In addition to what's in the original article, I'd like to remind people to drink in moderation. Especially in new situations. ALSO charge your damn phones. We need to be able to get a hold of you!
5 years ago I wrote an article about having a safe time out with friends, and after a recent missing person's scare with a friend and sorority sister of mine, I feel it's time to share it again.
In addition to what's in the original article, I'd like to remind people to drink in moderation. Especially in new situations. ALSO charge your damn phones. We need to be able to get a hold of you!
Hello friends! As Thanksgiving approaches we are all supposed to say what we are thankful for and this year I am thankful for God and for life. (please continue reading regardless of religious affiliation, I promise it's worth it.) People that know this part of my life do wonder why if I'm so open about my eating disorders do I keep this such a secret. To be frank, because I will be judged and I know I will be judged. But I have finally come to terms with the fact that even though I will be judged, I may also save someone else.
3 years ago now, I was in the worst possible mental state I could have been. I brought it on myself- because I know now I can take responsibility for myself and only myself- and I had actually tried to ask for help but I was told I didn't have a "real" problem. Anyway, one night in college, after being told by one person that I was never going to be in his future and being told by someone else that he was cheating on me the whole time we were together, I got extremely drunk and tried to end my life.
*Let me clarify and say that these emotions did not stem from boys. They simply were heightened by the things that were said all at once.
I was clearly not in a stable frame of mind and I decided in that moment that I did not want to feel anything at all that I was feeling and it would be better to take a bunch of Nyquil than it would be to continue living. I was fortunate though because my body literally said "fuck you" and I threw it all up and I'm still alive today to tell you that even though in that moment I never wanted to wake up and feel anything, I am alive and well and feel it all.
I'm sure at this point your jaw has hit the floor, so go ahead and pick it up. I'm ok. I promise. Although the reason for me sharing this story is because recently I had been feeling extremely lost and like there was no point, I felt very alone and very outside of myself, I have found peace within my soul. Those feelings.... It was like I wasn't really here at all actually. And that's a very painful thing to feel. It's no fault of anyone else, but it truly is something that we (being anyone who suffers from depression) feels and cannot overcome on their own. In fact it's even harder to overcome it when people are trying to make you "better," it has to come from within.
I was driving home from work the other day with my music on shuffle. I have a very eclectic mix of music. From Kid Rock- who should be censored about 90% of his songs- all the way to Britt Nicole- a Christian artist who brings me peace. I use these two artists specifically because I had "Low Life" playing by Kid Rock and I was rocking out shamelessly, immediately followed by "Still That Girl" by Britt Nicole.
"Dreams, they come
Plans, they change
Yea, we're gonna break"
The very first lines of the song came through the speakers... I got chills. I felt like I really needed to hear these words. So I kept listening. And you know when you haven't heard a song in a long time but it was like your favorite song ever the words come back to you right away? Well yeah, that happened to me.
"Sometimes life don't go the way you planned
And we all have days when we just don't understand
Searching for meaning, it's not always easy
But your story's not over, it's still being told"
The louder I sang, the bigger my heart felt and I truly started to believe the things I had been telling myself, trying to get myself to feel purpose again. All because the words I had been telling myself were in a song.
"You were young, you were free
And you dared to believe
You could be the girl
Who could change the world
Then your life took a turn
And you fell, and it hurt
But you're still that girl
And you're gonna change this world"
Damn. Powerful stuff right? Uh, yeah. Well anyway. Going back to what I'm thankful for this year.. I believe in signs. I believe in really making yourself happy. I also believe in taking time for yourself to do that. Today specifically I practiced yoga with the intention of "Gratitude". Showing up for myself. Being there for myself. I fell over during a few balance poses and you know what? I got right back up into the poses. Then coming home from work I heard this song, right as I was thinking maybe I'm just not cut out for anything and that I needed a reason. I needed a sign to tell me that everything I am and everything I am doing is good enough and is worth the fight. And you know what I realized? I realized..... God is good. God sent me a sign. God said, "Hey, you don't have to show up to church every Sunday for me to love you. You don't even have to remember to say thank you all the time for me to love you. You just need to know that through me, you will change the world." And in order to do that I need to be alive! So, that's why I'm thankful for God and for life this year.
