Who I Was, Who I Am

Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud, and how does it relate to the person you are?

A smile spread on my face even before my feet touched the ground as I landed my flip and saluted the judge. I had just finished competing at the last meet of my first gymnastics season with Irvington High School, and my routines had all gone well. But I was completely blown away when I heard the words, “And your 1st place Varsity All-Around MVAL Champion is. . . Michelle Brier.”

This accomplishment in its own was an incredible feat. As a freshman, I had the honor of competing on the varsity gymnastics team and making it to the MVAL championships, although I definitely was not expecting to win first place. However, recent events in my life gave the achievement much more meaning to me.

In the year leading up to this final competition, I had gone through the most difficult period of my life as I struggled with anorexia. I had spiraled lower and lower until I woke up one morning and found myself in a hospital bed with wires stuck to my torso and a heart rate monitor beeping next to me. Laying in that bed, I recalled months of sitting in a therapist’s office, always silent; I recalled the final weeks of 8th grade that I had missed and the moment my gymnastics coach told my parents that I was too sick to practice; I recalled the...

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