I had basically given up on myself and my dreams when I headed in to see my doctor in 2013 with severe headaches. I was told that I could go blind or worse from a serious medical condition that was getting worse because of my rapid weight gain. It’s at that point that I went from having no hope to desperation. After hearing this news, I went up to the front of my church on a Sunday morning asking for healing prayer. I was asking God to perform a miracle and get this weight off and make me healthy because I couldn’t do it on my own.
Despite the desperation to get the weight off, I continued trying things and then failing. Nothing was working. Two months later, a friend recommended this healthy lifestyle program, and I thought, “what do I have to lose?” About a month into it, I realized that God had provided that miracle. After just two and a half months on the program, I went in to see my doctor again to find out that my condition had completely reversed and I was clear to come off the dangerous medications completely! I had a clean bill of health.
After six months on the program, I actually hit my goal, losing over 80 pounds. This program literally saved my life. Who knows what would have happened to my health if I wouldn’t have given it a try. But more than just preventing my death, it actually brought me new life. I hadn’t realized how depressed and isolated I was. I had become so shy and unwilling to go anywhere or try anything. I hadn’t taken my kids to the beach in years or anywhere where I’d be exposed.
I avoided cameras like the plague. At my heaviest, I literally only had one pair of pants and three shirts because I was unwilling to go up yet another size. I was unwilling to go into another dressing room and come home sobbing.
This all hit me when I went shopping with a friend a couple months back. For the first time since high school, all the clothes I grabbed actually fit. The joy and emotional relief that came over me was extreme and I was happy. (So happy that I decided to do impromptu cartwheels down the dressing room hallway!) After reaching my goals, the confidence started coming back. That silly, outgoing, confident kid inside of me finally started coming out.
I didn’t realize how low and depressed I was until I became healthy. I could finally look back and see myself before and see the transformation that happened all under my own nose. Because of my life changing, my family’s lives were changed as well. I am now taking my kids to the beach, to water parks, places I never would have been caught before. I get to play with them without being self-conscious or without running out of energy in the first five minutes.
My six-year old daughter has also picked up on the changes. She has started requesting healthy snacks in the afternoon because she knows that they are good for her body and will help her grow. She says she wanted to be healthy and happy just like mommy. That is powerful. And so the changes I've made are carrying forward as our new life begins.
I have had a few people tell me recently that I should post a semi-recent Facebook post on here as a blog entry. It was a very thought provoking and sit-on-it-until-I-can-digest-it type of a post (at least for me!). So here it goes. Let me know what you think!
So my epiphany of the week: I’m really busy. Now, this may seem obvious or old news, but I realized it today in a different way. When Brant and I were dating, and even when we were married before kids, we would seek out people that needed help. We loved helping people push their cars to the side of the road if it had died, taking someone to get a couple gallons of gas, giving someone the coat off our backs or buying someone a meal. Having kids and then having busy jobs, school, houses, etc, has just really taken away our free time and our awareness.
This revelation came to me about 15 minutes ago as I sit here in the McDonald’s parking lot. I come here every once in a while, get a diet coke and sit in the parking lot to use their internet for work in between meetings or when I don’t have enough time to head home. I came out of the McDonald’s with my diet coke in hand to be asked by a young guy, probably not even 20, if I had one dollar. Unfortunately, I didn’t. I don’t ever carry cash. I got in my car and started working. After about a minute, the thought of this kid wasn’t going away and I knew it was my job during this one random chance meeting to buy his lunch.
I don’t know this kid’s story, and I don’t have to know it. But I do know that he needs a friend and he does need a meal. All he ordered were chicken nuggets and a vanilla milkshake and he was forever grateful. I was able to talk with him for just a couple minutes to show him that not everyone is cruel and we are capable of loving our neighbors.
Even when finances are tight, we will always have more than someone else. This kid has inspired me to be more aware and diligent of the little things I can do to make this world a better place. All of that for $6.
What are you thankful for? We have so much in this country that we totally take for granted. Sometimes horrible, catastrophic events happen, which cause us to take a step back and be thankful and grateful for what we do have. I have noticed a lot of people posting silly, superficial things on Facebook lately and then hashtaging them, #firstworldproblems. I have a really hard time with this. Not because it isn’t true, and not because we are admitting that our problems are so insignificant and superficial compared to other issues across the world, but because even after admitting that our problems are superficial, we still continue to complain about them.