Because damned if I wasn't young and free and I dared to believe I could be the girl who could change the world. I sure as hell fell all the way down to rock bottom and climbing out hurt like there was no tomorrow, but I am still that girl, and I'm going to change this world. I truly believe this about myself. Watch out, you don't even know what's coming next for Kathleen.
If you haven't heard this song, I strongly recommend it. It's played a large part in my recovery to happiness and I think that everyone needs something to remind them that it's all worth it in the end. Nothing is worth sacrificing everything. Only YOU can be your happiness. Only YOU can decide that your life is worth everything. And most of all, only YOU can be YOU. So don't leave this world, we need you here to change it.
Every day I try to be a little better than the person I was before. A little more patient. A little more understanding. A little more calm. I challenge myself to reflect on every encounter, even if it appears I've shaken it off. Why? Because it helps me to understand other people. Most people don't even know who they are, let alone who someone else truly is so it would be unfair to all parties involved if we didn't at least attempt to reflect on it.
I do want to be the best at whatever it is I am taking on, and sometimes that can be a little daunting. It never slows me down, and I enjoy being challenged. I also believe that there is always room for improvement. This doesn't mean we have to dwell on anything though. It's about reflection and taking action.
Remember that everyone is fighting their own battle and if you knew you might want to give them a hug instead of judging them.
It is important to remember that a difference of opinions is not grounds for a screaming match; it is however a perfect opportunity for a conversation. We grow by understanding the opinions of others. The key to that is listening to understand, not listening to respond. There is a big difference between the two.
Let's put this in real life.
Sometimes I obsess over how much I eat and workout because I feel extremely awful in my own body. Why? Because I have struggled with eating disorders and self image issues since I was 15. It's not something I hide, but it's also something you don't know until you talk to me about it.
The woman waiting for the metro to arrive with her hair in her face even though she is absolutely beautiful underneath? She's self conscious of the birth mark on her cheek, which is the same as her grand mother's. How did I find out? Because I told her that her outfit was wonderful and she smiled and we started talking.
The young lady walking down the street cautiously, yet with such confidence, with her seeing eye dog? She lost her vision 3 years ago and is fighting every day to be better inside and out. Sure she's my sister, so I know her a little better, but she also has a story and staring funny doesn't do anything to help you hear it.
The boy who cries by himself at the bench in the park? He wants to play with the others, but doesn't think they'll accept him because he's a smaller and wears glasses and has autism. I stopped during my run to ask why he was crying, he told me and I let him know he is more special than anyone knows. He said thank you for being a kind stranger to see if he was ok.
I could go on, but I think you understand. It's not hard to be kind.
If we were all a little kinder to one another the world would be a better place. It starts with us. Understand that every person you meet is fighting their own fight. It may be as small as their favorite sweater got ruined in the dryer that morning, or as big as cancer. But the truth is, if we believe that everyone is acting with the best of intentions, we will seldom get mad and we might end up making a difference for the better in someone's life.
Netflix is life.
Well actually. It's the way to make it through life because it's a perfect way to completely unwind on the weekends or days off. I shall share with you my favorite 10 shows that I've successfully completed. Hopefully some of them are new to you and you can avoid falling into the dreaded "show hole"!
1. Gilmore Girls
It's the perfect relatable show. It just makes sense. And you'll feel SO much better about your eating and exercise routine.
I don't know why exactly this show is so intriguing, but it's pretty consistent.
3. Cedar Cove
New loves every five minutes, new family issues revealed every episode. I love it.
Olivia Pope is a bad bitch. One you almost want to be. She's got her shit together.
5. How to get Away with Murder
I literally had dreams about solving murder cases after this show.
6. Friday Night Lights
I even got my boyfriend hooked on this one. There's no one who can't relate to a good show about high school wins, losses, the populars, losers, and the craziness of it all coming together.
