"There's no place like home. There's no place like home."
Mercy will always be just that...my home-- there is nothing like being surrounded by red plaid and black buck shoes and the infectious sensation you get when you enter our doors. It has been a decade since I had walked through those doors for the first time, and yet it was as if I had never left. I sunk into my seat in the Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Auditorium, turned around and inserted myself into the girl talk that was ensuing behind me just moments before my presentation.
Historically, SADD has been dedicated to helping young people say no to drinking and driving. When I was contacted to speak today, I was happy to find that the organization had expanded their mission to provide students with positive strategies to prevent all types of destructive decisions. And this is where my eating disorders come into play.
Despite today's incredible opportunities for life and career development, my chance for personal and professional happiness was nearly cut short by the choices I made, putting physical image ahead of health.
I talked about being a minority in the middle school I attended-- bullying has made national headlines in recent months, but it is by no means a new phenomenon. After the assembly, I was approached by a young woman who had been singled out during her own childhood because of her dark complexion. Boy can I relate! The moment I was identified as being different was the moment I began to wish I were just like everyone else.
From a 14 year old girl who was living a lie to a 27 year old woman who embraces what makes me unique and encourages others to do the same… I shared my evolution as a Mercy girl. We all have our own journeys to take, but what is great about this institution, is that it fosters an environment that gives all individuals the opportunity to succeed and discover their best selves.
Thank you Uma Schroeder, SMAS, the officers of SADD, the faculty and students at MHS for your time and support today.
Photo below is of myself, SADD officers and SADD moderator Ms Schroeder.