Welcome friend. Let me share my story with you. And while it isn’t an easy thing for me to share. I do it in hopes, that some part of it resonates with you, and so no matter where you are on your journey it gives you hope. Hope, that our circumstances don’t define who we are.
Life isn’t about the cards you’re dealt, it’s about how you chose to play them.
To put it lightly I was heavy as a child. The memory of having pants custom made is unfortunately one you don’t forget. As a young kid, 9 or so, we would shop for pants in the men’s section, because that was the only way to find something that would fit. Although while the waists might have fit right the rest was out of proportion, with the inseam, usually coming down to my knees. Eventually that lead to my parent’s bringing me to a seamstress, forcing us to have pants custom made. A memory that doesn’t easily fade. The reality is, kids can be mean, and when you don’t fit in making friends can be hard. So, I didn’t have many. I chose to spend my time with the adults. Spending family get togethers sitting with the grown-ups while they had coffee and dessert, instead of playing with cousins. At school, I’d surround myself with the teachers and the monitors at daycare.
I didn’t want to be a kid, I just wanted to jump forward and be an adult
My adolescent years were harder. The obese kid, with glasses, and good grades was an easy target. Added to the fact that I was horrible at sports, life sucked for a really long time. A period that created body image issues and scars that I would carry with me for most of my adult life. So, I retreated inwards. I spent my free time watching cooking shows, What’s for Dinner? & Martha Stewart, in particular were my favorites. I’d spend hours watching her after school, scribbling down recipes in my journal. It was the mid 90’s and internet wasn’t that great yet. They’d show the recipes on the screen and you’d write them down as quickly as possible before the screen changed. The first recipe I ever made completely on my own was Martha Stewart’s Watermelon Ice Cream bomb, a dessert my family still talks about.
While I’m grateful now for having thought myself to cook and bake at an early age, back then, I really wasn’t doing myself any favors. It made my weight continue to rise, leading to the cycle of yo-yo dieting, exercising, and binge eating throughout teens. I’d eat tubs of ice cream in a single sitting and then hide or throw away the container to get rid of any evidence, usually with the spoon still inside. It’s hard to be conspicuous when the all the spoons from the cutlery drawer begin to disappear.
Bullying and searching for a safe space.
High school, 5 years which my brain has chosen to almost completely block out were particularly brutal. Bullying was a daily reality and cutting classes or skipping school all together became my escape. Discovering I was gay in my teen years certainly didn’t made the remainder of my high school years any easier. Thankfully you leave high school realizing the outside world is so much bigger, and the things people get hung up over in high school really don’t matter. And while the memories slowly fade, the scars remain.
Body image issues and eating disorders.
The world becomes a dark place when you hate yourself. My body image issue became debilitating. Social events were a nightmare and I’d avoid them like the plague. Pool party? Sorry, forgot my swim suit. Intimacy? Sorry, too tired. Even eating in front of other people gave me anxiety. Were they judging my food choices? Were they looking at my body size and judging my portions? I felt so uncomfortable that I would order a salad (dressing on the side of course) and only eat half, claiming I was full. Eventually, my discomfort became so great that I would just order coffee or water, saying that I had already eaten, even though I hadn’t and was actually starving.
Binge eating to fill the voids in my relationships.
Good relationships are hard when you don’t want to be seen or touched. I hated what I saw when I looked back in the mirror, no matter what the scale said, or the size pants I was wearing. I was always too big, not thin enough, not muscular, enough, not lean enough, not attractive enough. I’d play this chorus over and over in my head, perhaps you’re familiar with this particular tune. Intimacy frightened me, after all, what if they saw what I saw? So I avoided it all together. But as humans, we’re hard wired for connection. We search for a sense of love and belonging.
Not good enough? Ok, let’s numb…
It’s incredibly painful to live with the feeling of not being good enough. Of not being able to live up to impossible standards and expectations you set for yourself. We often talk about the standards society sets, I think the ones we set for ourselves are immensely greater. So I did what most people do, I numbed the pain. First, I used food, and when food could no longer numb the pain, I turned to exercise. Constantly jumping back and forth from one extreme to another. I was miserable and exhausted. I was so consumed by my internal struggle that I stopped showing up for the world around me. Eventually I felt like I had disappeared into the shadows.
Disappearing into the shadows… wait, isn’t that a good thing?
I was perplexed. For a while I was filled with relief. I could play small. No one could see me so it didn’t matter. I could spend the rest of my life living in the confines of this little box I had made for myself. The walls, bricks upon bricks of insecurity, self-doubt, and feelings of worthlessness. If I stayed small, if I stayed hidden I was safe.
The solution to every problem is presented to us, the second the problem arises.
The solution is always there, we need only see. As fate would have it, my best friend was becoming certified as a life coach and needed to practice her coaching skills. So I figured why not. My relationship was in a horrible place, my career was mediocre, and the flames of any other passion in my life had died down to barely lit embers. And so we sat there, looking at the scaled down version of myself that I had become. Questioning what happened? Where had David gone? Fear had taken over my life. I asked, “what if I grow, and play big, and create an amazing life for myself, only to discover that there’s no room left in it for the people I love. What if they leave, what if I end up alone?” I was consumed by my fear and didn’t see what was right in front of me. I was stuck and I stayed stuck in the small miserable life I had created for myself for another 3 years.
Sometimes things just need to fall apart.
I truly believe that we are constantly being guided. The signs and nudges we need are always around us but we chose to ignore them. And then the universe decides enough is enough, and takes a wrecking ball to our lives. I recognize those moments well because I’ve lived through a few of them. But in my stubbornness, I decided to set up camp in the rubble. Using the debris to continue building up the walls of my fortress… And then, they started to crumble. It was spring of 2015 and I was on a business trip in South Africa, and everything just began to cave in on me. I spent the weekend in bed unable to move under the weight of the walls that had come down on me. I didn’t have the energy to eat, or the appetite. But in between bouts of sleep and despair, I saw an email come in on my iPad that set me on a new path.
Imperfect and that’s ok.
I received an email from Oprah. Well not from her personally, but I had participated in her meditation challenges with Deepak in the past and was receiving information about new courses she was offering. My eyes scanned the pages and landed on an online course with Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection. I had never heard of Brené or any of her books, but I felt like this had been sent to me for a reason. So, I enrolled, ordered the book, and got started with the first assignment when I got home.
Life is what you make it, so make it something you love.
Brené’s words lead me down a path of self-discovery and healing. It wasn’t overnight, and took the better part of a year for the crazy fog to start to lift. For me to start to see myself again when I looked in the mirror, for me to start to feel joy again, and start taking down the walls I had built around me. I had lived through a lot of pain and rough times, the majority of which I’ve left off of this page out of the respect for the privacy of others. Drawing a line between telling my own story without telling that of the people around me. My Path lead me to the amazing work of Marianne Williamson, Gabriel Bernstein, Mastin Kipp, Kris Carr, as well as the amazing teachers at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. The road wasn’t always easy, seriously. I divorced my husband of 10 years, sold my home, moved, went back to school, and basically started a whole new life. My journey led me to this moment, right here, with you. Because although I have experienced hardships, I have an innate sense, that my pain and struggles may allow me to help others. To hold space for them so they can heal, so they can crawl out of the shadows, and reclaim their lives. Having a life you love is your birthright.
If any part of my story resonated with you, let me know if the comments below.
I offer a free 50-minute consultation and would love to support you if you’re looking to take control of your life and start creating a life you love.
Sending you love,