A Backpack and Some Sneakers

I had to take my popcorn with me to the bathroom. I’ve gotten so acostumed to going to the movies with someone that I didn’t think to wait to purchase my popcorn until after my typical pre-movie stop. Sitting in the stall I thought to myself, “this must be what dating yourself feels like.”

Free. To take popcorn in the bathroom without anyone making a comment or declaring me the most unsanitary popcorn eater, ever– at least not to my face anyway.

I went to the movies by myself for the first time in a while, and smiled at remembering what it feels like to just think about me. To be alone.

I’m on a flight to San Francisco now- just thinking about me. I packed a small Target backpack with what I determined were must haves and my best friend dropped this small town Midwesterner off at the airport.

Him: “Where’s your stuff?”

Me: “I have everything I need.”

Never in my life have I traveled anywhere with just a backpack. Not to a sleepover, no to Girl Scout camp, not to a quick trip to visit a friend down the street. Hell, I practically carry a suitcase with me to work!

I always have stuff. Too much stuff. Quietly singing Ericka Badu in my head girl you can’t hurry upppp cuz you got too much stufffff.

I’m tired of carrying it. I want to be free.

When I was 10 years old I wrote a list of life goals. Random goals, but things that my 10 year old self wanted to do while my lungs continued to open and close. One 10 year old Cierra dream was to visit San Francisco.

I’m on the plane. The eve of my 28th birthday-with that dream coming to life. God willing, these wheels are going to land in Oakland International Airport and I will be one Bart ride away from making a dream come true.

I don’t have a clue what it is about The City that’s placed this dream in my heart. I’ve mentioned in previous post that I could feel a hunger for drastic change in my life and for whatever reason, San Fran has been heavy on my heart.

So here I am. One a plane. By myself. At the movies- by myself. In a bathroom stall with popcorn (yup!) by myself. And for the first time in a long while, free.

It’s funny because this month started with me fearing the onset of being alone. I could feel that my partner in crime was experiencing a shift. That he wasn’t able to give me any more than what he was giving and I needed more.

I didn’t want to carry my popcorn in the bathroom. Or not call him in the habitual pattern of dependency I had created. That’s my jam- meet someone- decide I’m committed to it working- sacrificing sometimes on BIG non-negotiables because I’m in love with love.

I simply melt for a romantic comedy, better yet the idea of my love story becoming one. The idea of someone seeing a beauty in me so much deeper than I can understand and just being this nurturer who believes in me… Who believes in us.

I was watching my rom com fall apart and I just felt weak. Until I cried in the parking lot of my apartment for a full 5 min and quietly heard God telling me…

I know you are hurting. I know you don’t understand. Hear me now, I have more.

You have more what!? I could feel my heart asking. More pain? More disappointment? More loneliness? More self doubt?

I had to silence the snot bubbling tears long enough to hear, just More.

I have no idea what that means. I also don’t know if I’m a lunatic for seeming to hear God’s voice at the darkest hour. I do know I haven’t cried since. I know that my best friend can be my friend without all the other stuff- the junk that was weighing our friendship down and numbing me to needing to focus on me. What I need.

I know that I am 2 hours out from a 6 day adventure in my dream city, with just me.
Less than 24 hours away from my 28th birthday, and this year, I didn’t wait on anyone else to help make this birthday as important to me as birthdays are.

This year, I bought a ticket. Packed a backpack and some sneakers. Prayed to God and tearfully followed my heart to San Francisco.✌🏾️

#listeningtoZendaya #Replay

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Inner Peace

” The peace of God surpasses all understanding. God is in charge. Surrender to the peace of God within. Remember that lack of conflict or fear in my life in exchange for a new set of fear is not the peace I seek. Only God can truly comfort and soothe my soul.” -paraphrased by Daily Word 8/16/16

I turn 28 in a month. Wow. I also broke up with one of my longest standing relationships. Fear. It’s been a battle. He {fear} calls everyday- I panic- heart sinks and then the darkness of “I don’t know what to do” pours in. Today I said no to an extra shift and gave myself the space to reflect on how I was feeling during and after consumption–ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE. Gasy- bloated- disgusting. Anxious…. Gross Yuck and Done.

