Alright, I feel a little cheesy, maybe even over-the-top using this video, but it perfectly describes how I feel at this very moment. And I can't help but smile as their singing picks up.
The first full week of the New Year really could not have gone any much better. Besides going to the wrong building and being late for my very first class of the semester, (and feeling like a freshman again) school went smoothly.
A few weeks ago, I was asked if I would be able to come down to help out with an EDSN (Eating Disorder Support Network... I think?) meeting at the treatment center I went to last year. Of course, I said I was one hundred and fifty percent in and couldn't be more thrilled. These meetings are held once a month after program hours and I would be part of a panel of former patients doing well in recovery. Each meeting has a different topic. This month, parents, friends, and loved ones of those struggling with an eating disorder were told to come with questions for all of us on the panel. It was a really smart way for parents to get inside of our heads a little and start understanding the eating disorder thought process.
Last week, I was also asked to come in and talk to the patients during their afternoon group therapy. It was the same kind of set up; I told a little bit of my story and then had more of a question and answer session. Again, I accepted with a huge smile on my face.
Unfortunately, as the days went by and January 10th got closer, I began to feel my dreaded anticipatory anxiety build up. This is something I excel in. As something eventful approaches in my life, I start to get worked up days, sometimes weeks in advance. If you read my "What If..." post, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Instead of living in the moment, I jump ahead and drive myself insane thinking of all the possible outcomes.
Waiting for anything kills me; in my perfect world, we wouldn't ever have to wait.
The day before my little trip, I found myself in a cycle of perfectionism thoughts. I was worried I wouldn't appear perfect to my old treatment team and I wouldn't be doing well enough in my recovery. As much as I don't want to admit this, I also found myself shopping and buying a new outfit for the big day. It's not like I was going on a first date or something; I really had no one to impress.
After spilling my guts to a good friend and telling her how much I was freaking out, she reminded me that recovery isn't perfect, so why should I expect the same out of myself? She told me to simply be real, be genuine, be ME. She said they are looking for real people in recovery with real struggles and insight.
At first I thought, "Yeah, whatever. Easy for you to say."
However, thankfully, on my drive down there I started to understand what my friend was trying to say. This entire recovery process I have been trying to figure out who Kelsi Cronkright really is deep down inside and whether I like it or not, this eating disorder will always be a part of me. That is real, that is genuine, and that is ME. If I could simply relax and share the truth of my story, then it would be beyond perfect or good enough.
Both meetings, with the patients and the parents, went well in my opinion. My nerves were higher with the patients, but I think that's normal. After all of the needless anxiety, I realized now more than ever, that this is what I am meant to do with my life- spread awareness and do my best to help others with similar struggles to my own.
That might have been the best day I've had in years. I have a much greater sense of motivation and self confidence than ever before. If I could sing or dance like the Sister Act 2 choir, I would be doing just that all day long, but I can't, so smiling will have to do for now.
Be real, be genuine, be YOU.