Friday, December 11, 2015

Need, Want, Love.

Being a college student has been consuming my life! Between the stress of quizzes, readings, notes, and now studying for those horrifying finals, I needed a little break. A brain break, so I’m writing to all of you. Funny how the topic of today’s post came to me though, I had to watch a documentary for one of my classes. It was called “Miss Representation”. Long story short, it discussed a lot of social media and how social media is portraying women and their bodies. This is carrying over to women across the world and how they feel they are only worthy based on their body. This obviously hit home for me as the documentary started with girls discussing their eating disorders and how they feel they are only worth what their body portrays.
We all need to be needed. We all want to be wanted. We love to be loved. Speaking on my own behalf, I felt like all those things couldn’t happen if my body wasn’t the way guys wanted or wasn’t attractive. Too many times men (not all men) say they’ll love us for who we are or don’t want us to look like those Victoria Secret Models and yes, some will mean it. But other times this is really hard to believe when they are telling us to gain weight if we’re too skinny, hinting at working out, wishing we had bigger boobs or a nicer butt, or better yet, we’re wiping the drool from their faces as they watch the Victoria Secret Fashion Show.
There is so much pressure in this world for us to look a certain way. It is hard to not give in and all of a sudden feel like we aren’t good enough. Think about it, how many made those “fat jokes” during the Victoria Secret Fashion show or how many girls said something negative about themselves? I'm not shaming those models by any means, a lot of those girls workout really hard to stay in the shape they are, it's their job! But the way girls are allowing these outside influences affect them makes me sick. Your worth does not lie in the way your body looks. What happened to being happy in your own skin? Being confident with what God gave us? Why are we constantly wishing to be like other girls? I’m sure those girls we wish we looked like are wishing something different about themselves. I used to wish so many things about myself were different. We all need to stop wishing and start embracing! You are you, and no one is like you. Embrace that. 
We all need to be needed. We all want to be wanted. We love to be loved. As nice and amazing it is to have all of those from someone else we need to give it to ourselves first. Outside influences, don’t mean anything. Need yourself, want yourself, and love yourself. Find the beauty in yourself and love it. You are human and you need to be loved, just like everything else in this world.

Love, JohannahMichale

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Only You Have the Power

I’m going to try to be a little more positive in this blog compared to my last one. It may not have been the most chipper post but I had a lot of amazing feedback. My last blog touched a lot of people and those people reached out to me. When I hear the positive feedback from all of you readers… it’s what keeps me going. Your kind words and encouragement is what motivates me everyday to keep sharing my story to help more people than I ever thought possible. You are all helping me find the beauty in my everyday life.
On that note, today I want to talk about seeing the beauty in others and finding it within ourselves. We can all admit we’ve said something bad about one person or another, myself included. Easier said than done, we need to stop doing this. What do we gain from tearing other people down? I don’t see the point. Over the course of the last few years I’ve learned what it feels like to not be “enough”. 
I believed what everyone else said and how he or she made me feel about myself. This is why I didn’t feel like I was “enough”. I let negative people and their negative thoughts and words manipulate how I felt about myself. You can’t let other people control how you feel about yourself. You have to do it yourself. You have to believe in yourself and believe you are enough.
You could be struggling with an eating disorder or something as simple as an argument with a friend, a boyfriend, or maybe a family member. Whatever the case may be, we tend to turn to other people to feel better right? We want love and comfort to know we aren’t ridiculous, “crazy”, worthless or not enough, right? So your friends and family proceed to build you up and try and make you feel better... But these amazing things they are saying about you aren’t helping right? It’s because you don’t believe the words being said to you…but yet you’ll believe the negative things people say to you?
Why do we allow people to manipulate how we feel about ourselves negatively but not positively? This is something I have learned. Only I have the power to control how I feel about myself. It’s my choice and my power to pick and choose what I want to believe about myself. I personally know I put other people’s wants and happiness before my own when they are important to me. I know I have amazing goals and accomplishments to be proud of. I know I have an amazing family and friends. It took me while to find all of this and yes, I had people who made the process difficult but I found all of this beauty in my life. I, Johannah found it, no one found it for me and no one is going to take it away from me because I’m not going to give them the power to do so.

Don’t be the person hindering someone’s ability to see and find their own beauty. Be the person who see’s the beauty in everyone and points them in the direction to find it. I challenge you to not believe those negative people, don’t listen to the negative thoughts people put in your mind, and pay more attention to those trying to guide you in finding your own beauty. But just remember; only you have the power to find the beauty within yourself. So go find it.


