Proud2Bme Rock Star: Laura Porter
Over the course of NEDAwareness Week, Proud2Bme is honoring the work of five young activists. Today, Laura Porter tells us about her activist work, which includes launching SPEAK GW, a student organization where members are invited to speak openly about eating disorders and share recovery resources.
Proud2Bme: Tell us a little about yourself.
Laura Porter: I’m Laura—24-year-old ENFP (if you’re into that), senior at The George Washington University and a person in long-term recovery. I became active in the eating disorders recovery and awareness community after taking three semesters off from school to go to treatment for my own mental health issues. When I came back to school, I didn’t see the available resources to help students in my situation thrive, so I launched a student organization, SPEAK GW, to help students talk openly about eating disorders and provide resources to those struggling. That led me to an internship at Active Minds and to connect with the lovely staff at NEDA, where I began writing for Proud2Bme. I currently live in D.C. with my furry munchkin (or dog, if you prefer) who can out-snore anyone—his name is Bruce.
Proud2Bme: How did you first hear about Proud2Bme?
Laura: I had seen Proud2Bme a few times before I started writing for the blog. After attending the NEDA Conference in 2014, I found out more about the blog, loved what it was about and decided I wanted to start writing!
Proud2Bme: What was your favorite piece to write and why?
Laura: It’s hard to choose! My most recent piece on my quarter-life realizations was a lot of fun to write. I reflected on what I had learned throughout my journey and really got to think about the different ways I view my body now, compared to when I was in my eating disorder. I have so much love and respect for my body and myself now, something the eating disorder prevented me from feeling.
Proud2Bme: What are you doing currently (school, job, volunteer work, etc.)?
Laura: I’m currently a super-super senior at The George Washington University studying political communication. I took three semesters off to go to treatment, and I’m incredibly grateful that I did. It’s been a difficult journey, but I couldn’t be happier to be graduating in May!
Proud2Bme: What are your future goals/plans?
Laura: I really hope to keep promoting eating disorder awareness, particularly among college students. I’ve been so fortunate to build a community of incredible students through SPEAK GW, and I want to see organizations like this at schools around the country. I also plan to someday meet Ilana Glazer and profess my love for Broad City.
Proud2Bme: How has your involvement with Proud2Bme shaped your way of thinking?
Laura: I’ve been able to see that activism doesn’t happen in a vacuum. The movements that exist to promote eating disorders and recovery awareness build on each other and there are so many people doing amazing work. Proud2Bme highlights the different initiatives—like Not “A” Distraction, Wear Your Label, people like Beck Cooper and Neesha Arter—uniting all of these voices into the greater movement. It’s helped me know that we’re not alone when we advocate, and that others are fighting for awareness too.
Proud2Bme: What advice do you have for aspiring body image/recovery activists?
Laura: Be authentic. If you don’t believe something you’re saying, it’s hard for other people to believe it too. Speak your truth and take care of yourself first—it will show in your advocacy work!
Proud2Bme: Tell us something about you that might surprise us!
Laura: My dad brought me up on Jimmy Buffett, so when I was in elementary school, I recorded myself singing (on a cassette tape) to send to Jimmy, in hopes that he would pick me as a back-up singer. Still holding on to that hope.
Do you know an activist who is committed to building a nation where confidence rules? Are YOU that person? Nominate a Proud2Bme Rock Star!