I completely understand that there are things that bug us, and sometimes we just need to vent. But the idea of having a first world problem just leads me to believe that these are the insignificant problems that we deal with while others across the world are dealing with actual problems. I know this is an overall judgment, and I really don’t mean to put Americans in a box, but don’t we have more important things to worry about? How conceited are we that we actually fret over these insignificant issues and then brag about how they are superficial?
Rant over. My real issue with this is that I know we really do have real issues. People get sick, people lose jobs, families break up, people die, we really do have serious problems. Recently faced with one of these serious problems, it just makes me realize how much I whine and complain about my own “first world problems.” The little things just don’t matter. It isn’t worth my stress, anger or depression to get mad about a botched pedicure or a scratch in my car door from another car.
Life is so important and so fragile and I just don’t want to waste anymore of it fretting about silly things. Instead, let’s take a deep breath and redirect that energy toward loving our families, helping our friends, reaching out to our community and being a role module for our kids. If you really think about it, by stressing ourselves out about these little things, we are keeping ourselves in a constant state of stress and anxiety. I would so much rather let these little things go and enjoy the life I have been given. Who wants to constantly be stressed, mad or anxious about the little things that we can’t fix anyway, or would you rather gloss over those and return to a peaceful place filled with love, generosity and kindness? Me!
So accepting change, whether it is good or bad, is hard. I had wished for something, prayed for something so hard and for so long. When I was finally capable and successful at making it happen, my mind
sometimes struggled to accept it. I rejoice most of the time because I was able to finally accomplish a huge goal of mine. I am finally healthy, I feel great, I have more energy, and life is really good. At the same time, it is almost like my mind plays tricks
on me sometimes. Telling me that I am not actually where I want to be; that I am actually wearing a costume and am impressively convincing myself and everyone around me because I am really back where I started.
I know this sounds so silly, but our brains do weird things. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of myself for this change and I am such a happier and more outgoing person because I found something that works for me, but sometimes our inner demons still come out. Sometimes I glance at the mirror and still see myself before I made this change or I hide from the camera because it is just habit and my mind, again, goes back to before.
I guess my point in explaining this is simply that I need to accept myself, regardless of where I am. I guess I have always known this, but things change and we are never going to be happy if there is only one situation in which happiness can happen. I think goals are good. Goals are essential. But if we think of our goals as a destination, then once we hit them, we may feel like, “well what’s next?” If we feel we are done then our goals could start to fade away because we stop working at it. Instead, if we can treat our goals as a journey and enjoy ourselves and our lives along the way, that is the only way to continually be happy with where we are.
I know I have so much growing and learning to do in my lifetime still and I plan on continuing to set goals and reaching for those goals. But if I approach them from the angle of loving myself now, where I am today, but knowing that I am capable of more, then I get to actually enjoy the journey. I am done with the, “I will love myself when…” or “I will accept myself when…” Change happens everyday, for good or bad, and I need to be willing to accept it and work with it. There will always be something we want to improve or change, so if we don’t love ourselves today for where we are now, we never will.
I like to write. I like to write? I don't think I have ever said that before. I have never been one to express myself through writing. And starting a blog? That is the last thing I would have thought I would do. So what changed? Freedom? Lack of judgment? Maybe. I have the authority and the power to be who I want to be. I don't have to fit into a box. I don't have to perform as the world expects me to. I am an individual, and I am choosing to be individual.
I have come to the point where what I say goes. This doesn't mean that I get to take other people's authority. This simply means that I am in control of my own life and my own future. I have the power to make changes, positive or negative, and I have the power to make my own path. This doesn't mean that it is okay to break the law because you don't agree with it, or be rude because you are just being honest, or purposely be so outlandish because you are trying to prove a point. What I am talking about here is finding the real you. Who are you? What makes you special? What do you want to do with your life? That's what I am interested in.
For the first time in a long time, I am proud of myself. Not because I ran a marathon or won a million dollars, but because I have found myself. I am free to be me. Over the last couple of years, I have made decisions that have really impacted my family's lives and futures, for the better. I have stepped out of my comfort zone to reach out to people, to help someone in need or even just to talk to someone whom I never would have talked to before. And it was so liberating, exciting and scary, all at the same time.
So what is my big take away here? Find yourself, and then be yourself. We have enough copycats and impersonators in this world already. What we really need is true, authentic people following their dreams and being who they were made to be. That is all.