Sunday, March 5, 2017

Worth the Weight - Finale

I felt strongly that 2017 needed to be different for me. In years past my goals have been to go somewhere, do something, or try something new. There is certainly nothing wrong with that and I’ve enjoyed those things, but I felt a longing for something else; something more personal, more unseen, even less tangible. As I review my goals for 2017, without intending to do it I created goals that allow me to reflect, to meditate, to build my relationship with my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not entirely on track, but I’m trying.

As I’ve tried, I discovered some things:

I am NOT a number, on a scale or otherwise.

I am NOT beautiful because I’m a certain size, shape, or any other criteria.

I am NOT valued less because I struggle.

I AM a daughter of God.

I AM beautiful and valued because I am His.

As I try to accomplish these goals, the vision I have of myself continues to improve. I promise it’s not because I’ve lost weight or fit the mold the world has told me to try to embrace. I am not of this world, and neither are you. We are each divine beings having this mortal experience.

I know this will continue to be a journey. I will have good days and bad days as we all will. I will make positive choices, and hopefully they’ll outweigh the poor decisions or moments of weakness.

Though it has been a relatively short time on this journey, I am truly LOVING who I am now and I believe it is, in part, because I'm coming to know me as God knows me, and I Him. That's the most important relationship I can ever hope to have. And that, my friends, it really worth the wait.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Worth the Weight - Part 2

In August of 2015 I was preparing to fly to Utah to meet my nephew. This should have been a most joyous time but it was so hard! There had been some conflicts I was dealing with that weren’t helping the situation at all, but my internal struggle had come to a breaking point…and it was me who was breaking.

I’m an anxious/excited traveler; I like to pack a week (or at least several days) in advance. For this trip, it was the morning I was supposed to leave and I was still debating on whether to pull my suitcase out and actually leave. I had recently discovered the show “Girl Meets World”, the remake/spin off of “Boy Meets World”. I don’t know if it was simply because I loved BMW growing up, or if it was really as cute as I thought at the time, but I fell in love with this show.  On this day in particular I watched the episode where Riley had a bully. I laid on my bed watching this episode, bawling my eyes out as I listened to Riley repeat to Maya the things her bully had said to her. The tears weren’t for her…they were for me. Those were the things I had been telling myself. I was my own worst bully!

The things I was telling myself I would never say to anyone else. Then why was it okay for me? As I laid there in shocked realization, I made a decision that I would try to become my own biggest fan, rather than my own worst bully.

Knowing what I needed to do, and doing what I needed to do were two very different things. I would attempt to tell myself something positive, then follow it up with a negative behavior (enter binge eating…another side of the eating disorder spectrum). It would go something like this: “Your hair looks nice today” (something simple and that didn’t happen often), then I’d eat something and be out of control and berate myself for not doing better. It felt like every step forward I tried to make I’d sling shot backwards (forget the simple two steps back idea).

I felt trapped in my life, like the quest to find myself was wrapped only in appearance. I knew that wasn’t true, that the size of my waist or the number on the scale somehow defined who I was. So I set myself on a mission to discover the real me again. I tried setting myself up where I was when I started this journey – with a lot of positive, non-weight related goals. Really, when 2013 started I just wanted to walk 500 miles…losing weight, though I joined Weight Watchers and worked for it, was almost an accident. I tried this in both 2016 and already in 2017.

If you remember, I had a goal wall set up. I wanted a very visual way to track my accomplishments that year. Turns out, that isn’t me either, and I took the 2017 goal wall down.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Worth the Weight - Part 1

Vulnerability: the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.

The beauty of a blog is that you show only what you want to be seen. I've hid a lot, some because it doesn't need to be seen by the world (or by all three readers who may accidentally slip across this page), some because I didn't want to show my own weakness; I didn't want to be vulnerable.

Over the last year or so I've discovered material from Brene Brown on vulnerability. You can check out a video here

This, my friends, is me being vulnerable about the very topic that pushed me into shame. I'm nervous about being this open, but it's time. I need to do this for me. Because its going to be a rather long post, I'll break this up into a few segments.

Several years ago I documented my weight loss journey right here on this blog. In 2013 I lost a total of 50 pounds...and most of "me", or at least who I felt like I was.

