I Am More: Sophie

The first time I ever saw Sophie she was playing King Arthur in a production of “Monty Python and the 21 Chickens” at the UU Church in Rockport, MA. We had just moved to Cape Ann, it was our first outing as a family, and it looked like this:

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Sophie as King Arthur with twin sister, Kiva

Since that time we have seen Sophie take on a range of roles, from Sandy in Grease to Frau Blücher in Young Frankenstein, and she’s gone on to dance competitively and teach dance to young children. When she is performing, she appears fearless and confident, with an intensity that belies her age, so it would come as a surprise to most that she is recovering from an eating disorder. Sitting down and talking to her about it, her openness and her passion to educate others about eating disorders made me hopeful for her and excited that this 18-year old could change lives. I’m so grateful that she was willing to share her words and her sketchbook for the benefit of others. Here’s Sophie now:

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Sophie, by Amy Kerr, 2017. Pastel on paper, 2.5 ft by 4 ft

I am more than my eating disorder. I am compassionate, I am a daughter, a sister, an artist. I love children and I want to be an expressive arts therapist. Despite all of challenges that my eating disorder brings, I rise above by finding joy in things that other people may not even think twice about. There are days that are hard, but I get through them by remembering all of my goals, I want to go to college next year, I want to help people who struggle with mental illness like me, I want to work with kids and families, I want to make my parents proud, I want live a happy and healthy life despite the negative and harmful thoughts in my brain. I know I can not do any of these things if I die from my eating disorder. I am grateful for my parents, who have sat with me through every meal, every panic attack, every doctors appointment, I do not know what my life would be like without their unwavering support and patience. I am grateful for my treatment team at Walden Behavioral Center who took me in when I thought there was absolutely no hope. I love my family. I love the arts. I love the way my name sounds when people say it. I am learning to love my body for the way it is. I am so much more than my eating disorder, and I am working on believing that statement.

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from Sophie’s sketchbook
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from Sophie’s sketchbook

If you think you might have an eating disorder, Sophie recommends you contact the National Eating Disorders Association for help and support.

12 thoughts on “I Am More: Sophie

  1. You are amazing, Sophie, and I predict a most successful life ahead of you!!!! Keep up the good work!

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  2. Dear Sophie, thank you for your courage, inspiration, dignity, and determination. Your sketchbook hit me hard. I also suffered from an eating disorder for 37 years, and I know the pernicious course. I am writing a memoir depicting my journey from self-destruction to self-love. There were boundless leaps, failures, and gross travails along the way, and a grand triumph at the end. You are brave, beautiful, open-hearted, and, oh so bright to know you are PERFECT! That self-love and self-acceptance grow stronger every day, and I see from Amy’s brilliant drawing, you are basking in that glorious glow!

    Dear Amy, thank you, as always, for your insight and compassion! Stunning! I can lose myself in the endless light of your portrait, feel the groundedness of Sophie’s conviction (in relive’, no less) and feel the joy, hope, and altruism in your story, Sophie. Thank you both for sharing.

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