Never Judge a Book by Its Cover

” Just for today, I could live through this day only….Not deal with life’s problems. Just for today.” ~George Harrison~

I recently came across a picture of myself from say circa 2017. In this picture, I’m smiling, its summertime outside, I look put together, teal streak in my hair matches my dress, in front of the library where I was spending time working on wrapping up another degree-fun phone no less!

Things aren’t always what they seem. I had a hard time seeing this one.

Not because I was so in shape due to running so many miles (which was bore out of a bit of self hatred for myself at the time….) its because I was so very sick still at the time. I was suffering from an invisible disease that kills 88’000 at a minimum annually.

I was a full blown alcoholic in this picture. I had even been to treatment; so everyone assumed I hoped and prayed I was better.

I remember taking this picture and then sneaking alcohol into a public bathroom for consumption. I will spare you more details, because it just breaks my heart and I don’t want to trigger anyone. I had it ALL together though right. That day I had gone for a long run, gotten dressed to match my hair, enjoyed studying in the sun, planned ahead and more. I looked happy. I was so incredibly empty and in pain in the inside. That is what alcoholism is its pain.

I can remember for the longest time I often heard, “well you don’t look like an alcoholic.” I heard it in treatment, meetings, you name it. Guess what, its pain, its real, its raw and doesn’t discriminate. The pain of that girl from four years ago makes me wince. I just want to reach back in time and hug her.

The AA promises ask us to not regret the past, but not shut the door on it. This very much applies here. I can’t beat 2021 Kate up over the actions of 2017 Kate, however I have to remember and forever be vigilant. I could wake her up real quickly and throw away a lot of hard work if I wanted to. I also thank all of you who stood by and loved me at my worst back then-I know it couldn’t have been easy.

Its good to glimpse back to remember progress and remember what used to be. I took a walk that evening to return library books and stopped to take a similar photo in front of a similar building. I am older, tired after a long day, hair is dirty, not in as a great of physical shape, but sober and like myself so much more.

The pain and hiding is gone and I’m starting to see a new freedom.

Author: toughasteal

Kate Weber is a woman who dreamed up the concept "tough as teal" while recovering from her own sexual assault in Fall 2015. Teal is the color of Sexual Assault Awareness and Ovarian Cancer (both have effected her in her personal life.)Tough as Teal is a mindset of being strong and a streak she proudly wears in her hair. Her goal is to use her voice, blog, and personal teal streak to broaden awareness of sexual violence. She believes, "you have to make people comfortable with the uncomfortable." Kate is a graduate of Michigan State University and has spent the majority of her career working within Higher Education. These areas included the following: off campus and on campus housing, overseeing academic dishonestly, coordinating academic integrity grievances, hearing, and appeals for all colleges at Michigan State University, working with STAR scholarship students, mass training for University employees, managing her own staff of 50-100 students within the Residence Halls, administrative work with the Vice President and Provost's office, devising training curriculum, serving on the Brody Neighborhood Core Team (Engagement Center liason), retention planning, safety and security work and more. Kate's first hand work with student employees, coupled with her own experience as a traditional and non-traditional student put her primary passion to be involved with college students. Statistics show alarming rates of sexual violence on college campuses and Kate passionately continues to advocate to end this statistic. Besides building her own personal toughasteal brand, Kate enjoys public speaking. She has received a national award from Toastmasters International and is putting her talent to work with the Mid-Michigan Survivor's Speaker's Bureau. She has affiliations in Pennsylvania with "Voices of Hope", national organization "Still Standing", and is a guest blogger/podcast participant for Open Thought Vortex (committed to giving a voice to victims.) Kate is also in recovery for alcoholism. She believes being honest about her own struggles and healing can help other women come forward with their own stories. Healing is not linear and there is power in speaking with one another. Recovery is a daily process to take one day at a time! Kate is looking forward to expanding her philanthropic passions to her educational pursuits in the upcoming years. She is available for speaking engagements or you are welcome to connect with her on Twitter @katers513 or toughasteal@yahoo.com Her personal interests are running, enjoying the Great Lakes of Michigan, reading, learning, a few Netflix shows, watching her beloved Spartans in all sports, and newfound motorcycle adventures with her boyfriend!

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