From Contributor: Vanessa Schon
“Have the courage to take risks. Go where there are no guarantees. Get out of your comfort zone, even if it means being uncomfortable. The road less traveled is sometimes fraught with barricades, bumps, and uncharted terrain. But it is on that road where your character is truly tested And have the courage to accept that you’re not perfect, nothing is and no one is — and that’s OK.”
What can I appreciate about my body today? I used to be able to list millions of things I did not like about my body – I could go on and on and on. Today, I could list millions and millions of things that I love and I’m grateful about my body.
Here are a few:
- I appreciate that today, thanks to recovery, I am healthy enough to think properly. I have nutrients in my brain, I can read, write, engage in interesting conversations, learn new things, study a career which I love. I don’t have to suffer simply to try to get through a paragraph of reading. I don’t spend hours crying in my room because I cannot get any work done because I cannot concentrate.
- I love having energy. I cannot describe how wonderful it feels to wake up every day with positive energy – ready and EXCITED to experience a new day. I have the energy to go school, to stay on time with my assignments. I have the energy to work and volunteer outside of class. I have the energy to hang out with friends – to laugh with them, to bond, to simply relax and enjoy my time with them. I have the energy to spend time with my family. My body is strong and healthy enough to exercise - to play, to jump, to run, to dance. I have the energy to LIVE and feel alive inside. I have the energy to participate in life.
- Traveling! I have done a bit of traveling recently. Being healthy has opened up so many doors, in so many different places for me, that I have gotten to travel to different parts of the world, see different things, explore, learn and immerse myself in different cultures.
~ Identify 3 things you are grateful for today and what is your part in them?
-Today, I am grateful for my family. I am grateful for my sisters especially, and my mom – who have been by my side and refused to let me give up on myself. I wouldn’t be able to be grateful had I not reached the healthy state that I am at right now.
When I was sick, I used to be seen as the “sick” daughter, the “sick” sister. I couldn’t relate to my mom like my sisters did, and I wasn’t close to my sisters. Today, I am closer than I have ever been with my mom. My journey of healing and growth helped us both strengthen our relationship.
I am part of my sister’s lives again. Again, I can PARTICIPATE in life. They have gotten to know me again, who I am, who Vanessa is… “Vanessa’s back!” is something I began to hear a lot from my family. They had missed her.
- I am grateful for the obstacles I faced, which I now know were amazing opportunities for growth. I felt like I was climbing up a dark mountain for so many years -a mountain where I slipped, fell, took a few steps up only to fall again.
There is a quote that says “It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”
As I climbed the mountain of recovery, I faced my biggest fears and insecurities head on. A lot of the times I just sat down because I was too scared to keep climbing, too scared of what was next, too scared if the view from the top was really going to be “all that worthwhile.”
After staring at the black turf for so long, I realized I had nothing to lose. I knew what the dark mountain was like but I did not know what was waiting for me at the top… so I decided to go for it. I made a promise to myself that I would keep climbing, no matter how long it would take me, or how many times I would fall and have to start climbing again, until I reached the top.
I put in to practice all of the tools I had acquired on my journey, asked for support, and went for it.
When I arrived at the top, the view was remarkable. I cannot describe the inner peace, strength and confidence that I gained in myself. This journey has given me so much - gratitude, love and joy. If I had never climbed that dark mountain, I would not have fallen many times. I would not have bruised myself, cried, and have wanted to give up. It would have been so easy if there wasn’t a dark ugly mountain in my path. I would have been able to see what was in front of me, I would have known what was next.
At the same time, had I not had this mountain in my path, I would have never climbed (gotten stronger), reached its peak and been able to experience all of the beauty that can only be experienced from the top.
Today, I am grateful for my life. I am grateful for my journey of recovery. I don’t regret having had an eating disorder. If I had never gotten sick, I would never have embarked on such a rewarding journey of healing, self-discovery, and empowerment. I am grateful for all of the people I have met on this journey, all of the warriors climbing their own mountains. I am grateful for everything that I have learned.
About the Contributor: Vanessa Schon is studying Psychology at the Universidad Anahuac in Cancun, Mexico. After embarking on a journey of healing and self-discovery that began 3 years ago, today she leads an active and healthy life. Her favorite activities include writing, reading, traveling, spending time with family and friends, trail running and horseback riding. Vanessa grew up in La Jolla, California, and later spent time in Florida and North Carolina. She currently enjoys living at home with her mom, stepdad, and one of her triplet sisters in Cancun.