Around this time last year I was going through something that kinda cut me at my knees. I mean it was a gut wrenching, wind knocked out of you, so dizzy the world keeps spinning kind of thing. It was at that point I had decided that I owed myself the same love that I so freely gave to other people. It was time for me to find who I was, to find my meaning, to build a life I was proud of, loved and found to be purposeful.

Let me start off by saying, it has been an amazing year. Despite the hardships, the knock downs, the tumbles and falls and loss of sleep, it has been an amazing year. I’ve learned a lot and continue to learn.

The year started off with learning to love my body. I have a really horrible sense of self. I saw my body as disgusting and hated everything about it. I befriended someone who encouraged me to begin my journey of health and fitness. With her help and the help of a fitness coach, nutritional coach and a doctor I began my journey. I began eating healthier. This wasn’t a diet. This was a life choice. I could eat whatever I wanted but learned to be mindful on how the amounts of what I ate affected my body. I began exercising every day learning new workouts, buying a punching bag, getting a treadmill and yoga mat. There were some days I was tired but I knew I had to keep going. I didn’t lose the amount of weight I wanted. But, after one year and 25 lbs lighter, I’ve felt more comfortable in my skin than I ever have before.

So often times we are judged by the way we look. Social media and society make it so that looks are important. Yes, we get taught that looks aren’t everything and it’s what is on the inside that counts. But, let’s be real, as a young girl growing up that doesn’t mean anything. What matters is what your friends say, what the world says. We don’t one day just wake up to hate our bodies, we’re taught to. In the year of working on my body I worked on unlearning that horrifying lesson.

Being comfortable in my own skin also helped me be comfortable in my mind. A friend of mine had told me that my mind was the greatest weapon I had. She explained that people often don’t understand that and instead of mastering our minds like we do with sports or school or work, we allow it to enslave us. For half of my life I was the prisoner of my own mind.

I’m talking about my anxiety and depression. And yes, I know sometimes it’s not that easy. Some days I wake up in the morning and my mind and heart are going to war so badly I can’t get up. I went camping during this Labor Day Weekend and I was surrounded by my tribe, my people. Even still, there was one night I couldn’t get out of my tent. The darkness was pushing down so badly I forced myself to sleep, ashamed that my friends would see me  battling. It isn’t easy in the least. But, this year I learned how to fight those battles. Just in case you’re wondering it isn’t hiding out in a tent. It’s surrounding yourself with like minded individuals who love you, who support you, who even when you still try to hide it know just by the sound of your voice you aren’t okay and are right there with a hand.

With the comfort I found in my skin I found a balance in my mind. I can’t remember where I read it or heard it but the quote goes, It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to has power over you. When I made the conscious decision to own my mind did I begin to see clearer. And when I say conscious, I don’t mean just words. You can say all day that you want to get better, that you don’t want to live like this, but until you actually put in the effort you won’t. Another side note, you don’t have to do it alone. Reach out to anyone (I’m here for you always) and you’re physically putting in the effort. But, remember, getting through the walls also means putting yourself in a vulnerable state. It means showing a heart you hid for so long. I’ll tell you right now it’s worth it.

After a year I’m not where I want to be physically and mentally. But, I can tell you that I’m light years from where I thought I’d be. I’m happier now. Healthier. Clearer. I genuinely smile and laugh. Hell, I even set up a float with my friends! Who even am I!?

It just goes to show, lovelies, life doesn’t have to always be tumbling down the hill. It can be so glorious walking up it. You see things walking up the hill that you could never see when you’re too busy protecting your body from the rocks and limbs coming down. Like beautiful sunsets. Or a ladybug dancing on a flower. Or the music of raindrops hitting your car window. Or seeing a shooting star even for a split second.

This past year I was forced to face some demons in my life and in my heart that I wasn’t prepared to face. But, I’m sure as hell glad I did.

For the love of self I have learned that everything has changed but I am more me than I have ever been. xoxo