It’s Better on the Other Side

I can’t tell you how to get better. Whatever it is that’s holding you back, I can’t tell you how to overcome it. I can’t convince you to stop your unhealthy habits- that’s all is up to you. What I can tell you- is no matter how hopeless your situation seems or how much it just doesn’t seem worth the trouble to “get better”—it is better on the other side.

That being said her is a little recap of my past couple of years:

I am naturally thin but my weight has gone through a 25-pound yo-yo since I was 16. The lows and the high within that range were usually when I had some pretty unhealthy habits.

[October 2012] Almost two years ago, I hurt my knee and without running and other high-intensity cardio, I snapped. It was not just my inability to run though—it was that I felt lost. I had friends and a job and I have a great family. But I did not like who I was. I have always disliked little parts about myself (sometimes I disliked myself more than other times), but something in me just boiled over and everyday I began to loathe myself more and more.

I started to become obsessed with getting smaller. I began to crave the feeling of hunger, it was like some challenge that kept me engaged in my life and before I knew it I had dropped down to the size I was when I was 14/15 (I was 19 at the time).

I knew what I was doing was wrong, but part of me just didn’t care. Part of me was proud of how I could shut up my voice of reason for the sake of being skinnier.

People say that this kind of obsession is about being able to control something in your life, but I think its the opposite—its about surrendering control of your life to an evil little voice in your head. I think because I always felt like I had to be in control that I just wanted something else to “take the wheel” for a while.

I relinquished my emotions- I smiled, but I wasn’t happy. Bad things would happen, but I Wasn’t fully sad. I was kind of just numb.

[January 2013] I got to a point where it is not an even a debate of “should I eat this”, because that voice had already told me “no.”

I remember not wanting to gain control back over my health and happiness because it was so much easier being wrapped up in the sick numbers game of “how low can you go.”

[May 2013] But then there was the “bright light” in my life (here I get a bit cheesey)—my boyfriend. I had been dating him for few months and began to fall for him more and more. He made me feel like there was so reason to care. I didn’t want him to worry about me not eating enough or not being able to enjoy the little things like splitting a sundae.

I started to see that there was to life than being numb to the world. Did I really want to be so cold all the time? Did I really want to have inverted boobs? Was I really okay with letting my body waste away?

I wanted to be happy. I was with someone who actually made me forget about the little voice in my head and I was ready to take advantage of that.

[October 2013] Skip to last October, I had gained some of my weight back and was starting to get a little bit healthier physically and was starting to gain more control mentally. I found all these girls on instagram who had changed their life for the better by restoring their metabolism through reverse dieting. They all seemed so happy and I wanted to be like them. But I was scared. I did not lift weights, I ran. And Lord knows I was not comfortable with eating more than 1500 calories a day (still an enormous leap from my 600 calorie days). I tore three muscles in my right quad and decided that was a sign to turn to weight lifting and to begin my reverse diet.

[December 2013] The first couple months were a struggle, but around Christmas time it hit me—I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life with memories of how I dreaded holidays because I had to avoid all the food and questions from my family. That is not how you make good memories. And starting that Christmas, I started to feel free.

[February 2014] I stopped counting macros in February. I made the conscious decision to focus on all the wonderful things in my life. Sometimes I would still stress about hitting my untracked macros and some days I would track again- but it slowly became less and less important to me.

[October 2014] In the last 8 months I have changed my workout routine more times than I can count. Sometimes I work out a lot and sometimes I workout a little.

I no longer fit in the same clothes I did when I was in high school, but I am okay with that because I am happier and healthier than ever.

I realized there are so many wonderful things in life and there is no way I am going to let a voice diminish all the wonderful experiences I will have.

I know I could never let a voice of negativity take over my life again and that is a feeling of happiness and a freedom that I wish anyone who feels trapped in an emotional, or otherwise negative, situation could feel.

If you feel you aren’t worth the change for the better- trust me you are.

If you think it isn’t worth the fight for your happiness- it is.

We all struggle through things, but it is through those struggles that we can appreciate the greatest happiness.

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”

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I gained my life back.

In the last year I have gained about 20 pounds and several pant sizes. And I am proud of it. When I tell people how much I have gained, they usually say something like, “Oh- but you are still skinny!” or “Don’t worry, you still look good!” What they don’t realize is I know I look good and I know I look and feel better!

