This is a difficult question to answer. My eating disorder would have me introduce myself to you in the following way: “Hi, I have anorexia nervosa.” My depression would want me to say, “Hi, I have depression.” Similar answers for my anxiety, OCD, and BPD.
And to an extent, that’s true. A lot of my identity is comprised of the fact that I have mental illnesses. But that’s not all there is to me, even though these demons would have me think that it is.
Let’s start with something simple and easy.
Hi. I’m Emma.
I’m twenty years old (wow, two whole decades) and I live in Massachusetts, where I’ve lived for my whole life. I love New England weather, actually, even the most bitterly cold snowy days and the blazing hot and humid days, so I plan on living here for the rest of my life.
I’ve got blonde hair and brown eyes, a nose that leaves no doubt as to my Italian heritage, and I’m also a diminutive shrimp of a person at not quite 5′ 2″.
Now let’s get into some greater detail. These are surface level things. They’re so general; I feel like I’m giving a job interview. Let’s get down to what really makes me, me.
I love the city.
My favorite season is fall.
And yes, I have anorexia nervosa, depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and borderline personality disorder.
But these things do little to define me.
I love to write, create art, read, and do karate. These are probably my four biggest hobbies. I’ve been doing all four since I was very little and have enjoyed them for years and years.
My dream job is to be a studio animator/screenwriter for a company like Pixar or Dreamworks.
I want to create a story that people resonate with. I want people to read the things I write and see the things I make and feel every emotion on the spectrum. Happiness, sadness, anger, confusion, elation, despair, you name it. I want to change people’s lives with my art and my writing. I want to make the imaginary reality.
As I mentioned, karate is a huge part of my life. I’ve been taking lessons ever since I was seven years old.
(Yes, I’m the one in the middle, and yes, I corralled everyone into taking this photo.)
And yes, I cry every time I look at it because karate is truly my second family. Obviously this is not everyone I’ve met on my journey there, but it’s a significant chunk of the people who have had a massive effect on the person I am. I can say without a doubt that I would not be the same person I am today were it not for karate.
I attended college at UMass Amherst. Unfortunately, during my sophomore year, I had to take medical leave because of the seriousness of my condition.
But my time at UMass was the best time of my life. I met some of the most amazing people I’ve even been fortunate enough to befriend, and hate the fact that my illnesses have caused me to distance myself from them. They are all such incredible, wonderful friends, and I miss them all terribly much so.
I can’t wait to go back and make more memories, friends, and experiences. I will be returning for the spring 2017 semester. That can’t come soon enough.
I love animals.
I also love shopping.
Additionally, I love posting on Instagram about my daily life. I like being able to share my journey with others, and I have met some truly inspirational people through doing this.
(Typical girl stuff, I know.)
Guess what? I also love my family.
More than anything else in my life, the people I have relationships with have shaped me. I guess that’s what I’m ultimately trying to communicate here.
I am so many more things than just my mental illnesses. And I refuse to let these things define me.
Instead, I choose to be defined by the people I surround myself with and love. I choose to be defined by the infinite experiences waiting for me. I choose do be defined by what I’m passionate about and what excites me. I choose to be defined by my desire to learn, to travel, and to constantly better myself.
I choose to be me.
I’ll keep this on the shorter side because there’s definitely so much more that I could say, but I think I’ve touched on the most important things here.
But more than anything, I want to take adequate time to thank the people who have supported me through this whole journey. You are the reason I get up and fight every day. You are my inspiration and my motivation to get better. You are the voices in my head that drown out the monsters in my mind. You are the best support network I could ever ask for. I love you all so very much and can never thank you enough for all you have done and continue to do for me each and every day.