As I sit in the airport and reflect on this extraordinary trip, my heart is filled with gratitude and inspiration. I plan to recap the entire trip in blog form soon, but I need more time to process the intense feelings that came along with such an experience. However, there is something urging my fingers to type away in this moment.
Throughout the duration of my trip there was a constant: Christy, my former therapist at the Carolina House. I am proud to be her former patient and beyond honored to have her sit and participate in SMASH events. From sponsorship to being a panelists to coming to hear me speak at St. Mary’s high school this morning, she has truly gone above and beyond in supporting me and my endeavors. She always has gone above and beyond, just as she does with so many of her patients. She is the face of why people are in such a difficult field. Christy wholeheartedly believes in the power of hope and the possibility of recovery. She is making a difference in so many lives each and every day.
Yesterday, during the SMASH event at the Carolina House, I got the unique opportunity to watch from an outsider’s perspective how Christy interacted with her patients. It was surreal to watch on. I quietly observed as she cared and supported her patients through the emotions that came up with the scale smash. You could see the genuine compassion in her heart as she took the time to stand beside each patient, checking in on how they were doing. I found myself beaming with gratitude. Grateful that people like Christy exist and work so tirelessly to help those suffering find healing and peace within themselves again. Working in the eating disorder field is not a glamorous one. Professionals, like Christy, are not in the field for money or fame, they are in it because they care and know that hope and healing exist.
The intense emotional release the patients were having on the scales yesterday was not lost on me or on anyone looking on for that matter. It was difficult to see my Carolina House sisters express the same pain and anger I felt just a few short years ago. I snuck off to find solace in the quiet corner of the porch, trying to compose myself as I witnessed the raw anger and emotions with every smash of the scale. Christy spied me standing alone in the corner. In true Christy form, she came over to put a loving arm on my back as she saw the emotional tears stream down my face. We stood together in silence. No words were needed. I knew she was still in my corner just like she had been for me many years ago.
This morning as I shared my story of healing and hope with the women of St. Mary’s, there was Christy, front and center. It was beyond a full circle moment to have her witness me ‘at work,’ but moreover to see the pay it forward promise I made unfold before her eyes. Christy always (always) tells me how proud she is of me, but little does she know how proud I am to simply know her. I can’t imagine how much courage and inner-strength it takes to not only do her job, but to do it so well. It makes me proud to say I know such a courageous and outstanding human being by name.
We all have people in our corner, whether we want them there or not. Take a look at the people in your life. Thank them and let your heart be open to accepting their support and love. Always be willing to let new folks in your corner because you never know who might walk over and change your life forever.
I’m so glad Christy walked into my corner all those years ago and forever grateful she has stayed there ever since.
With love and gratitude.