Waking up each day asking God what he has for me for the day has often turned into a groggy alarm slap and extra dose of drool on my pillow. I wake up, roll out of bed, dragging my feet to the bathroom with my eyes barely open and already feeling defeated. That sneak Ex, fear jumps into my lap and just like that, lord Voldemort, aka fear has hijacked my day.

I’ve talked to my therapist. My physician. Even some family friends–all who have offered sound advice. I’ve tried anti-anxiety meds (made it worse) and anti-depressants ( not for me!) and even worked out beyond measure to shake free from my toxic relationship with fear.

18 months later fear is still coming on strong. I’ve decided that the only way I’ll truly be able to end this relationship is to stop answering when he calls. To embrace the anxiety of fear’s presence and smile, and walk in the opposite direction.

Feel the fear and do it anyway. Feel the heartache of the breakup with the chains of fear and walk away from the darkness anyway. I think I’ve held on to fear for so long, because in it’s own way- he’s been safe. Fear has kept me in my house, in a “secure” city, and stagnant in my desire to try new things.

Breaking up with fear is just one step of many for me to walk fully into the light of life. And just like any relationship- fear will pop up at the most inconvenient time–but it’s all gravy- I’ve managed to smile in the face of a bunch of piss poor relationships; I’ll add fear to the bunch! 😏

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Practice Saying No {in Bolivia}

I’m currently in Bolivia…practicing a concept that’s much needed and yet extremely difficult. Saying No.

We all have our limits- most commonly I jump over mine in honor of seeking a thrill, relevance of some sort, or even validation that I’m needed in order to make something more enjoyable- more worthy. It’s in the moments of saying no- going against the group grain, that I feel the most terrified and releeved.

It’s important to challenge yourself. I’ve talked about that before, but what I am learning is it is equally as important to know yourself. To know your limitations and to be okay with being different than the masses. I’m currently traveling with a group of students who are soaking up every opportunity to try something new; I know that it is my responsibility to encourage their growth and exploration. I want to provide every opportunity possible for expanding their worldly knowledge while recognizing where I am in my own journey. You cannot feed if you are starving yourself.

I came into this trip from a really dark place. It’s been a dark year or two and I know that it’s related to my continuous need to please. I practiced saying yes, which meant I was committed to saying yes to everything that scared me. I asked my boss for the freedom to develop a service-learning abroad initiative, I climbed a small ladder up a HUGE tree and went ziplining in Costa Rica, I did the roommate thing, I dated, I joined a church, I was baptized, I committed to a strenuous workout and diet regiment and lost 50lbs, I went to Jamaica, I bought a solo plane ticket to San Fran, I started working part time in the gym, I walked away from a secure job in pursuit of my passion, I called my therapist when I wanted to give up.

I said yes.

I learned a lot.

I found peace in trying and exploring and meeting and living and growing.

I walked thousands of feet closer into self love through saying yes and pushing through the darkness.

The clouds are lifting on a new season. A season where I am much more secure in who I am- even if other people don’t like it. The Soles4Souls rep said something yesterday that stuck-I’m going to tell you the truth…whether you like what you hear or you don’t. That’s powerful. It’s been humbling to be around someone who is so pleasantly pleased with who they are and what they are doing with their life. That’s the season I’m walking in to.

I’ve worked with mentors to set up a variety of informational interviews to start sorting through who I am and what I want to do with my life. I told myself o was committed to powering down in order to figure it out. Bolivia has been the absolute PERFECT place for it.

I look at my stomach rolls in the morning adoringly as they represent my feeding my struggles instead of quitting. I gained a lot of weight. I also chose to keep loving myself even when I was so very disappointed in who I was becoming. I’ve spent the last year beating myself up for gaining weight and on this trip- I looked at the mountains and thanked God that he helped me continue to breathe through the pain- through the darkness. Food kept me alive– it’s like although it wasn’t the best coping strategy, it made me fully aware of how I cope and what behaviors I need to change in order to find a new coping strategy.

