I’m getting in touch with my soul.
She’s been there all along, but somehow I’ve overlooked her for all these years.
I’m finding that she is quite the hippie.
Dancing, rain, travel, nature, freedom, yoga, words, music…
these are the things that set her on fire.
She is sensitive but hopeful.
She longs for simplicity and peace.
She yearns for grace and patience.
She feels at home in solitude but can also hang with a crowd.
Like the sun rising after the darkest of nights she shines,
and the more I let her, the brighter she gets.
Like an old friend who knows every part of me, she has always been there…
I just love Brené Brown, and this book, The Gifts of Imperfection, is a must read for everyone.
I’ve been highlighting so many words of wisdom in this book and this right here really spoke to me 💕 It is how I would describe myself to a tee. I am constantly searching for worthiness in others opinions of me and in society in general. I have this idea about how I should be and so I tuck away parts of me when I’m around others and give them the pieces of me I think they want to see because if they really saw who I am they would run. So in a way I am performing, perfecting, pleasing and proving all the time and let me tell you….it is exhausting. I stand outside of my story almost daily and distance myself from who I am while trying to figure out who I want to be. Life is tough but it’s even tougher when you don’t love yourself or feel like you belong. I’m ready to stand in the middle of my story and embrace it…even the messy and ugly parts because I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have this story to tell. This book is encouraging me to fully begin to understand myself and to find my worth inside of me, not from the world. Because I want to make the best of this life I’ve been given and not cheat myself out of all I am and all I can become.
I often wonder where I went wrong.
What road did I miss turning down and why didn’t I see it?
Was I too busy searching instead of looking?
Was my head down when it should have been up?
I can’t seem to pin point the exact moment things started to unravel.
Is there even one exact moment?
Maybe it happened over years and years of choices and decisions?
And this unraveling was slow.
Maybe I missed many turns because I just wanted to go straight and keep to the comfort of my familiarity?
I’m not quite sure where it all became this messy,
but I see it now and it’s too late.
Time cannot be rewound,
Words cannot be swallowed as if they were never spoken.
I have reached this destination and I can only go forward and see where it takes me,
And this time, keep my eyes out for those turns.
Forgiveness comes in many forms.
Sometimes it comes face to face with someone when apologies are uttered.
It can come instantly or sometimes it takes time.
It can come in a quiet moment, after years of anger and heartache,
You feel you can’t stand to carry the pain around with you any longer and so you choose to let it go.
Because if you don’t you will never fully be at peace.
Little by little the bitterness will chip away pieces of you
And you can never be whole like that.
She wanted to be loved in a way that was completely unconditional but all the love she found had strings.
She wanted to be looked at like a beautiful sunset falling into the smoothest ocean on a clear day but no one ever looked at her like that.
She wanted to be held in two arms that felt like safety. Once she was in them, her fears would melt away like ice cream on a hot day.
She journeyed for years, always searching. Always looking, yet all roads led back to her being alone.
She cried when others found what she wanted, not because she wasn’t happy for them, but because every time she felt that hole inside of her growing deeper and wider.
Oh how she longed to belong.
And then one day she stopped. Stopped looking. Stopped wanting and decided that maybe what she wanted wasn’t outside, in the world, but inside of her, waiting to be unlocked and then opened.
And so she sang and danced. She read books and ran. She drew pretty pictures and stood in rain storms. She became passionate about her life and all the things she could do.
And one day she realized how happy she was.
She celebrated life everyday and in turn life became a celebration.
Then one starry night, she found a road she hadn’t seen before and began to skip joyously down it, following with the light of the moonlit beams above.
This road went straight. It was an easy road.
At the end of it stood love.
When he saw her he said “There you are. I have been waiting quite awhile for you to find me, but first you had to find yourself.” Then he opened his arms wide, like giant wings, and she stepped into them and suddenly she was home.
She is not lost, just waiting to be discovered.
She wanders aimlessly, looking into the mirror for answers.
Considering her reflection as a way to tell the truth about herself.
But her reflection is just that, a reflection of the outer self.
A view of just a small piece of the entire part.
If only she would look inward, the truth would be revealed
and that glass mirror would shatter, it’s meaning gone.
She would be set free from her own restraints
and her life would have new meaning.
She just hasn’t discovered this truth yet, but she will soon.
And when she does, watch out,
because the world will get to see her bloom.
And her garden will be so full of beauty
where once there were just seeds waiting to be planted.
I missed the first few months of all three of my boys lives. Not physically but mentally. My mind was consumed with how my body looked after giving birth, all the weight I’d have to lose, the clothes I needed to fit back into, the exercises I’d have to do. My new mom mind was not preoccupied with all things baby, as it should have been, but on me getting my body back. I did this all three times I gave birth, not learning anything from the previous time.
I was twenty-six when I gave birth to my first son and newly out of my bulimia. Becoming pregnant forced me into a reality check to lose the bingeing and purging cycle. I had more to think about than myself and so I quit cold turkey. I wanted to start being a good mom right away. As my belly grew though, I remember having concerns about my rising weight and worrying it would stay on me permanately but I ate what I craved and started a simple yoga routine.
