Star Wars, one of the most epic stories of all time, debuted 40 years ago today. A classic example of the hero’s journey, Star Wars has become a staple in our cinematic culture, but the lessons have always gone beyond the screen. Even if you have never seen the film, everyone knows about “the Force” and “the dark side.” Most of us have had to find the Force within us to fight off our own version of the dark side. For some, eating disorders are the dark side.

It was a hot May afternoon in Florida when my mom told me I was no longer allowed to exercise until I reached a healthy weight. She had already asked that I not post pictures of myself on Facebook, for fear that future employers might see what I was going through. I was stressed out, depressed, and losing weight fast.

My mom had another word for it.

Relapse.

It seems as though I’ve been dancing almost as long as I could talk. I can still remember the days of pink tutus and ribbon-tied tap shoes. The unmistakable smell of hairspray on show days, and the adrenaline rush that a successful performance always resulted in.

Never did I think, however, that one day dance could be just as much a part of my voice as my vocal chords. Nor did I imagine that dance would become one of the ways I could share my experience about having an eating disorder with hundreds, even thousands of people.