This will be my shortest article to date because I am still failing to search for words that can completely depict my gratitude for last night's fundraiser for the National Eating Disorder Association.
For the past six years, the two words "eating disorder" have been ones that I have avoided. Separately the two words hold their own. "Eating" is simply a necessity for all human beings, a survival mechanism, an afterthought, an instinct. It's something that lends joy and comfort and often times memories of family traditions, holidays, or your favorite birthday cake. "Disorder" describes a state of confusion, a disruption of systematic functioning or a neat arrangement. Disorder is unkempt, untidy, and muddled. Though both words are nonspecific and have the power describe practically anything, when put together they create a statement that lends awkward tension in a room, silence, and avoidance. When the words "eating disorder" come up in a conversation, a wall seems to be built between people. Mental illnesses, and specifically eating disorders, are regarded as highly personal and unfortunately, taboo in subject. They are often seen as a popular diet trend and something that can be controlled. Eating disorders are a choice, right?
Last night, our small community of the 19081 broke down all of these barriers. In a small warehouse space, nearly one hundred people joined forces to start a conversation that is so often an avoided subject. Last night I was fortunate enough to witness people come together for a cause that left a profound mark on my life six years ago and continues to be an unwavering support for me. Last night, in this small warehouse, we exuded enough love to keep warm on a below zero night, we harnessed vulnerability, and we brought people of all ages together to understand a topic that is in dire need of attention. Last night, we proved that listening is the most powerful of all gifts, and being raw and exposed is transcendent.
Three months ago, I saw vulnerability as a weakness and feeling as a pitfall. It was an avoidance of emotions and denial of my diagnosis that sent me straight to the emergency room on October third of this year. When you search up a synonym for the word vulnerable, immediately the word "weak" makes its presence on the screen. I wholeheartedly believed in this three months ago, and allowed it to control my every move and thought. Fast forward three months to the night of this incredible fundraising event, and I have fully accepted that sensitivity breeds openness, sparks conversations, and connects people in more ways that can be imagined.
Last night we raised a humbling total of $1500 for the National Eating Disorder Association. Last night we granted countless people coping with eating disorders quality care and provided affected families with dependable resources. Most importantly, last night we came together as a community purely out of love to sing to the tune of unreal local music, dance together in celebration, cry if our hearts told us to, speak if we could not keep the words locked in our minds anymore, and embrace each other, even if we've never formally met before last night.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for making a difference on a bitterly cold Saturday night. To the musicians and performers: thank you for persevering even when band members decided this weather was too unbearable to make an appearance, and lend yourself to shedding light on a topic left in the dark.
Thank you for feeling with me, for listening to me, rejoicing with me, embracing me, and supporting me. No words can fully express how much you all mean to me.
Here's to NEDA, here's to being vulnerable, here's to stories left untold, to unavoidable conversations sparked, and new connections made. You are all difference makers.
Purchase Rooted-inspired merch now to support the Emma's fundraising efforts for the National Eating Disorder Association! Visit: https://www.cafepress.com/rooted for all of the Rooted products.