Friday, April 21, 2017

The Struggle.


I have had these thoughts running through my head so many times and have been trying to find the words to type it out so it makes sense to those who may read this. Maybe only those who have been through an eating disorder will understand or maybe not. I’m not really sure. I find myself struggling and thought I would take a moment to be vulnerable. Show everyone I am human. I am not perfect and there are days that I struggle.  


Yes, I overcame an eating disorder and I am proud to say that. What people don’t understand sometimes is that it can be hard some days. There are times when I am down on myself and these thoughts of how I don’t have the "perfect body", I should workout more, or eat less run through my mind… but then I have to consciously stop myself… I stop and make the choice to be healthy and love myself. I make the choice to keep following the road I am on to be the best version of myself that I can be.


I have been working out and eating healthy and you may think this is easy for me but what you don’t know is how hard it can be to find balance sometimes. When I am working out there are days when I have to consciously tell myself that what I am doing is okay because I ate today and I am doing this to be healthy and fit. Cutting out junk food and sweets can be hard because that’s how my eating disorder started back in high school. Now, I don’t deprive myself from all of the good stuff (Sorry Rita). One reason I don’t is because IT’S GOOD and the other reason is, it can be scary. When I notice myself saying “I shouldn’t eat that” in my thoughts, it takes me back to my eating disorder. There is a difference though, I am saying this about fast food, Oreos, candy etc...foods that don’t help on the road to fitness! Before it was every single meal. There is this balance between knowing that what I am doing is to become fit in a healthy way and knowing I am not taking it too far.


Then there’s the people who make me question myself and what I am doing. I ran somewhere the other day and when I walked in the door, someone made the comment “you don’t need to run or workout, you’re already thin”. Last week, I was at the gym and had two people say “Why are you here?!” like I didn’t belong in the gym. These comments can really affect someone and their fitness journey. It’s definitely affected mine! It makes me question myself like, “Wait, I am doing this healthy lifestyle thing right?” or “Should I not be working out?”, “Are other people at the gym thinking the same thing about me?”. Yes, I may be naturally thin but I am trying to make the right choices to be a healthier and happier version of myself. I am on this journey to be fit and overall, feel better physically and emotionally each day. I have to be confident in myself and the choices I am making each day regardless of the comments people say! I am confident! 

I refuse to stop making the choice. I will keep the balance. I am going to stay confident.

Find the Beauty,
Johannah Michale

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Those "Dang Onions"

Helloooo... hello,

       So it has been a quick sec since I last blogged but that’s okay, I am here now and super excited about it! I thought I would use this blog as a way to share what I have been up to and where I am in life at this very moment. I am currently sitting at my desk in the 6th grade classroom where I am students teachers after a long day of watching my students take the Iowa Assessments....sounds fun right?

       All jokes aside, I am over halfway through my student teaching experience. Crazy to think about it but life is happening. It's happening real fast. To keep things (somewhat) short, I will start in January. I was at Kalona Elementary with 25 kindergarteners and let me tell you, that was a very eye opening experience to say the least. They impacted my teaching abilities don’t get me wrong, but it was so much more than that. Those 25 kindergarteners influenced my life in the most positive way, I learned more about myself than I ever thought possible.  

       I started out using the skills and knowledge I learned at Iowa State as best as I could, but one thing I learned is that it is impossible to teach someone classroom management in a college classroom. It was the one thing I was most nervous about walking into a classroom. Needless to say, those 25 students gave me a run for my money and tested my patience. There were days I was discouraged and frustrated. There were days where I thought I was invisible… (seriously… some days, I thought about wearing the caution yellow vest used for recess all day to keep these kids’ attention.) Putting all of that aside, there was one thing that NEVER happened. I never wanted to stay home. Those kids impacted my life so greatly that I wanted to come to school every day to see them. My cooperating teacher, Mrs. Billups reminded me that every day is a new day; that tomorrow everything that happened today won’t matter. When I learned this and kept this mentality, I woke up happy and couldn’t wait to see and hear the funny things my students would do that day J I miss those kids more than I ever thought possible.

       Moving into my 2nd 8 weeks of student teaching, I started at the Washington Middle School in March. I currently have 3 weeks left here and then I will graduate in May. (Whoa… I have three weeks of college left. Yikes.) I am in 6th Grade Social Studies with a wonderful cooperating teacher. This placement is exciting because I am able to put my social studies endorsement to use. My goal when specializing in Social Studies was to make it more exciting for students and I feel like I have done that (at least I think I have!). These students have also been challenging at times, but I am able to build stronger relationships with them, plus use a little favorite.  

        I have continuously been looking for jobs and applying to numerous places. I recently found out I will be the new Washington High School Dance team coach for the 2017-2018 school year. Super pumped about this and excited to put my dance abilities to use! Better yet, I received a phone call yesterday that I was chosen for an interview for a teaching position I applied for. I never realized how excited I would be when this happened! It was reassurance that my resume stuck out and someone was interested in me and my abilities as an educator. It also confirmed that schools have received my paperwork through Teachiowa too…. all the teachers out there, you know the struggle!

