Cultivating Freedom and Inner Peace



date published

Jan. 29, 2018, 8:09 p.m.



Identity is such a hard concept to grasp. Who are we? Why are we here? What defines us? What defines me? 

What defined me for so long was a debilitating illness known as anorexia. Anorexia was me. I was anorexia. That was my identity. 

I was enrolled in gymnastics at a young age. This sport became a part of my identity. It involved long hours training and working towards infinite goals I set for myself. It always seemed like I was never doing enough. Jealousy of my teammates’ natural talents consumed me - their bodies, their six packs….I wanted what they had. 

A desire to get smaller and more toned left me feeling weak and depressed. But then gymnastics became a thing of the past and again, I was left feeling confused about who I was. My eating disorder seemed to take over. 

One of the most challenging aspects of my recovery was letting go of my eating disorder. Without it, I felt like I had nothing, I felt like I was nothing. In the beginning stages of my recovery, I tried so hard to go back to who I was before my eating disorder. But I realized that girl was in the past and that I couldn’t be her again. I had to recreate myself. I deserved that - I was worthy of a rebirth, I didn’t deserve pain and hurt. 

I began trying new things. Swimming, writing, spending time with different people, coloring… I was determined to break free of the chains of my eating disorder and start fresh. I was determined to break free of this disease. 

The thing about humans is we are constantly evolving. We are dynamic creatures. I now feel more in control of my life. The years I spent building myself up, tapping into my inner strengths, and letting go of what wasn’t serving me went a long way. Doing this was my awakening. 

Who am I now? 

My name is Alyssa. I am 20 years old, soon to be 21. I am a Sagittarius with a fiery spirit and a passionate heart. I am an empath. Yoga makes me feel alive. Nature and music are my medicine. Laughter fills my soul. Human connection makes my heart warm. I am a writer, an adventurer, a free spirit. I am enough. I have always been enough. I am not my past pain, my wounds. I am not my mistakes. I am not the girl that was capable of producing a river of tears. I am not the girl that was terrified to look back at her reflection in the mirror. My name is Alyssa, and I am constantly growing… like a tree with my roots buried deep inthe soil, my branches keep sprouting further into the light, bringing peace and compassion everywhere I go. 

Alyssa, aka Lyss, is a college junior studying psychology. Yoga holds a very important place in her heart - she has her teaching certification and its practice has changed her life for the better. She is an anorexia survivor and is currently working to break the stigma around this illness and other mental illnesses.

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