Shannon Callahan is a full-time public defender who in her work, gives a voice to the voiceless. In her spare time, Shannon enjoys using her voice, as part of the GRRRL Army, to help teach women non-judgment, to understand and embrace that we have a positive impact on the world, and to further the global revolution of body acceptance.
I grew up with a mother who didn’t love herself or her physical appearance, so naturally, I learned what I was taught, I learned what I saw. I was parented but not shown love or nurturing. I grew up being told what I could and couldn’t eat and what I should and shouldn’t eat. I grew up being told things like, “you don’t get to leave the table until you drink all of your milk, this isn’t a restaurant; you eat what you’re given or you don’t eat at all…” I was never taught what balance and moderation were nor was I given the tools for a healthy relationship with food. If I ever asked why I was met with “because I said so” or “because I’m the parent.” I grew up without choice.
It all started with I was 11. I think I so desperately sought connection with my mother that I would do anything to bond or spend time with her. I wasn’t going to get that connection from my father who, I found out at 19 when I overheard a conversation my mother was having, didn’t want me and resented me for just being born; for existing. The way I was able to connect with my mother was through dieting and weight loss. When I was 11, she introduced me to the Atkins diet. This type of diet fed my perfectionism; I had to do everything “right” or not do it at all. If I did not I failed. This applied to everything I did: school, sports, dieting.