Love Thy Self: Day #21

Today I am thankful that I am physically able to stand, run, swim, bike, and train for an Ironman triathlon. The picture above is a collage of places I have run in the past few months. I am grateful to have a body that heals. I am grateful to have access to healthy food that nourishes my physical self. I am grateful to be someone who is stubborn and fights to achieve her goals. I am thankful to be me.

#IAMENOUGH #lovethyself #30dayLoveChallenge

Love Thy Self: Day #20

Know your why.

So this post will probably be a bit random and a bit bumbling (bee pun intended). I have recently been introduced to LuLaRoe. I have a few friends who are selling products on Facebook and I have been so curious about the company. One of the things I have loved so far is that when I Google “LuLaRoe,” my web browser is instantly filled with bright pictures of women of all different shapes and sizes wearing clothes that clearly make them feel good. I love that the sizing changes per item: you can size up or size down, which makes the whole notion of “I’m a size ___” feel obsolete. Basically wear what makes you feel good in that particular style. A number no longer needs to define who we are or where we want to be. Notions like “I am a size 14 but want to be a size 10” do not really matter. I also love the bright patterns and the mixing that people do (traditional fashion rules be damned). I recently purchased some items from a friend (the items have not arrived yet, so I cannot vouch for the quality or fit), so I was curious to learn more and found LuLaRoe’s all the feels page with videos from retailers. Most of the women talked about “their why” or their reason for doing what they are doing. Their stories range from wanting to help women feel good about themselves to wanting a lifestyle that allows for more quality time with the people they love most. They have a defined purpose or why and selling LuLaRoe matches up with their vision.

In my first Love Thy Self post, I talked about trying to figure out my why. One of the things that has become clearer is that I love the idea of helping people feel loved and accepted. I love the idea of spreading validation and hope. I love the idea of living boldly and authentically. I also love the idea of feeling good in our physical bodies, no matter our shape and size. So how does LuLaRoe fit? I think learning more about the company and watching their videos has resonated with something deep inside that is still trying to find a voice and take shape. My counseling internship is going to be at a women’s recovery home, which feels a bit like divine intervention because I was not actively looking for a specific population, but I have a lot of empathy and heart for women’s issues (are you seeing a common thread yet? I think I am). I am learning to stop and take notice when something excites me, like the fact that LuLaRoe is empowering women all over the nation. All of these pieces are helping me put my own puzzle together.

Sometimes I wish life could be simple: a bee flies around collecting nectar and pollinating plants, which to me is a very clear “why.” Some days I wish I was a bee (in a metaphorical sense), and other days, I am so glad to be complicated. I kind of feel like I am on a treasure hunt to discover my why.

On a more “love thy self” note: since I have been on this journey, I have been working hard to be more positive. I have noticed that I am trying again to do my hair and makeup, eat healthier, and take care of myself out of love and appreciation (I do not feel like I “have” to do these things, which is really freeing). I have also been taking a multivitamin that is supposed to help with skin and hair, which I think is working (and I am TOTALLY ok if the vitamin is just a placebo!). The overall effect is that I enjoy looking at myself in the mirror again. I feel beautiful and I have not lost a single pound. YAY! I think that might also be why I am so fascinated with LuLaRoe. Fashion has always been intimdating for me. I have always thought that I would love shopping once I lost a certain amount of weight or was a certain size, but LuLaRoe is helping me feel excited about fashion and the creativity that it can represent no matter what size I wear.

Anyway, I am going to buzz off and get on with my day.

Lots of love, peace and joy to each and every one of us!

#IAMENOUGH #lovethyself #30dayLoveChallenge

Love Thy Self: Day #19

Today I was on a run and was feeling pretty bad. The run was a struggle and ended up being mostly a walk. I was thinking a ton about how I should be stronger and not walking as much as I did today at this stage in my training. On top of a bad run, the day before, I was at a concert and just felt frumpy and bad. For some reason, I usually feel too old or out of place at concerts now. Of course, I was comparing myself to 20-somethings who have flawless skin and killer bodies (ladies, you look amazing – enjoy and celebrate it!). I have wrinkles and not the best fashion, but why do I care? My wrinkles are there from years of smiling and laughing and being expressive. And if I feel good in my clothes, who cares what anyone else might think. So today I decided to do my hair and makeup and decided to adopt a “fuck it” attitude. I am celebrating the fact that I got out and exercised despite how I felt about the run, and tonight I am going to dance and enjoy spending time with my sister at day two of the Boston Calling festival. Life is fucking good. And I am fucking beautiful!! 