Friday, November 13, 2015

If My Eating Disoder Could Talk

Good Morning Johannah, 
   Time to wake up! Another day to strengthen that fear of becoming fat. Oh, you need to go to the bathroom and brush your teeth? Well first, stop. Stop and look in the mirror. Pull up your shirt and look at the size of your waste. Do you want it getting any bigger than that? I didn't think so. Now... put your feet together and look at the size of your thighs. Very good. I can see that sandwich you ate last night, can't you? 
   Ahh, breakfast time. Your stomach is telling your hungry but I'm telling you that you're not. You don't need the pancakes, bacon, cereal, or a granola bar for that matter. You can still see what you ate on your body from yesterday. Lets not add on to that. Let's go about this Saturday and try to act like I don't exist. Which we both know it impossible but It'll be fun for me and a living hell for you. That's one of my hobbies, making your life miserable. 
   I'm going to control you. I'm going to take over your life. You're going to listen to me and only me. If you try to listen to anyone else, they won't understand. They'll make you gain weight. They will shove food down your throat, is that what you want? No, so listen to me. I am going to take over your daily life. I'm going to take your energy, your confidence, your health, your hair, your ability to see yourself as everyone else does. That doesn't sound fun to you? Well would you rather be fat? Yeah, that's what I thought.
   So, you have a basketball game today? Mom wants you to eat that sandwich before you can go into the school. Alright, I'll cut you a deal. You can eat half of the sandwich but not the crust. That's enough to put something in your stomach and please your mom but not enough to make you fat. Why are you self-concious to get undressed in the locker room? You're skinny, that's what you want right? Oh.... I know... It's that one girl who makes the rude comments and pinches your waste calling you "so skinny" in that baby voice. Well take it as compliment, at the end of the day, at least she isn't calling you fat. You ask your mom to go and hang out with your friends after the game and she proceeds to tell you, "your not going anywhere until you eat something, I saw the other half of your sandwich in the trash can". All of this happening in front of your friends. That sad and disappointed look on your face satisfies me. 
   You can't get rid of me. While no one else in this world is understanding nor being here for you... I am. I will always be here. As much as you want to stop doing this to yourself, I won't let you. Your family may be trying to help and a few friends here and there, but I'll never go away. Ever.  Family, friends, sports, college... none of these have helped you. I may have disappeared a couple times but I'm always going to be here.
   So, how is a pageant thing your doing going to help you? You can't be serious. Miss Iowa is not going to save you, you're kidding yourself if you beleive that! Well fine, go ahead and try, it's not going to work. You really think gaining your confidence back and finding the person you want to be is going to help you?  You believe inspiring others by sharing your struggle with myself, is going to keep from listening to me?
..... It has? What do mean it has? 

     Johannah's Eating Disorder

   I'm sorry if that was a little too much for some of you. But that's one of the best ways I can put it into persepective for you. It wasn't easy, especially when I decided to stop listening. I want to thank the Miss Iowa Program for motivating me, giving me this opportunity, and helping me truly finding myself. My friends who held and keep holding me accountable. Your friendship and unconditional love never go unnoticed.  To my family for being the first to acknowledge I had a problem. To my mom and dad, who I know were in denial but tried their best to help and understand every day and continue to support me in every step I take. To my sisters(in-laws), who even though they didn't know it, gave me a goal to reach and that was to be just like them. I can only hope I grow up to be half the people they are. To my brothers, who always saw and still see the best in me and taught me how to be tough and work hard for what I want. 
   Everyting has beauty but not everyone can see it. I couldn't see my own beauty at the time but everyone else could and without them I would have never been able to find it myself. 


