Motivating Stories from Local Women
Every woman has a story to tell, and no two stories are alike. Meet the women who have persevered through challenges and tribulations and come out the other side stronger than ever. These unique individuals have seen their fair share of adversity but continue to inspire those around them with the lessons they have learned and their love of life. Read on for four truly motivating stories by the women who experienced them firsthand.
Photography by Emily Long / Photos taken on location at The Westin Chattanooga
Lauren Higgins, MS, BC-DMT
When I was a young adult, a perfect storm hit my predisposed brain, and I developed an eating disorder. I felt out of control in my post-9/11 world, and I sought to control my body in response. I quickly became obsessed with food, weight, and exercise. In trying to gain control of something, I ended up losing control and harming my health, relationships, and life. I wasn’t sure how I would graduate college as I spent all my time in my disordered behaviors.
Fortunately, I had great support and wanted help. I started seeing a therapist and a dietitian with eating disorder experience. I also found dance. For a naturally curvy girl, dance never seemed accessible to me, but then I stumbled into a belly dance studio. The movements felt wonderful. I began to see beauty in myself and other natural bodies learning to move. Over time, I became much more interested in my chosen art than the number on the scale. I learned how powerful my body was when I listened to her. I needed food to fuel my body for dance, and I needed rest to restore my brain for college. Love of belly dancing trickled into loving all types of movement and body awareness. I learned to listen to my hunger and fullness cues, and I noticed how my body felt when I needed to set boundaries.
Eventually I graduated and obtained a master’s degree in dance/movement therapy, and now I’m able to help adults struggling with eating disorders and substance abuse. I’ve found that in addition to talk therapy, dance/movement therapy and yoga can be used to connect the mind, body, and spirit in healing.
Lessons I learned from this experience were that our bodies are a source of wisdom, life is much richer in recovery, and your worst times can set you on a brand-new path. If you’re struggling, I hope you’ll reach out to someone. Trust that you can someday use your struggle to help someone else. This is a scary time in our world, but our struggles can be our greatest teacher if we support each other. HS