Updated: Feb 22, 2019
I feel like I have not been very open and honest recently because of my fear of disappointing people. All my life, I felt like so many expectations were placed on me, and I was striving to please others and those expectations. Ultimately, I was striving for perfection, but not perfection for me, perfection for someone else. College has been a journey that has begun to change that perspective for me. I realized that there is no perfection (duh). We can chose strive for something greater, often leading to disappointment or defeat when we don't reach that state of perfection, or try to find satisfaction in the talents, gifts, and life we have been given. Satisfaction fills your life with peace. Everyone's path looks different. Everyone's life is different. It's a chose your own adventure book, and the choice is your's and only your's.
I don't blame others for the choices I've made out of appeasement. But after 21 years of it, I am exhausted, and I don't want to feel like I have to strive to please others anymore. So that brings me to my point: I heard God's voice.
No, like really. I heard him speak to me loud and clear. And I was terrified. And I was at peace. Everyone hears Him speaking to you and through you in different ways. Maybe it's a rain drop on your cheek when the sun is shinning. Maybe its the sensation of a weight being lifted off your shoulders. Maybe it's someone else speaking to you, and you just know it's Him. But I heard Him, and call me crazy, but like I said, I'm done with trying to please you. So buckle up because there is no smooth way to tell you this story.
I changed majors. Whooa. I know... I have danced since I was 3 years old. At age 12, I asked my dad "What would you do if I told you that I didn't want to dance any more?" and he responded "well, I would be very sad." That was sign #1 from the Lord that I blatantly ignored. I auditioned for OCU in October of 2015. I received a letter back from them telling me that I'm not a Dance Major, but I could be an Entertainment Business Major. I cried for days. I was angry. I knew it wasn't because I wasn't talented. I knew it was something else, and two little numbers at the bottom of that rejection letter reminded me constantly why I wasn't enough for them. Or maybe it was that I was too much. Those two little numbers, engraved in my brain forever, served as the trigger for a three-year-long eating disorder.
In the fall of 2016, I started school at OCU, I joined a sorority in which you receive a "big" sis. My big was involved in the Miss Oklahoma Organization, and I always had a tickle in the back of my mind that I wanted to compete. And so it began. Each contestant chooses a social impact in which they want to make a difference. I always struggled with being "enough", and I wanted to help share love and positivity with others. My platform was titled "L.O.V.E.--Love Others, Value Encouragement." It took me a while to realize that I was hiding the truth behind my social impact, because I was hiding the truth from myself: I have an eating disorder. So this past summer, I changed my social impact to Eating Disorder Awareness. I want to help others learn about the symptoms and triggers of eating disorders, aid them in recovery, and help promote a positive body image in all men and women. It became my mission. I started a dress drive called Dreams with Seams that is all about promoting confidence and worth in young women. I speak in schools about treating ourselves and others with kindness. I am a part of the Oklahoma Eating Disorders Association so I can branch my impact even further. And you know what, being able to help others and encourage others, I LOVE it.
Through all of this, I found something else that I am horrible at: asking for help. So finally, at church one day, I felt God calling me to go up and be prayed for. And when I did, He connected me with a Godly woman in my church who struggled with an eating disorder as well. He's got some funny plans like that sometimes. I confided in her, but I also realized that I needed to seek out help. And so I did. I still go see a therapist, and quite honestly, I encourage just about everyone to. We are all broken in some capacity, but your brokenness doesn't have to define you.
While speaking to a therapist, I had an epiphany: I'm sinning. Yes, I was sinning against the beautiful body that God gave me, but I was also sinning because I was not living out the calling that God had for me. I was David, trying to fight Goliath in Solomon's armor, when all I was suppose to be using was a sling shot. I wasn't called to be a professional dancer. And everything started falling into place. It was like my eyes that were closed for so long were opened, and a purpose was revealed to me.
I called my dad, and it was like Deja Vu from when I was 12.
"Dad, I don't want to dance. And I think you've always known that. I think you have always realized that deep down, that would never bring me the greatest happiness. Dad, I want to change majors to Psychology."
I could hear the confusion in the silence on the other end of the phone. I was terrified in that moment, but when those words were spoken, the greatest sense of freedom filled my spirit. I was terrified that I would disappoint my parents and all the money, time, and energy they spent on 18 years of dance training. I was terrified to tell my dance teacher who fully believed that I could make it to Broadway. I was scared to tell the Associate Dean of the Dance School who had been my adviser and biggest advocate since the first day I walked on OCU's campus. But I knew that this was God's calling for me: my social impact for pageants was my life's mission. I am called to become a therapist to help those who are struggling with eating disorders.
It's funny how God reveals to you his plans in the right moments at the right time, and all the things that happened in your life seem crystal clear. I was supposed to audition for OCU and not make it as a dance major. I was supposed to start competing in the Miss Oklahoma Organization to realize the impact I can make. I was supposed to move in with a Psych major to make me see that this is possible. Some people think that am making a big mistake. Some people might be disappointed in me. And you know what, if they are, I'm disappointed in them for not seeing and loving me for me. But I know more than anything, that the ones who love me have showed me that they have.
I cannot express to you the great sense of peace and joy I have found when I made this decision, but I know that my best friends can. I cannot express to you the sense of purpose I have for my life now. I drive to campus to sit in a behavioral statistics class (I know statistics...), but I am so eager and excited to learn. I'm not doing this because it will be easy. And quite honestly, I think the 5 more years of school I have is going to be a challenge, but it will be 111% worth it because it's what God has called me to do.
Before sitting down to write this post, I contemplated it because I was scared. It goes back to the fear of disappointing people. But today, for some reason, I felt like I needed to. Today is my day to share. You have a day too. Maybe it's today, maybe it's tomorrow, maybe it's two years down the road. But confide in someone your struggles. Confide in someone you're greatest achievements. Confide in someone what God is doing in your life. And if you're scared that you'll lose your cheerleaders, don't worry about it, because you just gained your biggest cheerleader right here (I'll give you one guess who it is...)