When I was 12 years old, I saw a movie about two young women who secretly conspired with each other to be better and thinner through developing eating disorders. One was bulimic, one was anorexic; that gave me two solutions to my pain. I watched the movie with my skinny friend, I thought her family was rich and perfect. I thought she had everything she wanted including all of the love and support a girl would want and deserve.


I resolved to take my full-of-ice cream belly into the bathroom for the first emotional release I had through purging. When I returned, my throat stung, my fingers were slimy, red and white from gagging myself; and that was the beginning of the growing addiction.


I started not only restricting my calories and starving myself but also working out for hours a day, miles on end in order to achieve the perfect body and life. I was afraid that if I ate, people would see me as weak and fat; I felt I didn’t have the right to feed my hunger.


I felt I was more in control if I pained my body and mind. I was fanatical about working out; there was an internal drive to “be better,” a belief that if I ran far enough, fast enough, hard enough that my life would feel ok. That being thin would bring relationships, healing, happiness, and success. But it didn’t. The more I fed the lies that I wasn’t enough and starved my body, the more I saw myself as this undeserving person.


When I got older, high school, I learned that it wasn’t safe to tell people the things I was aching about; when I did, they turned their backs and criticized and couldn’t “handle me or it.” They would talk negatively and I’d lose friends, credibility, love, and acceptance.


And we all go through a point in our lives when we shame a part of our life, our story, and ourselves. We’ve learned along the way that someone may find it, and you, wrong and unacceptable and unworthy. So we lock it up inside and suffer, feeling like no one will understand, or even worse, we won’t be loved if they know about our ‘secret.’ Those very things that we hide are the things that give us access and true power into living our purpose and impacting others.


We must put the fear of being seen behind us and allow the beauty of our journey to be shared and told.



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About The Author

Michelle Fetsch's picture

Michelle Fetsch is a serial entrepreneur and visionary. She is the Founder and Executive Director of the largest TEDxWomen event on the planet, The Founder of STAND, a full service agency that supports businesses in discovering and delivering on what they stand for.  She’s helped numerous organizations launch and grow their business and is passionate about community building, branding + storytelling. 

After a 16-year struggle with eating disorders, self confidence, and body image issues, she founded Women Enough with the sole purpose to support women in owning their worth and stepping into their greatness. When Michelle isn’t working on BARE, WE, or her agency, STAND, she’s a life and business mentor to women all around the world. Her favorite things involve traveling, playing in the ocean, singing on stage, and riding around on her scooter. To contact her, email

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