I don’t do my laundry; it’s the most gruesomely annoying part of being an adult for me. Somehow, I existed in the modern world (until very recently) without any knowledge of the beautiful miracle of “fluff and fold”, but since I was introduced to it, I have been only too happy to hand my laundry over to strangers who clean it and return it without my assistance.
These posts have been a little like my dirty laundry; I hand over my sometimes less than fresh thoughts to the Internet and hope in some way this practice will, in return, keep my mind a little cleaner. Letting people read my honest account of fumbling through self improvement has more than once caused a well-meaning reader to express concern that I am “being too hard on myself.” I am touched that, whether or not the worried brow belongs to a stranger or someone I’ve known for years, anyone has been moved enough by what I’ve written to offer words of reassurance or a hug, but I can’t help feeling the point is being lost on these kindly souls.
When I started the process of bettering my life by taking care of my body, I did not know it was going to be this hard, I didn’t know I would feel the way I sometimes do about my body, or why I sometimes treat it like less than a temple. I took to the Internet to find some comradery in these struggles, but found little to none. I did, however, find that in private conversation with friends and coworkers, I was, in no way, the only one who fought a raging storm inside when it came time to do the things that are good for us. This blog has been my own humble attempt to fill that void (or at least a tiny piece of it) on the Internet with my own experience of these things in my own words, so that someone like me who feels creeping insanity when they put down the fork early or go to the gym will read something that echoes their own emotion and find comfort in the idea that they are not alone.
The unpleasant truth about change is that it can be difficult, ugly, and sometimes you have to be hard on yourself. If you don’t like where you’re at in life, it’s up to you to do something about it. This often includes facing those decisions that have brought about the current circumstances of extra weight and health problems that result from poor choices.
When I realized this for myself, I didn’t wake up the next day with a magical cure for the many years of bad habits I’d grown comfortable with. I didn’t realize that it would be so difficult, mentally exhausting, not to mention physically. Choosing to do what is good for you everyday when the only choice taken for so long has been to do the opposite requires effort. Real effort. Choosing to do those good things when they don’t feel good is painful sometimes: like a set of squats.
I didn’t know it would be this way, I didn’t know all the emotional unpacking I would do. I felt really crazy. I felt alone. Instagram didn’t tell me this, because it’s hard to sell a waist trainer and dieters tea when you tell the truth about what it really takes to get the flat stomach.
Making positive change doesn’t always have a smiling face, and I felt crazy because it appeared to me that I was the only person getting emotional over some pizza, which I didn’t eat that often anyway. Some days, this lonely mental struggle made me feel like it was impossible, I wasn’t meant to have the fit body I desired. If I was the only one feeling this way, and all the girls on YouTube smiled through their sweat and delighted at how full a handful of almonds made them, then truly I was incapable. But that wasn’t the truth. The real truth is that, although I would like to smile and love my softer self in the mirror and hug that person into a rock hard, muscle bound bod, it doesn’t work that way. What it takes is discipline. Discipline that I struggle with every day. But I can’t morph into the butterfly in Lulu Lemon until I tell the girl in the oversized rock t-shirt to put down the martini and pack of cigarettes, until I’m honest with her and tell her I know when she’s lying, when she makes up excuses.
I am not the only one whose felt this way. It doesn’t mean that I don’t love myself. Really it means that I love myself more. I love myself enough to push through the ugly parts and try again.
This is where I’ve chosen to share honestly how it has been for me to seek a better life, because I know I’m not alone, and I hope that someone reading this will realize they aren’t either and maybe, just maybe, today we won’t give up.