Growing up my Mom would say to try and find the silver lining in every situation. When my daughter opened up about her eating disorder I felt like someone knocked the breath out of me, I felt as if my life was crumbling at the moment, how could this possibly be happening?
In the beginning if someone had told me to find the silver lining I would have probably just walked away from the conversation. I would have felt a flood of emotions and just wanted to scream. However, I always lived my life finding the silver lining in every situation and this one really wasn’t any different, just a little harder and I would need to dig a little deeper to find it. Once the initial anxiety and panic started to become more manageable I could see clearer and I realized there were many silver linings.
I always had a very close relationship with my daughter, we spent (and still do) a lot of time together. She danced at the studio I taught at. We drove to the studio together almost every day, she took my classes, danced in my competition pieces, danced in my dance company and we traveled to competitions and conventions together several weekends out of the year. I didn’t think we could get much closer, but somehow we actually have throughout her recovery. We have laughed together, cried together, held each other, been each other's support, told each other secrets and have become even closer day by day. I know they say you shouldn’t be “friends” with your kids, but she’s not only my daughter, she’s one of my best friends.
I have become aware of the negative impact that diet culture and body image has on society and myself. I was a dance major in college so body image was an extremely predominant issue at my school but was not really spoken about. Although I had always been self conscious of my body since I was a young teenager (I thought that was just normal), it wasn’t until I went off to college that I tried my first diet. From that point on I was on and off a diet for the next 30+ years until almost a year ago when I realized my daughter had an ED.
With all the research I did, books I read and all I learned from Empowered I realized how incredibly messed up diet culture really was. I am slowly learning to love my body for what it is and what it is capable of doing. I'm want to bring awareness, love and support to the dance community.
If you had asked me a year ago if I would have been doing anything else in my life except teaching dance I would have said it’s the only thing I really know how to do. When I started on this journey with my daughter I realized very quickly there is very limited support for parents who have a loved one struggling with an ED. When Leah asked me if I was interested in working for Empowered as the Parent Liaison/Advocate and a Recovery Coach I knew in my heart I needed to do it, I wanted to do it! I wanted other parents to know it will be ok, that there are parents out there that understand and that can support each other. I’m beyond excited to be working for Empowered. I’m hoping to help parents and women of all ages throughout their journey.
Before the ED I never took time for myself, I worked non-stop and just felt like I was always go, go go.
I’ve learned I can’t have the strength to get through what I need to for my daughter if I’m not taking care of myself. Self care is so important and so necessary in life. I think we often take it for granted, or we don’t have time for it.
It can benefit us in so many aspects of our life. I’ve learned by practicing self care I’m also leading by example for my daughter.
It’s hard to find the positive in a hard situation, but it’s there, you just might have to dig a little. I’m still finding them everyday throughout my daughter's recovery. Although this has been a hard journey for my daughter, myself and our family, I am so incredibly thankful for the silver linings that have come out of it!