I did it.

My time at Marca College is finally over. It’s weird to say that out loud. I’ve officially graduated from Marca College. Completing Marca College – and facing this trauma – is something I never imagined myself doing. Specifically, something I never imagined doing well. I was sure that this time would be like my last time in school and that ultimately I would end up back in the hospital for my eating disorder. A part of me even thought “why bother even going back to school if I’m going to be a failure?”

Walking through those doors on September 14, I had this intense fear that I would fall back into my eating disorder. I needed to make sure that I wasn’t doing anything that interfered with my recovery because any interference could cause havoc. It’s ironic that that fear is what was actually pushing me closer to Ed.

Everyone around me kept telling me to appreciate the time that I still had to complete at Marca. “Perspective is everything” and “You’re capable of more than you know” were said more to me than “hello, how are you?” Honestly, my response every time someone would say this was: “shut the fuck up”. I was so focused on getting out of Marca that I didn’t want to focus on the time that I actually still had to complete. All I wanted was to graduate and I ended up neglecting my own experience. I hate to admit it and all of those people telling me about perspective were right. I really had to slow down and appreciate every experience at Marca College, both positive and negative, and I’m so glad I did. By taking my time and trusting in myself, I opened myself to a world where I could validate myself rather than begging Ed for validation. 

You see, my fear was keeping me from pushing myself to move forward. On my first day back at Marca I walked up to my instructor, Becca, and told her I was incapable of doing certain clients as I had to maintain my health. I explained to her my struggles and my experience at Marca, and she promised to work with me. Each day, Becca motivated me and pushed me to do more than what I believed I was capable of achieving. She started by giving me simple haircuts and styles, even though I resisted. She pushed through this resistance – and I’m so thankful she did. I ended up doing some amazing work that I may not have had the opportunity of doing because of my instructor’s motivation. 

Becca, I know you’re reading this: I am so thankful for your role in both my education and my recovery. I didn’t realize that I needed someone like you to help me through this confusing time in my life. You helped me to transform Marca College from my worst nightmare into something I can be proud of. With your help, I finally graduated from a program not run by a hospital and I never thought that I would achieve that. On top of all that, you have helped me learn how to believe in myself. Thank you for being an amazing role model and inspiration to me throughout this experience. I wouldn’t be in this position without you and I’m forever grateful for your presence. 

I needed Marca College. I needed this experience at Marca College. This experience has been validating and rewarding in more ways than I can realize. I know that I am a capable human being now and that knowledge came from me completing my diploma. I now know that I don’t need to depend on my eating disorder for validation and acceptance – I can find it within myself.

Is Marca College really that different? Maybe. And maybe I’ve changed, too. Maybe I’m actually on the path to recovery. Maybe I’ll be okay. For now, I know that I’m capable. I did this. I fought my eating disorder to get my diploma and I did it. My health is no longer what is going to hold me back in life. I proved to myself that I was capable of recovery and I am so proud of myself – really proud of myself – for the first time in my life. 

I did it.

I really did it.

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