We Are All Beautiful Disasters
Beautiful Disaster by Natasha R. Robinson
I was approached via Instagram by Natasha R. Robinson to review her book, Beautiful Disaster. After sending over, my mom got her hands on the book first and immediately began reading. I didn’t know the book had been received until she told me she had been reading this beautiful and moving book that was sent for me. For something to grab her attention at all, I knew I needed to immediately read this book and I downloaded it on my Kindle app. After reading, I knew it would be a disservice to give this story my traditional review format. I don’t think a story like this should get a formal “rating” or “review” because this is a memoir based 100% on Natasha’s experiences and feelings and who am I to judge her story? It is not my own.
Instead, I want to talk about what I got out of this story, my own self-reflection while reading this, and why you should read this too. To begin, if you are suffering from mental illness or suicidal thoughts and are easily triggered, this may not be the book for you, and that is okay.
What I admire about Natasha is she was 100% honest in her story and completely transparent in showing the raw truth in why she felt like a beautiful disaster. I think she was so honest in fact, that this will become a story that resonates with many. There will be times when you will forget that this is from Natasha’s point of view and will think of it as your own. Natasha goes through her story of struggling with mental illness in the wake of her dissolving marriage, her attempt at suicide, and her recovery from beautiful disaster into warrior. To get the exact details, I will let Natasha tell her own story in her book, Beautiful Disaster. However, these are some quotes that I think not only sums up her story, but can be a reflection of your own.
“In my case, I knew there was a problem, but I thought I had it under control.”
When I read this quote, I had to put down my Kindle because it hit me so hard. I shared previously about the time I got extremely sick from pushing myself too hard at school, work, and in my personal life. At the time, I came home almost every single day exhausted down to my very core and cried constantly. Even though deep down, I knew there was a bigger problem outside of simple “life stress”, I thought I had it under control since I was still able to function like normal. But how often do we tell ourselves this? At what point do we tell ourselves that there really is a problem? I think we often associate pushing through stress and challenges as “strength”, even when it is at the expense of our happiness, relationships, sanity, and mental well-being. Mental illness is REAL. Having depression is REAL. Having anxiety is REAL. These can stem from a variety of reasons, but it is possible to move past IF we allow ourselves to recognize the problem. We can’t treat what we deny.
“No longer would I cut my skin and tell myself lies. Lies that sounded like this: You’re not good enough. No one loves you. These were lies I had made my truth. I believed them and I let these lies feed my self-hatred.”
Since Natasha was 100% honest and raw, it is only fair for me to be the same. When I was at my most vulnerable, a teenager going through puberty and a changing body and a new school, my self-harm was the way I treated my poor body. It’s insane to think that even writing about this 10 years later, I can still feel every single emotion and thought I had at the time as if it was yesterday. I struggled with Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia at the age of 13. I can actually remember the exact day that still traumatizes me at 24 years old and has been the catalyst to my body dysmorphia, eating disorder, low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety.
I had started 7th grade at Boston Latin School, the school I had worked 2 years studying to get into, and I was preparing for my first student presentation. My mom and I spent the previous weekend shopping for my professional clothes when we spotted a beautiful all-white suit that was perfectly fitted for my curves. I remember spending all weekend trying on my suit and knowing I was going to kill my presentation. I sat in class, repeating my presentation in my head, when the 2 boys next to me began their comments. “Your ass is huge. It’s so fat. Ewww why are your hips so big like that? You have the biggest thighs I have ever seen. Your butt jiggles when you walk. That white suit makes you look really fat.” Fat. Fat. Fat. I had never thought of myself as fat until that day. They called my name, once...twice… before I realized it was my turn. I stood up, shaken to my core, and they started to poke my ass, hips, and thighs while blowing up their cheeks like balloons. I got to the front of the class, wanting to do nothing but cry, completely forgot what I was supposed to say, and got my first F in my life.
Years later, when I overcame my eating disorder, I never got over their words. I had turned their lies, their cruel words, into my truth. I believed them and, just like Natasha, I let them feed my low self-esteem and my self-hatred. Reading this quote in her book brought back so many memories, so many feelings, because it was so true. But we can’t let these thoughts define us. We can’t let these words become our truth because they are LIES. Like Natasha, we have to stand up for ourselves and reject the lies to embrace the truth.
“Step two has been acceptance. Accepting my past and knowing it does not define me. Accepting me, and knowing I am worthy of love”
Natasha began her story by talking about “unacceptance”. She talked about how we are constantly surrounded by a society that doesn't accept us. By people who don't accept us. She talks about how we often grow up with the simple goal of being accepted. But why who? By the time I got to this quote, I loved how Natasha re-defined acceptance. We don’t ever need to be accepted by others. We need to learn to accept our self because we are worthy of love. Now I think people think this is the easiest lesson to understand, but I believe this is the hardest lesson to apply to ourselves. When we have let lies define who we are, it is impossible to accept yourself. Acceptance is not an easy road, especially if we’ve built up a mindset that we are not enough. But Natasha shows that it is possible to accept yourself “one word at a time, one action at a time.”
"You are enough. You are loved. You are beautiful. You are a fighter. You are capable."
For those still struggling with negative thoughts, mental illness, self-deprecating feelings, please let this be your mantra. Say it every day until you really believe them because they are true. You were fearfully and wonderfully made and God does not make mistakes.
By the time I finished reading, I told Natasha I couldn’t give Beautiful Disaster a rating or a review. I will not say that this book was good or bad, instead I will say it was RAW HONEST TRUTH. And if you have experienced these feelings, experienced these thoughts, or know somebody who has experienced this and you want a better understanding, this book is perfect for you. Beautiful Disaster reminded me that I am not alone. It reminded me that I am enough. It reminded me that happiness is ALWAYS possible if you commit yourself to getting better. It reminded me that God loves all his beautiful disasters. Thank you Natasha for sharing your truth and may this be an example for us all to do the same.