On September 18th, I have scheduled my first public speaking engagement. This will take place in the ballroom at the University of South Florida for Kappa Delta's National Women's Friendship Day celebration. I would love any and all feedback from my readers :)
My very first Eating to Live, Not the Alternative speech:
Did you know that approx 8 million people suffer from eating disorders? Did you know that 86% of women who suffer from an eating disorder claim it’s onset by age 20. Did you know that as many as 20% of college women suffer from bulimia? Did you know that eating disorders are the deadliest of ALL psychiatric illnesses?
-How many people in this room know of someone who suffers or has suffered from an eating disorder?
The fact is that everyone in this room is highly likely to personally know of someone who suffers or has suffered from an eating disorder. The purpose of my project, Eating to Live, Not the Alternative, is to promote positive body image and the prevention of eating disorders through education and awareness.
The societal based thin-ideal has taken it’s toll on our standard of existence. In media, a woman’s worth is portrayed as being dependent on their appearance. The standard of appearance lies in the perfection-seeking ideal that achieving and maintaining thin is the only way to be in. Little do women and girls growing up today know, the images they see in media are a facade. Media images are photo-shopped and airbrushed. Without an educated awareness of media’s unrealistic body-perfect ideals, women in our Western society are likely to determine themselves as unworthy and not good enough unless they achieve this thin-ideal.
As women in today’s perfection-seeking society, I urge every one of you to take serious note of the prevalence of such disorders. The sad but true fact is that your fellow peer or sorority sister may be suffering in silence. This silent suffering is all too common and is what I find to be the scariest element of eating disorders. Even at the worst of times, a disordered eater can fake it to make it. During the lowest and shameful of days, a disordered eater can put on a show and fool a crowd. All the while, they will be suffering in silence.
During my tenure as a Delta Eta KD lady, I, too, suffered in silence. There were less than a handful of my sisters who truly knew anything about my battle with poor body image and disordered eating. My suffering led me into a trail of depression. I was depressed and full of shame. All I wanted to do was isolate myself. If it wasn’t for my membership in Kappa Delta, I probably would have done so... Without the love and undying acceptance of my sisters, I don’t know if I would have made it. I am certain I wouldn’t be here to speak with you today.
Because of my involvement in KD, I had to face the world and face my sisters. Coming to chapter meetings and socials, being involved with the executive board and just simply coming to hang out and bond with my sisters was, at times, the only thing that motivated me to get up and get dressed, go out and face the world. At any time, on any day--good or bad--I could come into the company of my sisters and feel acceptance through love and true unfailing friendship. This friendship and sisterhood kept my head above water. Being a member of the Delta Eta chapter of Kappa Delta saved my life.
The presence of my sorority sister’s truly saved my life. I know that the love and influence of my Kappa Delta sisters is the one thing I can honestly say put a smile on my face or pride in my heart at a time where I may have otherwise felt hopeless and numb. Today I can stand here and proclaim that, without my sisters, I do not know where I would be.
Because we are here in celebration of Kappa Delta’s National Women’s Friendship day, I want to encourage every woman to be mindfully aware of what their mere presence in another woman’s life can truly mean. Because you, too, could be unknowingly saving another woman’s life. Never underestimate the power of friendship and sisterhood.
It took me years to change my irrational thoughts and beliefs regarding my body. I am standing here in front of you today as a recovered disordered eater. Today I can stand proud and say, I am a phenomenal woman. I am a woman who is in acceptance of myself and my body. Recovery from eating disorders is possible. As a woman, always remember, your weight is NOT your worth. As a woman, you are entirely too intricate and incredible and unique to be judged, labeled or defined by a number on a scale or an image in a mirror. Your worth goes way beyond what man-made items can measure or reflect. Your worth is beyond that... you are beyond that.