I feel compelled to be boldly vulnerable; I have a string of experiences of things that don’t get talked about, of things that silently destroy people’s vitality and of things that would be easier for me to cover up through my honed perfectionism and extraverted professionalism. The truth is though that the world needs my voice. It’s easy to assume that I’ve always had it easy, or that I’m naturally comfortable in my skin — I am the epitome of the “all-American girl,” but the truth couldn’t be any further. I know anorexia, I know bulimia, I know compulsive exercise, I know binge eating disorder, I know body dysmorphia, I know a fear of food, I know athletic disappointment, I know rape, I know relationship abuse, I know loneliness, and I know what it feels like to be a prisoner in my own body. I know all these things, but I also know freedom from them, healing from them, and, in turn, great joy, personal growth and triumph through them. Without being honest about and sharing my past, my present message doesn’t resonate as loudly, and, well, the world needs to know that there is hope.
The world needs you, but it is up to you to figure out in what capacity that will be. Be bold and humble so that you can share your experiences — your failures and your triumphs — with others in a way that will encourage and transform them. Your voice is needed, as much as mine. Your story can change lives, if you let it. Your passions have a purpose if you spend some time of introspection to find exactly where and how to combine what brings you joy, what you are good at, and what the world needs you to do.
Be thankful for your past, for it is a story that can and will change lives if only you let it.