Friday, November 6, 2015

HOPE: Hold On Pain Ends

   In my last post I finished by saying I found the beauty in my life right? Well I wanted to touch on that today... Finding that beauty was not easy. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Battling an eating disorder was not something I wanted or chose to do. Anorexia Nervosa is a mental illness. It has the highest fatality rate of any mental illness I might add. With that being said, my case was minor compared to some people who struggle with eating disorders but that doesn't mean it was any easier. 
   I was and still am a perfectionist at times. I like to be the best person I can be at all times. In high school, I wanted to be the best athlete, student, daughter, sister, friend, girlfriend, dancer that I could be. I wanted control of every single aspect in my life. There was one moment that stuck with me, that still sticks with me but this moment changed everything. One of my friends said me, "Johannah, if there is any flaw on you, it would just be your love handles". Okay, now some of you may be thinking a million different things right now. If you know me, you know that God made me naturally thin and that I never had love handles. Maybe you're wondering why this friend would ever say that to me or why I would let it get to me? My friend did not say this to be mean or put me down in any way! She didn't take time to realize that my rib cage was smaller than my hips and this is what made it look like I had these "love handles", she also didn't have a filter. As for letting this comment get to me? I already told you. I was a perfectionist. This comment was the biggest stab to my self confidence and I was now determined to get rid of these "love handles" she was talking about.
   So...I went on a "diet". I told myself I would start eating healthier, push myself harder in my sport workouts, and gain this "perfect" body. Well this turned into me just not eating anymore. Eventually this started to impact every other aspect in my life. I was gradually becoming less of the person I wanted and always strived to be. Having control over everything was gradually slipping through my fingers. I was losing the energy to go to school and be the best athlete I could be. I felt like I was losing the connection with my family because I didn't think they'd understand. I mean didn't expect people to understand but when I have one girl making comments about my body in dance costumes, the locker room, and handing me food to eat I lost all hope. I didn't want anyone to know or to help. 
   Eventually it all turned into a fear. The fear of gaining weight. I was overwhelmed with constant questioning on how someone like myself who is naturally thin, could possibly be struggling with body image. It was all in my mind, I couldn't help it. All of you are scared of something; snakes, mice, or spiders maybe? Well what if I asked you "why" or what if I told you to "just stop" being scared of your fear you wouldn't be able to explain or do it, would you? Well my fear of gaining weight was just like your fears. I couldn't explain why I was scared nor just instantly stop. When I started to lose my hair and my obsession with being thin took over much of my daily life, eating habits and thoughts, I knew it was time to get help.

   I struggled for many years and always asked the question, "Why?". Why me, why can't I get over this and stop, why would God do this to me? The list of "Why" questions went on forever. It truly wasn't until I found my niche, the Miss Iowa program, that I found the answers. If God put me to it, then he'd see me through it and he did! He brought me to this amazing organization, that quite frankly changed my life. Miss Iowa and my platform "Anorexia Nervosa: Hold On Pain Ends" is one of my biggest motivations. Going out and sharing my story to help others motivates me because I want the story I'm sharing to have a happy ending; that I overcame my eating disorder. 
   I didn't become the person I am right this second easily. It was hard and challenged more than I ever thought possible. Would I go through it all again? Not going to's sounds awful but... I would do it. Everything has beauty but not everyone can see it. I'm now one of those people who can see the beauty in my days and life because of this struggle. To find the beauty, I needed HOPE. I Held On and I can now say the Pain has Ended. I challenge you to have HOPE today. In whatever it is you're struggling with; an eating disorder, school, a boyfriend, a friendship, job. Hold on because the pain will end, maybe not right this second but eventually. Find the Beauty, you wont't regret it, I promise. 


Monday, November 2, 2015

Everything Has Beauty

Hi there,
     First off I'd like to say thank you for taking time out of your busy day and life to read about mine. I'm new to the blogger world and I am beyond excited to get this thing up and going. Some of you may or may not know me but I'd still like to share a little about myself. To begin, my name is Johannah Vittetoe. I've grown up on a farm in small town Iowa. I am the youngest child in my family or as everyone else likes to call it "the baby". I grew up playing with American Girl dolls, dancing, playing school, cutting the lace off my girly socks because that wasn't "cool", and wearing those red lined superman underwear with my older brother Joel. As I got older I kept dancing and eventually started playing sports like Basketball and Volleyball. Now being in college at Iowa State University, I'm in involved in a lot as well. I am a member of Delta Delta Delta Sorority, Love Your Melon Volunteer group, Dance Marathon, and Body Image and Eating Disorder Assosication. Beginning last February I began a new chapter in my life and decided to push myself outside of my comfort zone. I made the choice to take part in the Miss Iowa Scholarship Program and it was one of the greatest decisions of my life. What I have gained from this program over the course of the last 8 months is incredible. It's made me who I am this very second and helped me find something I am very passionate about. Helping others. I found... (as I like to call it) my niche. This program has given me the opportunity and confidence where I can now share my story of  how I battleED Anorexia Nervosa. I am now healthy and happier than ever and I have to credit the Miss Iowa Scholarship Program for this. Miss Iowa has given me a platform to help more people than I ever thought possible. This platform has motivated me to BECOME and STAY healthy and I am forever grateful for that. With all of that being said, I am now ready to share my story and experiences to the world in hopes to help others in their struggle. Everything has beauty, but not everyone can see. I found the beauty in my life, now I want you to find yours.