The day I quit App Cheerleading

Now this is an interesting topic choice for today, however there is a reason that I decided to do this. While I was on my 16 mile run with my running group, there was a man there that told me a story of how after just a few short months of going to the Citadel, he quit. He gave up the dream, and he quit. He said it changed his life in a good and bad way. I could NOT relate more, and wanted to share what I mean. 

So, when I went to App in 2007, somehow God willing, I made the cheerleading squad. It's funny because I wasn't a very good tumbler, but I had done hours upon hours of practicing to try out, and I hit everything with perfection at try outs. I remember landing my standing tuck like WHAT THE HECK JUST HAPPENED BUT I'M GONNA GO WITH IT! I will never forget those moments or the moment I looked at the list and my name was on it. I get chills thinking about it. I was a college cheerleader at a really cool school. Wow...just wow. 

Fast forward, literally like 6 months later, and I had quit and left it all behind for one reason. I thought it would cure me. I was SO deep in the mental disorder that I had walked myself right into that I thought that quitting would make it better. I thought that I wanted to be skinny for cheerleading so if I eliminated that variable that had caused this, it would all go away. I was way too deep at that point so all it did was give me an excuse to get smaller (because I had a weight cut off at App that I couldn't be any smaller). So, it actually had the opposite effect. 

I vividly remember my friend to this day, Hiliary (who was my base) begging me not to quit. I remember thinking that no one could understand the hell I was in, so I had to do it. When I lost all of my weight, I lost all of my muscle. I could no longer tumble. I could no longer jump. I felt weak when we danced. I felt weak in the air during flying so I would fall a lot. The coach that put me on the squad quit during that summer, and we got a new coach. The new coach had not met me until the season started, and quit frankly, I wouldn't have liked me either. I was quiet and to myself, but I was terrible. I was not even CLOSE to what a college cheerleader looked like. My mind was so hazy that I remember during the games, they would say "That's another Mountaineer..." and of course everyone chimed in with "First Down." My mind was in such a fog that I couldn't ever remember to do it. I can vividly remember the coach telling me that if I couldn't at least remember to say "First Down" that he was going to bench me. During half time, they would have food for us, and of course this was something that I couldn't do. 

The girls on the squad were amazing. They were so sweet to me, and wanted me to be their friend. I isolated myself from them because they would invite me out to eat, and I didn't eat. I couldn't let them know that, so I always just said I couldn't come. I would stay in my dorm Friday to Sunday alone to avoid social settings of eating. I am friends with a lot of those girls on facebook now and I've always wondered what they think of me to this day....the girl that quit so quickly. It kinda makes me tear up because the fact that they are even still nice to me blows my mind. The girls that year on the squad are the best, and I regret more than any of the decisions in my life that I didn't seek relationships with them. And I didn't stick around, because of fear of food. 

To be honest, I don't regret much but I'll say with 100% fact that I regret my first semester at App for so many reasons. I was in such a bad place, and I didn't know what was happening or how to get myself out of it so I just stayed alone in my dorm, and cried a lot. I had a therapist tell me that I was anorexic and I didn't believe it in all honesty. I was SO mad because that word was so awful and didn't describe me. I was NEVER EVER that girl, and somehow I found myself in that situation. 

I quit right after the Halloween game. I walked into the coaches office, and said that I needed to focus on grades. He wasn't happy. He told me that if I was going to quit that I could never come back. I told him I knew that and that my decision was final. He kinda picked fun at me by telling me to have fun studying (which made me so mad at the time lol) but whatever he was mad and I get it. HA! I was shocked he even cared because I was so terrible with my weight and muscle loss and foggy brain. 

The next game my family and boyfriend at the time came up and I sat in the crowd with them at the game. I acted like I was happy that I made the decision when I hated myself for it. From the first day after I quit, I knew I would never quit another thing in my life.

I would never quit beating this disease that had taken this from me. I would never quit my dream of becoming a pharmacist. I would never on friendships, my faith or my marriage. Ever. 

Quitting taught me one thing--> Never quit again. 

This is why I'm so passionate about dreams. This is why I'm so PROUD to be in a body that can do things, a body that can move, a body that is taken care of. I'm so passionate about never giving up on anything that I set out to do no matter how hard or how tough. Every single time that I finish something that I started, I become a new person again. It's like a piece of me from that time frame is put back together. I'm so passionate about freeing people from this fear of food because it literally took a big piece of my life away from me that I'll never be able to get back-my college years. 

While I regret those times, it really was one of the biggest reasons that I am who I am today. I believe that we go through seasons in our lives and we go through struggles so that we can come out on the other side a new person. I've always said that we should always use our struggles for a purpose. God had me go through that so that I can help share my story now in hopes that someone out there reading this blog can relate and say "Okay, I can do that too" 

Troy (left) was probably the only person I confided in at the time what was really going on. Hillary is on the right (and is basically a crossfit BEAST now;) All the girls in the middle are doing such incredible things. 

I know that some reading this might not know this, but eating disorder stories on instagram is like a fad. It's the cool thing to do to even have a page that is dedicated to recovery. It's so weird to me. I don't want to be that girl, and I'm not looking for validation or pity parties or anything like that....I swear. hahaha! I don't want to harp on this topic because it's in my past. I don't like to really talk about it at all anymore because I've moved on and I don't even think about these things. Can you tell those things annoy me? ;) 

It's just that after I had that conversation on our 16 mile run, I realized how far I've come. I realized that for all of these years that I've felt such regret, I could let it go because it taught me to be the person that I am today. So, this long run wasn't the normal long run. It was like the closure to a break up. The final piece with Christ saying "You have been free for so long now. Just let that last piece of regret go and take with it what you've learned from it-Never EVER quit." 

So I won't quit. I won't ever quit...on anything or anybody. And also in honor of this, I'm going to go eat like the biggest breakfast on creation because I'm starving now and SCREW FEAR OF FOOD.

With love and past stories that don't define you, 

Katie


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