The first Saturday in May. My favorite day of the year. Girls on the Run 5k! I was out the door before sunrise, locked and loaded with everything ‘She-Power’. Sparkle headbands, braided pigtails, crazy running pants and of course a tie-dye one of a kind GOTR T-shirt. Bring it. I was ready to GEAUX. But no matter how prepared I was with glitter and pink, nothing ever quite prepares me for the magic that is Girls on the Run of South Louisiana. To be quite honest, it is difficult to put into words.
I’ve always been ‘that’ girl who tries to sneak her way on stage to steal a drumstick, play the cowbell or sing with the band. My stage glory never lasted long since I was always bounced off by security. Deep down, I just knew there was a stage for me, but I never found it…until now. The Girls on the Run stage…my mecca. The place I was meant to be. The platform that gives me the permission and freedom to shine. Until recovery, there were few times in life where I could really let my inner sparkle shine. My beloved Camp Green Cove was the only place growing up I could truly own my sparkle. My eating disorder and lack of confidence made it very difficult for me to really shine and be me. I was always conforming and dulling that sparkle within.
A GOTR 5K makes you stop and pinch yourself because it feels like you’re floating in a glittery dream. Standing on the Girls on the Run stage Saturday, looking out over the thousands of racers and supporters, it was impossible to contain my sparkle. It was bursting out of me. I stood beside my fellow Girls on the Run Board of Directors and I could not stop my happy feet from dancing all over the stage. For the first time, I cared less that there were people I knew out there seeing me be silly and fun. Because I knew in my heart they were smiling and having fun too, energized and buzzing from a pink high. Isn’t that what Girls on the Run is all about? Isn’t that what life is about? Not only does this organization give me the freedom to shine and sparkle, it gives millions of girls across the country to own their inner sparkle – and that is simply magical.
As I left the Girls on the Run race on Saturday, my heart and spirit were so full of joy I could hardly sit still. Saturday evening we had a formal event at my husband’s place of work. With this black tie event, the old McCall (the ED) would have been in full panic/numb out mode. My day would have been planned to the minute, my entire week would have been planned and properly mapped out in terms of food, exercise and outfits. This week was SO different. This was the NEW McCall…and damn I like her. I realize it has been two years since I left treatment, but here is what you might not realize: Eating Disorders don’t just ‘go away’ post treatment. I’ve had to work REALLY hard to get to where I am today. It has taken so long (a lot longer than I ever anticipated) for my wounds of the past to heal…and many wounds still have some closing up to do. So when days like Saturday happen, well I don’t think life can get any sweeter.
Recovery is a magical thing and it is always bringing me new experiences. I returned home to rest a bit before my the night’s gala. I showered, napped, painted my nails and just took my time primping for the evening…all the while enjoying myself along the way. As I slipped into my gorgeous dress, I could not help but smile. It wasn’t the beautiful couture dress nor the fancy hair or make up, it was the joy and confidence in my spirit that made me grin ear to ear. This is a yearly event. And each year I have gone, my nerves were always fried, I was tired, malnourished and simply lacked the confidence to stand tall and let my inner sparkle shine. Not the case this year. There was no ED nor person that could stop me from shining. I was happy to my core. Joy radiated from my soul and it felt extraordinary. I think I floated into that room Saturday night thanks to the Girls on the Run sparkle high and to the beauty that is recovery.
My life is simply surreal these days. It isn’t perfect, nor do I strive to make it that way. I still struggle and have bad days, but I am gentle to my spirit on those days. Today, I stand strong and I know who I am. I no longer try to conform to anyone else’s standards or expectations. My life is MINE…and I am in love with it. I am in absolute love with the person I have finally discovered within. I am in love with my inner sparkle and beyond grateful to my Girls on the Run family for helping me cultivate its shine.