My rolls, stomach pooch, and back fat are the shield I needed to keep trying to live. Seeing my weight in Bolivia has been such a gift. It’s through the journey of getting here that I have peace with my ability to lead. I have peace with my ability to make difficult decisions. I have peace with my ability to say no.

The world didn’t stop. Everything didn’t go perfectly and it blossomed into this beautiful story. I knew I was ready.

I knew a few weeks ago that I was walking into a new season- the problem was that I was too terrified to embrace it. I was afraid of saying no. Of disappointing someone or making the wrong choice. Now I see that all decisions are scary. Every decision comes with some type of outcome. I can’t sit still any more trying to rationalize and critique EVERYTHING.

I can say No, or Yes, or I don’t know- and guess what? I’ll be just fine. Guess why?  Not everyone is going to like me… And that is finally okay.

I’m loud, I’m adventurous at my own pace, I’m loving, nice to nice people, and I pee a lot. My laugh lights up a room (good bad or indifferent!), I love music and to dance. I love traveling and meeting new people. I love the concept of Jesus and I pray with my full heart that it’s all real.

What I know for sure is I am me; I know myself best. It’s damn well time I start believing in myself as much as I believe in others. Life is too unpredictable to be saying yes to things that I know are a hard No, and to short to say no to things that I know deep in my heart, are an absolute yes.

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I’m Ready Now.

Went to my first Ohio State Fair today. Ate a pepperoni roll and deep fried oreos. As soon as I was finished, I knew….I’m ready now.

Most of you know that I pride myself on authenticity. I’ve shared some of the most challenging experiences of my life thus far through blogs and then partly through journal-ing that I do for myself- when I can’t get from between my own two ears.

Today I woke up exhausted. Not sleepy exhausted but like, I’m carrying too much exhausted. Carrying too much weight, too much stress, too much strain, too much emotional pain— I’m carrying too much. I’m losing things that are important to me because my brain is constantly on over drive. I’m either on a mission to fix something, lose weight, find a career, meet the love of my life, or find financial relief. I’m trying a new meal plan, reading a new book, starting a new workout regiment, only drinking smoothies, swearing off of fast food for life– something extreme. That’s all I know. I know how to dive in and then jump TF out.

I don’t finish. I quit. I get close– I feel the progress. I quit.

Do you know how many books I have on my shelves that I’ve started? 30 pages or so in and I decide that I need to focus on a different topic.

Do you know how many “Mondays” or “1st” that have come and gone– started with a commitment to clean eating and ending with a Pizookie from BJ’s?

Do you know how many times I’ve had roommates for the sake of saving/paying off debts and end those roommate relationships with more debts than I started with?

I signed up to pay an excruciating amount of money for braces…invisalign/..that I barely wear!

Enough.

I’m exhausted.

I’m wearing myself out. I’m worn out.

I was watching the news this morning, heard about a high school student who was murdered in the back of a grocery store. I’m watching people die every day because life is not promised.

I’m eating and starting and quitting and complaining and sleeping and waiting for something to make sense. This entire time, I’ve been praying big, giant, scary, bold prayers and waiting on God– only to realize…

…He’s been waiting on me….

All I know is quitting. Giving up. Wearing thin.

I jump out- and start something new….

I want to finish.

I’m ready now.

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taste of heaven

 

Greatness Takes Time…<3

I just finished the JJ Green Smoothie Cleanse ; 10 days of intentionally eating green smoothies to help reset my palate. I’ve been successful in the adventure before– about 2 years ago I did the full cleanse and nearly shocked myself around my ability to stay the course. This time around I committed to a modified version: deciding that if I tried to go 10 full days with just green smoothies, I’d likely succeed, and back track. I’d finish strong and then you’d find me eating an entire pizza in one setting….defeats the purpose right?

So I modified. I made these past 10 days about clean eating and getting back in touch with what happened. How did I gain all this weight again?

Day 9 (today) while emotionally abusing myself about the burning desire to eat Chipotle. In the middle of feeling all of those emotions I realized that green smoothie cleanses, juice cleanses, palate resetting tools are quite dangerous if used unsupervised.