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Here I was on April 29th, 2013, just a few pounds above my lowest weight and I was trying on a bathing suit at Target. I thought I looked fat. The bandaid on my arm is from donating blood a few days prior. They took my ½ the blood they normally would have because of how thin I looked. And even with them only taking half the blood, it took so much out of me that I nearly passed out and had to go to sleep at 7 that night because I felt so sick and tired. What else would you expect when eating significantly less than 1000 calories a day?

My rib cage stuck out without me sucking in. My lower tummy popped, not because of a food baby, but because of lack of nourishment. My skin clung to my shoulder blades and collarbones. There was no muscle, no color to my skin—I was wasting away. This is the most revealing picture I have of me near my low weight and I hate seeing it, but it also reminds me of everything outside of the number on the scale that I have gained.

Now here I am today:

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I have gained 20 pounds, but I have also gained confidence, a butt, boobs, my health, my happiness, my life back. I no longer walk around looking like a ghost. I no longer look in the mirror and see nothing but flaws. In fact, I am starting to really like what I see! Despite the areas that have more fat or when I have a food baby (which I proudly rocked this morning after all my post-graduation burgers and Sprinkles cupcakes)—I know I can flex and feel strong. I really am proud of who I have become. I feel like I am myself again. It has been years since I felt this happy. And it all happened because I decided I was no longer going to teeter between healthy and skinny. I fully dedicated myself to being positive and eating enough to fully sustain and nourish my body. I have never looked back. My progress over the last year has taught me I can never give up. Anything is possible with the right mindset! Love yourself and believe in all the things you can achieve and great things will happen.

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Chai Spiced Cinnamon Roll French Toast

No I am not kidding. Yes it is a thing. And it is healthy. And it is perfect. It will take you a lot of time. It is worth it.

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Dough

¼ c water

¼ c unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or go bold with some coconut milk)

3 tbsp sugar free maple syrup (or agave nectar or regular maple syrup or honey)

a few dashes of sea salt

1 (¼ oz packet) yeast (about 2 ¼ tsp)

1 tbsp butter substitute (I use Smart Balance light with flaxseed OR for a coconut theme go for coconut oil), melted and cooled to room temperature

1 large egg, room temperature (or to make it vegan, a vegan substitute should be fine)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp maple extract

½ tsp of almond extract (or if you are koo-koo for COCOnut then use 1 tsp of coconut extract)

2 c whole wheat pastry flour, plus (quite a bit) extra for kneading

Filling

½ tbsp butter substitute (once again I use Smart Balance light with flaxseed or coconut oil), melted

¼ c sugar free maple syrup

1(ish) tbsp ground cinnamon

 

French Toast Coating:

½ cup of egg whites (or two eggs)

¾ cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk

¼ T of vanilla extract

¼ T of extract of choice (almond, maple, or coconut)

½ – 1 T of chai mix (for the recipe I used, click here)

 

Le Steps:

 

