Well, I’ll just stay this and then be quiet about it: 

I have SUCH mixed feelings about Beyonce’s performance last night. She sang some of my faves, and I loved when Destiny’s Child performed. Her stage and the show itself was without a doubt incredible, but I mean, I felt like I had to shield my sons’ eyes (and my husband’s!) What was she wearing? Are women capable of feeling fierce and confident without having to objectify themselves? When can we finally redefine what power and beauty are? She attempted to be strong and fierce, but actually undermined herself. What did the rest of you think? Am I over-analyzing it? 

It’s still a hot mess of sickness at our house. I know a lot of your family’s are fighting stuff too! Yuck! May we all be healthy soon! I am so thankful for another guest blogger (especially since all my creative thinking has been replaced with phlegm.) 

I wrote about Colleen last year in Lame Boyfriends, Disordered Eating, and Psalm 34. Now, you can read her story in her own words. I met Colleen when she was seventeen-years-old and very sick with anorexia. Over the next few years, I watched her blossom into a full young woman–taking up the space she deserved. Her story is an incredible one. 

Colleen is currently a second year master’s student at Saint Louis University, and will be graduating this May with her master’s degree in Counseling Psychology. 

But, before we read her story…

Thanks to my new app, Names in a Hat, I didn’t actually have the pleasure of drawing names out of a pumpkin this time; It did the work for me–Oh, the digital age. 

Without further ado, the big winner of our Gifts That Give Back Anniversary Giveaway is: 

Congratulations Leslie!

Colleen’s Story

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here, and more than that- I am grateful that I am here- in a place where I can honestly talk with you about my recovery. When I was sixteen years old I was diagnosed with anorexia. The next couple of years were a mess of doctors appointments, therapy sessions, hospitalizations, set backs, and victories. After a long-term stay at Remuda Ranch in 2006, I finally found the strength and courage to start down the road to recovery. I was ready to leave anorexia in the past.
I began my journey to recovery during the summer of 2006. Prior to this point I had started down the path to recovery but was quickly pulled back into the darkness of anorexia. I’m not 100% sure what was different this time, but from what I can gather it was a combination of wanting to get better, knowing what I needed to do in order to get better, and a blessed relationship with Aubrey who helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel. 
Recovery is a process. It takes patience, and courage, and most importantly time. There is a distinct difference between being in recovery, and being recovered. When I was in recovery, I spent a large part of my life focusing on staying on track with my recovery. Now that I am recovered, my eating disorder doesn’t interfere much with my daily life. In fact, I have been recovered for so long now that I go days without even thinking about it. I eat when I’m hungry, exercise when I want to, and otherwise lead a pretty normal life.
When I first started college in 2007 I was dead set on becoming a dietitian. As my freshmen year continued and I became more real with myself and my recovery, I realized that I wasn’t really passionate about that field; I had convinced myself I wanted to be a dietitian in order to hang on to a small part of my eating disorder. Some part of me knew that constantly being engulfed in food, numbers, and exercise would let me hang on to a piece of my eating disorder as a security blanket, making sure I never got too out of control with food or my body. 

Thinking back on this now, I realize that this twisted sense of security was lurking behind my desire to be a dietitian. I struggled for a long time to come clean with myself and admit that there was an unhealthy attachment to my career goal. When I finally mustered up the courage to be upfront with this deep-seated underlying truth, I knew I had come to a major milestone in my recovery. This was probably the first time I knew that I was ready to let go entirely of my eating disorder. But I still had a long road ahead of me. 

For a while I had been coasting through recovery at a tolerable level. I was at a healthy weight. I wasn’t obsessing about food or my body, and I was expressing myself. But I wasn’t doing much to challenge myself and my eating disorder. I also wasn’t brave enough to envision myself getting to a place where food, my body, and exercise didn’t take a front seat in my life. Although I was leaps and bounds from where I had been, I couldn’t imagine completely letting go. 
In the fall of 2008 I came to the point where I could honestly say that I was letting go, with my whole self, 100% of each and every aspect of my eating disorder.  I’m still trying to figure out exactly how to explain this because it’s hard to put in words. But, being beyond tolerable recovery is something I have noticed within myself. 
With the growing strength of my recovery, I have changed on so many levels. The most exciting change for me personally has been reassessing my career goals. When I finally admitted to myself that my eating disorder was fueling my desire to become a dietician, I came to the realization that I really do want to help others through similar hardships that I faced, but in a different light. 

After some time and prayer, I realized I could use my victory over anorexia to my advantage and to the advantage of others. I have a deep passion for walking people through the dark places in their lives and seeing them through to a place of freedom. The way so many people in my life helped me. 

I live a life that is full. I experience freedom of expression, freedom with food, freedom with my body and exercise, and freedom with my past struggles. My goal is to give others life-changing care that will help them experience complete freedom and victory over their eating disorders.”

Now that’s fierce strength and power, baby. That’s shamelessness. 

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