Let me explain myself. The concept is great if your clear on your Why. If your why is centered on mentalities that come from a healthy, whole, place– then go for it! If your Why is because you are trying to figure out how you regained weight so you’re going back to past behaviors….like me??… pump the breaks.

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Slow all the way down. Put your cleanse on a halt and look at yourself in the mirror and ask (out loud) why are you doing this?

My answers:

  • None of my clothes fit
  • My gut is unbareable
  • It’s my birthday in 8 weeks and I’m embarrassed about how out of control I feel
  • 10 year high school reunion coming up- great- I’m going to be THAT girl.

the list goes on.

As honest as this list is and as honest and raw as these emotions are– the other reality to this space is THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO DO A CLEANSE.

If you hear a constant A-track in your head playing about what you haven’t done or how far you are from where you are trying to go– that’s worse time to get restrictive. You’ll get on the scale (like i did) and be pissed to see that much of nothing has changed. Why? Because your (my) body is holding entirely too much stress and anxiety to do anything else but hold you exactly where you are.

On day 9 of my cleanse I went to Chipotle. I got a salad, with a side of guac and chips. I went to one of my favorite places on campus to eat.I sat on this bench-quietly- and presently eating my meal. halfway through the chips and guac I was full- tossed the remaining chips and sat.

Guess what? The world did not end. I didn’t suddenly stop fitting in the clothes I was wearing. And still…. I felt this guilt swimming over me… “You ate chips!” I sat there and I felt what it feels like to be a person that’s spent so much time being consumed by what I’m eating. So consumed by consumption….and for what.

I share this for the people who start a cleanse and find themselves unable to finish. I share this for the person who’s beating them self up because they just can’t seem to get it right. I share this for the weight battlers who haven’t hit their goal weight. Who look on their bookshelves and TV stands full of workout videos and best help books wondering how much money they’ve invested into something they can’t stick with. You are not alone. You are not a failure. You are your on greatest success story.

I keep waiting for the day that my story is reflective of over coming all these obstacles. I keep praying for my before and after pictures to mimic those of my Beachbody  friends. I keep trying to force myself into health.

If you think about the true mindset of health–however– health is centered on so much more than weight. Health is centered on you getting to a place where you love yourself exactly where you are- which takes time…

Healthy takes time, not a cleanse. Healthy takes patience. It comes with speed bumps, detours, roadblocks, and patches of smooth sailing. 

I took a detour- and while on that detour I missed a few turns. Doesn’t mean I can’t find my way back to the road… I just have to be practical not irrational. I have to enjoy the sights of the off path experience. This off-road rugged terrain is preparing me to stand the test of time… Of patience.

If you’ve started something and can’t post your result photos or celebrations yet…you aren’t alone. We’re writing one hell of a story.

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What to say?

I write to you from Phoenix, AZ- where I’ve spent the past few days among-st some of my favorite colleagues being challenged to truly define leadership in the context of our work. In these spaces, I truly grow from people who remind me of my why. I get to places like this. A place I once had listed on a goal list– with a specific weight goal or life goal tied to this experience and I don’t really have anything to say.

Except I have a lot to say.

The charge is on me. This 360 day funk is on me. I’ve been spreading the blame around the concept of soul searching but in being at this conference….a year later…I’m being faced with the same reality I was facing in 2015. I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT I WANT TO DO. I know exactly who God has called me to be. There isn’t any searching involved. The place of continuous discomfort is coming from my continuous choice of fear.

It’s easiest to go through the motions. To gain weight because snacking is easier than dealing. To stay in a relationship that’s luke warm because warm is better than ice cold. To stay in city/job that’s comfortable because leaving your comfort zone surfaces all other types of insecurities.  I’ve spent the past 7 days on the west coast- un able to communicate with folks at home as quickly as I’m use to strictly due to time zone differences. In my discomforts- I’ve been forced to work through some things on my own off the good will of I didn’t have the immediacy of anyone else except me.

