I have been meaning to write this post for some time, but procrastination is a sexy bitch.
Life is a winding path. If you don’t keep your focus you can wind up right back where you started, or worse…lost. Thankfully, I feel fairly steadily guided these days (most of the time) as I continue to navigate mine. However, though I have maintained my course, I have found my mind drifting a back into my past and making some connections. I have long been of the opinion that there was no need to dwell in the past. In fact, if I am being honest, I would much prefer to let my past be just that. There’s shame there. There’s mistakes there. There’s regret and pain there. Of course it’s not all like that. In fact, in general, my past is mostly silliness, over indulgence in all areas, and some really lovely moments. But I’m not here to write about those times; not today.
I have come, very recently, to the realization that I have spent the better part of my life shrouded in the belief that I am less than others. Or at the very least, that I clearly didn’t merit the respect and love that I so desperately craved. That was a truly profound realization. I have no choice now but to acknowledge that I have given my power over to self doubt and insecurity for most of my life. It was these feelings that I allowed to guide me down some dirty alleys (emotionally speaking) for years. Part of me thinks I need to censure my actions of the decades by listing all my mistakes here, but the rest of me thinks emotional masochism is boring and self indulgent. Plus…I’m not sure that I want/need you all to hear my deepest and darkest. Suffice is to say that I rarely truly respected myself for much of my life.
Stick with me, folks, this isn’t going to stay quite so dark.
A few years ago (maybe three of four) I started hearing the terms self love and self care floating around. I instantly loved the idea. In a world where I had felt undeserving, overlooked, passed by, isolated, lonely….well you get the drift; here was a way to give back to myself. Genius!
My life quickly became, I feel sad, must be time for shopping! Or, I’m hungry and I know I should eat veggies, but CAKE makes me happy. Or, I don’t need exercise, I’m perfect just as I am. It was the self indulgence show staring yours truly 365 days a year with two shows on Sunday.
Still…I found no trans-formative growth or happiness. Still just the same inside. This went on for a few years. Me telling myself I was loving myself by giving in to my every whim. It’s self love, I would tell myself as my body grew to over 260 pounds. I’m caring for my happiness, I would tell myself when as I spent money I didn’t even have to spend.
Then, in late 2014 there was shift in my heart and mind. Something clicked. I realized that, despite what I might wish to be true, these were not acts of self love and care. They were acts of self sabotage. I was taking the easy way through life. I was not bettering myself, or growing as a person. I was living a very shallow life, and I wanted more.
So I thought on it for a while. Although, truthfully, I wasn’t yet considering my motivations; I just knew I wasn’t happy. I spent the final months of 2014 thinking about what I wanted my life to look and feel like. It was fairly simple: I wanted to feel good and be happy. Who doesn’t?? So early last year I began shifting my energies towards creating the woman I wanted to be, living the life I wanted to live.
I started doing yoga. On my Wii Fit. Because I knew nothing about yoga and liked video games. I did that for about six months before I even sought out videos on YouTube, because I was really, really intimidated. See that gif there? Yeah…I can’t do that. In fact, I still find some really basic poses very challenging. But I am truly proud of myself for sticking with it because I know I am doing it for me. It’s really easy to let ego slip into the practice of yoga, and that’s self defeating. I do my best to leave my ego off the matt. Here are some links to videos I like to follow along with now, if you’re interested. x, x, x, x .
I spent time in nature. Walks in the glorious park just across the street, sunsets at the beach, camping, gardening. Anything to get me closer to nature. In the pursuit of this, I found that I was capable of so much more than I had believed myself to be. Shoes off, feet in the dirt; this is how I want to live my life. In fact, this action has revealed to me a love and aptitude for working with botanicals; and has brought me immeasurable joy.
I changed what I put into my body. At points I hated it, can’t lie about that. I missed my cookies, coffee, and beer; which had been exchanged for fruit, tea and an occasional glass of red wine. This was true self care and love. I realized that whole my body is a temple thing had truth to it. If I love & worship nature, then this body is an extension of that and deserves rapturous love and devotion from me. I will admit to some indulgences along the way, but what feels decadent now used to be everyday living for me. And there is nothing wrong with letting yourself have a lil’ something special every now and then. In fact, my pallet has altered now to the point that much of my old junk food favorites leave me cold. I should also mention that with all these changes came the loss of 55 pounds. That was never my goal, but it is a welcome bonus. Let me be clear, this was never about losing weight. I just wanted to be happy and vibrant. The weight loss was a side effect of good living.
And that up there is pretty much how I feel most days now. Sure, life isn’t perfect yet and I doubt it ever will be. And yes, I have made more changes in my life than the three I’ve listed. But it was these three that started my evolution of self love and care (instead of self indulgence and silent loathing). I still have loads of work to do on myself, both physically & emotionally; but I’m doing it. I am taking steps to make myself a happier, healthier, more balanced woman. And I’m doing it for the right reasons. I am fucking proud of myself. Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for yoga (that I still do alone in my living room & that’s just fine).