What do you think has been the biggest influence in becoming happy with who you are?
My mother is my biggest influence in becoming happy. As a teenager through high school I struggled emotionally and mentally to accept who I was and what I looked like. I had a large nose and got teased for it a lot, and could somehow never see the beauty in myself because of this one body part. My mom always makes sure I feel better when I’m down and gives the best advice that benefits my happiness. Having my mother see me upset upsets her, and she is the last person on earth I would want to be feeling down.
How do you see yourself in the world?
I see myself as a positive influence. Sure I’m not a perfect person, but I love to give advice and make others feel good. I get joy out making someone smile after they’ve been crying, or cheering someone up at work, or offering my sympathy and kind words to someone. Life’s hard and can be so mean, why would I make it harder on someone else?
What is your fatal flaw?
This is so Cliché, but I would say caring too much is my fatal flaw. In past friendships and relationships I’m usually the person who puts in the most effort and the most love, and I end up getting hurt because I feel like I have all these emotions and feelings towards this person so I assume they feel the same when they don’t.
What is the most important thing women do for each other?
Women need to learn to stop body shaming. Women are supposed to build each other up to be strong powerful human beings and instead we are judging, bullying, body shaming, and putting each other
down as competition. There are already so many unreal expectations about looks, attitude, and ideal weight of women in this century; instead of succumbing to the pressure of society we should start accepting women for who they really are and who they really want to be.
What are the defining traits of a woman?
Unfortunately in society I think women are defined by their weight, how they dress, and how much money they make. Lets face it, in this day in age if you’re skinny and pretty you are treated differently than those who are curvy or larger, no matter your education, income, or personality. Looks run the world and personality comes second to most.
What are your defining traits?
I think my defining traits are the way I speak to people, my laugh, my smile, and my eyes. I snort when I laugh and got my dads really cool blue eyes.
What do you wish you were more of?
I wish I were more of a stronger person. I tend to let people walk all over me. I’m slowly and surely getting better as recognizing this, but need to learn how to stand up for myself.
What’s the worst thing the media has done for you?
I think the worst thing the media taught me was that being skinny is the best thing that’s ever going to happen to you, because it’s a lie. I starved myself and lost 40 pounds, getting down to 75 pounds gaining back the forty and then some. I’ve never been healthier or happier, and I’m not stick thin. Muscles are way more appealing to me.
What’s the best thing the media has done for you?
As much as the media distorts your perception of what is “perfect” and “Beautiful”, It also taught me that not even the girls in the magazines look like the girls in the magazines. Even famous people have cellulite, stretch marks, and pimples.
If you could change something in your past what would it be? Why? How do you think it would change things now?
In high school I always believed that your self worth was based on the amount of boys who liked you or the amount of likes you got on a photo. I wish I could have realized that I’m worth more than those things. I think I would have been a lot more confident and stronger if I had realized this sooner. I could have avoided a few tears and a few bouts of low confidence.
Advice you would have given yourself in the past:
No matter what you think of yourself you’re stronger mentally and physically than you think. Everything that you think is the end of the world won’t matter a few years from now. Never ever choose a boy over your friends, those girls have been there for you for years, don’t toss them aside for someone you’ve known for a few months.
Advice you think you will need in the future:
Pick up a book and fucking study. You know what you want to do, you’re driven, you’re intelligent, and you can accomplish your goals if you try hard enough. GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER.
Advice you would give yourself now:
You need to learn to relax, not everything needs to be stressed over and worried about. You’re doing great, don’t let anyone put you down for dropping out of school. It wasn’t the right place, and you were not okay mentally.
What are, in your opinion, the most important things to life? How have you achieved or are trying to achieve these things?
I think having a good relationship with your family is extremely important because at the end of the day they’re all you’ve got. I am lucky enough to have a great relationship with my family, and I can always count on them for support, love and advice. We have a lot of laughs together.
Do you feel like you know what you’re doing/that you have a path?
I know what I want to do 100%, it’s just down to actually doing what it takes to achieve it. Educational life choices are hard to commit to because at this age nobody really knows what they fully want to do. I don’t believe were experienced enough/ have lived enough to make these choices at such a young age.
Have you always known what you wanted to do?
Since grade 11 I wanted to become a counselor/ social worker. From a young age I’ve always been the friend to give advice and answer phone calls at midnight from crying friends, coxing them till they fall asleep. I guess I’m a very empathetic person and I just want to help the people who can’t help themselves, or don’t necessarily know how to.
Whats been the most challenging obstacle to over come?
My eating disorder was the hardest thing so far in my life that I’ve ever had to deal with. It consumed me for two and a half years nearly killing me. Being able to say that I’ve over come something so dangerous and scary makes me feel very proud and very honoured.
What inspires you/Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration all around me. Whether it’s quotes, friends, family, customers at work, pictures; I always seem to be inspired by something or someone for different reasons.
What do you see for the future? How would you like to be a part of it?
I would love to see the future more educated about mental health. The suicide and depression rates have been increasing so much over the past few years, and I would love to see people get the help they need before they make a permanent decision. So many people die young and leave loved ones behind because they don’t see another way to deal with their pain, or illness or situations. I want people to be able to see that there is a positive life beyond that if they’re willing to try things and get help.
What is your greatest personal achievement?
Being able to love myself and be confident is a very big personal achievement for me. For as long as I could remember I was the least confident and negative person you’d ever meet, But I’ve not started to accept myself and love myself for who I am and what I look like. If people don’t like me they don’t like me, I’m not going to change who I am to please other people.
Would you consider yourself successful or inspiring?
I would consider myself successful in my recovery. Everybody relapses, relapsing is normal, and It took me a really long time to realize that I needed to actually WANT recovery to be able to survive. I wouldn’t consider those unsuccessful, I would think of them as growing opportunities. Despite my relapses I have not counted a calorie, over exercised or purposely restricted any calories in 2.5 years, which is extremely gratifying for me because those things used to consume me.
Who would you like to see celebrated?
My brother Brendan, although he can act like an arrogant teenager at times, he has such big dreams and big ambitions and goes out of his way to get a smile out of anyone. Brendan is a very quiet boy and doesn’t share a lot of personal things with our family, so if anything I would hope he would feel comfortable talking to me if a situation were to ever arise where he needed help. I would celebrate him because when I look at him I see joy, his smile is comforting and safe.
What does your work mean for you? What does it embody?
Right now I’m a Starbucks Barista, but I hope to help youth and adults with mental health issues, specializing in eating disorders. A lot of people don’t think they’re sick enough or worthy enough of treatment, and I just want to help people see that they’re worth so much more than they think. That there’s a life beyond their disorder.