It's kind of hard to explain unless you've been there. When my weight loss became really noticeable to others, it was as if everyone had something to say. There was quite a bit of positive feedback, and having people tell me I looked beautiful on a regular basis was nice...for a little while.

After several weeks, though, I began to wonder if no one ever thought I was beautiful before, that somehow it was only possible to be seen as such because I lost the weight. People wanted to know my "secret" (seriously, healthy diet and exercise). People wanted to hear what I'd changed. All of a sudden, people who had never spoken to me before were inviting themselves into my life...and I let them.

In January 2014 I had a total and complete breakdown. Without being overly dramatic, I was headed right to an eating disorder. On the outside I still looked as I had, but inside I was a shattered mess. I absolutely HATED myself. The worst part was that I put up walls around myself...I couldn't let anyone know what I was dealing with. I felt I was the only person who ever felt this way (reality check...not true)!

Over the next couple of years I would yo-yo with food intake, exercise level, weight gain/loss (mostly gain), and self-image. All of a sudden the only voices I could hear outside myself were people talking about how much weight they wanted to lose, how uncomfortable they felt, and bragging about how little they ate. These were women (and some men) I looked up to and admired them, not only for their looks but for their knowledge, experience, and wisdom. I wanted to be like them, but they, who I only ever dreamed of looking like, said they weren't good enough. Whatever positive self-image I had tried to regain slipped right back into obscurity. It would be impossible.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Change is Good

It's amazing what a little perspective can do. The house I bought is in different ward (what we call our local church congregation). When I moved to Georgia I was once again in the Waycross 1st Ward, the congregation of my childhood. While house hunting, I looked specifically at homes that would keep me in the ward, and able to attend church with my mom.

In April I suspended my search. There was nothing that I was falling in love with in the boundaries I had set. Then, two days later, a coworker asked if I was still looking to buy a house. She was planning to sell and looking for a buyer. The only hesitation I had was that it was in 2nd ward boundaries.

In spite of that, everything in this proposition just worked; it felt right! And it fell into place SO quickly. I had so many experiences in the time span of a few weeks that let me know I was making a right decision, to let go of fear, and trust the Lord. Truly, this has been the biggest blessing in my life.

We had a women's meeting last night and as I associated with these amazing women, I was once again filled with joy at the blessing they, and this move, have been in my life! I finally feel like I belong somewhere, something I really haven't felt in a few years. My friends and family in 1st ward are wonderful, but it was time for a change. In a time when I felt very alone and almost forsaken, Heavenly Father created this blessing for me specifically. I hope that I'm able to do a portion of good for someone else here as they are doing for me!

Embrace the change. Change is the only constant in life. And I'm beginning to learn that change is good!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Finding my Voice

I've been silent for a long time. I've been holding in many of my thoughts and feelings, knowing that by sharing any of them I open myself to feeling ALL of them, something I've been trying to avoid. A few times over the past couple of months the weight and pain have washed over me and I feel like I'm being pulled by a strong rip current to drown in these thoughts and feelings. A bit dramatic? Maybe (ok, totally), but I'm learning to respect and own my feelings. They are there for a reason.

I shared a particular story tied to these emotions with two different people in a scary but vulnerable moment. I NEEDED someone to know what I was feeling, to share that side of me. The first person reacted with questions as to the validity of my concerns, doubts that I should feel anything that I said I was feeling, and showed a surprising lack of understanding that I desperately needed. The second person listened openly and without judgement, she felt the weight of what I shared and did so without judging. I told her that I felt ridiculous to have these feelings regarding this incident (basically internalizing the responses from person number one), but she acknowledged the sense of pain/loss I was expressing and validated me.

It was interaction number two that helped me see that closing myself off to the feelings isn't the right answer, and it isn't healthy. Even now as I've accepted and am trying to own them, they wash over me with such force that I can't hardly control the tears that inevitably come. Because of person number two I don't feel broken or ashamed. I don't have the answers or reasons person number one suggested I needed, thoughts I had myself prior to sharing with her. The first conversation validated my personal fears; the second validated me.

That's what I needed, that's what we all need. To feel validated in spite of our fears. Nelson Mandela said to make our choices based on hope, not fear. I've been acting in a hopeful manner lately, trying to act in faith despite the pain. Because of person number two, I've started sharing again and I've started finding my voice.

