Friday, April 7, 2017

Don't Judge a Book by its Cover

On the outside I may look healthy, happy and thin even, to some. My calm and collected manner in combination with my bright smile may lead most to think that all is well. But on the inside there's a different story entirely. It's not that I don't have a great life. I have amazing friends and family, a husband who loves me very much; a roof over my head and all the things I could need to survive--quite honestly I have so much to be thankful for and I know that. But beyond the surface, when you get past the cover and turn a few pages in, the truth is I haven't been in optimal health for the majority of my adult life. 

In my late teens and early twenties, I had my most damaging relationships; with myself, with others, with alcohol and with food. I dated someone who didn't treat me well, I ate pretty much whatever I wanted, which usually meant a lot of junk, I drank a few nights a week, even if it didn't feel good, and usually a combination of those things left me feeling insecure and sometimes even disgusted with myself. But socially I was thriving-- hitting it off with friends, going from one party to the next, always trying to be this crazy, fun version of me that everybody loved --and pulling it off most of the time. Except the times I would drink to the point of blacking out, and lose my shit on whoever was closest to me (either literally or figuratively).  Classic case of redirecting all those negative feelings I was having about myself. Nights like those would leave me in an awful place the next day. I would torment and torture myself, having regret and remorse for what I had said or done. It wasn't until many years and mistakes later I was able to see something needed to change in order for things to get better.

Physically the signs and symptoms were starting to present themselves. Although I couldn't quite put the pieces together yet. I was experiencing heartburn, fatigue and mood swings. My weight would fluctuate quite a bit from year to year or even season to season. Over time that progressed into acid reflux, stomach ulcers and increased bouts of anxiety and depression (not to mention digestive problems that are still with me today). There were times I was in such pain physically I couldn't eat or drink anything, even water without being in excruciating pain; and times I felt so extremely hopeless, angry and sad, I didn't know how I would get better. I thank god I always maintained the will to live. It helped me fight my way back to happiness, time and time again, even if only for a short periods of time, and that was enough to keep me going. 

These days things aren't nearly as bad. Luckily I've learned quite a few lessons along the way, always the hard way of course, but regardless, I've learned.  At least I can say I'm a hell of a lot wiser than I was 10 years ago. Unfortunately this wisdom hasn't brought me to quite the resolution I'm seeking. As "healthier" as I am now, there's still quite a long ways to go. 
It's interesting though, how different each of our interpretations of "healthy" are. Recently when I've told people  I'm starting a program to improve my health they've said, "But why? You're so thin and healthy already." Well first of all, to those who have said that, thank you. I've essentially never been happy with my body/weight (a WHOLE other story) so it's always nice to hear someone else thinks you look great!! Guess I've gotten pretty good at hiding those few extra pounds that have come and gone over the years. But really, yes, it is possible to be 'thin' or just not overweight, to eat a moderately healthy diet, and to smile your way through super stressful days/nights at work and still NOT be healthy.  Or truly happy with yourself for that matter. 

So here I am today, at 30, going on 31 very soon and ready to take back control of my life. My 30th year on this plant wasn't the greatest, it was quite possibly probably one of my worst in fact, for more reasons than one. And with 31 approaching right around the corner, I 've decided what better time than RIGHT NOW to do what it takes and make the changes I've been wanting to for a such long time to be healthier and happier. I know I have so much more left to learn but I do know that it is in MY POWER to turn my life around. I am the only one who can truly take care of my body and my mind and my soul. 

And the next leg of my journey starts with change. This weekend I'll prepare to get things in order to begin the transition process as part of this holistic wellness program I'm participating in.  One week at a time, I'll take steps to eliminate foods that are potentially harmful to my body and replace them with natural, nutrient-rich ones.  I'll also be taking more time out to focus on me--which could mean meditation, exercise, journalling or reading a book--whatever suits me in the moment. Not every part is planned out yet, but it's sure to be quite an interesting ride. There's lots more to come on the experiences I'll face as I take on this challenge and attempt to improve my quality of life. So I hope if anyone out there ever reads this, they'll stay with me! Otherwise I'll continue to use this space to document my journey --to learn and to look back on.

This is my journey. What’s yours?
I've set the sails in motion...into the beautiful unknown.

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