In my last post, I talked about my decision to be a part of the cardboard testimony ceremony at this year's NEDA Walk. Yesterday was the walk, and I had an amazing time. It started out as a cold and drizzly day, which made me wonder if anyone would show up for the walk at all. But to my surprise, there were lines of people waiting to register for the walk and give their donations to a worthy cause. It was so nice to see people come out despite the weather and support such a great cause. I loved seeing how much people care. I don't often feel like I'm around like-minded people when it comes to my recovery, so attending the NEDA Walk each year is especially powerful for me. It's one of the few times a year when I can be surrounded by people who support recovery, healthy living, and positive body image.
I spent a lot of time hanging out with the other people who were participating in the cardboard testimony ceremony. Like I said in the last post, most of them are quite a bit younger than me (which feels weird to say) and are in high school. I wasn't sure they would even want to talk to anyone outside of their own group, but they were sweet and they did. We talked about being nervous. We wondered aloud if we would cry when we got up on stage. When they kicked off the walk on stage, we all went together to watch on the side of the stage and cheer on a woman named Lori, who shared her experience with eating disorder recovery. Lori talked about life with Binge Eating Disorder. It was only about the second time I have ever heard someone discuss their personal experience with BED publicly. I can't tell you how affirming it is for me to hear someone else tell a story like mine. What it means for someone to stand up in public and confirm that, yes, this is real. She did an incredible job and was a braver woman than me. I applaud her for her amazing testimony.
Then, it was our turn. The music started, and we started walking out. I watched other people go before me. Heard the cheering and applause from the audience. And then, it was my turn. I was nervous, but not as nervous as I imagined I would be. Instead, I felt energized and a little shaky from the adrenaline. When I flipped my sign to the positive side, it filled me with joy to hear people applauding. For me. For my recovery. But also because they knew the power of what I had said. What all of us had said. I cried a little. I had no regrets about that moment, and was so grateful for it. I'm also grateful that it's on video and that I can share it with you.
P.S. Don't judge me for my crazy hair. It was really windy. Thank you. Also, if you're wondering which one I am...it's the same one as the thumbnail image. Of course. :p