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 lie...it'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.