Eating Disorders have been a part of my life since I was born, I just didn’t know it yet. It seems unfathomable that something so pervasive in every day life is hardly talked about and rarely taken seriously. So many people have laughed at the words ‘eating disorders’: the media, my family, my friends, my teachers, my government… everyone. Those words weren’t funny anymore when my best friend lost about twenty pounds in two weeks. Those words hit me like a train when I walked in, her hand was down her throat, and blood was splattered along the porcelain toilet bowl. Something was wrong with this picture, how could such a beautiful girl, whom I’ve know my entire life, whom I have loved and cared for do something so terrible to herself? That’s when I decided it was time for me to make a difference and joining Boulder Youth Body Alliance (BYBA) was my key. With BYBA I feel empowered. I can make a difference in my community, but the D.C. Lobby Trip gave me a chance to change millions of lives, going straight through our government.
It didn’t hit me what we were really doing in D.C. until the initial training day. The people there have really been affected by eating disorders. Some of the people there have been denied treatment for fifteen years; others had been through successful treatment and had recovered, while others have lost loved ones. So what were we? A group of teenagers who were ‘out to change the world’. We were sure no one would take us seriously. When confessing my fears to one of the amazing people at that training day she said something like, “It doesn’t matter what you’ve been through, it only matters how passionate you are about the cause.” Those few words changed my life. I knew that what I said to Rep. Jared Polis mattered just as much as what anyone else had to say and that is the beauty of the lobby day. Instead of the idea that we can make a difference, we were making a difference. Each one of us was fighting for something we truly believed in by talking to people who can change our country. That made me never want to stop fighting. Coming back to our small Boulder community, I knew that everything that we’ve done is not a waste of time and we have changed people’s lives, if not our own.