PersonalMaris Degener

Is This Real Life?

PersonalMaris Degener
Is This Real Life?
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Today, September 4th, my picture is on the front page of CNN Health. Don't get me wrong, it's small and kind of off to the side, but it's there.

And it still doesn't quite feel real. I found myself reading the article and marveling at the opportunity to see myself through the eyes of others- a rare chance to see what I look like from the outside in. I found myself reading words I had written in the heat of the moment and wondering how they made their way from a convoluted mess in my head to digestible fragments on paper. I found myself, most of all, in awe of the love that made today possible for me.

There are so many people I want to acknowledge, to let them know that the generosity and care they've extended to me has not gone unappreciated. From those who helped me find my way out of the darkest points, to those who helped shift me into the light, there are countless amounts of people who have been integral to my development as a human, student, and teacher. I can't imagine where I would be today if even one of them hadn't opened their hearts to me.

So many, in fact, that if I even began to list them all this post would never end. From the doctors I hated, to the parents who persevered, to the teachers who showed me new possibilities, to the friends who stood by even when they couldn't understand, to the women who remained resilient in the face of adversity, to the countless cheerleaders on the sidelines, wishing for nothing more than my success. I want nothing more than to extend my thanks. To Jenni and Malia, who taught me that authenticity is more important than anything else in this world. To Jessica, Laura, and Holly, who showed me that a confident woman is a powerful force. To the Just Be teacher trainers, who taught me that a community can make all the difference. To everyone I have come across in one way or another these past few years, because they have all taught me a lesson.

I'm filled with love. Love from strangers, love from family, love from friends. Love is pouring out of me, I'm so full. I'm trying to soak it all in before I lose touch of it. If I haven't thanked you personally, know that I'm thinking of you, and I love you.

The only message I want to send is this: Talk about your story. Share it. Write it. Sing it. Create it. Nothing but opportunity has come from telling my own. From that first letter I wrote to Jenni, to the CNN article, I have personally experienced the power of authenticity. People want to listen, they want to connect. They want to hear who you are.

If I haven't said it enough already, thank you.

"I'm meant to live -- and I finally know what that means," says teen who overcame anorexia. http://t.co/2iuahAo6gApic.twitter.com/vAQywC4XTG

— CNN Health (@cnnhealth) September 4, 2015

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PS: My birthday is right around the corner! (What a birthday gift, right?) If you want to celebrate with me, join me for complimentary yoga at Lululemon Walnut Creek on Sunday, September 13th at 9:30 AM. It will not only be the beginning of my 17th year, but the one year anniversary of beginning my teacher training at Just Be. I would love to have you be a part of it!