WYL: Tell us a bit about yourself!
MF: My name is Michaela and I’m 21 years old born and raised in Fredericton. I’m currently in my fourth year of my undergrad at UNB on track to become an elementary school teacher or a New York Times Best Selling author, which ever happens first! I’m a self-proclaimed Cat Lady with a strong love for iced coffee and a need to travel the world. I’ve been very lucky in the sense that I have a very diverse family and have been able to be exposed to different cultures and religions that many people don’t experience. In my spare time, I love to blog, write or read.
WYL: What does “recovery” look like to you?
MF: For me, recovery is one day at a time and starting every day as a new day. To me, recovery is not beating myself up if I fall down but recognizing that recovery takes time and it isn’t going to happen over night. My favourite form of recovery is spending a day just for me, a day to focus on self-love. On those days I tend to put on my comfiest sweats, curl up with my cats and a good book. On warmer days I like to go for walks around downtown with my friends and take pictures.
WYL: What stigma have you experienced with your eating disorder?
MF: One of the biggest stigmas I’ve experienced is the misunderstanding that you need to be small or thin to have an eating disorder. I’ve had times where I’ve tried to reach out for help and people have told me “You’re not small enough to have an eating disorder” or “You couldn’t possibly have an eating disorder, look at your size!” so by saying that they’ve taking away my struggles and have discouraged me from reaching out for help. It’s hard for people to see your struggle in a world constantly telling society what an eating disorder looks like.
WYL: What is your greatest success so far?
MF: My greatest success is probably learning to take each day at a time. I know I keep saying that but honestly learning to take each day as a new day was a huge struggle for me. For a long time I wouldn’t eat in front of people because I didn’t want them to judge them for what I ate because the previous day because I might have had a cookie and, in my mind, they remembered that. I would punish myself for indulging every now and then to the point where I wasn’t eating at all. Now I indulge, I don’t care if I had a cookie one day and a cupcake the next. I’m a firm believer in treating yourself.
WYL: Who inspires you?
MF: I have so many people who inspire me but I would have to say that my mom is my biggest inspiration. I know how cliché that sounds but she has been my foundation for as long as I can remember. She is the one who encouraged me to seek help and to develop healthier habits while reminding me that I was worthy of love.
WYL: Do you have any advice for someone who may be struggling?
MF: I remember something someone said to me once. They asked me “if I asked you to name all the things you love, how long would it take you to name yourself?” and that is something that has stuck with me for a long time. Everyday you just need to remind yourself that it’s okay not to be okay. You may fall down but that’s okay. You are enough, who you are is enough and what you do is enough.