While I have no intention of sharing the exact experience and cause of the pain I've been dealing with on this blog, I do hope to continue to use my voice as one of motivation, of encouragement, of hope. I want to once again read my own posts and feel joy as I once did. I want my testimony and the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which gives me hope, strength, and courage, to shine through my writing. There will be troubled waters ahead, but it is Him who will calm the sea and allow my voice to be heard, if only by me.

I'm Home

Well, little neglected blog, I'm here. I reread a previous post that eluded to a "big announcement", and for the life of me I couldn't remember what it was. Then I remembered:


It was, you know, a fairly significant happening in my life and then I promptly forgot to return and report! 
I've been home now since June and it is wonderful. For the first time in my life I've put down roots of my own. I'm here to stay...until it's time to go somewhere else (which I have no plans for now, I've just learned not to say never). For now, I'm right where I need to be and I feel so blessed.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

I'm Worth a Lot

I've hesitated writing a post like this but it's something that has been on my mind for quite some time, is often the topic of conversation (not always of my choosing), and is something I feel very strongly about. I have had some wonderful conversations with other single women about their stance on it, mostly to see if I'm off base. Turns out we're all 1) a little stronger-willed than we may have realized and 2) confused by what society tells us.

I've gratefully been raised to be a strong and independent woman. I'm not even sure when I realized that as my identity. I'm definitely a woman of action and I'm tackling some very big things right now (big announcement coming soon!). I have goals for my life and I'm actively creating the person I want to be. Interestingly, society agrees that a woman should be independent and "successful" (quotes only because I feel there are too many definitions of success, not all of which I feel are accurate). In the workplace a woman must be strong-willed, competitive, and show no signs of emotional weakness (or any other weakness for that matter). We're supposed to "keep up" with the men (another tirade altogether).

Then we return to our personal lives and our (or at least my) feeble attempts at dating and relationships. All of a sudden, I'm supposed to be "needy": need a man to carry something, to fix something, to keep me company, to provide for me, etc. The men I've interacted with have all expressed a desire to be needed, and I get it. I also appreciate it, but I don't know how to accept it. And the thing is, this "need" goes far beyond traditional gender roles and stereotypes. Then I think of the men and feel they may have the same type of conundrum in reverse (oh my brain...chill out!).

If you're reading this, expecting some conclusion, sorry, I'm still working on it. (If you're still reading, bless you!)

I will however leave you with the following story that probably should have been left here without my rambling. It states far better what I'm thinking than I can write. I found this little gem on Facebook a couple of weeks ago (yes, that's how hesitant I've been to put this out there), and promptly forgot to get a good source reference. I think it's right on target with how I should be thinking. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

In a brief conversation, a man asked a woman he was pursuing the question: "What kind of man are you looking for?" She sat quietly for a moment before looking him in the eye and asking, "Do you really want to know?" Reluctantly, he said, "Yes."

She began to expound, "As a woman in this day and age, I am in a position to ask a man what can you do for me that I can't do for myself? I pay my own bills. I take care of my household without the help of any man... or woman for that matter. I am in the position to ask, 'What can you bring to the table?'"

The man looked at her. Clearly he thought that she was referring to money. She quickly corrected his thought and stated, "I am not referring to money. I need something more. I need a man who is striving for excellence in every aspect of life." 

He sat back in his chair, folded his arms, and asked her to explain. She said, "I need someone who is striving for excellence mentally because I need conversation and mental stimulation. I don't need a simple-minded man. I need someone who is striving for excellence spiritually because I don't need to be unequally yoked...believers mixed with unbelievers is a recipe for disaster. I need a man who is striving for excellence financially because I don't need a financial burden. I need someone who is sensitive enough to understand what I go through as a woman, but strong enough to keep me grounded. I need someone who has integrity in dealing with relationships. Lies and game-playing are not my idea of a strong man. I need a man who is family-oriented. One who can be the leader, priest and provider to the lives entrusted to him by God. I need someone whom I can respect. In order to be submissive, I must respect him. I cannot be submissive to a man who isn't taking care of his business. I have no problem being submissive...he just has to be worthy. And by the way, I am not looking for him...He will find me. He will recognize himself in me. He may not be able to explain the connection, but he will always be drawn to me. God made woman to be a help-mate for man. I can't help a man if he can't help himself."

When she finished her spill, she looked at him. He sat there with a puzzled look on his face. He said, "You are asking a lot." She replied, "I'm worth a lot".