Ally Meady
Ally Meady

Abby Mealy

I have realized that in many ways, I, and I alone, have the POWER to determine my own consequences–positive or negative.

My strength comes from choosing to accept the monsters from my childhood and the evil thoughts inside my head as a part of my story rather than the primary authors of my narrative.

For a long time, I was controlled by the vicious cycle of running and hiding from my past. Allowing myself to feel my pain and suffering has been the most terrifying thing I’ve ever learned to do. But at the same time, it has empowered me to discover my own dreams and desires, to define my character based on the values I choose to live by, and to move forward with the knowledge that I always have a choice.

I started gymnastics when I was three years old. I do not remember any time in my life before Twistars, before Geddert, before Nassar. In many ways, those things have felt like they are a part of who I am. The same way that the pain, the fear of the unknown, and the inability to love myself have seemed to consume my identity for most of my life.

For as long as I can remember, it’s like I’ve been living as a double agent–a single person living two entirely different lives. On the one hand, I am an excellent student; a hard-working, do-gooder, hell-bent on persevering through the absolute worst of adversities time and time again. And doing so with poise, grace, and a constant need to love and be connected with others. Out of shame and disgust, I’ve kept the other side of me hidden for a long time. I’ve been a liar, a cheater, an alcoholic addicted to any drug or activity that allows me to avoid the hurt I feel inside, regardless of how much damage it may do to those I truly love and who truly love me–the me that I don’t really know too well. YET.

BUT, I AM STILL HERE. Even in the midst of some of my biggest mistakes, I still have the opportunity for the kind of life I used to imagine. The kind of life that feels entirely unattainable when I let my demons run the show. But with the help I was so afraid to ask for, I have learned that I am the author of my own narrative, despite what antagonist or plot twist some editor may throw in my way. I have realized that in many ways, I, and I alone, have the POWER to determine my own consequences–positive or negative. I get to CHOOSE recovery.

I am strong because I now understand the difference between fault and responsibility. Just like the many horrors I’ve faced are in no way a fault of my own, neither are my addictions. However, I am RESPONSIBLE for how I choose to let them affect me for today, tomorrow, and the rest of my life.

Though I don’t know exactly what the future holds, I’m so grateful for the simple fact that it exists. I’m so excited that I get to dream again, and believe that I deserve happiness through a fulfilling life with purpose.

My strength comes from appreciating today, exactly as it is, even when it’s painful.