"She wore her troubled past like scars - she had been through battle, and though no one could see her demons, they could see the face that conquered them."
3 years of life, 2 full marathons, 4 months spent traveling the world & 1 strong, healthy, resilient body. Since 2014, these are a few of the things I have accomplished since my discharge from my hospitalization for a life-threatening battle with anorexia, and yesterday I added another thing to this list...
Solidifying my purpose in this world.
I am in Austin, Texas this week for Eating Recovery Center's "Mission Recovery" Conference, and I can say from the depths of my heart that I have never felt anything so surreal. Attaining a summer internship with author, speaker, and recovery advocate, Jenni Schaefer, was a dream come true within itself, but attending this conference alongside her, and so many of my other beautifully inspiring role models, brought me full circle.
As I sat in that room yesterday, listening to Jenni speak, I couldn't shake the image in my head of my sick, broken body lying in my hospital bed 3 years ago with a highlighter in one hand and a tissue in the other, reading through Jenni's first book, Life Without Ed. To say this book changed my life is an understatement, but it is the only phrase I can think of to even scratch the surface of how much Jenni's words impacted my journey to recovery.
If only I knew back then where I would be today. If only I could see then that my pain was serving a purpose, and my struggle was bringing me closer to my life's meaning. If only I knew that my recovery would not only save my life, but save the lives of others. I wish I could've seen into the future and understood that those years of life with ED were only training me to become the woman I am today. From reading Jenni's books and praying that my demon would soon loosen his grip, to now working alongside Jenni in pursuit of my greatest passions, I can wholeheartedly say that we must trust the process.
Yesterday was not just a step in the direction of where I aspire to be in my career, but rather the first page of an entire new book. This book will be filled with love, passion and adventure. The first chapter of this book is called happiness - and it begins here. It begins with an extended hand, forgiving heart & gracious soul, reminding me of the past I have left behind to pursue the bright life lying ahead. Its roots are planted in my journey, but its growth is fueled by my strength. My heart has found its place. My soul has found its balance. My spirit has found its home.
I cannot wait to embark on this new adventure. My heart is beating out of my chest at the thought of what lies in front of me. I hope to someday be standing on that stage, telling my story, knowing that my life's greatest purpose has been fulfilled. I pray that my story will not only help save others, but also inspire these brave souls to then return the favor and spread their new found light to those around them.
I am humbled, blessed and eternally grateful. May the adventure begin.