Stevenson senior inspires awareness of eating disorders
Updated: April 1, 2013 6:56AM
BUFFALO GROVE — We’re right in the middle of an important week to many people all over the country.
This is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, and this year’s theme is called “Everybody Knows Somebody.” These words are so true; anyone — even someone in your own backyard— can become a victim of this cruel affliction, no matter their gender, age, race or social class. However, the thing about an eating disorder is that it can be kept so well hidden by the person suffering from it, that days, weeks, months or even years can go by before it is diagnosed. And, once it is diagnosed, you hope that it is not too late to move forward and recover.
Such is the story of Mallory Faye, a beautiful and brave girl from our community who has battled an eating disorder for most of her life. Now recovered, and a senior at Stevenson High School, Mallory has come a long way in her lifetime. And she wants to share her story with others, in the hope that she could connect with someone who is still suffering in silence. Through her words as a motivational speaker to school-aged students, and her lyrics as a talented singer/songwriter, Mallory’s message is truly a powerful one that I would like to share with you.
“Since I was three years old and a dancer in ballet class, I always thought I was the biggest kid,” she said. “Even at that age, I had a weird perception of my body and a drive for perfectionism. As I got older, I believed that if I was skinny, I would win trophies, be a successful dancer and have lots of friends. By the time I was in third grade, I never ate in front of people. I would come home and binge on food. Then, I read a book about a girl with bulimia, and I learned how to do it; what a sense of control I felt.”
For the next five years, she hid her secret from her friends and family. Then, when she entered eighth grade, Mallory’s disorder began to change.
“I began to exercise and restrict my food,” she explained. “No matter how much weight I lost, it wasn’t enough. I looked unhealthy and began passing out. My life became unmanageable.”
Thankfully, family and friends intervened and thus began Mallory’s road to recovery. Albeit, a rocky one.
“Recovery is hell,” she said. “It is not easy because you are forced to feel emotions — you have to feel sadness, anger and happiness and learn to recognize that this eating disorder was not my friend. I really fought against it and the lies it had told me.”
Thankfully, she made it through treatment through the support of family, friends and a very special teacher. Today, she is blessed to have a new outlook on life.
“It is amazing to be happy and healthy,” she said. “I’ve made friends with food and the mirror.”
And the future is very bright; she is off to college this fall to pursue music and business.
“I have always loved to sing, especially country music because it tells stories about real life,” she said.
Mallory has a website, www.malloryfaye.com, which tells more of her story and features her beautiful new song “Something to Live For.” Professionally recorded in Nashville, this song is being recognized nationally for its beautiful and powerful message.
“This is a recovery song,” she explained. “People can sometimes fall into a dark place where they feel like they can’t go on... the moral of the song is to never give up — you will find a reason to go on.”
Already, many groups organizing fundraising walks are planning to play her song this year, and Mallory has been asked to speak at some of these functions as well. On March 2, Mallory is traveling to Los Angeles to share her song at NEDA, the National Eating Disorders Association conference. If you would like to learn more about eating disorders or contribute to this worthy organization, its website is www.nationaleatingdisorders.org.
And if someone is reading this column, and suffering from an eating disorder, please listen to Mallory’s advice:
“You don’t have to live this way in pain: emotionally, physically, mentally... recovery is possible. Life with happiness and love is out there. Recovery is hard, but remember that for all the most rewarding things in life, you have to fight the hardest.”
That’s all for now; please keep in touch and send neighborhood news to Aileen Simons at Thewritetouch1@aol.com.