Hey from Miss Teen Edmonton World 2012!

Basic Info – Just the Facts

I’m a seventeen year old girl who is proud to call Edmonton home. I have been raised by two loving parents, and I have a ton of siblings! I have four sisters and a brother; you could definitely say there is never a dull moment in our home!  (But as my parents often say, “Can you pass the ear plugs?”)

On top of my siblings, my family takes in foster kids. These kids come from troubled backgrounds, and their parents are no longer able to take care or provide for them. Over the years, I’ve seen hundreds of kids come into my house on an emergency basis.  Sometimes they come right from the hospital or the police station; they often arrive without anything except for the clothes they are wearing.  In our small way, our family has tried to be a safe haven for a very vulnerable part of our society.  It never ceases to amaze me the extent to which loving arms can positively affect a child.

I enjoy many sports, but, I absolutely love soccer; I’ve played outdoor and indoor soccer since I was 5 years old.  I’ve never been the most talented player on my team, but, I have always had the biggest heart.  My motto is simple: never give up.

After graduating from Jasper Place High School in June 2012, I plan to attend the University of Alberta.  My goal is to become a Psychiatrist or Psychologist.

My Struggles with Anorexia

Despite growing up in such a warm household, it hasn’t always been easy. As a child I was always a little overweight – reaching a maximum weight that to this day I am still ashamed of.

I often cried to my Mom expressing concerns that I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough or thin enough.  Because of these overwhelming fears, and my desire for perfection, I decided to make a change. I began to workout more, eat healthier, and count calories.  Initially, the change seemed to be a good one.  I was buoyed by all of the positive comments about the changes in my appearance. One year later, and much lighter, I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa.

You see, what began as a healthy endeavor became extremely unhealthy.  I would spend hours upon hours calculating every single piece of food I would eat, and how I could workout to create a caloric deficit in order to maintain my rapid weight loss. When I wasn’t counting calories I was analyzing and critiquing my body in the mirror. My mind always told me the same thing: my thighs touched, my arms jiggled, and my stomach was round and bloated. Simply put: I hated myself.

Ultimately, my health situation deteriorated to such an extent that I was forced to receive medical treatment.  I had to withdraw from my high school, instead, taking high school courses through correspondence.  Initially, I attempted to manage my own calories. Fighting every day against this voice that tells you that you aren’t good enough is one of the hardest things to do, and a battle I couldn’t win on my own.

I eventually began to go to the hospital for all my meals as an outpatient, following a pre-designed meal plan, and hitting specific caloric goals. As my weight increased so did my depression and I began to self-harm.

Eventually it got to the point where I attempted suicide. My doctors placed me in the in-patient program in the hospital so I could be more closely monitored. As soon as I was released, I attempted suicide again. This suicide attempt may have been unsuccessful in the physical sense; however it was very successful in other ways. The part of me that was so unhappy, and wanted to die so bad, was killed off.

Since that time, and with the help of doctors, family and friends, I have kept my weight in a healthy range. The anorexic thoughts still surface; I struggle at times.  But, I now realize that I don’t have to be perfect.  I just have to be me.

Fast Forward to Now

I am now back at high school.  I cannot tell you what a joy it is to be able to go to school.  (Not many kids admit that!)  I am part of Grad Council, and will be one of the class historians at graduation.  I am playing soccer, studying and hanging out with friends. So normal, so mundane, but, so much fun!

I still visit my doctors once every two weeks, and I still count calories but these are now measures to keep me healthy, to keep me alive.

This is how my platform evolved; it isn’t something I merely preach.  These are words I literally live by.

It’s not your shape or size that makes you beautiful. A number on a scale shouldn’t break you.

Beauty comes from within, and is more than skin deep.  Beauty is expressed through one’s poise, confidence, humility, ambitions, intelligence, talents and so much more. So embrace these! And stay beautiful <3