My Pinky Toes grew from my recovery from an eating disorder. Let me begin with a little bit of personal history…
I went into inpatient treatment for bulimia on May 22, 2006. That was one of the hardest days of my entire life. After ten days inpatient I switched to the outpatient program for seven more days. I was lucky because I wanted to recover…I wanted to be free from the disorder, the thoughts, the guilt, the obsession…
After leaving treatment, I did everything that I knew how to do to stay recovered. I followed the same meal plans, I kept seeing a therapist, I journaled…and I was amazed at how happy I became. The more I felt recovered and free from the eating disorder the more I flourished. I had my set backs…I still had “fat days,” I still felt guilty somedays if I thought I was eating “bad” foods, and I relapsed one time. The greatest thing that came out of that relapse was that I realized I never wanted to go back to the disorder again. It wasn’t worth it.
Soon after, my aunt started a Bible study for the women in our family. To be honest, I really can’t recall exactly what we studied during that time, but I remember the message was that everything happens for a reason, and God has a plan. He sets up obstacles in your life to make you stronger.
Even though I was beyond happy to be free from my eating disorder, I was beginning to feel like I wished it hadn’t happened. I really have been blessed with a beautiful and perfect life and family, why did this have to happen to me…it messed up my perfect life. After going to this Bible study with my family, I realized that I had an eating disorder for a reason, and now it was my mission to use my experience to inspire and help other people. After this realization, I knew that I needed to become an eating disorder recovery speaker.
I contacted the hospital where I was treated because I knew they had recovery speakers every Saturday for family day with the patients. They told me that they would love to have me, but they required that I be recovered for one year. So, after a years time since my treatment, I contacted the hospital again and set up the date to give my first recovery speech.
I was super nervous to give my first speech. I am NOT good at speaking in front of people, and I knew that I would be super emotional. I’m pretty sure I started crying as soon as I started talking. I spoke about my eating disorder and how I got to my lowest low…and then I spoke about how I recovered. One of the biggest “aha” moments to my recovery was when I realized that Ed’s voice (my eating disorder’s voice) was not the same as my own voice. As strange as it may sound, having an eating disorder is somewhat like having another entity…a MEAN entity…try to invade your mind. I realized that I didn’t think I was fat. I didn’t think I needed to lose weight. I didn’t want to feel ashamed of myself. Ed did.
I feel like I was beyond lucky to have this realization, and that I was so lucky to still have the ability to find and hear my voice. I feel like for so many other eating disorder victims, Ed’s voice becomes so much louder and they cannot find their voice.
In my speeches, I try my best to remind people that your voice is in there! Even if it is too hard to find, even if it is small, and even if it is shoved way, way down into the tips of your pinky toes, your voice is still there! I tell them to feed that small part of you that is in your pinky toes…feed it with nourishment, feed it with affirmations, feed it with love…and your voice will grow and continue to grow until your voice becomes louder than Ed’s voice.
Yes, My Pinky Toes stemmed from my recovery story, but now I can relate it to so many other situations. Anytime I am having a hard time understanding a situation, and look to my pinky toes to find the answer. When I’m running a race and feel like I am losing steam, I dig deep into my pinky toes for energy. If you don’t know where to find something…just look to your pinky toes. When I feel Ed’s voice try to creep back, I remember my pinky toes and I know that I am beautiful.
My Pinky Toes gave me my voice.