Eastside Alumna Writes Book, Shares Journey

What is the name of your book? 
The name of my book is Perfectly Imperfect.

2017 cross country calendar

What kind of journey did you have to decide to write it? 
I developed an eating disorder during the summer before my eighth grade year. It was a combination of pressure I put on myself, the desire for perfect, the need for control, and the idea that I had to have a certain body type to be a runner. It was a long process to find healing from that, but through years of therapy, nutrition counseling, and relying on God to help me get through it, I was able to find freedom. I decided to write my book to share my story with others and to let them know that no matter what you are going through, whether an eating disorder and depression or something else, that there is hope.

How involved was your family in the writing process and for you as an athlete and support? 
My mom actually wrote a chapter in my book and my dad was very involved in helping me through the entire publishing process, as far as finances went and meeting with the publisher. 

As an athlete, my parents were at every cross country and track meet they could be at. Even if my event lasted less than six minutes and the meet was two hours away, they would still be there cheering my on. They have always been my biggest fans, whether in sports or in any other endeavor that I have pursued in my life.

How did the publishing process work? 
It started out with me sending an outline of each potential chapter to a publishing company to see if they would even have interest in publishing it. After I did that, they contacted me and told me that they would love to work with me on it. Next, I had to start writing each chapter. This process took me about five months. After the first draft was finished, it went on to an editor who revised it and then on to press where it was printed into a book.

What feedback have you had from the book? 
Everyone who has read it who I have talked to has said very kind and encouraging words to me about it. It is awesome to see the support that I have received. Several people who have eating disorders have also been impacted and have been able to receive help after reading it so that has been very rewarding to me as well.

As a runner, what do you hope it helps others with? 
Sometimes, being a runner is extremely difficult. We think that our bodies have to look a certain way or have a certain amount of muscle in order to run a certain way. We think that if we eat certain foods, they will slow us down or make us gain weight. Running can also turn into an unhealthy addiction that is done solely for the purpose of burning calories, not for the purpose of having fun and enjoying exercise. I hope this book shows that running isn't just about having a certain body type or about eating certain foods. I know on my team personally, we had several girls at a time who had eating disorders, so it is a very prevalent issue that is not talked about. I hope this book starts a necessary conversation about taking care of the bodies that we have been given.

What was your biggest struggle? 
My biggest struggle was realizing that my identity was not found in the way my body looked or the times I could run. It was a long process to get through that, but once I realized that my identity was in something so much greater and that God had greater plans for me, I was able to find freedom.

How is life treating you today? 
Life is SO good! I just finished up my sophomore year at Clemson where I am majoring in Psychology and minoring in Sociology and Business. I still enjoy running, but I just do it for fun now! 

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