7. New Girl
It's so awkward and accurate it's amazing. You have to give it like 5 episodes before you'll be as in love as I was. But stick with it, it's worth it.
Wow that's depressing.....
Except it's also really exciting! Moving forward in the natural progression of things. The whole move out process is actually pretty simple, if you're organized. Logically there are a few steps to follow and I'd like to share my experience with you.
Budget it out.
Think about how much money you're making, how much you have saved, how much you'll be spending. Write it down. Be conservative on your estimates and think about what you will actually be spending money on, especially in the first few months. Check out my tips for creating a budget if you're stuck!
Find yourself a roommate!
Particularly in the DC area, rent is expensive. it's not impossible to live on your own, in fact I didn't initially think I would have a roommate, but plans change! My best friend said she needed a person to live with ASAP and we said let's do it!
Do your research.
If you know for 100% certainty where you want to live, you can skip this step. But if you're anything like me, you'll have a checklist of things you want in your humble abode. From there you will want to see which places have the majority of your wish list items, because no place will have everything. Visit before you commit. Make sure you see yourself there. At that point you're ready to start the application process!
Movin' on up!
Once the move in date was set, it was planning what we had and what we didn't have and deciding who would bring what. We realized we have everything we could possibly need in the kitchen, and our personal bedrooms are all set. We're just sitting on the floor until we are able to get a couch! (I'm not kidding about that either.)
At this point we are full adults. And we keep asking each other why we wanted to grow up in the first place. At the same time, we snuggle and have mini therapy sessions after work and it's a happy place in our new home!
There are a lot of ways to give back in the world. From volunteering, to donating, or even just representing an organization by being an ambassador of some sort. Recently, I found out, through Enterprise Holdings, about Just TRYAN it- a youth triatholon supporting families fighting childhood cancer.
This particular event speaks to me on a personal level as my sister is battling brain tumors. There is something to be said for the energy and support just by being at an event where the end goal is to support someone else. It's amazing what we can accomplish when we are trying to accomplish something for someone else.
The best part about this event is that everyone is invited to participate in some way shape or form. Here are some photos from the event that were sent to Enterprise participants. It's pretty cool to be a part of something bigger than yourself. Remember to give back to the world because it already gives so much to you.
My story is one shared by many others.
It seems simple and straight forward to be happy and healthy, but it is not for myself and it is unfortunately not for a lot of people. I really debated whether or not to tell my story, but I feel it is important. Not because it is unique, in fact it is quite the opposite. I feel it is important to share this story because it is much more common than it should be and that is a scary thought.
When I was in high school I had someone (who I thought was) very close to me tell me I was overweight. Mind you, I was 125 pounds at the age of 14. I was by no means skinny as a rail, but I was developing curves! (As all women do in one way or another). I took her comment to heart, sadly, and I pretty much stopped eating. I was running during lunch break on the track at school, I was skipping breakfast and feigning headaches so I could go to bed instead of eating dinner with my family. The terrible part was, I was so good at pretending it all seemed normal to me after a while.
I joined cross-country and track my sophomore and my body literally couldn't run on empty so in a way, running saved my life. I was fortunate enough to have this for the remaining 3 years of high school and it became my life. My obsession was running. Which was good because it wasn't food anymore.
Then I went to college. I don't know why everything seemed to be spinning out of control. Maybe it was that I had just moved across the country with my family again. Maybe it was that I started college not knowing anyone there a month later. Maybe it was simply that I was 18 in a big world and thought nothing made sense. Who knows. But I will tell you one thing, one thing I knew how to control very well was my food. I was able to cut my calories down to about 650 a day. I was able to find time to workout for about 2 hours a day and I thought I was looking great! My freshman year I lost 15 pounds. That's ridiculous considering I started at 120.
Running once again saved me late in my freshman year and I decided to start training for a full marathon. I no longer cared how much I ate because I was hungry all the time from running! I wanted to complete my marathon without dying so I decided it was ok to give in a little when I wanted pasta and not salad for dinner.
