How telling her Ugly Duckling Story changed her life – Part Two

Telling her Ugly Duckling Story changed her life

Wait for just a single sec! Before you read Part Two of Emily’s story, head here

The first meeting of Beautifully Made was eye opening in its own way and not in the way that I had initially expected. The young ladies who attended were those that I knew back in my high school days and had not talked to in over two years.

Actually, the last time I remember genuinely having a conversation with them was at a funeral for someone we all knew either from church or school. After the death everyone fell apart, whatever problems we each had were pushed to the forefront and we just spaced apart.

Incidentally, this is what we talked the most about because many of them had pinpointed the death to the most difficult moment of whatever addictions and demons they had.

This seemed to bring out a lot of confessions that at the time they would never confess to. All of them were “recovered,” but they never would tell others because of shame, and the fear of being thought of as “crazy.” None of us agree with the term “recovered” because there is no end to recovery.

There are good days and bad days, but the point is this mere fact is why we all needed to be a part of this support group.

It’s the fear of judgement

We all need a safe place where we are not called “crazy,” but can identify pieces of ourselves within one another. What keeps the majority of people from talking about hard moments in their lives is the fear of the judgment and the cruel words that always seems to follow that judgment.

Let go of fearEven when people receive the treatment that they need, words still hurt; we just learn better ways to cope with the pain we feel. This became extremely apparent to me the next morning when I was talking to a woman that I often see at the gym I attend.

She had overheard me invite her daughter to the meeting and she approached me the next day to confess that she used to have an eating disorder and she is still having a lot of difficulty with her addiction.

She was afraid to come to the meeting because of her fear of others knowing she had a few problems.

My eyes are now open to how common such fear is and what actions need to be taken.

Those with any kind of addiction or emotional problems should not be looked down on in shame just because others do not understand the battles they have had to face. There is a certain level of ignorance that is still held by many in the world today concerning psychological issues, and all things related with how the mind works differently for different people.

Anyone struggling with a mental health issue should be able to reach out freely without concerns of stigmatization.

I will be the first to admit that sometimes I do not know how to solve this problem, but maybe, just maybe this could be the very first step to making it happen.

– Emily

Emily is 20 years old, and lives in North Carolina. For years she struggled with depression, an eating disorder, and self-harm. About five years down the line she decided to share her story in the hopes of helping others with similar struggles. After the idea came about, the rest is history.


How telling her Ugly Duckling Story changed her life

Beautifully made
We are still in awe with this beautiful post by Emily, whose Ugly Duckling Story we shared a couple of months ago. Here’s part 1 of Beautifully Made. Make sure you leave comments for her below!

Ever since I shared my story with Ugly Ducklings Inc, my perception on events have changed and many of them I saw mirrored in my daily life.

The idea of Beautifully Made came up about a year ago, but I really had no basis for it when I was still battling within myself. However, I decided to re-launch this cause recently because the timing was finally right.

After I finally got my story out there it has been easier to smile and I want others to be able to feel that joy as well. Recently I revisited my old church where many teenage girls were talking about their life problems and that is when I realized that maybe the deep scars only brought by those closest to you are not that uncommon.

There were a massive amount that were abandoned by their fathers or were abused and each of them seemed to be taking it out on themselves. Whether with cutting, an eating disorder, or drugs, they were experiencing shame and pain beyond measure because of what someone else had done to them.

What Beautifully Made was created for is a safe haven for these young ladies to share their stories and gradually come to the point of acceptance. Teaching them that what may have happened was never their fault and to try and teach them to love every part of themselves.

When someone has hurt you to the point of destroying a large part of you, there is a space of darkness that eats you alive.

Only when you accept what happened, forgive whoever had done it, and release that pain can you really go forward.

That is the objective that I am trying to accomplish with this growing group. No story is too deep and damaged that you cannot recover from it.

The core of what we stand for is within Psalm 139, it is a very good projection of what we will all try to understand about ourselves and the world around us.

Psalm 139

We are starting as a small group meeting at a friend’s house and a Facebook page, but I am hoping that we can make the idea spread.

This is not just a problem in the small state of North Carolina, it is worldwide. Even giving just the smallest bit of hope to those going down similar paths that we have previously walked through can mean all the difference.

Even if you are still recovering from old wounds you can help influence others for the better.

I guess I’m just trying to say that whatever you have been through or are going through, every piece of you is beautiful.

– Emily

Emily is 20 years old, and lives in North Carolina. For years she struggled with depression, an eating disorder, and self-harm.  About five years down the line she decided to share her story in the hopes of helping others with similar struggles.  After the idea came about, the rest is history.

Recovering from alcoholism, and an eating disorder

Sitting ducks with Robyn Cruze

April is about to end, and besides raising awareness on autism, sexual assault prevention, and child abuse prevention, it is also the time of the year when organizations around the world want to remind people of the danger and damage that alcohol has on a person and their families.

Ugly Ducklings Inc is truly proud to present this podcast, where we talked to Robyn Cruze, who might not ring any bells to many of you, but, when you listen to her you can see the superhero that’s inside her.

