Few weeks, while at the National Eating Disorders Information Centre's (NEDIC) conference, I was standing at a coffee station between sessions, caught up in a conversation. Someone touched me on the shoulder. "Sorry, love", she said, trying to get around me, as I was blocking access to the milk station.
As I was getting out of her way, I said, smiling: "You called me 'love' - thank you!". Her back was turned to me, and she turned around, her black rimmed eyes suddenly widened. "It's YOU!", she said. "I saw you in a previous session, as you commented on the talk, and I wanted to come up to you. You said you were in recovery from an eating disorder, and I am going through that right now. And you just had this freedom about you. I loved your energy. So... I wanted to talk to you".
We chatted for a little bit, and I gave her my email address. As she was thanking me, I said that I was happy to help, and that perhaps, in a few years, she would be able to do the same for someone else.
That energy, those gifts that you carry around - share them. If you meet a person who is where you want to be in some aspect of their life - eating disorder recovery, work, relationships, I hope you can be as brave as this girl, and approach them. They will most likely say yes. And if you are the person being approached - it's your turn to pay it forward.
I have reached out for help to some awesome people. And most had no particular reason or incentive to help me. Except, many said: "I am where I am because so many people helped me along the way". This is how you pay back. This is how you honour the mentors, the teachers, the coaches. And this is why I had to be at that conference. Raising my hand in sessions, and asking the difficult questions - in order to be noticed by that girl.
"If you get, give. If you learn, teach." - Maya Angelou
I hope she emails, SOLO
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