It was a crazy week.
Every day, my Facebook notifications were 20+. I tried to scroll through all of them but once in a while, I'd miss one and see it later.
Purple shoes, purple nails, purple cups, purple hair, purple clothes...people were posting purple and sharing it on Facebook to honor National Eating Disorder Week.
It was beautiful. And scary. And overwhelming.
I'd like to tell you that the week was easy for me, that I didn't have to fight my eating disorder because of the recognizable love and support. But it wasn't easier. In fact, it was harder. I felt unworthy of the love. I felt worried that my story being shared over and over would land me in a place where no one would want to be my friend.
But it isn't true. That was ed talking.
My warrior friend, Tc, started this all. I remember when I first read her story and saw that she was asking people to wear purple for eating disorder awareness and then send her the pictures. I wore purple that Wednesday...silently...because I had yet to meet this friend in person and I was nervous.
I wasn't yet ready to open up about the severity of my struggles.
But I cannot believe what this year has done for me. I cannot believe what Tice has done for me.
Seeing all of the purple this week was powerful. Some of my coworkers wore purple on Wednesday and I had to hold back tears. It really touched my heart to see the support.
On Wednesday, I decided it was time to put some wild color in my hair again and obviously I chose purple. I love it so much and am so happy I did it.
All week, friends were tagging me in their purple photos. These are just a few of them...
And every day as I struggled to feel worthy of this love, I was able to keep going as I would stare at these pictures.
Saturday came and I was getting super excited for the National Eating Disorder Awareness walk the next morning. Last minute, I decided to make shirts for everyone we were walking with (15 of us total) so I stayed up late and painted NEDA WALK 2015 on all of them and on the back of each, I wrote "I walk for..." and filled in the blank with a personal message on everyone's shirts. Tc's family did the walk with us and I made each of them a shirt that said, "I walk for my (daughter, sister, aunt, mom, wife, etc)."
As I walked behind my beautiful children and read the messages on their shirt, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the beauty of my life. We had talked ahead of time and I had explained a little bit of why we were doing this walk. Both of my children were proud to do it for their mom.
Princess had a blast pushing the jogging stroller most of the walk.
Tc and I had different shirts than everyone. Mine said, "I walk because I have worth" and hers said, "I walk because I am a warrior". We did this walk for ourselves. We also did it for others who have or are struggling with an eating disorder.
Even the baby got NEDA pants. I painted NEDA on the bum and the front knees said NEDA 2015. Everyone loved her pants and she looked adorable.
Not only did I walk for myself, I walked to teach my children a little about eating disorders and how real and scary they can be. I had the opportunity to have so many talks with them this week on body image and loving ourselves.
I am so proud of them for taking that journey with me and being so willing to walk for their mom.
If you didn't know, Princess and I are pretty similar in personality. :)
Princess and Bella are two of my favorite girls in the whole world. I love both of them so much. Bella is Tc's daughter and it was so fun for these girls to be able to walk with each other.
They are both brave warriors.
It was an incredible time and as we drove away from the Phoenix zoo, my daughter said, "Mom, can we please do that walk again next year? I loved it." And the answer to that question is yes.
We will do that walk every year we are able because it is personal. I have fought and continue to fight my eating disorder. It might seem like it isn't that big deal. Maybe it seems like I'm doing ok because I'm not a size 0 and my bones aren't sticking out---but eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes. This is real for me and I hope and pray I will be able to teach my kids to honor and love their bodies, no matter the size of their clothing or the blemishes on their skin.