#IAMENOUGH #lovethyself #30DayLoveChallenge

Love Thy Self: Day #17

Yesterday I was listening to the Rich Roll podcast (episode titled “Growth is our Mandate”). His journey is one of recovery: He was a collegiate swimmer and became a successful lawyer all while struggling with alcoholism. Eventually he obtained sobriety, went on to adopt a plant-based diet, and ended up racing in long-course triathlons. Because of his diet and success in long-course triathlons, he has written a book and has taken on a completely different career path than any he could have imagined for himself, which he absolutely loves. One of the things he mentioned in that episode was that he did not end up where he is today because of a road map, vision board or any real planning on his part. Instead, he followed the subtle nudges in his life and took advantage of opportunities when they showed up. That message really resonated with me because I hear so much these days about the planning or attracting that people do to bring about good in their life, and I just feel so much pressure to do the same, but I am not really a planner.

I felt so encouraged by his message because I have been struggling a bit lately. I am not in love with my current job but feel stuck when it comes to transitioning to whatever might be next (vision boards have not been helping). I think I mentioned in a previous “Love thy self” post that I was feeling pretty down recently because I have not been able to find a counseling internship (I have taken the rejection personally as a sign that I might not be pursuing the right field). Well, as of yesterday, I got an internship! Now, I can look back with more gratitude that the former opportunities I pursued did not work out because this one is ideal with regard to the location, flexible schedule, supervisor, population I will work with, etc. Things worked out pretty amazingly, I just needed a bit more faith.

I think that last statement is true with myself too: I just need a bit more faith. At the end of my interview yesterday for the internship, one of the counselors reflected that she thought my work experience and the fact that I am in a career-transition, gives me a wisdom and maturity that I did not see as a strength originally. She also pointed out that I had empathy for the population I will be working with, which I did not fully notice until she made that observation. I have been looking at my skills and lack of experience in counseling as a detriment, but I think I just need a bit more faith in myself. Of course I have much to learn, but I also need to give myself and my experience more credit. I tend to be someone who is self-deprecating. But instead, I think I want to be like the lion in the above picture: soft, cuddly, inviting, approachable, and peaceful with the potential to be fierce.

I bring a unique perspective, history, and experience to the work I will be doing as a counselor. I need to trust more in my abilities and my path. It is time to reclaim my inner lion.

#IAMENOUGH #lovethyself #30DayLoveChallenge

Love Thy Self: Day #16

Lately I have been thinking a lot about forgiveness of self. I am learning to forgive myself when I fall short of my expectations. I am learning to forgive myself when I make a mistake or do not follow through on something I said I would. I think sometimes it is much easier for me to be accepting and forgiving of others than it is to accept and forgive myself. Even with this journey, I have found myself feeling stressed because I have missed a day or two on this 30 Day Challenge, but this journey should not be stressful. This challenge is meant to be an exercise in love, not an exercise in perfection. If I believe in authenticity, then these struggles are just part of the process. I would rather talk openly and honestly about my struggles than pretend that life is perfect. Oh the irony: I hate perfection yet secretly strive for it.

But on a deeper level, I think I have been questioning my intentions with this challenge lately. I constantly focus on the need to lose weight. I always fall for some scheme that I think will get me to where I want to be, which is thinner. I have tried diets, prayer, meditation, different exercise plans and so much more. Maybe I thought that by starting this journey, I would find inner peace and magically I would drop 40+ pounds. I have always been fascinated by stories of people who lose weight. There always seems to be some “ah ha” moment that motivates them to change their life. They experience a shift in perspective that changes their relationship with food. I think I was hoping that love and acceptance would ultimately change my relationship with food. But then if my secret hope is to lose weight, then loving myself is not the ultimate goal. If I am working to love myself with some ulterior motive in mind, then am I really authentically doing the work to find peace, love, and healing? Or am I going through the motions to find acceptance with a condition attached (i.e. I will only love myself if/when X, Y, and Z happens)? I love and accept others no matter their size, so why do I find it so hard to love and accept myself no matter my size?

These are questions I am asking right now. Is my life really that horrible because I am 40+ pounds overweight? The truth is that my life is pretty great. I am surrounded by people who love me and accept all of me. What if I do not lose one single pound going forward? Is my weight really what is stopping me from loving life and experiencing all that I have been created to be or do or enjoy? No. My weight is not the real issue. My perspective on my weight is the issue. And this is where my brain gets a little fried when I think about being overweight: I want to accept myself, but I also want to be healthy and I know that carrying a significant amount of extra weight can have negative effects on my health. But I think focusing on the negative impact of my weight is just another way to beat myself up: if you love yourself, you will eat whole foods and lose weight and be healthy.

Gosh, I am so tired of this same mental discussion. I have wasted so much mental energy on this problem.

Kelly Marie (using middle name for extra attention grabbing emphasis), woman up and get over this sh*t once and for all. You are awesome. Forgive your faults, including that bag of candy you ate earlier today, and celebrate the beautiful, smart, incredible woman you are! Can I get an AMEN?!