I feel like I shot myself with a stun gun. I feel like 360 days ago, I was all ” I got this!’ and ” I’m so proud of myself” and “I can’t believe how far I’ve come”; I think I looked in the mirror and saw someone I was starting to fall in love with– got scared, and back tracked on a new level. I’ve backed myself into a corner. A place that if you aren’t conscious of your own actions…I guess I’m saying I totally understand why people totally lose their shit. Fear is disabling. Fear will keep you inside. It will keep you in your comfort zone. In your safe career path, and with your PERCEPTIVELY safe life.

With all the deaths–public deaths that have been surfacing over the past few months, it’s evident that safety is a word we made up. Job security doesn’t exist. Living exist– until it doesn’t. I want to live. I I want to go after HUGE impossible dreams and pursue a life of excellence. I want to stop setting goals and start tapping into who it is I truly want to be. It’s not that I want to achieve a specific goal weight, or career or spouse– It’s about what i want to feel!

I want to feel radiant— glowing in my passion for life. Honest with the rawness of its’ difficulties. Constructive of what is contributing to my glow and what’s stealing my shine. I want to feel energized. Rested and whole. This radiance isn’t tied to the shine my makeup provides– this shine is related to the one that everyone else so evidently sees as God’s gift. I am radiant soul who’s been smothering myself with the impossible mission of not being me.

What to say? What to do? It’s so freeing to be free of goal setting. It’s freeing to know that I am leaving Phoenix tomorrow with no idea what’s ahead of me and yet knowing that I have every opportunity to start choosing radiance now. Just a few days ago I called my best friend while working out in the gym and said, “I’m done.”

I’m done conforming. I’m done fighting myself- and most importantly, I’m done telling people I’m trying to figure out what it is I want to do. I know what I want to do. I know what I want to say…

God has charged me with bringing dark souls to radiance. To helping those (like myself) who can dwell on fear to take the opportunity to settle into the concept of no guarantees as a blessing–not something to fear. The only guarantee I hope to I pray is real is that the spirit of God/Allah/Buddah/Higher Being is real– and that there isn’t any judgement for my continuous wavering.

I’m looking forward to challenging my thoughts. My actions- and making a critical effort to surround myself with people who see the spiritual eye into my life. I look forward to living a life where my legacy is one of bringing a beaming peaceful light to the dark places of my own life and the lives of others.

God. What a week.#grateful

 

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Grateful.

I’ve spent a lot of post writing about my quarter life crisis, and yet as I sit here in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, I realize I have so many things to be grateful for. So many great things to reflect on and so so many life changing moments I’ve potentially minimized in lieu of focusing on the tough spots.

I am blessed. I have a job that has taught me so much about who I am and what I want out of life. I have a boss who has been extremely supportive of my varying life transitions. To the extent of helping me transition into a temporary role in pursuit of my passion while I figure out my next steps. I work with supportive people. Nope, we don’t agree on everything, nor do we all lead the same way, however- everyone I’ve been surrounded with has taught me a valid life lesson. Every. single. person I have met in my life has shaped my story. my becoming.

Or most recently defined as my unbecoming. All of my experiences have prepared me to let go of the need to know the next step. The next person I’ll meet. The next love of my life. I sit here and find that I am grateful for every heartbreak. Be it a death in my family (Nana, Aunt Alexis, Mama…) break ups (I’ll spare you the list 🙂 ) The heartaches have led to heart Greats. My Nana helped me learn the love of a parent. She raised my father so lovingly that I have THEE single best earthly father I could ask for. Free of imperfections? Absolutely not. My father is the single person in my life that encourages me to live authentically. Because my Nana breathed that spirit of God given truth into him…without losing her and watching my father’s grief, I would never understand unconditional parental love. I wouldn’t quite understand why my parents call me 10 times a day just to make sure I’m okay. Without losing my Nana, I wouldn’t have the same appreciation for seeing certain people’s name show up on my cell phone…you never know when it will be the last time.