When I hit sophomore year, I had some not so wonderful influences in my life. Instead of taking control of those things, I fell privy to the traps of food and controlling food. I wanted to be skinny. I wanted to be flawless. It got to the point where I didn't even want to show off my body, I just wanted to wear loose things so no one would notice how far I'd fallen. I was obsessed with the number on the scale and with how I looked.
I smiled bigger, I laughed louder, I sang brighter. No one even caught on that I might have an eating disorder. No one thought I could possibly have self confidence issues because I worked so hard to not show it. I didn't like feeling sad, so I just was happy all the time. If you fool everyone around you long enough, you can surely fool yourself.
Until the beginning of my junior when it all came to a head. I hated myself. I hated myself so much for hating myself. I hated that I couldn't just love my body. I hated that I couldn't admit that I had a problem. I hated that I wanted to be someone other than myself so much that I was in full self destructive mode. I hated feeling that way and I wanted it to stop. I asked for help and I was told that basically because I still ate from time to time and because I wasn't 90 pounds that I didn't actually have a problem. HAH. That's cool. And I thought "Good, so I'm cool right? I can keep this up no probs."
The turning point....
I left school about a month after that and sought out professional help... with the forceful hand of my parents. I can't thank them enough for that. It was a very scary time. So scary I didn't know if I was going to make it out or not.
Fortunately, I decided to truly take time to focus on celebrating me and celebrating all the amazing things I can accomplish if I put my energy into loving myself.
Then I let myself go in the opposite direction and I gained about 15 pounds.... My pants were too tight. I wasn't feeding my body in a nice way. I wanted change. SO I changed.
No one would look at me on the streets and think "She needs to lose some weight." But, I wanted to feel beautiful in my own skin again. I wanted to love my body the way it should be loved.
I lost 10 pounds and 20 total inches in 30 days! If this is something you want, talk to me. Let me help you become the best version of yourself. The hardest part is taking the first step towards making yourself better. I took a big leap of faith in participating in a nutritional system that involves herbal cleansing to really set my body back on track. The best part about the system?? I still was able to have wine (priorities) AND enjoy the foods I wanted. I simply learned how to ENJOY them without overindulging.
If it's something you want more information on, please let me know. I'd be
glad to help you achieve your happy and healthy self!
The biggest lesson I'm taking away....
Don't get me wrong, I still have days when I wish my weight wasn't as high, or when I secretly still count calories, or even days when I really have to remind myself how beautiful life is because in a moment it can all be taken from us. But, I know in my truest of hearts that I was put on this earth to be someone's reason to believe; and you better believe I am going to keep being that reason.
My body is beautiful. Every body is beautiful. We must take care of our bodies so our bodies are able to take care of us. So cherish your soul. Cherish your being. And most of all, cherish YOU.
I am CELEBRATING my hard work, I am loving my body, I am healthy and most of all I am happy. You should be, too. In whatever stage of life you're conquering right now.
1. Inhale the positive, exhale the negative.
2. You CAN do this.
3. It's not as scary as you think it is. Whatever "it" is.
4. You're too good for him.
5. Give second chances, but stand up for yourself.
6. Be kind.
7. Be humble.
8. You are in fact beautiful in every way.
9. It may seem like everything now, but eventually it won't be anything.
10. Just because it may be nothing later doesn't mean you have to ignore it now.
11. You are not responsible for the emotions of others.
12. The real world really isn't that different.
13. Treat everyone the way you want to be treated... even if they don't treat you the way you should be treated.
14. Celebrate others successes and they will help you conquer your failures.
15. Eat what you want.
16. Drink more water.
17. Workout in some form. You will thank me later.
18. Spend more time with your friends.
19. Try new things.
20. Let it be.
Everyone has a different way to live. That's what makes the world such beautiful place. The most important thing to remember is to be true to who you are. There is nothing more beautiful than a soul that genuinely just wants to live life to the fullest potential. The best part about that is- every soul's "wild side" is different, and every person has a chance to cherish, develop, and truly appreciate his or her own beautiful soul. Take the time to love yourself, to love your soul.