Thanks to Brittany Rouille for sharing her dream with me (and you)! Take a moment to get inspired by her words. And please share your dream with us by commenting on the blog. One person will be randomly selected from the comments below to win a signed copy of my latest book, Almost Anorexic. My coauthor, Jennifer J. Thomas, Ph.D., and I talk about the power of dreaming within the book!
When I first started recovery, I had no idea who I was, what I liked, or what I wanted to do in life. I had spent so much time and energy counting calories, over exercising, and trying to hide and numb out my pain that I had forgotten how to dream. I was stuck in a dreamless state, and though I didn’t know how I was going to do it, I knew I had to break free.
Early on in my recovery, I developed a love for journaling. It was the one safe place I could go to feel heard. I didn’t have to worry about feeling like an inconvenience; I didn’t have to worry about managing anyone else’s feelings. With my journal, I learned how to take off my mask and allow myself to be real and honest. This was when I met myself for the first time.
As I became more and more invested in my recovery, I got more and more creative with the different coping tools I would try. Soon I was painting, spending more time in nature, trying out interpretive dance classes, drawing, learning to sew, volunteering, falling in love with yoga, and dare I say it: I was dreaming. I knew that if I was going to stay on my path toward a full recovery, I needed to believe that there was a place and a purpose for me. I needed to believe that I was getting better for something BIG.
As I continued to gain strength, my dreams got bigger. I ended up starting the Body Acceptance Movement with a fantastic group of girls at the University of Florida. Our mission was to help raise eating disorder awareness and promote body acceptance on our campus. We ended up winning the “Best New Student Organization of the Year” award, and over three years later, the Body Acceptance Movement is still going strong.
After graduating college, I knew I needed a big change. I needed to be uprooted and uplifted, so I could practice trusting myself, my life, the universe, and my dreams. At this time, I was in a relationship with a wonderful man, and due to my fear of abandonment, I was scared that he would leave me if I made a decision he didn’t like. Despite my fears, I dreamed and prayed that our next step would be together and that we both would find exactly what we needed. Two months later, we moved to Hollywood, California, with nothing planned—just dreams of making great things happen.
Since living in Hollywood, I have worked as a resident assistant, intake and aftercare coordinator, and yoga Instructor at an eating disorder recovery center. I have taken acting classes, been in a music video, started an adventure blog, and developed a love for cooking. I have done things that I never would have dreamed of doing in the beginning of my recovery, because I was too afraid of thinking big and feeling the pain of being let down by my big ideas.
You know that term, “Living the Dream?” For the longest time, being recovered was my dream. I knew that once I got there, I would have the room and strength to make my other dreams come true—those dreams that made me feel like I was recovering for something big.
So what is my big dream you ask? Well, nowadays, I focus on ways I can help encourage others to give themselves the gift of recovery. I have a dream to one day publish my journal pages into a beautiful, real and powerful book that will illustrate my journey towards recovery in hopes of encouraging others to begin or continue on their own journey. I have a dream that I will one day open a little café where I can make and share nourishing foods, art, and moments with others. I have a dream that my adventure blog will blossom and that I will be able to create adventure trips, allowing others to experience the freedom and beauty that nature always offers us. I have a dream that life will be this glorious experience, full of love, sharing deep moments with others and free of the need to be, act, or dream small.
Believe in your big dreams, fight for them, learn from them, allow them to change and develop over time. Recovering from an eating disorder may be the most difficult thing one ever experiences in their lifetime. With that being said, having big dreams requires having an even bigger faith, and with faith, anything is possible. This is what kept and still keeps me on the incredible path of recovery that I am on today.
In strength and optimism,