  1. To prepare the dough, combine the water, milk, maple syrup, and salt in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 40 seconds or until warmed (about 100-110°F, make sure it is warm enough).
  2. Wisk in the yeast, and let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes until frothy (this is a word the original recipe used but I witnessed no frothiness, maybe I just didn’t warm the mixture enough).
  3. Wisk in the butter substitute, egg, vanilla, maple, and almond extracts. With a wooden spoon, stir in ½ cup of the whole-wheat pastry flour at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. (It took mine about a cup and a half)
  4. NOW LET THE KNEADING BEGIN (I hope you have strong hands because this takes a while): I kneaded the dough in the bowl because I have a large nonstick bowl, if you don’t then knead the dough on a well-floured surface. Continue adding dough (slowly) while kneading until the dough stops absorbing the flour and the dough springs up lightly when pressed you’re your finger. This took me 10-15 minutes.
  5. Shape the dough into a ball. If you kneaded the dough on a floured surface, the coat a clean, dry bowl with nonstick cooking spray, and roll the dough ball around inside until completely coated. Place a clean, dry towel over the top, and leave the bowl in a warm draft-free spot to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  6. Roll out into a 15” wide by 10” tall rectangle on a nonstick surface (to achieve this, I floured a thin, flat towel). Brush the surface with the melted butter, leaving a 1” border on the two longer edges. Whisk together the maple syrup and cinnamon, and brush on top of the melted butter, still leaving a 1” border on the two longer edges. Carefully roll the dough into a log, starting at one of the longer edges and rolling towards the other longer edge. Refrigerate the log for 20 minutes.
  7. Lightly coat two 9” or 10” round baking pan with tall edges with nonstick cooking spray. Drizzle some additional maple syrup and cinnamon on the bottom of the pans. Using unscented dental floss (DO NOT USE A KNIFE- I didn’t have unscented floss so I literally used mint floss that I cleaned the mint off of), slice the log into 10-12 (I like mini cinnamon rolls so I think I made 14) equal rounds. Drape a clean, dry towel over the top, and place in a warm draft-free spot to rise for 60 minutes or until doubled in size.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Once the cinnamon rolls have risen, drizzle with MORE maple syrup and cinnamon, and bake for 14-18 (if you make them small, they require less cooking time) minutes, or until the top feel firm to the touch. Cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before serving (unless you are French toast-ifying it, then read on)
  9. Let the cinnamon rolls cool completely in a shallow bowl, compine all the “French toast coating” ingredients.
  10. Cut a few cinnamon rolls in half and dip both sides in the coating.
  11. Place the cinnamon rolls onto a heated (and cooking spray coated) pan (I cooked mine on just higher than medium heat)
  12. (optional) To give them additional crispiness, bake them in the over at 450 F for a couple minutes
  13. top with whatever pleases you and enjoy!!

 

For the inspiration for this recipe, click here.

If you are lazy, just use bread and the glorious french toast mix. If you hate french toast (weirdo), but love chai then replace the cinnamon in the cinnamon roll recipe with chai mix! This recipe is versatile- I gave it underlying almond flavor, but you can also give caramel or coconut flavors and it should turn out really tasty too!

 

Building Foundations

“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”

I posted about the importance of healthy foundations on my instagram a few days ago, but I feel the need to expand and emphasize exactly how important it has been for me to create a solid foundation on which to live your life.

Our foundations will all be created in different ways, but our foundations are what can stabilize us in the most critical conditions. The stronger you build your foundations, the more you can withstand. Never neglect your foundations, when times are good focus on strengthening yourself (body and mind alike) because that will contribute to those foundations.

Last year, I neglected all the positive things in my life and focused on all that was negative and as a result I let my foundations kind of crumble down, so when additional challenges were added to my schedule I sort of fell through the cracks (more so than I ever had before). Climbing out from that mindset was one of the hardest things I have ever done. My mentality caused me physical pain and suffering because I classified everything in the wrong way (for my post on how I try to reclassify my struggles click here).

The past three months have been a full dedication to being truly happy and healthy and focusing on all the blessings in my life. The combination of eating a healthy amount, working out to get stronger (not to get skinnier), smiling more (and meaning it), and taking time to look around and be thankful for all the positivity that I am surrounded by (everything from people to weather, my puppies to my education) have resulted in the strongest foundation I have ever built.

Exactly what does this mean for me? It means that when I spent all of my spring break working then got the news that I was missing two classes I needed to graduate this May—I didn’t panic (well not for long). I did everything I could to remain calm and find a solution. Did I handle it perfectly? No. But did I let it break me? Definitely not!

Now I am: enrolled in 21 credit hours (including one Master’s level course), completing my thesis, organizing a student leadership day for junior high student, working 5 days a week (I take two days off because I am at school from 7:30-5:35 on those days), and dealing with the never ending stream of tests, case studies, and miscellaneous other responsibilities. I am lucky to workout three times in a week.  But- I am still eating over 2000 (mostly very healthy) calories a day. I am still staying positive. My body is hardly changing. And I know that when my schedule opens up, I will get to go back to my beloved workout routine.

Until then, I am resting easy on my strong foundations.

 

 

Reclassifying

“If you see the world and yourself through a lens smudged by negativity then you’ll find much misery. If you look outwards and inwards through lens brightened by positivity you’ll find much to be happy and appreciative about.”

I haven’t written in a while and I regret that, but life caught up with me and sadly I didn’t have time to post anything.

A few little updates before I reveal my revelation. I started intuitive eating on February 1st and have found it remarkably freeing. It causes me anxiety often and I do keep a slight mental count of what I am consuming, but all in all it is nice not having to record everything. It feels like I am sort of feeling “normal” again.