For every trip. From Tanzania to Disneyland. I have traveled more than I ever truly acknowledged. For being a girl scout and having a mom–my very best friend–take the time to drag her petrified child out into the woods and teach my survival skills at such an impressionable age. My mom became my trip leader to help me learn the value of sticking things out. Even when it’s hard. When it’s scary. When there are giant daddy long-legs sleeping in the same space as you. My mom has taught me the value of trying something new. Of accepting that being emotional is apart of who I am. I am so grateful for parents who always and continually encourage me to be vulnerable to the pain of life. Only in the pain can you grow, Cierra.

I am so grateful for a big brother who pushes me. Yes he made fun of me as any older sibling should, and at the same time, he’s been the guiding light of this current difficult space in my life. My brother makes me think. He doesn’t function from feelings- he functions from logic. Reality? Everyone needs this person in their lives.

We all need our opposite. If you are a dreamer, I challenge you to find your logic counterpart. Same with logical folks–find that person that makes your heart leap for how uniquely they see the world.  My spouse will be that person. My brother reminds me of everything I need in life (not necessarily want); Trey is my person. He reminds me  that the combination of logic with a mix of dreamer gets you to your destiny.

I am grateful for my life. For the books my sister has suggested to me. For my nephew who’s taught me the value of forgiveness. For my cousins, aunts, and uncles. For music that easily stirs fond memories.

Flying out of Sioux Falls on a charter flight with a group of people that have collectively changed my life for good. I am grateful .

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motivation

The Awkward Stage.

For most, this was Middle School. When all these strange things start happening to our bodies. When our older brother suddenly stopped using the bathroom with the door open. Or when you find yourself wondering why you thought it was ever appropriate to shower with one of your parents…or bathe with your best friends  #awkwardddd!  Middle school is that place in life where your friends changed. When you had to choose whether or not you were going to play sports or stick with the band. Cheer or play soccer. Run track to get your weight under control or eat Naples french fries with meat sauce every day (#plug to Steubenville- proudly from the valley).

Oh middle school. Home to braces, awkward bras that aren’t really holding anything up, bad hair cuts, broken heart, mean girls, cracking voices, hallway note passing, and growing awareness of whether or not your parents are buying you name brand clothes.

I was in Kmart clothes well through sophomore year. No shame in my game. I was pudgy and loud–bossy even. I was entitled and my daddy just so happened to be the middle school guidance counselor…. Hello teacher’s pet tendencies…. I loved school and it never quite occurred to me that I didn’t fit in. In middle school I had this strange confidence for an overweight short stalky kiddo. I didn’t go through middle school dealing with people making fun of me or not getting invited to someone’s sleepover. I was a successful crowd surfer. I did just enough so that everyone liked me (at least to my face to they did!)

It wasn’t till recently when I saw a middle school cheering picture of me that I thought OMG! WTH *EXPLICIT *EXPLICIT* followed by me questioning my parents on why they never checked me. Like quite literally, Why!? Why they didn’t tell me to put the DQ Blizzard down. Why didn’t they tell me that the school had to special order a cheer uniform for me that fit. Why didn’t they tell me that my friends’ parents complained to them about how bossy I was at times. Why didn’t they tell me not to make an AIM instant messenger name that announced to the world my crush!

(Garystubblover01…ugh… #shootmenow)

Their rationale? There was nothing wrong with me and they were in complete awe of my self-confidence. At 27 I look at that same cheer picture and think “Good God, child, where did you go?”  I realize that they same person still thrives, I mean I’m still a little bossy, I have braces, and recently cut my hair, which prompted this post. I looked at my hair and braces and frumpyness and thought– wow, I feel like I just re-entered the awkward stage. Only this time I’m feeling it. I’m feeling the looks and impressions of my changes–My decisions that for some, go totally against the “grain”.

I’m feeling the polite smiles with the undertones of what the hell is she doing. And I’m okay with it. Hell, if I was watching someones’ life unfold the way you all are experiencing mine, I’d be pretty intrigued myself! Why? Because I believe this is my true awkward stage. This is my space where I’m rediscovering that pudgy cheerleader who gave no f**ks. I’m rediscovering the confidence required to stand alone versus blend with the group. I’m owning awkward. I’m leaving crowd pleasing. Don’t get it twisted, it has it’s painful moments. Those moments of Okay, Cierra, really though? What ARE you doing? And as I allow myself to sit in those uncomfortable moments,  see that what I’m doing, is so in sync with my being exactly where I am suppose to be.