I was thirty when I gave birth to my second son and in-between those two pregnancies my bulimia was pretty much nil, but she would show up from time to time and remind me of certain foods that were off-limits. I gave birth, having gained the same amount of weight as the first time around, and yet still worried that I’d never lose the weight.
My third pregnancy happened when I was thirty-four and my eating habits were still the same through the years, trying so hard to be ‘good’ when choosing foods and punishing myself when I ate badly. I gave birth that third time and yet still hated what I saw when I stripped down to take a shower. Nevermind that my body had just made a baby in a matter of months and grown that baby to perfection and then birthed that baby into the world, for a third time. My body was ugly, gross and I was completely ashamed and mortified with what I saw.
Three times I gave birth and three times my mind obsessed over my body, my weight, the number on the scale, the ‘before’ clothes I used to fit into, the food I ate. Three times, years apart, I missed out on my babies. I missed out on the joy of being present and building a bond. I missed out on little things and I missed out on big things. I robbed myself of a time I can never get back.
Now my sons are fifteen, eleven and five and I still struggle most days with my body image and my food. Bulimia is a constant thorn in my side and I have to work every day to keep her away. When I first started seeing a counselor in my early twenties, a few years into my eating disorder, she wisely told me that even if the act itself goes away, I would always have the disorder in my life, it would never really vanish and I would have to push it down continually. She was right.
I am tired of trying to be this image of who I think I should be. I’m tired of not feeling good enough. I’m mad that this disorder has taken away so much for almost half of my life now. It won’t happen today or tomorrow or even next month but I want to get to that sweet spot where I can look in the mirror and see more than my dislikes. I want to see my beautiful body for all that it has done and continues to do for me day in and day out.
I tell you my story so that if you are suffering you know that you are not alone. If you are pregnant and worried about weight I tell you it’s nothing to worry about. The weight will go away, but so will the time. Time that you will regret losing because it is precious and filled with so many new things. Time that you can never get back.
Maybe instead of looking in the mirror and defining our worth by what we see, we should look inward. Inward to see and feel and know just how amazingly miraculous our bodies are. They give us life, they carry us anywhere we want to go, they heal, they nurture others, they keep us healthy and able to do so much, they grow small humans. Seriously, when you stop and think about it, aren’t our bodies absolutely freaking amazing?
This has been my life for far to long and I’m guessing I’m not alone. Everyday we are inundated with images of the ‘perfect’ woman. We feel ugly compared to her and so we punish ourselves with grueling workouts and extra healthy foods. We go on diet after diet in search of her. It is a devastating pattern that leaves us drained and depressed. I know because I have been there. I’m there now, actually.
It’s time to change the meaning of health and beauty in our society starting now. Why do we have airbrushed woman in magazines? Why can’t we see the ‘real’ woman in the photos, her imperfections so to speak. These magazines are only reinforcing to us that we are not good enough because we have ‘flaws’, but are they really flaws if more woman than not have them? Are they really flaws if it is the norm? I think no!
Our bodies tell a story of pregnancy, adventures, risks taken, hard times, growth, pain, miracles. We don’t need to be hiding them away, we need to be celebrating them. As woman we need to band together and change this way of thinking that we aren’t enough.
Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and that in and of itself is beautiful. Each one of us is unique in our own way. We can’t all be the same size or the same weight or the same height. How boring would that be anyhow?
I believe in being healthy, finding workouts that you love, eating good foods that nourish you but I also believe in moderation because who the heck can go an entire lifetime not eating a cupcake or french fries or a crazy good cheeseburger?! Not me!
Band with me today and lets give the middle finger to the diet industry.
Let’s rise up and stop trying to mold ourselves into someone else.
Let’s celebrate our bodies and find things we love about them.
Let’s enjoy a summer day on the beach with our families and not worry about what we look like in a bathing suit.
Because in the whole of it, does it really, truly matter? Looking back on our lives, if we are lucky enough to live to be old, will we be glad that we missed out on so much? Will we think it was worth it to spend our life worrying about what we weighed or how many calories we ate? Will we smile, thinking back about looking in the mirror at our then, younger bodies, and feeling unworthy? Nope. I think we will regret a lot. We will feel like we wasted so much precious time that we can never get back.
Today is not soon enough to begin to love yourself. Throw away your scale, delete the calorie counting apps, unfollow those workout ‘fitspo’ accounts. Doing this is a great place to start. I’m in. Are you?
Most days I’m sitting idle at the intersection of hope and despair.
Either it is all going to work out or I will completely fail.
There seems to be no gray area.
It’s all or nothing.
Most days I’m wishing away the moments, thinking about the way things could be, the way they should be.
Regretting the past and all the mistakes I can’t erase.
It seems I journey back to the days of long ago more than I plan for the days ahead.
Most days I feel like I’m running around in circles.
The same endless day happening over and over.
Rinse, wash, repeat.
Most days I’m just trying to get through the day without getting lost in time.
I wake up in the morning and it’s as though my day has been fast-forwarded to night’s darkness in the blink of an eye.
I long to feel truly alive and in the present.
To feel this sense of purpose that everyone talks about.
To have a purpose.
But most days, I’m just existing.
Breathing my way through another twenty-four hours.