I had the amazing opportunity to visit my old stomping grounds, alma mater, and meet with the critical people who played a major role in my maturation process, provided support, and guided me to become the best person I could possibly be at the time I walked across the stage to receive my college diploma from Michigan State University.
I expressed to these leaders, administrators, and, now, colleagues that by the end of my college journey and enduring the most challenging obstacle I had ever faced, I was forced to quickly acquire qualities that I had been lacking. Prior to that experience, I had been a child to wonderful and generous parents, a student to multiple giving and caring teachers, and trained by several dedicated and committed soccer coaches. Without realization or malicious intent, I lacked appreciation, respect, gratitude, and an understanding for others. My eating disorder, in which I developed, battled, and overcame as a collegiate student-athlete opened my eyes, enlightened me, and allowed me to reach self-awareness and truth.
While meeting with and presenting my new endeavor, Kick the Scale, to the athletic department at Michigan State University, I relayed an important message: as a result of their impressive actions to identify my issue, treat it, and, ultimately, save my life, my mission, now, in return, is to educate, help others, and inspire people to maintain a positive sense of self.
Now, ten years later, I have endured another challenging, almost daunting, obstacle that reminded me of and had me reflecting on my past struggles. My son, who is now 2 years old, was diagnosed with a condition called, Eosiniphilic Esophagitis, and severe food allergies at 14 months old. As a result, he developed an aversion to food, refused to eat, and was admitted into a pediatric hospital’s 6-week intensive feeding program. I watched as my baby screamed and cried when placed in a high chair for mealtime. I may not have screamed like a baby out loud, but I was able to relive the distress he appeared to be encountering.
The irony that both these experiences involved a fear of food and an unhealthy body weight have been the motivation and springboard for me to reveal and share both very personal stories and prevalent issues. I am determined to continue writing and speaking about them in hopes to educate, relate to, and help others.
In my next blog, I will be highlighting a story about a special person I was connected to through a mutual friend. The world is small; the soccer world is smaller; and the mom world is even smaller. Through a blog about my son, Austin, and his allergic reactions, she was able to use my descriptions of our experiences to uncover and treat her suffering baby’s medical issues. Please tune in for her story…