On the other side of awkward is self love. Watch the Neflix series LOVE and see how relevant modern TV scripts are reflecting on the 25-35 quarter life crisis/ awkward phase.  An appreciation for your quirks, your kinky fro, your thick thighs, your loud living (figuratively and perceptively) In the awkward moments I get to see who’s truly for me. Ride or Die baby. (shout out to my parents, rolling steady since the late 80s with this baby Holllaaa)

It’s easy to be the crowd surfer. The people pleaser. The “go with the flow-er”; no one gets hurt when you’re busy pleasing everyone else….. except you. 

So this is me. LOUDLY 🙂 owning my awkward phase, delayed, yes, maybe, but much needed and much desired. Embracing the end of one comfort zone, and boldly stepping into authenticity at its’ best and worse!

 

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Sheep in a crowd of Wolves.

Pastor Greg talked about this today in church. That tough space where God pushes you from full surrender to walking in faith. Greg preached today about how sometimes, when coming into a relationship with Christ, we can’t or don’t want to understand the bottom falling out that comes with it.

It hit home. Perceptively, the bottom has been falling out from under me. I’ve been saying Yes to what feels like spiritual guidance, and with every yes, comes a new challenge. I said yes to living on my own again, and now I manage the re-occurring challenge of the thoughts between my ears, uninterrupted. I said Yes to an 18 month lease, and then about 2 weeks later I said Yes to walking away from my job.

In what world does that make sense? Why would God lead me to this comfy cozy home with rent and bills that I need to pay on my own, while simultaneously directing me towards a career change? Really, God? I said Yes, and now I wait.

I said Yes to re-joining weight watchers, a tool that was very helpful for me during my first attempt ever at gaining some health consciousness. I joined during Christmas time. and I have successfully GAINED 10 more lbs. WHY bother joining, Lord! Why say Yes to another expense to only continue to spiral out and binge eat.

I said Yes to re-joining my gym and working out with my trainer and gym friends again. Now I’m trying to figure out where that money is coming from? I said Yes.

I’m sitting in church today a little angry at first. Mainly because I wasn’t initially connected to the message. My psychy was all off and I couldn’t be present. I was in my own head, going through the “I go to church” motions, and sitting there in a chair thinking WTF God. What is with all of these painful, irrational, financially risky, emotionally draining, spiritually exhausting YESes!

I surrendered. I came to the cross. I came to the light. I entrenched myself with spiritual presence. I committed to living out God’s will. The universe’s design for my life. I said yes. And after I said yes, everything seemed to fall apart. Sound familiar?

In this space I’ve been in, I’ve been so vulnerably reaching for guidance. Seeking out my life mentors, family, friends, church family, God. Everything. Anything to help make sense of my current chaos.

The one consistent response was this. Life is hard. Anyone who truly wanted anything out their life, got it at high price. They went through some shit. They picked themselves up. They went through some more shit. They picked themselves back up. They lost everything. They cried, and picked themselves up. They did not allow the questions of the world. Of the humane. Of the earthly logic, to keep them in consistent state of self-pity.

God called me to church this morning so that I could be reminded that he’s called me to be a sheep in a world of wolves. He’s called me to believe in him and his plan for my life despite what I see in front of me. He’s placed me specifically in this funk so that He can show me who I am. So he can teach me to fight for Him, not for this world, but for Him.

I’m gaining a little grit. I can’t lost 60lbs without learning  and appreciate the stories of those who also battle weight and skeptical relationships with food. I wouldn’t have the same appreciation for my health goals without watching the scale increase and decrease based on the levels of stress in my life. Or without sharing my experiences at the gym who too have their own internal battles. I wouldn’t know the value of finding a new non-food outlet if I didn’t take the financial risk of re-joining my gym and working out again.