I have also gotten so busy with school, work, and the organization I volunteer with that time to workout has all but disappeared. I still plank for at least 5 minutes a day with a 5 minute bridge hold, but instead of having the goal to workout for at least 90 minutes 6 times a week, my goal is to workout for 60 minutes 4 times a week.

Through all of my chaos I have had a revelation (REVELATION TIME!!):

I (and this goes for you all as well) am in control of me. I have thought this before, but I don’t think I really understood or practiced that control to its full extent.

I still freak out sometimes about silly things. For instance, I nearly had a panic attack because I ate an entire banana with my Greek yogurt after my weight workout and I didn’t go for my run. A voice in my head told me I didn’t deserve the banana because I didn’t run. How silly does that sound?! I mean it’s a little banana for goodness sakes! Its good for me!

I vocalized why I had gotten so anxious (and was crying) all of a sudden to my boyfriend and before he could even say anything—I started laughing. I was essentially crying over a banana. And I know that the reason I was able to get so upset over a banana goes so much further than the fruit itself, but in that moment, all of the mean thoughts that have plagued me for so long just seemed so menial—laughable really.

I am not saying that those issues with food and body image are a joke, but I am saying that we can reclassify the negatives. We do not have to give in to an irrational voice that wants nothing more than to harm us.

Rather than letting those negative thoughts control us, laugh at them, fight and force them out with positivity.

There was a time when that banana would’ve ruined my day, but after giving it a good laugh, I had a near-perfect evening. So I challenge you to reclassify the rough stuff:

Why see going out to eat as something scary? Reclassify it as an opportunity to enjoy time with the ones you love (or if you are like me, as a time to catch up with a good read).

Why dread working out? Reclassify it as something to make you feel your best and become a stronger person.

Why stress over school or work? Reclassify is a chance to learn and better yourself through hard work.

I know these types of things are easier said than done, but positivity is always worth a try and you may just realize how much more you enjoy life when you turn the negatives into positives. After my first round of tests this semester, I realized exactly how real the power of positivity was. I didn’t let myself get overly stressed out and I lived in the moment of my studying rather than let myself become overcome with anxiety. I was more productive and far happier. 

I love feeling like, though I can’t control the stressors in my life, I can control the stress I feel. I handle things as they come and know that the only things that define me and my happiness are the thing I let control me and my happiness. So take a deep breath and trying looking at the world through a positive lens.

“Get going. Move forward. Aim High. Plan a takeoff. Don’t just sit on the runway and hope someone will come along and push the airplane. It simply won’t happen. Change your attitude and gain some altitude. Believe me, you’ll love it up here.”

Life is meant for LIVING.

“Don’t exist.
Live.
Get out, explore.
Thrive.
Challenge authority. Challenge yourself.
Evolve.
Change forever.
Become who you say you always will. Keep moving. Don’t stop. Start the revolution. Become a freedom fighter. Become a superhero. Just because everyone doesn’t know your name doesn’t mean you dont matter.
Are you happy? Have you ever been happy? What have you done today to matter? Did you exist or did you live? How did you thrive?
Become a chameleon-fit in anywhere. Be a rockstar-stand out everywhere. Do nothing, do everything. Forget everything, remember everyone. Care, don’t just pretend to. Listen to everyone. Love everyone and nothing at the same time. Its impossible to be everything,but you can’t stop trying to do it all. Make this moment your reckoning. Your head has been held under water for too long and now it is time to rise up and take your first true breath.” -Brian Krans
I have done some incredible things in my life. I have been to more countries than I have states, which has resulted in endless adventures. I have sky dived, cliff dived, been on a canyon swing, climbed Mayan Pyramids, and even swam in the Blue Grotto!
This past summer I backpacked through Germany, Austria, Belgium, and Spain- an experience that SHOULD HAVE topped them all. I don’t want to live my life with regret and though there are a few things I have done that I am not proud of, I also feel I learned a lot from them. My back packing experience, however, is probably my greatest regret.
I saw some of the most incredible cities and sites but I did not care- I let my anxiety take over my trip and I severely diminished the experience for both myself and (for the real reason I regret how I treated the trip) my brother. Even if part of the experience involved bad luck, I can not deny that the real problem was my bad attitude.
The previous summer I studied in Florence, Italy and had the best six weeks of my life. I had a very anxiety filled year leading up to that experience, but I still allowed myself to let loose and enjoy every moment of my trip. The attitude I upheld during my study abroad experience is the one I will carry with on all my travels from here on out. I want to live, experience, and thrive.
Life is too short to hold back and be bitter. There is so much to see and learn in this world and you simply will put a hindrance on living if you let a negative attitude determine your outlook. Smile and experience all that you can! Take risks, be bold, travel, and try to discover all you can about yourself and the world around you because chances are, you will like what you find!
And a quick montage of my travels the past few years (I don’t have many pictures from my back packing trip because my camera broke on the third day):
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Because you deserve it.

