Last week, I had the opportunity to speak at Sheena’s Place Annual Gala event.
This speech was just a few minutes long but had a big impact on me. I’ll back it up a bit to explain (this might get confusing).
When I started my new career as a speaker, my Keynote Speech was my story (stroke/brain surgery/recovery) and the lessons I’ve learned on how to tackle challenges that the audience can use in their professional and personal lives.
About 8 months into my new career, I decided my stroke was actually not my first difficult experience and decided I wanted to write a memoir.
It was only while my editor and I were writing the book that we realized how much of a role eating disorders had on my life – both my past and present!
I had brushed all those memories under the rug and had NEVER talked about them – ever! I actually spent a great deal of time making sure no one would ever find out about my struggles.
I’ve never been able to say (out loud) the word, a-n-o-r-e-x-i-a. When I had to discuss it with my editor, I’d get a huge ball in my throat and found it easier to say “eating disorders” than the word itself.
So, at Sheena’s Place Gala event, in front on 450 people, I said the one word I had avoided for so many years. It once was the “a-word” I hid for years but this time, I said it OUT-LOUD and felt SO proud. It was a huge relief – vocalizing 1 word!
When I got home that night, I burst into tears (happy tears) and on Friday, I felt confused as well as dazed. I really never understood how much energy hiding my past had taken on me.
While I wish I had the strength to be vulnerable, authentic and true to myself many years ago, I’m grateful that I’m slowly learning how to do that now, one small step at a time.