Why hello there-You came back! I knew you would 😉
The rain has finally stopped (thank GOODNESS. Our dog literally has been having her witching hour nonstop during the storms), which means the sun is now able to trickle through the blinds and perform it’s familiar dance on the shadows on the wall. I of course have a heaping cup of coffee in my hands (you’ll begin to notice a theme here, folks) and am taking in the day one moment at a time (which is still difficult, might I add).
I figured it’s about time to make good on my promise from my first ever (EEEP) blog posting. I mentioned before that around 2 years ago, I was truly in a rough place. A running ragged, survival mode, putting myself on page 8 rough place. There was a great deal that contributed to this time in my life (external AND internal), and I feel that without knowing the details of this time as well as what I took away from it, you will not truly be able to authentically know me.
So here it goes. Please feel free to stop reading if your “warning, this gal just might be too out there for me” alarm starts going off in your mind (but I pray you stick with me 😉 ).
Around 2 years ago, I was in a place in my career that required me to accumulate a certain (LARGE) amount of supervised hours as well as take a state and national exam in order for me to become fully licensed and certified for my profession (which I might add, is an emotionally draining profession. Rewarding, but truly emotionally draining some days). Some of these hours were in fact unpaid hours, as full licensure is oftentimes needed to be reimbursed for this line of work. So what did this look like, you ask?
It’s hard for me to even admit this right now, but I became so obsessed with completing this process, “proving” myself, and being financially sufficient that at one point during this time, I was working a total of 4 jobs.
WHAT. No, your eyes did not deceive you. That is indeed the number 4.
I was running from one job location to the next like a hamster on a wheel. Going from working at one clinic, to zipping over to another clinic, to rushing to coordinate music for worship, to showing apartments in a leased community (which I had absolutely NO experience doing prior) for a bit of rent credit all while trying to maintain my roles as partner, friend, daughter, Christian, woman, and more. My drive for success and being perceived as capable was at an all-time high, driving my anxiety and self-consciousness through the ROOF. I was truly in survival mode.
One day I actually totaled up the number of hours I was spending at work each week. The number stared me in the face like the rudest awakening I had ever experienced. That number? It was 72.
But how could I work any less?! What would others think of me if I wasn’t constantly busying myself, or if I (GOD FORBID) ever left early one day or took a day off?! How would I appear competent in the eyes of others if I wasn’t running myself into the ground? Would I appear as if I didn’t care? Plus, at this time, I wore “run down and ragged” as a badge of honor. And THIS truly became the problem. Who would I be without this busyness?
It made me feel capable. It made me feel strong.
Yet it made me feel lonely. It made me feel frail.
I never saw my friends. I rarely spoke to my family. My anxiety drove me to act out in anger and fear, hurting those I loved. I would go through the motions day in and day out, to wake up and do it all over again. Life became about one thing and one thing only: doing and being MORE.
You may notice I’ve been making mention to a couple numbers so far this post. There is one number that I will leave unsaid, but this number had to do with my weight.
During this time, I was at the heaviest I had ever been in my life. A number that I still to this day shudder at every moment I think of it. A number that reflected damaged health, stolen moments, and the true picture of self-neglect.
At one point, my grandmother (who is the person I am absolutely closest to in my entire family) made a comment that stated
“You used to be so beautiful.”
She didn’t mean anything hurtful by it, but it truly crushed me. Crushed me in a way that I have never felt crushed before.
So naturally I figure, I can fix this with diet and exercise. This truly just must be a “weight problem”, right? If I adjust those 2 things, everything should level out and I should be healthy again, right?!
But one day it clicked (and I could write a wholllllleeeeee other post about this specific moment): this is not a diet and exercise problem. This is a lifestyle problem.
I was constantly (and in the most selfish, roundabout way), consistently putting myself last. And putting everything and everyone else first. For my own selfish gain of feeling capable.
Everything I was experiencing during this time in my life-weight gain, anxiety, self-consciousness, isolation, fear, excessive fatigue, feelings of inadequacy-was driven by my lack of investing in myself. It had nothing to do with what was happening outside of me, and everything to do with what was happening inside of me.
Diet and exercise would not be enough. I had to change the way I looked at myself, my roles, and my lifestyle.
This realization is what finally kick-started the self-reflection process to figure out what the real problem at hand was. The problem was my lack of investing in ME.
I felt so broken. But I needed that feeling of brokenness to grasp the motivation to make some major changes. And I’m still going through those changes-some days I do well, some days I feel like I fail myself and all those around me. Maybe you can relate on some level.
This just scratches the surface. You will notice themes of health, anxiety, and self-compassion through raw authenticity coming through in these blog postings. And now you have a piece of the puzzle to know that these themes are themes I struggle with day in and day out. And maybe you do too.
You are not alone. We are made for MORE than this.
Follow me as we can learn to live this out.