       In addition to all of this, I am also competing for Miss Iowa this coming June! I am super excited for this year and look forward to the week with all of the other contestants. My platform is same as the last two years, Find the Beauty: Anorexia Nervosa and Prevention. This may be my platform for Miss Iowa but it is beyond that. Find the Beauty is an everyday platform and reminder to myself and everyone to look for the beauty in each and every day. I have had numerous encounters with people who have been affected by an eating disorder or struggle. I was just recently paired with a student to discuss what they are going through as I went through the same thing. I have also been working very closely with the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA). Though I cannot attend the Iowa City, NEDA walk this year I have been helping as much I can! Currently looking for raffle prizes, so if you know someone willing to donate a prize…J I will be coordinating a 3rd party event to raise money as well, stay tuned!

       I am  raising money for the Children’s Miracle Network, one of my favorites! Having a niece and nephew both battling Congenital Disorder of Glycosylation (CDG) type 1 they make many visits to the children's hospital and their chances for extended stays there are increased as well.  The Children’s Miracle Network supports the research, training, equipment and uncompensated care for them and all the miracle children who need them. Having this personal connection really motivates me to obtain the Children’s Miracle Maker Award for the 3 year in a row this year! I will be having two fundraisers in the coming months, be on the look out and consider making a donation, any amount helps!

       Okay… So I think I touched base on almost everything, so there is my life in a nutshell. There are days when we get frustrated and stressed. Certain situations give us a run for our money but we have to remember to Find the Beauty. Embrace those little moments like getting an interview or that kid still (fake) crying because of those “dang onions” that were on her pizza for dinner the night before. ß yes, that happened. These are the moments I live for and that keep me going. What about you?

Have you found the beauty today?


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Chemo Buddy.

Hi there,
   You may have read one of my previous posts called "I Can Relate". If not that is okay, this is just somewhat of a follow up, so you may want to refer back and read that one quick :) The first paragraph talked about my mom being a breast cancer survivor, so today I am going to go into further detail about this story.
   At a young age, when I was in preschool my mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. At this age, I don't believe I knew the extent of the situation or what was actually going on. I don't remember everything as I was very young, but there are a few things that I do remember and hold near and dear to my heart.
   You may not believe me when I say this, but I remember the exact spot where my mom was standing when she grabbed ahold of her chest and gasped for air. My dad proceeded to ask her what was wrong and that's when my mom said, "I keep having this sharp pains in my chest". Now why I remember this moment, I am not sure but I also remember getting some sort of feeling as if my mom was in for something that wouldn't be fun. The stories and days in between are grey and fuzzy... I don't remember much but I also don't want to go into too much detail for the sake of my mom.
   I remember missing out dance and even some school. It was hard for my mom to take me to preschool and take part in chemo at the same time, so those days, I went with her. I remember knowing the doctors and them knowing me by name. I remember the purple popsicles that split into two, that my mom and myself would share. I remember spending those days barricaded in by the hospital curtain away from the rest of the world with just my mom. One of my greatest memories was when I went with my mom to a follow up appointment years later of being cancer free and one of the nurses remembered me. None of these memories really sank in until I became older and realized what was actually going on during this time and those days with my mom.
   As I got into high school, my mom wrote me a letter for a retreat I went to called COR (Christ in Others Retreat). In that letter she told me I was her light at the end of tunnel everyday when I was with her during chemo. She told me how I reminded her of all of us kids and we were the reason she kept fighting for her life. She called me her "Chemo Buddy". I remember her telling someone, if she wouldn't of had her "chemo buddy" she doesn't know how she would of made it. That gives me the greatest feeling of pride to know I stood by my mom like I did. I couldn't see the beauty in that then but I do now.
   Too many times, we don't appreciate the things our moms do and I'll be the first to admit that I'm one of those people. My mom does so much for me and our family. She doesn't receive the credit she deserves. She's one hell of a woman and is always putting others before herself. Being able to say I was her "Chemo Buddy" and having her as a mom is an honor and privilege.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

No Connection.

I know I said I had blogs to follow my previous post but I’ve recently had my beliefs challenged as to whether sororities and eating disorders have a connection and I feel the need to write about it. When I sat back and thought about this, it somewhat made me mad. The thought of my sorority “causing” my eating disorder is just disturbing. Especially since my personal experience was nothing close to that assumption. My sorority was part of my support system. They held me accountable. They are still supporting me now in my advocacy towards eating disorder prevention and awareness. 

To anyone who thinks a sorority would cause an eating disorder:

A sorority IS a group of women who:

·      Build each other up
·      Hold each other accountable
·      Love one another
·      Volunteer together
·      Succeed together
·      Have fun together
·      Care for one another
·      Look out for each other
·      Support one another

A sorority IS NOT a group of women who:
·      Tear each other down
·      Cause their friends grief
·      Are mean to one another
·      Cause their friends to starve themselves
·      Cause their friends to become malnourished
·      Ruin each other’s self confidence
·      Cause their friends to take part in a partial hospitalization program

If anyone in a sorority takes part in the immoral actions I just listed, shame on you. YOU may have caused the eating disorder, not the sorority. 

I am tired of there always being a negative connotation with the word “sorority”. I’m especially disturbed when it’s connected to the words eating disorder, something I personally struggled with. I do not believe a sorority would cause an eating disorder, nor should it ever cause one. I wanted the opportunity to bring a positive light towards sororities as most times people seem to assume and think otherwise.

With Love,
 Johannah Michale