#IAMENOUGH #lovethyself #30DayLoveChallenge

Love Thy Self: Day #15

Technically, I am now a few days behind. The last two days I was slammed at work and when I had a moment to myself, I forgot to post. However, that is ok! Today I did the Bubble Run with my sister. I was just reminded of how fun life is when you do not take yourself so seriously. I am grateful for my sense of adventure and my goofy spirit. It is good to be me! 

#IAMENOUGH #lovethyself #30DayLoveChallenge

Video on YouTube with sound

Love Thy Self: Day #14

I am so grateful for my ability to heal!! My neck/shoulder is feeling so much better today! I am grateful for the warm weather today and the sunshine. I am grateful for having a good day today. I am grateful for becoming more present to my physical self. I am taking time to listen more to how I am feeling and stop eating when I am full, to rest when I am tired and to move more when I have extra energy to burn. I am grateful that I am physically stronger than my mind thinks, which helps me develop more mental toughness every day. 

#IAMENOUGH #lovethyself #30DayLoveChallenge

Love Thy Self: Day #13

So I missed posting yesterday, but that is ok. I still practiced self-love even though I did not actually post a blog entry (that is still progress). I am not aiming to be perfect. I am just aiming to be better.

I took the above picture after work last Friday. I was feeling a bit blue and decided to take the time to walk along the Charles instead of hopping right on the subway to head home. The day started out rainy and miserable but ended with sunshine. If I had just gone home, I would have missed the opportunity to snap that picture and to reflect on my life. I love walking along the Charles. As I was strolling along, I thought of myself five years ago when I first moved to Boston. I had eyes full of love for this new place I was calling home. As the years went on, I still love this city but life has settled in and has clouded my perspective: the honeymoon phase is over. I really enjoyed taking the time to stop and reflect on how it felt to first move here: the wonder, the excitement, the endless possibilities, the freshness and the nervousness. Moving here felt like going on a blind date with someone you hope will become so much more to you than a casual acquaintance. Over the past few years, I have let the stress of life diminish that initial joy, but all is not lost. Walking on the Charles reminds me of that joy and helps me shift my focus.

I think about that process quite a bit: how we can go from excitement to boredom and disenchantment with things, places, people we once cherished. I think about that with this self-love journey. I started out strong and full of positive energy, but life happens. I think where we really grow and change is when we can push through the negativity, boredom, and doubt to emerge on the other side with a renewed sense of love and a more mature appreciation.

The last few days have been rough. Though things have vastly improved with my partner (we just needed time for some heart-to-heart communication) I have found myself in physical pain as I now have a pinched nerve in my shoulder/back/somewhere that is causing constant pain in my neck, shoulder, and arm. I cannot help but feel so frustrated! I have been working hard to love myself, and I have been working hard to do my triathlon training and improve my health, and then one night of sleeping on a pillow wrong and WHAM! Persistent pain. But here is where I get to practice kindness, patience, and perseverance. I acknowledge my pain. I trust that my body will heal, which is pretty amazing. This pain will not last forever, and with modern medicine, I have ways to ease the burden for now (e.g. ibuprofen and a Lacrosse ball, which by the way is AMAZING for performing massage on places you cannot reach – just place the ball between your back and a wall and let the magic happen). This pain is really a blessing and a reminder to love myself and to be more grateful for my health. I do not spend enough time and thoughts in a place of gratitude, which is why I think it is easy to lose focus on the reasons why we love the things, people and places in our life, so to work on that fact, I am going to end this post with a little gratitude.

I am so grateful for my health and my body’s ability to heal. I am grateful that this pain is temporary (I have experienced this before and the issue has resolved). I am grateful for this journey and the chance to live in Boston. I am grateful for my friends and family. I am grateful to be the person I was created to be. I am grateful that I have a purpose and a reason for being on this planet, even if I am still discovering what that purpose is. I am grateful to be alive! I am grateful that the sun is shining. I am so thankful for hope and joy and love. I am thankful to be emotionally healthy and to be growing in confidence and love more every day. I am grateful for you, dear Reader, for walking with me on this journey and for finding some value in what I write.

#IAMENOUGH #lovethyself #30dayLoveChallenge

Love Thy Self: Day #12

Repeat after me: you are beautiful; you are awesome; you are loved; you are worthy of love; you deserve to be happy! You have a purpose. You have gifts and talents. Now repeat this 50 more times until the negativity passes. 

Today was another rocky day but I am slowly brainwashing myself with positive messages that help me get past the negative spells MUCH quicker. Hey, you need both rain and sunshine to make a rainbow, right? This too shall pass and days like today, or this weekend, are just part of the package. 

#IAMENOUGH #lovethyself #30dayLoveChallenge