My 12th grade english teacher (Mrs. Bush) had a great impact on my life. She assigned our class narrative essays. At that point I was in the trenches of my eating disorder and struggled to really think about much else. I turned in this first essay that barely said anything at all. In that moment I desperately wanted both to reveal my secret and hide it at the same time. Mrs. Bush sent the first essay right back to me.

In a leap of faith I re-wrote the paper with my truth included (the good, the bad and the ugly). It was a life I was afraid and ashamed to admit and call my own. I remember writing it with knots in my stomach and fearful thoughts streaming through my head:

She’s going to think I’m crazy.

She’ll tell everyone…. then everyone will know I’m crazy.

She’ll think you’re gross and disgusting.

Mrs. Bush responded with love, and through her (unconditional) love I began to be able to realize that while my truth is not pretty; while it is actually downright terrifying it’s mine. Writing my truth out for another person to read taught me that I was valid. My experience was valid. My life was valid. I began down a road of listening to myself; and before I knew it I was using my voice.

You are worth listening to.

My name is Erin and This is Where I Stand.