by: Morgan Martin
Physically, you probably don’t see much of a difference between these two pictures. But, it’s what you don’t see where my story begins. The girl on the left only smiled on the outside knowing the extreme measures she took to have those “abs” and reach “perfection.” Fifteen years later, the woman on the right not only smiles, but laughs on the inside because she knows she achieved the SAME exact results by doing it the healthy way!
The measures I took in order to present the “perfect Morgan” left me feeling pain and shame.
While I believe in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and physique, I spent too much time focusing on my outer beauty in an unhealthy way. The danger of this, is that it forced me to deny myself the freedom of fully living and being the person that God had so perfectly designed me to be, which is the Proverbs 31 woman “who is fearfully and wonderfully made.” I struggled daily to keep up an image of perfection that I created in my mind.
When it came to my mental health and body image, I felt I had it all under control but in truth, my obsessive behavior was out of control. My physical appearance consumed my thoughts. I took excessive amounts of diet pills and other extreme measures to keep up an outward appearance of perfection. And it hurt.
It became a constant battle between my inner and outer self.
Outwardly, “Perfect Morgan” didn’t feel so perfect at all, but, I thought I was at least looking the part. “Perfect Morgan” wasn’t the type of girl to have fun and eat sweets, potato chips, fried chicken, pizza, or anything with too many calories, which, lets face it, could be anything in excess. But then behind closed doors, my inner self was the exact opposite from the character I played in public. When no one was watching, I would eat all of the things that the perfect Morgan wouldn’t. After binge eating, I’d feel so ashamed and afraid of the pounds it would put on my body that I would purge to get it all out of my system. What began as a “one time thing” slowly became more and more frequent. And before I knew it, I was dealing with bulimia. This eating disorder took away my happiness – and all because I wanted to look a certain way.
I suffered alone and I suffered quietly. To everyone else, I appeared to be happy, fit and whole on the outside, even though I was dying on the inside.
It was difficult to admit all of this, until now. I’m so grateful for God, because through reading His word and surrounding myself with good people, I’ve been able to break free from the monster I created. I credit my recovery to God and the genuine kindness, concern, faith, support and love from others. I was so ashamed of my past for so long that it prevented me from stepping into my calling of coaching others to live a healthier and happier lifestyle without taking unhealthy measures as I once did.
Seeing results by simply living an overall healthy lifestyle has been so rewarding. I think it’s one of the greatest gifts you can ever give yourself! When my mind is less concerned about obtaining perfection, I notice the happier I am with my imperfections. In fact, I’ve learned to love them! (The mind is a powerful tool in the healing process.)
If I can stop just one person from taking unhealthy measures and mentally exhausting themselves about their outward appearance, then I will consider my life a success. The obstacles God helps us overcome are the same obstacles He will use to build our testimony to help save and inspire others.
Through finally breaking free from the bondage of the “perfect Morgan” I can now use my personal story to help others. I’ve never felt more beautiful than when I’m being open, honest, transparent and anything BUT perfect. Ironic?
If you are going through a difficult time or can relate to my story, please know you’re not alone in any way. There are 7 billion people in this world and the more and more of us who start to GET REAL and take off the filters of this perfect life we try to portray, the bigger the WAVE of change we will see in the world. When people feel like they can relate to others, walls come down and healing can really begin.