A Joyful Journey...

Join Doris Smeltzer, critically acclaimed author/educator, as she muses on topics from eating disorders to the mysteries of life. Often "Featured" are select, astute observations made by Andrea during her all too brief 19-year life…it is she who taught us: the joy IS in the journey!

Credit where it's due

 

I met recently with a group of young women and their therapists for a chat. I came away inspired by their courageous journeys through various eating disorders, some healed, others still in the process. I can only imagine the drive and fortitude needed to sustain or maintain their commitment to wellness. It is a daunting task yet each woman embodied the truth of its "doability."

Sometime during the evening one of the therapists commented about what a remarkable woman Andrea was and gave me credit for my contribution to her growing into such a person. Can't recall what I said, but am sure I questioned how much I may have contributed to the "who" of Andrea.

In a follow-up email, the therapist talked about my work and its affect on her and ended by iterating, "And Doris, you clearly, clearly helped Andrea to become the amazing, spirited woman she was. I hope you can hold onto that....:-)"

I was deeply touched by everything she'd written, but I had to ponder that last line. Not because I doubt that I affected my daughter, but because I'm not certain there is equality between nature and nurture. I responded:

I would so love to hold onto the thought that I helped Andrea become the “amazing, spirited woman she was” (LOVE your description of her) but I wonder sometimes on the impact of parenting generally. 

I had a very abusive father and a loving but extremely co-dependent mother. I know who I was as a young person (how I thought, how I felt, how I acted)…yes, my family affected me, but the core of me has not changed drastically (it feels more like “in spite of” versus “because of”).  

Our daughters are both incredible beings, but very different in their approaches to life and personality styles…not sure how much credit I can take for who they were/are. I tend to agree with Mitch Albom who wrote in his book The Five People You’ll Meet in Heaven, “All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.” In spite of the “smudges" I left on our daughters, the incredible women they became is more a credit to THEM than to who I was as their mother.  

If my parents were still alive and I heard them espouse that they'd "made me who I am today" I'd feel insulted and a bit angry. It is I who chose how to respond to the experiences in my life. I can hold the notion that I was a contributor to helping Andrea become who she was but only with the caveat that the credit for who she was is hers. Just as the parents of the young women struggling to heal cannot "own" the outcome of that struggle...like me, they "contribute" but cannot take "credit." That belongs to their child.

  [Originally posted on the Gürze Books Eating Disorders Blogs]

 

Ahhh....this too...
Andrea's words of wisdom

Related Posts

 

Invest in ending eating disorders:

Shop via AmazonSmile or:

Givva
Use Giving Assistant to save money and support Andreas Voice Foundation

Automatically support Andreas Voice Foundation by shopping at Office Depot, Old Navy, and Target.

The book, "Andrea's Voice...

Silenced by Bulimia

 

Silenced by Bulimia (Gürze, 2006). read more...

Gratitude for support from:

mechnaics bank logo

Tag Cloud

eating disorders, body image healing, personal change weight loss self-compassion, Italy bulimia self-love Austria self-hatred self-forgiveness Easter workplace wellness body acceptance, self-loathing social media International No Diet Day Alzheimers privacy, wedding bittersweet Spring Labor Day dysfunctional family, NEDAW recovery fat talk metaphors, bride & groom memories lessons learned challenges extended family, independence Renfrew Perspectives ritual mental illness killer stress, breaking down walls First Lady anorexia fat people, Taryn Brumfitt Independence Day Sequoia National Forest New Year dancing at bus stop Resolutions Lets Move! Chimamanda Adichie Bailey Webber self-care, intersectionality Silver Creek Falls 4-wheel drive Florence binge Health At Every Size®, Eating Disorders Awareness Month weight Nigerian Julie Wyman mindfulness, queer body love preferred gender pronouns self-acceptance Michelangelo fat friendly doctors, love weight stigma high school reunion Lindsey Averill body positive Italians American Medical Assn., Health At Every Size® judgments only you can be you Mothers Day nature / nurture, white privilege body Weight Stigma Awareness Week wi-fi baby steps competent eating Internet meme shattered health and fitness, #Nuerofeedback4EDs beauty Mrs. Obama cellulite vulnerability, Intuitive Eating magical thinking Rumi, body hatred crash diets, Kenya spain Passover models public ownership, Body of Truth health Cutting, grief Africa Andreas Voice, black & white thinking fat acceptance, shame, non-binary gender healing metaphors,

Andrea's Voice...

Silenced by Bulimia

 

Silenced by Bulimia (Gürze, 2006). read more...

Invest in ending eating disorders:

Shop via AmazonSmile or: