Let’s say it together, “your situation does not define you” or rather, “my situation does not define me.” This phrase is important for so many reasons. Let me delve into it a bit. When I was sixteen years old, I struggled with a serious eating disorder. There has been many a time I’ve heard someone label an individual as anorexic purely because they are slim or they weren’t able to eat lunch, and this breaks my heart. It’s a real issue and it’s much more mental than physical. It’s viewing yourself as something you’re not. That’s where I was. I’ve never been heavy, or even curvy, but I thought I was overweight. I thought that pretty meant my thighs shouldn’t touch, and so I starved away the pain in my heart. Fast forward to 20 years old, fully recovered from the disorder thanks to my amazing support system, and scared to death because of such severe stomach pain. After the test, the diagnosis read “gastroparesis,” a stomach disease that basically paralyzes the stomach and doesn’t allow it to digest food. After going through job after job and panicking because I couldn’t keep one more than a couple of months before my stomach would flare up and I’d have to call out sick for weeks at a time, I said “so long” to the 9-5, and took a leap of faith.
That leap of faith was this blog. I could have easily given up right then and there. I could have fallen into the deep depression I went through in my later teenage years, but I chose another path. I chose to combine every part of my life that I loved and create something beautiful with it. I chose to bloom where I was planted. I chose to not let my situation define me. When my stomach flares up and I’m stuck in bed for days, I write pitch emails, I edit photos, I search Tumblr and Pinterest for inspiration, and I thank God for the fact that despite my health, I can still do what I love.
I’ve brought this mentality into another portion of my life as well now. I’ve discovered that I absolutely love to work out (especially in my cute Adore Me activewear). It relieves my stress, if I don’t over-work it actually helps my stomach, and it makes me feel proud of my body – something I haven’t been able to do in my entire life. Not only have I hated on my outward appearance, but then my stomach created a disgust for my insides as well. When I see the results from the hard work I put in during a work out, I get excited. I’m not doing it to get skinny – no, I would be dishonest if I didn’t say I actually need to gain weight right now, but to see the definition in my arms, or the fact that I can win at tug-of-war with the Mastiff dog I walk each day, it’s immensely satisfying.
Look at your situation right now. Does it define your life? Do you feel anxious or depressed over the place you’re in? What can you do to change that? Take a deep breath and assess for a second – not your overwhelming situation – but rather, what you can do to learn from it. My disease has taught me to culture my gifts and learn more than I ever thought I would. What can your situation teach you today?
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