"The fire ignited within you is stronger than the one in your fireplace." - sweet words this morning after sharing my pics ❤️
There comes a time in every woman's life when she accepts full responsibility for herself. Some are luckier than others and come to this place early in life. I was almost 40. I spent so much of my life waiting - waiting for the next diet, the next workout, the next brilliant mind who would crack the code on how to solve all of my problems. I waited for swimsuit season (because surely that would scare me into getting my act together). I waited for the New Year. There was an awful lot of waiting...
Something about turning 40 made me say enough is enough and I finally found the truth in my favorite quote from Glenda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz: "You had the power all along, my dear." Somewhere deep within me a small flicker of a flame began to burn. With every act of bravery, every act of kindness toward myself, the flame grows a little brighter. There are days the winds blow so hard that I fear it will be extinguished, but the strength that flame has given me could not be blown out with even the mightiest gust. This morning, after being stuck in the house for two days due to winter weather (ironically, high winds!), I caught myself saying "just wait until the weather is better and then get back on your mat." This girl no longer waits. I stopped in my tracks, went upstairs to change, and grabbed my mat. I had my own little hot yoga class in front on the fire and it was wonderful. A simple 25 minutes of gentle yoga shifted my entire outlook. It calmed me - mind, body and soul. The other amazing thing about self-care is how it multiplies! I went from yoga to photography to a hot bath and a healthy lunch. Then I picked up a pen and started writing with the sun streaming in through my kitchen window on a beautiful, cold winter day - a day that I was frowning upon this morning.
So, stop. Take a breath. Listen. Ask yourself what it is that you need right now. The answer will be different for each of us, but whatever it is that your heart of hearts is asking for will surely fan your flame.
My therapist handed this poem to me and asked me to read it a few months ago. I wasn't halfway through before the tears started rolling down my cheeks. She said, "Have I shown you that before?" I caught my breath and replied, "I would have remembered this." To me, this poem beautifully describes what the path of recovery is like. I have read it a thousand times. My copy has notes scribbled all over the page. By Chapter I, it says "in the eating disorder". By Chapter II: "those moments when you want to seek help". Chapter III simply says "recovery" and Chapter IV reads "in between recovery and recovered". By Chapter V, I wrote in large capital letters "RECOVERED!!!" On my copy, there is also a line between Chapter III and Chapter IV that says "me on October 31, 2013". When I hit the POST button on Facebook on New Year's Eve announcing my website and blog, I chose to walk down another street. I cannot wait to start living Chaper V!
I have spent most of my life avoiding being in pictures. Conveniently, I took up photography and have always been the one behind the lens. People with eating disorders and body image issues have a hard time looking at themselves, even in the mirror. For me, the self-talk would quickly escalate from "that's not too bad" to "oh, who am I kidding, I look awful" to "what can I do to make sure no one ever sees this!"
Last spring, I did something really, really brave. I voluntarily showed up to have my picture taken for my yoga teacher's facebook page. She knew what a big deal this was. My closest friends understood the magnitude. The picture above is one from that day (I am on the right, my teacher on the left). This photograph makes me sooooo happy! I can honestly look at it and say I am beautiful. And that, my friends, is a big step in recovery. My dear yoga teacher took this picture and added the text you see today when I announced my new blog. I am so grateful to call her my friend.
So today when I woke up to a snow storm, I took the selfie above to let my teacher know that no snow was going to keep me from yoga class. And then we took the other picture together at the end of class...without a hesitation, without a look in the mirror first, without wiping away the sweat. And it is perfect, just the way it is....and so am I.