Story

I am Beautiful

Growing up, I lived on a beautiful Caribbean island and I didn’t have a care in the world. My house was on the beach, my family was wealthy and life was simple and easy at that point. That all changed when I was 11 years old, when my grandparents took full responsibility of me and we moved to Italy. My mom was in and out of my life, and my dad wasn’t around. Growing up, I was always very much into sports- tennis, swimming, dance. When I was 14 years old, my mother really wanted me to be a model. We didn’t have much of a relationship, and my mom was very abusive to me. When she was in my life, it was impossible for me to gain her approval. As a young teenager, I tried to do anything I could to be viewed in a positive light to her. As an athlete, I always put muscle on very fast. She would tell me that I was ‘fat’, when in reality I was just a healthy athlete. To please my mom, I entered beauty pageants, and modeled. Of course, as an impressionable teen, I was extremely affected by my mom telling me I was fat. I eventually developed an eating disorder and starved myself. I started playing volleyball when I was 15, and got professionally signed when I was 17. Throughout this time, my eating disorder and bulimia was still severe until I was 24. When I was 23 I met my now husband, and was able to talk about my issues. I began to slowly get better, and really looked at the consequences if I continued. At the end of the day, it was a personal decision to stop. For 12 years I struggled with my eating disorder and I was done. I have had one slip since, but it has been over 2 years since I have had any episodes. I have found more comfort in my body, and I feel I have reached a state of self-love, I have never had before. I’ve finally realized that I am beautiful, even if my mom didn’t think so. Today, I have the support of my husband and my friends. I use my experience to help girls who are struggling with the same things I did. I believe my struggles have shaped me into the relentlessly driven and confident woman I am today.

Andrea

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