To my girls:

You are more beautiful than you know.

I know most days you wake up and see an ugly person, a fat person, a disappointing person. You want to be thinner, have more muscle tone, weigh less, have better abs, a bigger butt, smaller thighs. You feel that your progress isn’t worth it, that it is tedious, that it will destroy all you “worked” for. You think to yourself “I should eat less.” You finish with the gym and think “I could’ve done more.” You hear success stories, but you think, “but I am different. That wouldn’t work for me.” You want to stay positive, but you are filled with self-hate. You want to be happy, but you can’t feel anything but hopelessly sad.

I despise that you feel that way. Every time I feel like giving up on my progress, I think of you. I think of all those horrible feelings you are filled with and have to deal with everyday. I remember when those were the only things I felt. Now I have so much hope and happiness. I want that for you. You are worth so much more than how you treat yourself. I refuse to give up because I want you to know it is possible to move on. I want you to see that it can get better. I want you to love yourself. I want you to have bright future. I want your to care more about the things you love and are passionate about—things that bring you happiness and internal freedom—and less about whether you gain a few pounds.

I have spent the last 5 years in a horrible little bubble, where every other thought was centered on how low that number on a stupid square of plastic, metal, and rubber could go. Literally basing my happiness on how much I could minimize my force of gravity.

Well if that number means so much to you, do this little test. Weigh yourself. Drink a few glasses of water. Weigh yourself again. If your scale is accurate—you should weigh more. Did that water just make you fat? No.

If a friend came to you upset because she was working out all the time and gained a pound or two, would you say “I think you should eat less.” Or would you say : “You are still beautiful. It is muscle.“ “A couple pound really aren’t a big deal, you still look fabulous and healthy.”? You would give them encouragement, because you know those few pounds really don’t matter. Until they happen to you. Take your own advice.

Beyond that, there is size. I am a bigger size now than I was. I no longer wear the same size I wore when I was 14. Which is supposed to happen. Your body prepares itself to bear children. You may develop hips, boobs, and a butt. It’s natural and healthy. You may start to see some fat getting stored on your stomach, legs, and hips. And that is fine! It’s not what you may want initially, but it’s all about perspective. If you don’t shake off that desire to be as skinny as possible, then you will always see yourself as “fat.”

Let it go. I plead you to go and look in the mirror and tell yourself you are beautiful. Look at all those “flaws” that you have always been self conscious about and smile at them. They are part of the details that make you the wonderful person that you are.

You are priceless. You deserve unlimited happiness. You are an individual and I want you to see just how incredible that is.

Love yourself and treat yourself right— you deserve that much.

Much love,

Tracy

Post Script: I wrote this because of a few wonderful women I have talked to recently, but I wrote this for everyone who forgets their true value.

 

 “Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” -C.S. Lewis

Affirmations

This is literally something I wrote to myself this morning when I looked in the mirror and didn’t like what I saw:

I have gained weight.

I could definitely be skinnier.

I big part of me wants to cut back on calories to get smaller.

I find myself not fitting into most of my smallest sizes.

I am scared.

BUT, this is a process.

I am beginning to adjust to this new body.

I have more muscle than ever.

I have a bountiful booty. (okay, maybe not bountiful, but I do have a booty)

I have boobs again.

I get to go and eat at my favorite restaurants.

My social anxiety is disappearing.

I am more confident.

I have more self-love days than self hate.

I smile more.

My hair is thicker.

I don’t have bags under my eyes.

I cry less.

My smiles are real.

I don’t get psychotic mood swing triggered by meaningless little things.

I am more alert.

My relationships have improved.

I am more open.