Some of the strinking things that she mentioned are:

  • “When my mom told us she was going to die my whole world came undone (…) and I really felt like the eating disorder served that for a really long time”.
  • “I thought my feelings were going to kill me”.
  • “I was viewing my beauty through other people, and I just did not measure up”.
  • “My eating disorder had many phases. It had multiple personalities”. 
  • “When people started calling me ‘Robyn blobbin’ I immedately understood that my body was betraying me, so I went into restriction”.
  • “When we want to start recovery we really need to identify those people that are non-judgemental”.
  • “The more I shared my story with the people that I trust, the more support I got, the more encouragement I got”.
  • “When we can own our story, that’s when we find our purpose, and our passions“.
  • “I’m on the ground, in fetal position and my little girl Lily, she was 3, she came in and said to daddy: ‘Daddy, I think mommy needs a band-aid“.

Every word she said, every thought she shared with us was inspiring. And you can listen to it here:

There is hope. There is ALWAYS hope. 

Whole Life Challenge



Hello Ugly Ducklings!

We are so excited to announce that we are going to be playing a really fun health and fitness game as a community called the Whole Life Challenge. It’s a game that measures your ability to see how much of a difference you can make in your body, fitness, and lifestyle habits over the course of eight weeks.

We invited crossfit guru Heather McKearnan of Crossfit Santa Fe to talk to us about the Whole Life Challenge so we can spread the word and so all you Ugly Ducklings can learn more about it and how to get involved! In our interview with Heather, she explains how the Whole Life Challenge got started and what exactly it is. Listen to the full interview below:

Doesn’t it sound amazing? I am personally pumped for the challenge – and I can’t wait to get an Ugly Duckling group started! If you are interested in signing up, click HERE to join our team (and remember, the price goes up this Friday April 25th, so be sure to join before then)! Once you’ve signed up, be sure to send us an email letting us know so we can all support each other!

We want to thank Heather for taking the time to come on and fill us in on this amazing opportunity to take control of our health, fitness and well-being. Check out our Swan Revealed with Heather to find out more about her below:

Have no doubt that if you join the challenge, you will get lots of support from many different sources (including Marie, Heather & I and the rest of our assistants and community!)

Would this really be a challenge without a bunch of people making countless excuses on why they can’t participate?! While you can rest-assured that this challenge is for anyone of any age and fitness level, we played “The Excuse Game” with Heather so she can speak to some of the things that might be going on in your minds right now! Check it out below:

Have no doubt that if you join the challenge, you will get lots of support from many different sources (including Marie, Heather & I and the rest of our assistants and community!) Check out the Undisputed Fitness website and click HERE to join the challenge! Let us know if you have any questions, or comment below and we will be sure to answer them!


swan out




Please read: At Ugly Ducklings, we are committed to promoting healthy lifestyles and the emotional well-being of everyone. We believe this challenge can be used as an effective tool in taking control of one’s life and use community, accountability and motivation to make difficult changes to your habits and lives. We in no way intend for this to be a triggering experience for anyone struggling with an eating disorder, disordered eating or any other physical or mental health issues. We strongly urge anyone who may be worried about this to consult their care team prior to joining the challenge: this challenge may not be appropriate for everyone, and we acknowledge that. Be sure to check out our resources page for more information about eating disorders and how to get help.

Eating Disorder Awareness Week

EDRA week

Hello Ugly Ducklings!

This week is “Eating Disorder Awareness Week” and as most of you know, this is an issue that is very close to our hearts. Our ED Awarenessfavourite charity, Mental Fitness Inc, focuses on providing information about eating disorders, healthy coping mechanisms, body image and stress management to schools. The Ugly Ducklings support this charity with a portion of our monetary proceeds; this year we did #OperationNORMAL which raised additional funds for Mental Fitness Inc; and one of our own Ugly Ducklings Allie gave her birthday to helping out Mental Fitness Inc!

We don’t want to list a bunch of stats about eating disorders in this blog to demonstrate how important it is for us to bring attention to the issue. Instead, we want to direct you to the resource page at Mental Fitness Inc so you can educate yourself, especially if you think you or someone you love may be struggling with an eating disorder.

This week, we want to send loving, positive and inspiring thoughts to Mental Fitness Inc and the CEO and Founder, Robyn Hussa who we know is working incredibly hard, this week and every other week, to raise education and awareness about eating disorders. We are grateful for Robyn and how supportive she has been of Ugly Ducklings Inc and we cannot wait to see what happens next!

Do you want to make a donation as an Ugly Duckling to help out Mental Fitness Inc? Check out this page to find out how to do that!

Hmm, wouldn’t it be awesome if Mental Fitness Inc got bombarded with donations this week? Let’s do it, Ugly Ducklings! This week only, if you donate through our link to MFI and email us the confirmation, we’ll send you a little something to say thanks! To make it a little extra special, feel free to include a personal message for Mental Fitness Inc and Robyn and we’ll compile them all and send them off to her once this crazy week is over!  (Also remember, a portion of all our PRODUCK profits go towards supporting MFI as well!)


swan out