(PERFECT IF YOU’VE EVER FELT STUCK, LOST OR DOWNRIGHT DEFEATED.
OR IF YOU HAVE A LOT OF TIME ON YOUR HANDS…)
As cliches go, there are moments that define your life. And this one silently defined mine for a good part of a decade.
Senior year in highschool, I was meandering through the halls in between class and I glanced over and saw a crumpled up note on the floor underneath the payphone (yes, the phones our caveman ancestors used).
Being the nosy-as-hell teenager that I was, I couldn’t dare resist the temptation of reading that note. Because — GOSSIP.
So I bent down, slyly unfolded it…and stood in complete horror as I read it’s contents.
It was about me.
In a school of 1600 kids, I found a f#cking note written about ME.
And it read — “Dear (girl in my class), Did you see Allie in that leather skirt today? Oh my God, she looks so fat. Signed, (another girl in my class).”
Ashamed, embarrassed, MORTIFIED, I folded up that note, shed a few tears and unconsciously buried the pain of that moment under a heaping pile of apathy. But that note, that one sentence, secretly forged the course of my self-esteem struggles and catalyzed a six and a half year battle with bulimia that brought me to my knees.
And at the risk of sounding overly dramatic,
that moment yanked the last block from my Jenga tower.
My — self-doubting, perfection-driven, externally confident, incessantly critical, dadless, low-income, hairy (hello, unibrow!), ‘thick’ (by irrelevant standards that were somehow EVERYTHING at the time),…aching for approval and perpetually fragile — tower.
Me, the girl who, despite swelling insecurities, LOVED THE SHIT OUT OF high school, sat on Student Council, rocked a Snowball crown, took honors classes, played 3 sports, took home the trophy for Best Hair (which happened to be blonde and short and spiked at the time ?), literally tried out for or participated in every club imaginable (some successfully, others not so much — cough cough, choir, cough cough), suddenly cared what “EVERYONE ELSE” thought of me, instead of what I thought of ME.
And the assumption became that I had been the fool all along, that everyone thought what those girls thought — in one sentence — of one note. And that assumption, led me on a plight to shrink — not only my body, but my voice, my needs, my worth.
I found myself enthusiastically stumbling through my own particular variety of a quarter-life crisis. And although I was all glitter and sunshine and strength on the outside, my inside was in chaos, and I was little more than a stripped-down version of my once fearless, quirky, light-hearted self.
BUT every story has a happy ending
— if you choose to write one.
And after 6.5 years of straight-up shame for the pain I was going through, for being so ‘f#cking weak’, I decided the strongest, bravest, most UNweak thing I could do was CHOOSE ME AGAIN.
And on December 28th, 2007, while exhaustedly staring into a bathroom mirror, I broke up with my eating disorder and committed to always always ALWAYS love myself first, dammit.
Was that choice or the ones that followed easy? NOT. A. CHANCE. IN. HELL.
But I forged a pinky swear with myself. And that’s a commitment you do not break.
And I tell you this so you know that I SO GET YOU. I’m 1000% on your team. I know first hand, you can love yourself unapologetically and enthusiastically no matter how long you’ve been your own opponent.
And I created Shamelessly to prove it’s possible.
In short — WE GOT THIS.