left speechless at the way God is working in my life.
I came to Ann Arbor with the intention of leaving my eating disorder completely behind me in Virginia. That has not been the case because treatment team this – treatment team that, one thing after the other, on and on. I knew I would have to have a support system in place, I just didn’t realize it was going to look so, uhm, cut throat? I guess where I thought I was in my recovery wasn’t quite where other people are perceiving me to be. That’s okay. That can change in time – these new team members haven’t really had a chance to fully get to know me, where I came from, and the intentions I have to get where I’m headed.
God has been here every step of the way. No surprise there though, right?! God has provided me with support systems in the way of magnificent friendships like I never imagined I would have been able to make at all, much less in the little amount of time I’ve been here! Last night, I got together with some of my favorite people and there was so much joy and so much laughter. We cooked dinner, ate together, laughed until we cried, and the night simply flew by. In hindsight, I am left teary-eyed. Two years ago, when I was stuck in the depths of anorexia, I could not have imagined this – not even in my wildest dreams. Surrounded by these loving, kind, sisters in Christ, I am free to be who I truly am – struggles and all.
Not only that, but my very best friend from back home and I have managed to stay in touch (which is literally a miracle in itself because I’m horrible at staying in touch with people). She is SUCH a huge source of support for me and I can’t imagine doing this life without her by my side (even if it’s figuratively speaking haha).
I see God, time and time again. I see Him in the cold mornings where I watch my breath coat the air around me as I walk to class – breath that, two years ago, I was sure would cease at any moment. I see Him in the musicians and the opportunities surrounding me day in and day out – my wonderfully talented and kind teacher, just recently the New York Philharmonic Orchestra visiting school and performing and giving master classes, and especially in my peers and their passion and work ethic. I see God in my mailbox, when love comes pouring in from far away places reminding me that there are people who support me and value me for ME.
Recently, where I’ve witnessed God the most though, is in my struggle. Adjusting to new team members is probably one of the toughest parts of this transition…leaving the familiarity of people I know how to read, know what to expect from, and know what they think of me and how much they care for me…that’s SUPER difficult. I wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for the help and support of some of those people so, in a sense, moving on to a new team is almost like ending a long term relationship. But, I’m doing it. I’m adjusting, I’m striving for honesty and transparency and authenticity. The new therapist I met with just yesterday asked me, “What are you looking for from me and from therapy?” and my answer was simply, “I’m becoming. I want to make sure that I stay on track to becoming the best that I can be as a human being.” It’s as simple as that. And this struggle has helped me do that.
What’s been most helpful to me though, has been how this struggle has helped me shape and impact lives around me. In writing letters to younger girls, encouraging them, and supporting them…I, too, am able to heal a bit. It is not only (hopefully) helpful to them, but it is therapeutic to me and has acted as a crucial part of my healing process. More so even, watching my parents share their testimony of my struggle and their struggle via my struggle, has left me feeling elated and proud. I am so proud of my mom and dad and their capability to reach out, share, and support and impact others. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to fight mental illness and recover if you don’t have HOPE…and my beautiful parents are helping to provide that hope!
Feeling the love and support of others even as I continue to grow stronger is humbling and impactful. Watching my parents be the providers of that same love and support to other people and being able to, in a very small way, provide that myself, has inspired me to be a better person, role model, friend, and pursuer of my dreams. I still have hard days. I still have progress to make and work to do. (Don’t we all though?!) I am nowhere close to recovered, but I’m recovering…I’m making my way to recovery. And to the beautiful young girls who I’ve had the opportunity to write letters too, to e-mail, to leave messages which I can only hope and pray have inspired, THANK YOU, for inspiring me to reach higher, strive for better, pursue health, and follow my heart each and every day!
“I’m learning how to taste everything. ”
― Laurie Halse Anderson,