one girl's thoughts on life, mental illness, eating disorder recovery, and hope.

When a kindergartner makes you think March 5, 2013

“Pick a color” she instructs while holding out an origami fortune teller mere inches from my face. I look at the four squares with blue, purple, brown and black hearts.

“Blue” I reply. Blue is my favorite color.

“B-U-how do you spell blue?” she asks as her small hands fumble with opening and closing the paper between her fingers.

“Let’s sound it out. Buh”

“B” she opens the paper


“L” she opens it the same way; she cannot make her fingers open it in the opposite direction.


“I don’t know.”


“U-E” she says, confidently opening and closing the fortune teller again, in the same direction. “Now pick a number”

“8” I say, knowing I can only pick an even number.

After she counts to eight while opening and closing the fortune teller in the same direction, “Pick another number”

“2” it is the only even number left.


She struggles to lift the flap to reveal my fortune. Finally, she gets her finger under the paper, “You are pretty.” As I stand there in somewhat stunned silence, she bounces off with a wide smile to tell the fortune of another one of her friends. After she leaves I absent-mindedly pick up some trash on the floor; I am supposed to be teaching after all.


All I could think of was my “fortune”. Every time I look in the mirror, ED tells me I am not pretty. She (yes, my ED is a girl. She has my voice—which is feminine—so why can’t she be a girl) goes to great lengths to prove to me that she is right. As long as I can remember I have listened to ED; her tempting voice whispering in my ear—luring me towards self-destruction. I want to please her, but I know it will come at the expense of my own life. When I think about my fortune, it reminds me that I do not have to listen to ED.


We live in a world where beauty has become a way to categorize ourselves. As in, “she is the girl who is short, with black hair and green eyes.” Not, “she is the girl who likes to take photos, who works with the kids in the room down the hall, who always shows up obnoxiously early.” We have become a world obsessed with looks, clothing, and overall appearance. And, while sometimes describing people by appearance is helpful (for example if I were in a room of all red-heads, it would be easiest to say, “the brunette”), it should not be the be all, end all of each individual. In fact, the messages with which we are bombarded every day in the media of western “beauty” are often unattainable. Why is it that we feel we must conform to these ideas of beauty? We cut our faces and pull them tighter, inject poison into our wrinkles, we put plastic bags of saline in our breasts to make them larger, we inject silicon into our lips, we have the fat sucked out of us like a vacuum, we have our noses broken and molded back into a more desirable shape, and so on and so forth until we look less like a human being and more like an alien…all in the name of conforming to society’s vision of beauty.

Having never fit into the “ideal western beauty”, Ed has turned me towards believing that I am worthless. But a simple kindergartener’s paper fortune teller has reminded me of the truth. I am pretty. I am worth thinking well of myself. I am better than the negative things Ed tells me. I may not always believe it because I am still under the spell of Ed’s lies, but I, Rhea, am going to tell Ed no by learning to accept myself. I will accept that my scoliosis leaves one hip higher than the other. I will accept the jade green eyes that I got from my father instead of envying the blue eyes of my sister. I will accept that my stomach, stretched by years of overeating, will always be a little saggy. I will accept my wonderfully olive skin. I will accept my scars; including the one I got when my neighbor pushed the fertilizer spreader into my eye. I will accept me. Only by accepting me and acknowledging the truth that God made me beautifully imperfect, will Ed shut up.


I absolutely love the band Seabird. I have seen them live several times and am consistently amazed by them. I also love that they are local boys (coming from just across the river from me).  “Don’t you know you’re beautiful” was filmed entirely in my hometown of Cincinnati, has the most amazing imagery I have ever seen in a music video, and is full of inspiration. This song is a reminder to everyone that they are beautiful in the eyes of those around you, but especially in the eyes of God. You are beautiful. You are worth recovery.


Hebrews 6: 18-19

“So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.”


11 Responses to “When a kindergartner makes you think”

  1. justmeb Says:

    That was an amazing post! The clarity of your voice, there is so much hope and resolve! I have never heard this band before but that song is perfect. You sound like you are in a great space right now. I know for me whenever my ED voice pops up I sort of tell her that though I appreciate her opinion, I think she is wrong! It isn’t always that easy but it is a much more fulfilling life when we can kick her to the curb with her nasty opinions!

    • rheasofhope Says:

      Thank you. I have been struggling as of late to shut her up…but I am getting there. I like that you acknowledge Ed’s opinion, but then do what is right for recovery. You are stronger than ED. You are really going places. Stay strong!

  2. loveletters Says:

    So inspiring! You’re doing amazing 🙂

  3. loveletters Says:

    So inspiring! You’re doing amazing 🙂

  4. lauriesnotes Says:

    I can relate. I fought the ed voice for a long time. Too long. Finally after over 20 years I realized though it was misguided it was actually willing to work with me as a part of myself. Today I am able to embrace that part of me that I fought so desperately. And it doesn’t say mean things anymore.
    Thank you for visiting my blog.

    • lauriesnotes Says:

      I can’t remember if you were at my blog or I just found you..Anyway, I love your pictures and honesty.

    • rheasofhope Says:

      I am so glad that the Ed voice does not have influence over you any more. I love your photos! Black and white is my favorite.

      • lauriesnotes Says:

        Mine too. I have just been using my cell phone. I am gonna get a real camera. Photography has been healing. …Thanks for visiting my blog.
        And thanks for talking about this stuff.
        Take care and keep writing..
        Much love-

      • lauriesnotes Says:

        Mine too. I have just been using my cell phone. I am gonna get a real camera. Photography has been healing. …Thanks for visiting my blog.
        And thanks for talking about this stuff.
        Take care and keep writing..
        Much love-

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