Facebook Message from Kate Ryan Singer to Judy Avrin
July 27, 2013
I have followed Someday Melissa for years now- probably since its earliest pieces became public, but it was at the first screening in NYC that I became consciously aware of what it really meant to me. As the film ended and audience members began introducing themselves, I started to notice that each person identified him/herself by a connection to the Eating Disorder Community.
At the time, I was in very early recovery, perhaps on the edge of another relapse. I realized in that moment that I wanted to be able to stand among the recovering. I wanted my life to be driven by the unique gift I had worked so hard for- a life after my struggle. It has taken a lot of time and a tremendous amount of hard work…. My struggles with anorexia and addiction cycled out of control for a very long time. Many times, I would sit down and contemplate or write about my own “Someday”.
However as I am writing to you right now I would like to share something different. I would like to share with you my TODAY.
TODAY, I am grateful to be alive. I live in that gratitude by sharing my story and reaching out to those who still struggle with the clear message that recovery IS possible.
TODAY, I have a job. It isn’t my dream job and it isn’t always fun- yet I show up to my job to the best of my ability with honesty and integrity.
TODAY, I have true friends who I love- and who love me- unconditionally. We talk, laugh, cry and live together. Some are near and some are far- all are very much alive in my heart.
TODAY, I am an equal partner in a loving relationship. It takes nurturing and work and it means I have to love myself on a daily basis so that I can be the kind of person my boyfriend deserves- and he does the same.
TODAY, I enjoy laying on the beach on my days off and even go out for ice cream afterwards! I am no longer too consumed with what I look like to enjoy playing in the waves and soaking up the sunshine.
TODAY, I embrace my struggles and the intermittent interruptions by that voice of my disease that tells me I am not enough because it allows me to exercise my strength and love by SHOWING that I am.
TODAY, I am over nine months clean and sober and free from the chains of my eating disorder. I am living proof that treatment, therapy, supportive friends and family and a program of recovery work. Although it will take time for me to repair my finances enough to return to working on my masters degree…. that challenge pales in comparison to what I have already overcome. I will continue to nurture my recovery by advocating for those who still struggle and SOMEDAY I will be a Social Worker, working hands on to give back all that was given to me.
Judy please know that, although there may not be many people who have been blessed enough to see this other side, I am eternally grateful for the people like you who continue to fight by my side every single day, changing lives without even knowing it. I hold you and Melissa close to my heart as a daily reminder of why I am fighting and of how much more there is to fight for.
Sending love and light, Ryan
Reprinted with permission and gratitude.
For the past few weeks I’ve been trying to write a blog about National Eating Disorders Awareness (NEDAwareness) Week. While procrastination is often my problem, it wasn’t the issue this time. I wrote opening paragraphs over and over, then deleted them. I couldn’t figure out why I was having so much difficulty, particularly since the week was so successful for Someday Melissa as an organization.
Through our Host a Screening program, 26 screenings of Someday Melissa, the story of an eating disorder, loss and hope were held in 18 states and Canada. They took place in colleges, treatment centers and in community groups. The feedback we received about panel discussions following the screenings was powerful and positive. We began receiving pictures of written “somedays” that audiences wrote and posted on boards. Melissa’s story – her dreams for the future – the hope she hung on to – was inspiring others.
Somedays” from William Paterson University, Greenwich, CT and the University of Lethbridge
I had the opportunity to speak at several screenings — at a Psychiatry program at North Shore LIJ Hospital on Long Island where I was able to meet with staff from many departments; at a community screening in Greenwich, CT where I had the thrill of speaking with several young women who had been in treatment with Melissa and are now moving forward with their lives. I flew out to Chicago to participate in a screening and program run by the Illinois School Social Workers Supervisor Council (ILLSSWC), where social workers from across the state participated in a workshop using Guided Discussions for Recovery, our new resource tool for treatment professionals which uses Melissa’s writings to facilitate discussions with patients and families. It was also particularly exciting for me to speak to an overflow crowd at Rutgers University, my alma mater.
ILLSSWC workshop Judy Avrin at Rutgers University
My amazing team at Someday Melissa worked tirelessly from January through mid-March, responding to calls and emails, arranging screenings, updating both our own events page as well as the NEDAwaress page and posting to social media. And I finally realized why I was having trouble writing. I needed time to breathe. To reflect. To step back from the whirlwind of the months of work involved in NEDAwareness “Week”.
People remark at times that I’m so strong and that it must be difficult to share Melissa’s story over and over again. It is hard and often when I’m speaking there will be a catch in my voice and my eyes will fill with tears. But then I take a breath and swallow my tears. I’ve learned that everyone has inner strength they never knew existed until called upon to use it. And I continue speaking because I know that Melissa’s movie is changing lives.
Submitted September 26, 2013
I always told myself I will be happy when … When I graduate law school, when I get a job at a top firm … Well I tortured myself, starved myself and the day I though would be a someday didn’t make me shine. My someday happened when I stopped searching outside of myself for happiness and looked inside. I saw this creative, talented writer and artist and could not believe I almost let my someday pass me by.
~Submitted by J.C. 9/26/13
Submitted June 30, 2013
Someday was a year and a half ago for me. Now, I’m getting married in two weeks and I love life! Recovery is possible. Praying for those still affected!