Honesty. Growth. Vulnerability

Wow, it's been over a year since I have blogged. I have many topics to write about- I jot them down each time I think of one in my notebook, but I share this today, because the time is right.

My story has always been with me and it wasn't until I received a call last week that made me wake up and realize it's ok to share. The lady on the other end of the line said, "we are calling from Melrose Center (heart sank and tears instantly welled up in my eyes) you checked in ten years ago and we are doing a follow up call with you to check in on your progress and current status." Choking on my tears I was able to update her with my growth, ability to use what they taught me, and my continued desire to remain healthy and strong for my why - my boys. We chatted for a few minutes and she ended it with, "You have so much to be proud of Jolene - we are so proud of you."

When you become vulnerable, growth is inevitable. When I was checked into Melrose Center (on January 31st, 2010) I thought I was at the lowest point of my life; little did I know that my time there was the foundation for becoming a better me, a better mom, a better educator, a more empathetic human and so much more.

My disorder began in college when I was told I was too fat to play on the volleyball team. Those words - that day - will never be forgotten. As if that wasn't devastating enough, I was then told I had an eating disorder when I returned from a summer of working hard to be the weight/size I thought would be accepted, but that certainly was not the case. The person I was dealing with was into control and head games, and that is exactly what I had acquired, an eating disorder in which I thought I had "control" of. There were times in the next few years when I thought I had "control" of my disorder, but all the while it controlled me. It controlled my worth, my thoughts, my relationships, my diet, my choices and ultimately my ability to make rational decisions for myself. It was always in the back of my mind and because of that my weight was a bit of a roller coaster and so was my life.

Because of my past , there will never be a scale in my home and most people may say, so you still have a problem? I do not. I also know that a scale will never define me and we all know we are more than aware there are other ways to know if you've gained or lost weight - less controlling ways.

In the past ten years, at all check ups and appointments I step on the scale backwards. I asked to not see the number and it was not until this year's appointment that I learned what the number was. I was first asked if I was okay as I had lost some weight from the previous year. I responded, "I am great, I feel stronger and healthier than ever and I have Eupraxia to thank for that and I suppose my hard work too." Most people think I am crazy to workout at 5 am, but I believe in the power of routine and I love mornings. I was also made aware of the number when I signed in to find out some test results, normally they omit the numbers, but I am sure out of routine they didn't. I wasn't mad at the number, For the first time I saw it as just that - a number. What defines me now is who I am.

An eating disorder does not have to define who you've been in the past, who you are in your present or who you will be in your future. I have achieved a lot in the past ten years.

In the past ten years:

-I have raised two fine, healthy, handsome young men - currently ages 11 and 13. I found a way to keep them in their "home" a place they never deserved to lose.

-I have moved on from unhappy relationships (both romantic and platonic) and allowed them to teach me much needed lessons about my worth and ability to figure things out on my own. I have also gained many authentic relationships.

-I have built and maintained our business - Scrappin' on the Ranch (it will be ten years in April) which many doomed me for failure from the start. It hasn't always been easy, I've had months and years I didn't know how I would make ends meet, but I/we did it.

-I obtained my administration degree as a single mom and I am currently in my 7th year as an assistant principal, the past five years in the same district as my boys have and will attend.

-I've worked on the weekends my boys are not home to pay for bills, save for vacations and provide them with the life they deserve.

-I've learned that self-sabotage will only ignite negative thoughts and that narcissists will never again control me.

Isn't it fitting that today begins National Eating Disorder Week? Today was a perfect day to share my story (there is more to it, but you get the general idea, I am a survivor) To my friends/readers who are struggling to reach out for help - it was the best thing I did. I wasn't proud that day, but I was also at a loss as to how to fix it on my own. I HAD and still HAVE so much to live for. Don't let a number define you, you are so much more than a number. Just like anything else in life, find your "why" and your "why" will give you the encouragement and drive to remain happy and healthy. A huge thank you to my boys and to my family who gave me the reason and the push to get healthy and remain healthy. #NEDAwareness #ComeAsYouAre

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