Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Little Introduction

Disclaimer:  This post is a bit long, but I felt it important to write

About me:

The first and only other blog I ever wrote was under an alias.  And included fake details of a close-to-reality-but-not-quite life.  If that doesn’t say something about me, I don’t know what does.  I have always been shy to just be plain old bare-naked nothing hidden me.  My goal for this blog is be open, honest, and undeniably true to myself.  (Eek!).  After leaving college and completing my undergraduate degree, I felt immensely creatively under-challenged.  I had no projects, no assignments, no one to grade my work and tell me ‘great job!’ or ‘fix that!’ – both of which motivate me equally.  I no longer got the satisfaction of pouring countless hours into a single piece of homework and then turning it in, knowing that it was complete.  I didn’t even have a job.  I needed something.  I had spent roughly 16 years of my life in school and now school had ungratefully turned me out on the streets and told me goodbye.  Well, that sounds a little dramatic considering I was well in the works of applying to graduate schools and everyone must be done at some point…. But anywho. 

The motivation for this blog came after a bit of a quarter-life crisis.  (Did I just inadvertently quote John Mayer?  I hope not).  After marching at graduation, I worked a bit of a dead-end job which I characteristically just stop showing up for once it made me miserable, moved two-hours away, and encountered all the glorious stresses of the real world.  To make a long story short, another dead-end (and even worse!) job, a horrendous dragon of a land-lord, a cat with fleas, an empty bank account, a cold apartment (yes, I consider this to be a problem of enormous propensity), a car falling apart at the seams, an adult relationship with adult responsibilities and adult fights that I often approached childishly, and so on and so forth.  It’s hard for me to really explain in depth - because I am still in the process of understanding it and coming to peace with it myself- but lets just say I got in a funk.  And this ‘funk’ was most visibly characterized by weight loss.  I stopped loving my body.  I stopped treating my body well.  I deprived myself, I obsessed, I felt sick every day for months.  And I was very, very unhappy as I denied every aspect of what was happening in my life and turned my back on it, convinced in my mind that I was fine.  I had zero energy, zero motivation, and had no desire to socialize in any aspects.  I was lethargic and completely drawn inward.  I have always been a girl who was fascinated by and dedicated to health, fitness, and nutrition.  I don’t smoke, rarely drink, try to drink green tea every day, eat over 5 servings of fruits and veggies, avoid processed food, enjoy exercising.  I mean, for gods sake, my boyfriend is a health teacher.  And here I was, doing very unhealthy things to my body and pushing it to a point where it could barely function.

So there I was.  Verging on depression, I was grumpy and exhausted.  I experienced bouts of anxiety.  I felt ill.  My friends and family expressed shock and concern at the way my body looked, but I denied any problem.  I knew I wasn’t anorexic (I didn’t skip meals or avoid eating or eat ridiculous little bits of things) and I wasn’t bulimic (I didn’t binge or purge), so I rationalized to myself that I wasn’t anything – just a little stressed and thin.  Whatever. 

However, once I was able to admit to myself that things with my body were going a bit too far (but still unable to admit to a problem), I slowly began to turn things around.  And I will emphasize slowly. I allowed myself to eat more gradually.  I stopped feeling so sick every minute of every day and the anxiety (caused by deprivation) subsided.  This brought further clarity and made getting healthy easier.  And so, I approached getting better that same way that I approached everything.  By learning.  And my favorite way of learning is reading.  Reading anything, really, but particularly other people’s experiences.  I knew that my weight loss wasn’t caused by a deep hatred of my body or by thinking I was fat.  In fact, 20 pounds heavier, I had sometimes thought my arms were too skinny.  And I didn’t hate my body before the weight loss- I had some normal insecurities, but really I didn’t care or obsess.   The health problems I had encountered were, for some reason, derived from being unhappy.  And from not being good to myself.

I read Eat Pray Love.  I read The Happiness Project.  I read books on faith, on love, on happiness, on sadness, on life experience.  I read blogs like Angela Liddon’s, who had also turned her life around after a bout of unhappiness and treating her body badly.  I read and researched and learned.  And I knew I could turn my life around without a psychiatrist or without confiding every gory detail to friends and family.  This wasn’t and never will be my personal style.  (Which is laughable as I now set out to write a blog that is utterly honest, but this is the point- a creative challenge I am presenting myself with). 

I didn’t necessarily want to start a blog.  I knew that for me, being who I am, I needed to write my experience, thoughts, and new insights down.  It is deeply cathartic for me and I feel like a better version of myself after I sit down and write for ten minutes or three hours.  But writing it down and saving it all to a hidden folder I have on my laptop was just an extension of my bad habit of keeping all things inward.  And I had set a goal for myself to be more open, to let the demons out occasionally and to realize that once they aren’t hidden in the darkness of my mind, maybe the demons aren’t so demonic afterall.  Maybe once they’re released and see the light a bit, they’re not so tough or unlovable.  And maybe, just maybe, other people can accept these little, not so scary buggers.  So maybe they don’t need to be hidden so fiercely.

But no one would read my blog, right? I don’t even have a cool theme or a biting wit or a unique idea that will catch on like wildfire.  But who cares.  This blog is being written and addressed to me.  And I don’t need the blog to be the next big best thing.  I just need it to be me.  So, welcome to my blog.  I’ll include all things I deem fit, from recipes to politics to relationship tidbits.  This blog is me, my daily life, my experiences, my growth, learning, mistakes, and musings.

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