Purpose

Recently I’ve been reflecting on life and the meaning of it all.  As of late I’ve withdrawn from the internet and social medias out of fear.  Fear that I would log onto Twitter only to see news of another terrorist attack or an article informing me of the next moronic decision our incompetent President has made.  Medias and news sites are built to play on our fears because that’s what keeps us engaged; what makes us wonder, Could I be next?

Amidst all the foul news it’s hard to stay positive.  I’ve spent many a day, though more-so recently, contemplating what it all means.  Racking my brain to find an answer or a solution; meditating on the reason why we’re all here; just trying to understand.

But perhaps our purpose isn’t to understand.  Whether you believe in God or the Universe or the Self or the Big Bang, the common theme here is that we all come from something bigger than ourselves.  Take a minute to be humbled by that- each of us plays a small yet vital role in a much, much bigger plan imagined by some higher being of power.  I’ve been trying to understand this plan for years to no avail.

And I think I’ve finally discovered why:  Our reason for being isn’t to understand what this world means.  We were all placed here by some power that I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around, so to think that I would be able to comprehend said power’s plan is absurd.  We weren’t necessarily built to understand the why.  All we’re able to do is take each and every opportunity and experience the Universe grants us and roll with it.

“The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.” –Ben Okri

We are here to discover within us our own ability to love unconditionally, especially when it’s not easy; to forgive and let go of the resentment and hatred that can fester within us like nothing else can; to practice compassion; to live without fear holding us back; to let go of what we think should be and learn to appreciate what is; to grow from our mistakes; to overcome our own ego; to be greater than the greed that our society has prioritized; to experience grief and overcome our sufferings; to come together as a community and stand up for each of our innate rights as a human being; to navigate life mindfully and purposefully.

We are here to create the best and most fulfilled life possible for ourselves.  We are here to live happily and encourage others to do the same.  Not every moment will be easy, but that’s the point.  We are here to learn and grow and rise above and love without limits.

Our purpose isn’t to understand the meaning of life; our purpose is to embody the meaning of life.

~

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Learning Not to Compare

Up until recently, I was an avid follower of Instagram-famous folk such as Iskra Lawrence, a woman with large hips and a flat tummy whose body-positive movement has gained her millions of followers.  She posts pictures of herself working out at the gym or wearing a bra and panties while eating a slice of pizza to encourage her followers not to restrict their diets and to promote a balanced lifestyle.

But here’s the thing: I exercise and eat pizza just like she does, but I do not look like her.  While I was drawn to her because of her curves and I felt I could relate, my stomach has never been flat and may never be flat.  But I would scroll through her Insta feed in an attempt to mimic her lifestyle and would only find myself discouraged and disappointed.

The truth is, Iskra is a model first and foremost.  She lives by parameters that are just not attainable for me.  Her body holds weight differently than mine, which is something that was determined at birth.  No matter how much I will myself to look like her, I never will.  Everything she eats, does and lives by is different from my own lifestyle, so why would I believe I could ever look like her?  I even see my friends and peers moving up in the world and getting healthier and I compare my own live to theirs and then feel saddened by the fact that I am not where they are.

LearningNottoCompareWhat I try to remember is that we are born to be different.  Every human’s thoughts and ideas- every human’s life– is different.  This is what has caused our society to grow and progress over time.  Imagine if we celebrated the differences in our bodies like we do our ideologies.  Each of us has experienced different things and has struggled through various situations to get to where we are.  Our lifestyles are all vastly different and so our bodies should all be equally as different.

Nobody wins when we compare ourselves to others; it only distracts us from our own journey.  No amount of progress that we make in our own lives will ever be enough if we continue to compare our individual journeys to those of our peers.  It is so important to discover what the parameters are for your life and to live by those.  Turning to others for inspiration may seem like a positive motivator but in many cases it only veers us away from our own path.

Focus on what you can do to better yourself instead of what you can do to be more like this person or that person.  Doing so allows you to recognize your own successes and that makes your life so much sweeter.

~

My Weight, Disordered Eating & Where I am Now

I’ve struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember.  My feelings toward my body and food and the relationship between the two have always been skewed.  When I was in grade school, I was bullied for being overweight.  I couldn’t wear the clothes my friends were wearing because I couldn’t fit into them.  When I was maybe 11 or 12, my behavior with food changed; this was about when I started dieting.

I remember being on the South Beach Diet and Weight Watchers; there may have been other programs that I tried, but I can’t recall them.  The South Beach Diet was the worst- I ate bland, unappealing food and I don’t remember seeing much in the way of results.  I look back on Weight Watchers more fondly, because when I first started this program I lost 50 pounds.  Now that I’m able to look back on this time in my life with fresh eyes, I believe this is when my food addiction festered.

I treated food much like an alcoholic would treat their vice.  I would sneak food in the middle of the night so that no one would see me.  I would lie to my friends about what I was eating because I was embarrassed to admit the foods that I liked were “bad.”  I didn’t like to eat in front of others because I was so self-conscious.  Weight Watchers teaches accountability, and one of the tricks to the program is to write down everything that you eat.  At the time, I was so embarrassed by what I was eating that I would eat in private so no one would see me, and I would then pretend that it didn’t happen.  This went on for years, and I still struggle with some of these behaviors today.

As I got older, I developed breasts and thighs and started to gain back the weight I had lost in grade school.  I also stopped consciously watching what I was eating so I kept gaining.  Being a high schooler, my weight and my health weren’t a priority.  But people in my life would make off-hand comments about my weight.  I even had a boyfriend at the time whose friends mocked me for “exceeding his weight limit.”  I pretended that I didn’t notice these things or that they didn’t bother me.  This is when I started purging.

This period in my life didn’t last long; I at least had the mind to realize that purging wasn’t healthy and it wasn’t going to give me the results I wanted.  When I graduated high school, I kind of forgot about my weight.  I knew I was overweight, but I had a boyfriend who paid me attention so I wasn’t really thinking about it.  Doctors would voice their concern towards the correlation between my age and my weight but, again, it wasn’t a priority so I shrugged it off.

My behavior with food was still reminiscent of an addiction, but it truly became more of a coping mechanism.  During any period of stress, moment of anger or sadness or even happiness, I would either drown my sorrows in a bag of chips or reward myself with a chocolate bar (or four).  This behavior is still one I’m battling today.

In 2015, I began schooling to become a massage therapist.  Throughout the course of the program, I realized how important mind, body and soul wellness is.  It wasn’t until I graduated that I finally started getting serious about my health.  I started to incorporate exercise into my routine, but it was sporadic- one week I’d exercise six times, then nothing for 3 weeks.  When I moved out of my parents’ house, I started eating far less junk food.  I began introducing vegetables into my diet and drinking more water.  I felt better overall, but I was still overweight.  In late November 2016, I started Weight Watchers, again, and I’m still on the program now.

As I’m typing this, I’ve lost 31.6 pounds so far.  Four months ago I was the heaviest I’ve ever been at 221.2 pounds.  As I’ve been on this health journey, I’ve learned a lot and I’m still learning- not just about wellness, but about myself.sidebysidenovmar2sidebysidenovmar

The media and internet is so flooded with information about what’s “good” and “bad” for us, visuals about what we should look like and diet plans that guarantee you’ll lose 10 pounds in the first week or your money back!  I want to share my journey here so that perhaps someone will see a realistic, holistic and intuitive approach to bodily health and mind and soul wellness.  This isn’t a quick fix.  This isn’t a “Biggest Loser” success story.

This is me: a real woman making real changes to promote a balanced life.  It can be ugly, it can be raw, but I want to show that it can be done and it is so worth it!

Welcome to my journey.

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