I remember very vividly the day that I took this picture of myself back in June 2009. I had just started my journey to find out how to live a healthy, whole, balanced life. I would go for a bike ride early every morning before work trying to sort out my thoughts, feelings and emotions. During my lunch break I would go to the lake, sit on the pier and stare out across the water or lay on the 'beach' looking up at the white fluffy clouds and beautiful blue sky.
There has always been something so healing about water, sun and sand for me. I love to be near the edge of most any body of water. During this summer of trying to find my way to the woman I was created to be, I spent a lot of time by this body of water. . . sometimes praying, sometimes singing, often crying and hurting from a very deep place in my past.
I am grateful for my journey, every step of it. A lot of it was a long over due healing of past hurts that did not heal properly or where never addressed at all. When I made the decision to pull the scab off those wounds to allow them to be healed properly, I had no idea what might happen to me, the me that knew. I sat down with my husband and told him I thought I was having a nervous breakdown and that I needed time and space to heal these hurts that had nothing to do with our relationship, but that had a lot to do with how I related to him. I then sat down with each of my sons (20 and 22 at the time) and I explained to them that I was going through a very tough time and that they may see me crying, mad, confused, etc. but I wanted them to know that my feelings had nothing to do with them and that I was not leaving and that it had nothing to do with daddy and me. I asked them to kindly love me enough to allow me space to cry. I asked them to resist the urge to try to offer advice, or to try to cheer me up. Just give me space to heal and if I need a hug or a shoulder to cry on, be there for me if I ask for it. To their credit, they were all very supportive and honored my wishes without any fuss.
I would come home from work, change into my swimsuit, take my iPod and towel out to the back yard, pretend I was at the beach and that no one was around and cry. I cried almost every day and fell asleep in my lawn chair crying. This became so therapeutic, and amongst my friends it became known as my lawn chair therapy time. One of the reasons I was crying so much was that I was actually allowing myself to experience pains that I had stuffed down, ignored or been in denial of for over 25 years. At times I wanted to return to being the princess on the pedestal in the kingdom of denial. Often the tide of emotions would be so high I would feel as if I was going to drown.
Then one day, while laying by the lake after a long bike ride on a Saturday, I was writing in my journal and I had a sudden epiphany. I actually had the opportunity to see myself through the eyes of my creator God. I saw myself at age 5, happy, healthy, whole, skipping, smiling, twirling. From that moment forward, I vowed to never be less than I was created to be. I didn't need to figure things out. I didn't have to have all the answers. I just had to have faith that I was loved, I was lovable, I was protected and worth protecting, I was valuable and worth being valued, I was beautiful . . . just the way I was . . . I didn't need to become something . . . I already was.
So every day I nurture the healthy, whole, happy, twirling girl inside of me. I want the very best for her. I want all her dreams to come true. I want her to have balance in her life and to know that she is surrounded by love. I have to add that there is also a pretty tough tomboy side to me! I do play hard! But I love it! It is a blessing, it is a privilege!
When I look at pictures of myself when I was at my heaviest, I don't cringe. I look with eyes of compassion and think "I am sorry you felt so lost and hurt. I am sorry you felt it was easier to deny your feelings and stuff them down. You didn't know a better way. You did the best you could with what you knew. "
My journey has been rich and full. I can truly say I am a better woman for every step that I took. As my heart healed, so did my lifestyle, my relationships and how I relate to food in my life. For this reason, I really don't feel anxious about 'maintaining' or gaining weight. I am not seeking a number. I am on a journey towards being the healthiest, most whole, happiest version of me that I can possibly be.
Where is your journey taking you?
Love yourself healthy.
Don't declare war against your body, it will never trust you enough to make lasting change if you do that. Love yourself enough to seek healthy solutions for your body, mind, spirit and emotions.