When I look in the mirror every morning, that voice of my youth still whispers about my flaws.
I wrote those words in an essay, and in the margin, my writing mentor scribbled the words “Really? Every morning?”
Yes. Every morning.
That writing mentor was one of several whom I worked with as I was completing my MFA work in Creative Nonfiction. For my thesis, I was writing a memoir. It was at times painful, but with each word I wrote about my childhood, I felt like poison was being leeched from my veins.
Because, even though I had gone to counseling for years, I still viewed myself harshly. I tended to refer to myself by my last name when I was feeling particularly sorry for myself, like a gym teacher barking as I slogged by on the track.
“Your life wasn’t that bad, Campbell.”
“If you just had some discipline, Campbell, you wouldn’t be such a mess.”
“God, Campbell, just suck it up already.”
But writing my memoir, digging deep into those memories, I slowly, slowly, began to soften my view.
I saw a little girl hiding in the bathroom, eating cookies, feeling like she messed everything up.
A teenager who looked at the hipbones of her friends and felt like something was horribly broken with her own body.
A young adult who prepared elaborate meals for her friends–and ate McDonald’s cheeseburgers standing over the sink when she was alone.
And then, I began this journey. The very one I hope to chronicle on this blog. One of hope and healing and falling down and getting up again.
I hope my words will inspire you to take care of yourself. Not lose weight, not boil your life down to pants sizes and numbers on a scale (though, for sure, that is a fraction of the journey).
I want you to cook delicious food for yourself.
And go on walks in the sunset where your skin turns golden and then pink.
I want you to push yourself harder than you thought you could.
And accomplish more than you ever knew was possible.
I want you to think “If she can do it, I can do it.”
Because you can.