I feel like me again.

At this point I got up, walked back over to the mirror, and saw the same girl as I did before I wrote this. She is bigger than she was last year. She may never fit into those little jeans she bought when she was 14 again. But this time, instead of frowning at this new girl—I smiled because I was finally smiling at me again. I was proud of what I saw, even if I am still getting used to the new view.

 

I am sorry if I am beginning to sound like a broken record in my posts, but this is my open, honest journey. 🙂 

A Day without Numbers

Yesterday, after my pre-breakfast snack, I spontaneously decided to not count my macros and just eat intuitively (no I have not read the book on intuitive eating, however, I do want to). I wanted to reassure myself that all my progress wasn’t based on a little app that tracks everything I eat and the goal macro percentages that I want to hit. I was not trying it out to stop counting, because I still have not reached my goal amount of calories (2400 a day), I just wanted to know how I would feel on a day without counting.

Well I felt:

  • anxious
  • excited
  • afraid
  • proud
  • gluttonous
  • lazy (in a relaxed sort of way– the good lazy)
  • mad
  • happy

I could go on, but you get the point. Yesterday was weird for me, but nothing I couldn’t handle.

I ate a breakfast that was nearly twice as big as I usually eat, but I didn’t have a morning snack. My afternoon was fairly normal- lunch was roughly the same as usual and I had a couple snacks like I usually do. I definitely splurged at dinner when I went to one of my favorite restaurants, Cornish Pasty Co., with my boyfriend and his family. I seriously don’t know how to describe exactly what it is that I got without taking people there, but I will do my best. It is essentially a gourmet hot pocket. It is a flakey pastry (not sweet, almost croissant like) filled with a whole assortmant of different foods. There are “pasties” such as: tikka misala, portobello chicken, Greek, Italian, or my personal favorite, “The Pilgrim.”  Mine is essentially Thanksgiving dinner wrapped up in a pastry. Here is a picture of the item I got:

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Not healthy, totally unknown calories, 100% enjoyable. I can safely say, I don’t regret one bite (and trust me, I ate it all).

I usually do everything in my power to avoid the place because I get anxious about all the unknown calories in the food. But I didn’t last night and I don’t plan on avoiding it anymore. It doesn’t mean I will have it all the time, but life is far too short to intentionally neglect eating the things we love, all the time. 

The rest of my evening was fairly low key: I went to the gym (and did a slightly shorter workout than usual), had my proyo and an apple, hung out with friends and drank a beer (gasp!), munched on a few goldfish because I was hungry, and went to bed.

I woke up this morning and the only thing different about me or my body was the twinge more confidence I have, knowing I can safely say I am no longer a slave to the calories.

Forgiveness

“People can be more forgiving than you can imagine. But you have to forgive yourself. Let go of what’s bitter and move on.”

I was writing an email to a friend that I met through my “fitfam” talking about my experiences the past few months and I realized what has pushed me forward the farthest was forgiving myself.

Growing up, we are taught the importance of saying, “I’m Sorry” and forgiving those who apologize to us. With all the anxiety and crazy emotions that have followed me around for last five years and even more amplified in the last year, I did my fair share of lashing out. And I have had to ask for a lot of forgiveness from those who were at the other end of it (most frequently my incredible and endlessly supportive boyfriend)– forgiveness was always granted to me.

But each time I lashed out, I disliked and blamed myself that much more. 

The moment I knew I had moved into the “next chapter” of my life that I life to refer to, was the moment I told myself, “It’s okay.” Because sometimes we are ready to be healthier and stronger than ever, there is just that one final barrier. This was mine:

It’s okay that you hurt yourself. It’s okay that you tried to recover and failed once, twice, three times, or more. It’s okay that you let your fears define your social life for months or years. It’s okay that you became so self-centered that you didn’t realize how your actions affected others. It’s okay that you are scared of the future. It’s okay that you fear things that are really so small. It’s okay that you hurt people around you. It’s okay that you lost sight of what’s really important. It’s okay. It’s not good, but it’s okay and I forgive you.

I was so sorry that I had done everything I had done, but I never actually forgave myself. And that was my liberating moment. Forgiveness is a powerful thing, especially when we are strong enough to forgive ourselves for our own wrong doings. The past is the past- it will always be a part of us, but it should not stop us from defining our own bright future.

“Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.”