Some of you might be thinking ... 'How did tangibles get started? Is there a story?'
And this morning, I'm pouring myself a strong cup of coffee (the only way I drink it) and I'm here to answer your question because yes, there is a story.
It starts with...
I didn't mean to have an eating disorder(s).
No one does. It happens from a myriad of things. It's funny looking back, the signs I missed that it was going to be part of my story.
I remember sitting next to my mother and older sister, realizing for the first time my thighs were bigger. Why were they bigger? That's not right, right?
I remember asking my crush in high school, 'Are you sure you like me? I'm not as small as other girls.' The thing is? I have always been small. But, I had learned comparison by that point. If I'm bigger than other girls, am I as good? As worthy? I download calorie-tracking apps at age 19, and begin to learn the kind of math that's the most dangerous, the counting that tells you you're never going to be 'good enough.'
And then fast forward 2 years, I can't stop eating. Not always, just after dark. Whatever I can get my hands on. It's a blur, and I blame it on stress.
But that's not the worst part. It's what comes next. I notice how my tight my clothes are fitting now, how my reflection looks now. I'm trying to purge the damage in the most harmful way. It's just one time. It's just because my stomach hurts. Right? Wrong.
The disorder takes hold and now I'm starting to forget what it's like to not overeat to the point of pain and throw it all up. It doesn't get easier or less painful, it just becomes systematic.
I'm chasing control, yet I lose more of it. I'm also starting to lose myself, and hate myself, and I start to grasp onto anything that makes sense.
That's when I start sticking bright pink post-it notes with scribbled positive affirmations on my most triggering spaces - my kitchen cabinets, my refrigerator, my mirror.
you are loved. you are enough, they say.
These words slowly help to give me pause. And check in with myself. Do I really want to binge on whatever's in the fridge right now? No, not really. Do I even remember how to love me? No, not really.
Maybe you've been here. And maybe it isn't even close to an eating disorder, but something else. Another battle. We each have our own battles, and we each need encouragement in different ways.
Recovery takes time, un-learning behavior takes time. But the tangible encouragement was a helpful turning point for me, a start, a simple, powerful reminder that I could begin to love myself again.
And then it hit me one morning around 4:30am a year later. If a tangible message of love and encouragement - that I could see every day - helped me, could it help others?
My hope, my goal, my mission with tangibles is just that. To encourage you every day with messages that stick in the words you need to hear right now.
Take a pause. Say it with me.
you are loved. you are enough.