Hey Everyone, Erin here from Where I Stand. I am so excited to begin launching the Purple Project on Where I Stand for Eating Disorder Awareness Month 2014. Below is a message from Lizzie the program’s creator about how it started and how YOU can get involved!:
“Don’t be afraid to share your story; you never know who you might inspire.”
I have always loved this quote but, for years, was too afraid to live by it. I thought people would judge me, or think of me differently if they knew the truth. I was horrified to shatter this “perfect” image I had created for myself. I thought there was no way that anyone was feeling the same way I was, or going through the same pain. But then I had this crazy thought – what if I was wrong? What if a lot of people were struggling just like me, but everyone was too ashamed to say anything? This is where my idea for the Purple Project was born.
It was October 2012. I had just returned from inpatient treatment for my eating disorder, and I was tired of hiding my secret. I had gotten so many questions about why I had withdrawn from school, why I wasn’t in NYC, and why I had basically fallen off the face of the earth. I didn’t want to lie anymore. After all, aren’t eating disorders fueled by lies – our secrets keep us sick. So, one night I made a Facebook event entitled “Purple Project”. I wrote out my eating disorder story, and invited all of my Facebook friends to join. The goal of the event was to get people to take a picture of themselves wearing purple (purple is the color for eating disorder awareness) and holding a sign saying, “I wear purple because….” and finishing the sentence with their personal reason for supporting eating disorder awareness and recovery. I, honestly, only expected my story to reach my immediate friends, and only anticipated that a handful of individuals would post pictures. Much to my surprise, I woke up the next morning to find over 100 followers. Overnight! Within a week that number was up to 1000. By the time the event was “over” a few months later, I had reached over 4000 people on Facebook, and had hundreds of pictures rolling in. I was amazed. I, unfortunately, returned to treatment around that time, so the Purple Project fizzled. I am happy to announce that, in collaboration with Where I Stand, the Purple Project will be resurrected in February for Eating Disorder Awareness Month. This is where YOU come in. First, join the Where I Stand Purple Project event on Facebook, and invite your friends to join too! Then, all you need to do is submit a picture of yourself with the following: 1. Wearing purple. 2. Holding a sign reading “I wear purple because … [insert your reason]”. Post the picture to the Facebook group or email it to Where I Stand. If you have any other drawings, pictures, writing, etc. – basically anything related to eating disorders – feel free to send those as well. We will then feature them on the Where I Stand blog. This is a great opportunity to share your struggles and triumphs. If you have any questions, or feel hesitant to share, please contact me! (firstname.lastname@example.org) I know how difficult it can be, but you are not alone. Also, be on the look-out for my weekly posts on the Where I Stand blog. I will be taking you through my eating disorder journey during the month of February!
One of the things that was so beautiful about the Purple Project was the honesty and raw authenticity that it produced. I have connected with people who told me the movement gave them the courage to open up about their eating disorder. Others told me it encouraged them to seek treatment. A few individuals even said they had no idea the impact eating disorders had before seeing my page. The Purple Project reached so many people, and spoke to all of them in one way or another. It didn’t matter if you were personally affected or not; to see such vulnerability was so real and so moving. It really showed the intense impact eating disorders can have on people, and their loved ones. But I think the most important message that came out of the movement is that you are not alone. Other people are feeling the same things as you. All you had to do was read the messages that other people sent in – it wasn’t hard to find something you could relate to. And you know what else the pictures showed? That you are beautiful. Every single one of you.
For the Facebook Event Click Here
We we wear purple because hope saves lives.
Erin Casey and Lizzie Elsberg