It is no secret that this blog of mine is about my up and down journey to a healthier life, no?
Well, today, on Thanksgiving, I need to write out a very personal reflection in, well, thanks. I recently “celebrated” my three year blog anniversary on the 16th, and instead of posting about it, I decided to combine it with today’s post.
My story has been told many times here on Live, Love, & Run, and it is one I can never ever forget. You see, my story continues to be written every day. I used to think of my story as one with one end goal – that my story would end once I got to a certain weight or ran a certain race or gained enough knowledge to live a healthier life. That I would then write another story.
I was so wrong.
I am human, which means I can naturally fall backward at times. I move forward, I fall behind, I learn from mistakes, I may or may not reach goals, but I also know that I should never punish myself for being who I am. Unless, of course, I never learn and pick myself back up. Unless I don’t come back. That’s just punishment in and of itself.
Some of you may find this silly, but as a mom, I’ve found that some of the movies my children watch make me emotional. I watched “Polar Express” a few days ago with my girls, and it left me in tears (more so than usual). I’m ridiculously emotional, we all know that, and I normally apologize for that, haha. I won’t today. I was listening to the closing song, “Believe” by Josh Groban, and for some strange reason, the tears began to come. I suddenly found myself not only thinking about my girls and the spirit of Christmas, but I was thinking about my spirit.
Yes. Yet another children’s movie has inspired such “grown up” thoughts in me. (I love that about being a mom. I can watch a movie with my girls and not only feel the magic of childhood all over again, but I now see it in an entirely new, magical light. I love that life comes with an ever changing, never ending magic.)
To give you an idea of why it did this, this is the chorus (in case you don’t know the song):
Believe in what your heart is saying
Hear the melody that’s playing
There’s no time to waste
There’s so much to celebrate
Believe in what you feel inside
And give your dreams the wings to fly
You have everything you need
If you just believe
So, I’m sitting in my living room replaying so many different memories of my past and the journey I’ve been on. (Such a roller coaster past full of beauty and of pain, and it was well worth every second.) My recent journey started out as a simple “I want to lose weight” and has grown into such a life-changing lesson. So I’ve lost 72 pounds? I’d also gained back 30 and lost that 30 again. And gained back 10. And lost it again. lol I’ve watched the scale move up and down and come to a screeching halt. (Like now. Ha.) Yet, that doesn’t anger me like it used to. It doesn’t disappoint me. I have more to lose to be at optimal health, yes, but I’ve grown so much in the last three years that I don’t care to focus on “that number” any longer. What’s the point in reaching a “goal weight” if you don’t accept yourself? If you aren’t happy with yourself? If you don’t have the wisdom to stay there?
I’ve spent the last year a half after my layoff doing what I can to educate myself. The second I lost my job was the second I went back to school, and I thank God for my husband. Without him being so supportive, despite the hardships we’ve endured, I wouldn’t be where I’m at right now. By the fall next year, I’ll have four certifications in my hands. Four! What I love most about all of this is that I haven’t just obtained some certifications; I’ve gained a fantastic foundation and knowledge that will get me along with my family, friends, and clients to better health, too. That is what I love most about it. (Oh, and that photography business…I’ve got that, too. )
However, we all know that knowledge is just knowledge unless you incorporate it into your life. This is where I struggle sometimes, because I’m not even close to being the picture of perfection. Actually, there are days where I’m far from it, but there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last three years: I am me, perfectly. I openly admit my problems and downfalls. I admit to my weaknesses and mistakes. I own up to my fears, recognize when I’m wrong, and I 100% LOVE who I am today.
There was a time in my life where I was praying for God to bring me home. There were days when I thought I wouldn’t see special moments in life, like my senior prom – I sat in Spanish class silently calming myself down over the fact that it was happening so soon, while someone else was reading from our textbook about Quinceañeras and corn tortillas. I even thought about taking care of my situation myself.
So, today, I want to thank my 17-year-old self for loving herself just enough to hang on.
I look at the two most beautiful red-headed (even with one of them sporting a self-inflicted half mullet) reasons for me to be on this Earth, my husband, and my family now and I am thankful for the fact that I put enough faith in myself to continue on.
And then, I look in the mirror, and I see me.
I see the present me. The me that accepts her flaws, her quirks, her struggles, and her accomplishments. The me that doesn’t care when someone tries to bring her down and realizes the person standing in her way will always only be herself. I now see a woman who has always taken matters in her own hands and handled life with her own strength, passion, determination, and perseverance, not someone else’s. I see faith.
Today my life is a beautifully mountainous journey – full of ups and downs and pit stops at overlooks, where I take time to really take in life’s moments. I don’t mind the downs of today. I know I can get through them. I know I have so much beauty, so many blessings, and so much privilege in my life that those downs could never compare to what I’ve been given.
I look back on that quiet, hurting, lost 17-year-old me, and I thank her for holding on to even the smallest glimmer of hope. I thank her for having the strength to know that everything will get better and that she had everything she needed right there inside her. All she needed to do was believe.
And believe she did.
And believe she still does.