My Favorite Adventure
Mind, body, spirit. When I saw photos I did from a shoot about empowerment and positivity, I couldn't help but focus on my physical flaws. We hear it from celebrities and Instagram models who tell us it's all Photoshop but still day after day we are inundated with what "perfect" should be. I have cellulite, my weight fluctuates, I wish I had firmer arms. I'm a messy eater and I always have way too many keys on my key chain. I have bad panic attacks that have left me curled up in bed shaking. How did I get from my physical flaws to other personal flaws? I'm use to that, my thoughts racing and racing until I have to wrestle with myself to calm down.
I've had anxiety since I can remember. I remember the first time I had a panic attack. Both my maternal grandparents had died within days of each other right before Christmas. I was a little girl trying to comprehend two unexpected losses and my parents (especially my mom's) devastation. I remember playing barbies with my cousin and neighbor and all of a sudden things didn't feel real. I felt like I was in a dream world. I later found out this was dissociation. Dissociation is a common yet severe effect of my anxiety disorder. It is a defense mechanism—we separate out of our memory things that we don't want to or can't deal with. I still have this - and no matter how often it happens, it always feels so unfamiliar, so terrifying, so lonely. But it passes.
The news of successful, rich, funny, spirited celebrities committing suicide like Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain has flooded the news and had me thinking of my own life journey. I feel lighter, happier now. But it took me a long time to get there.
I was always scrawny as a little girl and by the time I entered high school, I grew wide hips. My "friends" would constantly call me fat and make fun of my hips. I started starving myself. I realized it not only worked but was a great way to control something in my life. My father had passed unexpectedly and I was still trying to come to terms with such a deep loss. I did get better but throughout the years, I saw myself slipping again. I became addicted to losing weight. I'd cut down on what I was eating. I remember clear as day having a dream I was at a grocery store and I was putting food in my cart but all the food kept falling through. Eventually I learned to embrace my body. I wanted to be healthy not scrawny. Sometimes I wish I had curves like the Kardashians but I just wasn't built that way. My hips, those hips that I wished away in high school are my favorite feature. I remember seeing this quote from Eva Mendes and it still holds true to my heart: "My best feature is my big hips. I've got some nice childbearing hips, and I feel very proud of them. When I was younger I thought they were too big. I wanted to be slimmer. But now I totally embrace them."
I started talking to a counselor months ago and noticed a huge change in my heart. I felt lighter like I said before. I use to hold on to the grief of my dad's unexpected death. I was holding on to the hurt and anger of being in a toxic and abusive relationship for 4 and half years and getting married thinking it would change things. It didn't, if anything the abuse just changed forms. I felt down on myself for walking away from a physically and mentally abusive situation until I realized how unhealthy that way of thinking was. I survived those things and let go of that baggage. It'll hold a place in my heart but talking honestly and openly helped me realize I can bounce back better than ever. That this "mess of a person" I thought I was what I was labeling myself. I needed to focus on the light and the positive to get light and positive back. Every day is a new challenge, a new adventure in my life and learning to really love myself. Learning to let go and love even the cellulite, the arms that will never be firm, the fact I was in an abusive marriage and got out to better myself and my life. I learned to count the things I loved about life and myself. My hips, my crazy laugh that comes fully from my heart, my style aesthetic. I truly love my friends- I feel they are a collection of amazing people from all different backgrounds.
I learned to love that scrawny girl in middle school and also that girl who feels sexy in lingerie. I learned to love the fact I loved and been hurt but I am still surviving. I hope to find love again. I love that I finally feel light and love all around me after so long of feeling sad and going through so many dark days I didn't tell anyone about.
It feels good to embrace it all and not have to apologize for it. Loving yourself was a journey for me and so far it's my favorite adventure I've ever taken.