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Finding My Voice

By: Layn T., Renfrew Alumna

In February 2020, I entered The Renfrew Center of Charlotte “kicking and screaming.” I was a newlywed, and I refused to allow anything to disrupt the “pretty” life I was portraying.

For years, I labelled myself as a chameleon, and I wore it as a badge of honor. I took pride in the fact that I could camouflage myself into any environment. Boundaries were non-existent, and “YES” was my most-used word. I put all my worth into the hands of others, and my eating disorder was a physical extension of that.

When I entered treatment in February, I entered in defeat. With every word and action, I attempted to deny my need for higher levels of care. Over time, however, I began to shed my chameleon-like skin within the walls of Renfrew.

In the upstairs group room, I experienced the meaning of authenticity. Guided by the most incredible team, I explored the emotions and shame I had buried for far too long. I acknowledged all the reasons I had quieted myself for many years and succumbed to the eating disorder as my safety. I recognized why I denied myself for the bounty of others, and in the midst of what felt like chaos, I found my voice.

The last thing I expected to gain from treatment was self-respect and individualization, yet it’s the very thing that began transforming my life into one I valued and cherished. While I am SO PROUD of the progress I have made, I’m still in recovery… from my eating disorder and from a life built on a thousand “YES”es.

Even so, I am happy to be myself… a messy, trying, authentic human.

Always remember…

  • You can’t pour from an empty cup.
  • Your voice matters.
  • It’s cool to set boundaries for yourself.
  • You’re in charge of setting boundaries… but you’re not in charge of how others react to those boundaries.
  • Typically, those upset by your newfound voice and/or boundaries are those profiting off your loss of self.

Layn Tallent Thomas

“This life is mine alone… So I have stopped asking people for directions to places they’ve never been.”
-Glennon Doyle, Untamed

Layn is an alumna of The Renfrew Center of Charlotte. Her favorite days are days spent on her farm. Will never pass up a warm cup of coffee or a good piece of chocolate.

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