I typically do not participate in #tbt (a.k.a. throw back Thursday) but had been toying around with images that reflect progress of my personal journey. However today I did post my one and only #tbt and have felt an immense amount of healing from this simple act of acknowledgement and acceptance of myself and my journey. I am working on creating my best self yet and 2015 has a lot in store for me. That starts with being a better host to my body, cutting negative self talk, and appreciating the myself and the efforts I have made thus far.
All of this came about after a recent conversation I had with my mom. I was feeling discouraged by some of the recent health issues/challenges* I was facing and upon pouring out my soul I blurted out in cries of utter desperation “I just want to be normal!”. My mom should win an award, for her response gave me hope and the strength to pick myself up by my boot straps and forge ahead. She said “Sweetheart, you are anything but normal, you were and are meant to do extraordinary things in this life. The second you feel “normal” is the time you should be most concerned.”
I have been mulling things over since then and realized I have been trying to cover up and hide my past “the old, unrecognizable, me” for fear of being judged, for fear of disapproval and for fear of not being accepted. I spent a great deal of my child hood just wanting to be accepted and treated for who I was, not what I looked like. I realize that first have to start with accepting myself for me and recognize all of my efforts have not been for nothing, and that I have actually already had huge success –before I can continue this journey. No matter the road blocks, hiccups, or plateaus. Healing is a journey and like every journey they all start with you.
*challenge no. 1) being incredibly sick for the last 8 months as my body had been in a downward spiral, for what is apparent now, for several years possibly decade(s). I have a very odd stomach disorder called Gasteroparesis, (I'll let you research it if you're interested) caused by nerve damage to my vagus nerve and its corresponding partner in the autonomic nervous system, it's usually one or the other but through all my testing they cannot find the source as both of my nervous systems that control this are damaged and not working properly/at all. Alas my team of doctors and specialist both here in Santa Barbara and at Stanford have gotten me back on track with exorbitant amounts of medications and vitamins and I am close to functioning at 100%
*challenge no. 2) In the midst of feeling like I was falling apart at the seams I went in for some "routine testing" (more frequent and invasive than the average person due to personal issues and having P.C.O.S.) and they found a tumor on my left ovary. I had a surgery 5 1/2 years ago to remove two very large cysts and almost walked out the hospital with a hysterectomy at 19. This is something I am currently facing again and with slightly higher stakes I feel confident that I can navigate this road and be on the other side of it soon as well. As God delivered me from my previous challenges I feel ever confident that this will be no different.
*other challenges since I started this journey: 2 broken feet, 2 concussions, 2 surgeries, hormone imbalances, 1 1/2 years of thinking I had cancer, and countless poor bio-mechanics injuries that have since been corrected. ***In the midst of these challenges I have also had great successes and opportunities. I moved to Santa Barbara, got a puppy, nearly lost 100 lbs, started listening to country...and liked it, ran 5 half marathons, my first full marathon, competed in 6 triathlons and placed in 5 of them, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, graduated with a B of A in a hair under 3 years, started a business, cooked till my hearts content, adopted a puppy, became and auntie, made tons of friends, made lasting friends, interned with and worked for the best of the best in the wedding photography industry, and have been published in magazines, blogs, and the like, all among many more wonderful things. *disclaimer* I think the most disheartening part of my journey is peoples responses to it with questions like, "what made you finally decide to do something?" or the like. Well folks straight up, this has been an issue since I was little (kindergarten status). I mean, really!? Why would I want to be over weight and become obese? It's not a fun, enjoyable life. My parents took me to nutritionist, dietitians monitored my calorie intake, put me on specials and "diet" pills/meds/vitamins and I was involved in any and every activity imaginable under the sun until high school where I focussed solely on swimming and swam competitively year round. To slightly address the question in a round about way, a doctor finally figured out what was wrong with me shortly after I moved to Santa Barbara. Upon treating a severe hormone imbalance all of my efforts of dieting and exercising (that I had been doing for years) finally paid off and I lost the bulk of my weight in a year, making my total transformation a year and half after I moved to SB. This came after years of research, testing, and unimaginable amounts of prayer by a number of people. I have since then spent the last almost 6 years trying to"get" the last little bit, and tone what needs to be toned (everything). Which takes us to present day.