“People walk around every day with faces frozen in smiles and steady hands over their trembling hearts. At first glance, and even second, they are fine. Why would someone need concern if they are smiling? So they are passed by like a broken shell on a seashore that looks whole only because part of it is embedded in the sand. If only we could see that sometimes smiles are like masks, hiding the longing and despair of the person within.” I wrote about ‘frozen smiles’ in a former blog and how much it relates to our behavior when we struggle.
I am Troy Roness, exercise and eating disorder survivor, and I smiled for many years without anyone noticing that there was something much deeper behind that smile: A yearning, confusion and a cry for help. I began to look to exercise and controlling my food intake as a comfort from the questions of life. With unrealistic expectations of my own body image, which many struggle with, combined with wrestling with my sexual orientation and questioning my faith, I found myself in the jaws of a life-threatening eating disorder.
It wasn’t until I was almost 19 years of age that I realized the reality of my situation and knew that I had to change it. To have a disease that is invisible to the outside world, yet almost completely deafening on the inside is extremely challenging – we all know this fact. But with a once in a lifetime appearance on the Dr. Phil Show, I hesitantly entered a residential eating disorder facility for an 81-day treatment regime, twice.
Throughout my recovery, advocacy and bringing awareness to the disease that nearly ended my (and millions of others, too) existence, has rooted itself into a life-driven purpose. I now have a book and a movie on the horizon, I also work through writing, public speaking and helping the National Eating Disorders Association in order to share the story of recovery with others who may have gone through something similar.
But none of this background information is about me or my story; it’s about the millions of others who are fighting similar battles and who deserve to be heard. And because men normally are not the gender people think of when eating disorders come to mind, I hope my upcoming memoir and movie will help get the word out that all people struggle, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, faith, or otherwise.
I have always had a childhood dream of becoming an author, but this book project is so much more than my childhood dream – it is about hitting audiences who need to hear about hope. I am in the process of writing a book that shares the story of my life, my struggles and the overwhelming amount of hope that came from it all. “Nothing to Fix” is the title, and is set to be completed by the fall of 2015, if our campaign is successful. A movie based off of the book will hopefully follow, produced by Armand Mastroianni.
We are in the process of fundraising for the memoir with a Kickstarter campaign. So far with $1,200 raised and a goal of raising $13,000 by the end of the campaign on March 8th, we wish that others will see the power behind this story, the vast audience that it has the potential to reach and the hope that it will share to the many people that hide behind their own masks each and every day.
With a hauntingly beautiful storyline that focuses on the struggle of an eating disorder, faith, treatment, relationships and identity, I’ve decided to share it all; no matter how chaotic, in hopes that whatever I slap on paper will resonate with someone, somewhere. Sharing what you have been through is, in fact, how things improve, and it is an outstanding thing.
Everyone has a different story, and if what I say, write or what is seen in the film can make someone’s journey easier or can prevent it altogether, then what I went through is more than worth it.
“Every morning brings with it the turning of a page in the book of our existence. No page is ever placed perfectly on the other side, as they get wrinkles, bends, tears or fingerprints when they are turned. But we should not run from these imperfections, placing them in a bookshelf where dust and tears become them. No, we should look back on them, share them and grow. If just one person can look beyond the frozen smiles of himself or another, see the person trembling inside and do something about it, then the book has done its work. Masks are temporary only if we find the strength to remove them from our faces. Once they are removed, though, we can see the world in a whole new light.”
To donate to Roness’ Kickstarter fund, in which $7,500 is needed for writing/editing, $4,000 is needed for publishing and $1,500 is needed for marketing, visit, http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/nothingtofix/nothing-to-fix-a-life-worth-living. The fundraiser ends on Sunday, March 8th.