It started when I was in elementary school. It continued on into high school. It followed me after college. It finally stopped.
Throughout those years, one question that always remained constant in my mind was, - why?
Why can't I fit in?
Why do I think like this?
Why am I not good enough?
Why is this happening to me?
You're probably wondering, "What is this it you're talking about?" The "it" I am referring to is/was my eating disorder. Going through this experience was something I never could have prepared myself for. It took a toll on me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I lost myself and my purpose. I convinced myself that I would remain in this brokenness for the rest of my life.
But I couldn't. I wouldn't. I had to fight back.
And that is exactly what I did - and it wasn't easy. My eating disorder hit a peak in college, as I was working two jobs, playing a varsity sport and trying to graduate a year early. Trying to accomplish all that I set forth for myself, while simultaneously battling myself mentally and physically, was not at all easy. Talk about the struggle being real.
Yes, the struggle was real but I had to face it head on in order to make it on the other side - recovery. In order to get there, I had to find my happiness again. I had to find my purpose again. I had to find my why. But, this why was very different than the "why" I stated before. I had to fuel this why with motivating reasons to get better, to win my life back and to be recovered.
Redefining this "why" was the key to my road to recovery. Being a very goal-oriented individual, I knew I wanted to accomplish a lot of things in my life. But I couldn't do that if I wasn't emotionally, mentally or physically there to do those things. It took a lot of self-discovery of strength and determination to fuel this new why.
My new why led me to be recovered today.
I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason whether it makes sense to us or not. And coming out on the other side of this experience, I knew that this happened to me for a reason (not like I wanted it to, ya know). But, this experience made me realize that I want to make a difference within the eating disorder community, which led me to become a mentor at Project HEAL. As a mentor, I have the ability to provide peer support for those who are struggling with an eating disorder. At the end of the day, if I could make a difference by making someone smile or feel lighter about the situation, then I think I succeeded.
Not only do I want to make a difference within this community, but I want to make a difference with this issue nationally (I ain't playin').
I want to start to change the conversation that media and certain brands are communicating to girls, boys, men and women. The world has become so "body-focused" and concentrated on what individuals look like that we have become tone deaf to defining someone by who they really are. With the rise of social media, there seems to be an underlying expectation to look a certain way or be a certain way and this can become a dangerous situation.
We have become tone deaf to the "soul-focused" approach - to not define someone by their physical standards, but rather by who they are as an individual. To actually define someone by their why - why they do what they do and why they matter on this planet. This approach can be transcended to both individuals and brands to eliminate the "body-focused" approach.
So, to kick-start the change in online conversation, I am starting the #FuelYourWhyProject. For me, fueling my why helped me to recover from my eating disorder, but everyone has a why. Everyone has a purpose. I think we can learn a thing or two from one another and even become more motivated to achieve whatever goals we set forth for ourselves.
Take a picture, write a tweet or post a status with #FuelYourWhyProject and let the world know what you're working towards and why. You never know who you'll be inspiring.
Welcome to the #FuelYourWhyProject.