My Speech from the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) Walk
Hosted by the Tri-State Eating Disorder Resource Team
September 10, 2016
Glenwood Gardens, Cincinnati
Transcript of My Speech
Good morning! My name is Britt Melton and I am recovered from Binge Eating Disorder. Thank you so much for coming out this morning to walk. Whether you walk in memory of a loved one or in honor of a friend, your being here is important. Because it means that there is hope and hope is what I really want to talk to you about today.
In reflecting on my recovery, I determined that hope for me is a puzzle made up of five pieces, the first of which is…
A little over four years ago, I had moved back to Ohio with my husband and young son. We bought a beautiful house, I was driving a brand new car, my son was in private school and my husband had an amazing new job. I sat in this beautiful house and I cried. I cried because it was six months until my 40th birthday and I couldn’t bare the thought of one more diet. I cried because my mind and my heart raced and I didn’t think either would ever slow down. But mostly, I cried because I knew I was using food as a drug to get me through my seemingly perfect life and I didn’t know how to stop.
On July 20, 2012, I did the bravest thing I have ever done…I walked into my therapist’s office for the first time.
If you are new to recovery, I won’t stand here and tell you that it will be easy, because it won’t. Recovery is the curviest, bumpiest, detour laden road you will ever travel. There will be days when you are driving along with the top down, radio blasting, smile on your face and a road block will come out of nowhere. There will be days you swear the transmission is stuck in reverse and your foot is duct taped to the gas! But then one day, you will come around a curve and find a scenic overlook of a distant place where hope lives and you will be reminded that the good outweighs the bad and that this is a fight worth fighting, that you are worth fighting for. So you will pull back onto the road, a little more cautiously this time, and you will keep driving.
About 6 months into my recovery I walked into my first yoga class. Two things happened that day: first, I found what my body had been longing for on my mat. I finally understood what my therapist meant by “movement for the joy of movement.” On my mat, I can forget about the world around me and truly connect mind, body and soul. The second thing I found, was my people. Through yoga, I found like-minded, genuine women all on similar searches for a little peace in their lives. This brings me to my second puzzle piece…FIND YOUR TRIBE! Seek out those who lift you up, who light you up, who fill you with love. This life is too short to waste on anything less. My tribe is made up of these women, of my amazing husband and my son, my therapist who I count as one of the greatest blessings in my life and all the people who inspire me - the family, friends, authors, speakers, do-gooders, and recovery workers.
18 months into recovery, I sat in front of my computer scared to death to hit the publish button on a blog telling my story to the world. On January 1, 2014, I started Oh, How She Blooms and announced my eating disorder to the universe…or at least anyone with an internet connection and a desire to read a girl’s blog about her eating disorder. I kept telling myself that if i could just help one person to not feel alone in their struggle, than my eating disorder would have served a higher purpose. By starting my blog, I discovered the third piece of the puzzle…SPEAK YOUR TRUTH!
My truth may sound similar to yours, it may not. But the beauty of your truth is that it is yours and yours alone. So when you strive to look like the girl on the magazine cover or act like a perfect child, you will always fail, because there is no such thing as perfection. And by trying to be perfect, you are denying the world the gift of you.
Part of discovering your true authentic self is remembering, or maybe figuring out for the very first time, what really makes you happy. The fourth puzzle piece is SEEK JOY! Take time to notice what makes your heart sing. For me it is yoga, dance, music, photography, traveling, and the ocean.
This brings me to the final piece of the recovery puzzle which is to simply SHOW UP! The brilliant author Brené Brown is part of my tribe, whether she wants to be or not! Her books are extraordinary. In her book, Daring Greatly, she includes this quote from Theodore Roosevelt:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
So remember that by showing up today, you are daring greatly. It does not matter how much victory or how much loss is in your life right now. The only thing that matters is that you are in the arena. Hope lives in the arena. And those who have hope, have everything.