“God can restore what is broken and change it into something amazing. All you need is faith.” (Joel 2:25)
There was not a feeling quite as surreal as the one I felt crossing the finish line of my first half marathon (Gazelle Girl). More so than the sheer fact that I had just run my first consecutive 13.1! miles ever, but because one year prior, I was undergoing a surgery that would leave me nearly disabled for almost two months.
Flashback to the fall of 2013, my fitness journey had only just begun and it felt as though it was ending just as quickly. Confused and disheartened, I underwent the first surgery I’d ever had in my life.
Even worse than my body struggling to recover post-op, was my mind’s unhealthy habits and destructive thoughts finding their way back into my consciousness. Self doubt and pity once again became my best friends and I felt the confidence that I was finally starting to build quickly slip through my fingers every time I caught my reflection in the mirror.
It wasn’t until my senior year of college that I finally understood why my 20-something year old bones were literally crumbling beneath my skin. Believe me, the stories that people could muster up in their head would, I’m sure, be a lot more exciting than the truth, but the truth is raw and it is important. It’s important for me to accept and it’s important for me to share.
Due to nearly six years of an eating disorder, I developed osteoporosis: a medical condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue, typically as a result of hormonal changes, deficiency of calcium, vitamin D or in my case, Bulimia Nervosa. The constant pounding on the pavement from my newly acquired running routine caused my fragile hip bones to fracture and I found myself more broken than ever, both physically and mentally.
Two surgeries, 4 metal pins and months of personal development later, I was finally ready to get back on track.
I wish it was a moment, an “ah-ha” kind of feeling, but the truth is, I don’t remember when my mind began healing itself or when those once so prominent negative thoughts started to fade. Maybe it was the day I once again laced up my sneakers or that first post-race endorphins “high”. Either way, I felt myself becoming whole again, and with every step and each new finish line that I crossed, I was rebuilding. My body was gaining strength and with that came a wholeness that I had never felt before. I began to restore the girl who felt broken long before her bones gave out.
Four years later and 25 races down, I am reminded daily of how precious our bodies are and how essential it is to take care of them, inside and out. My hips are healed and through self-care and a lot of support, I too, am beginning to heal.
My scars are constant reminders that although there is a part of me that will never be completely repaired, I will always be encouraged knowing that what once was my biggest weakness is now the thing(s) that carry me forward (literally) each and every day.