God hasn’t called me to be a one hit wonder. He’s called me to be a person the sheds light on his journey with me, not my destination. I keep waiting for the end. Not the end of my life, but the end of my struggle. In church today, I sadly and gratefully learned that the struggle is a part of coming to Christ. It’s a part of the testimony. It’s part of being willing to be vulnerable enough with your own life, to save someone elses.

I am okay. I am a sheep in a crowd of wolves. I am struggling, and yet I cannot wait to see how God continues to use me, shape me, create me, and restore me. Break me down to refuel me. Bend me so that I can see life outside of my current tunnel vision.

So I’ll continue to say Yes. and I’ll continue to go to Church. and I’ll continue to go Weight Watchers. and I’ll continue to go to group trainings. and I’ll continue to pray over my finances, my job search, and my self discovery.  I will continue believing in the unbelievable, and most importantly, I will continue to pick myself back up.

just keep swimming….<3

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It begins and ends with Me.

I’ve been bitter lately. Super frustrated with where my life stands. This crossroad of no longer being a kid, and yet, feeling fully incapable of supporting myself. Different types of debts in different corners. Financial, emotional, personal; simply stated: heavy ass debts, staring me in the face.

I started blaming people for my current state of emotional outburst. How dare my students challenge me?? How dare my parents press me on the decisions I was so confidently going to them with? How dare my supervisor hold me accountable to my job! Can’t he see how unhappy I am, can I catch a break please. Somebody put me in timeout.  I’m begging you.

I could go for some hard core, childlike earned timeout right now to just collect myself. The only problem with that is that at 27, timeout equate to long term impact.

1. Quit your job. You’re not happy? Quit. start over. But while you’re considering how you’ll start over, keep all of your bill payments on time (without a steady income!) and live your dreams out loud. Great Plan.

2. Disappear. Buy a plane ticket and go away and just forget that you have any responsibilites. Start over. Get all the time out time you need. Just don’t ever come back to visit your family. You’ll  likely go to jail or  be featured on Most Wanted  for some obscene reason.

3. Stick it out. Find a temporary out. That isn’t food, Cierra. The binge eating is just not the out I was going for here 🙂

4. I just don’t know. I guess this is why and where I have to tap into that annoying concept called Faith.

I’ve visited all 4 of these options. And coming off a wing stop binge and a Trader Joe’s blonde brownie fix, option 3 is feeling less like an option.

I’m carrying entirely too many stimuli right now to strike up the push through mentality and not become the next 500lb woman who doesn’t leave her house. That’s what I am on my way too if something doesn’t change.

I come home from work and I am so emotionally indebted to my own mental space, that I eat, and eat, and eat (because no one’s watching) and I fill myself until I’m completely miserable. As I pay attention to my own patterns I recognize that I’ve been choosing food as an out. Not as a source of nourishment. Not as a space for me to physcially re-energize, but rather as a tool for physical numbness– to match the “stuffed” feeling between my two ears. Mentally functioning at beyond capacity, so I self-impose the same feeling on myself through the misuse of food.

I say all of this to say (and remind myself) that we all have something. We all have that easy to go to vice that can kill us if we allow it. I’ve been enjoying my vice and blaming everyone else for my curent state of “I give no fucks that I wear leggings to work everyday, none of my pants fit, hm! take that!”

I’ve been waiting on someone. something. anything to save me.

When I look to option 4…I’m reminded that, “Dear Cierra, my sweet Cierra, will you let me work? Will you finally allow me to show you who, what, how, and why you’ve been strugging so much? Sweet Cierra. Will you finally allow me to show you, just how special you truly are? Will you let go…and let Me lead?

I have been living in a walking, talking self-pity party. Putting on a fake smile. Snapping at people unnecessarily. Eating everything in sight. Occupying all of my idle time with mind numbing television (with a hearty does of food and reassurance that a gallon of ice cream would DEF help me find my life purpose).

I have been blaming. Only to land right here. Knowing that whatever I decide begins and ends with me. With my choice. With my decisiveness of which life I want to live. A very special person reminded me today that when I have my ashes spread and God brings me off of this temporary earthly mission, will I celebrate a life full of doing what was safe? or will I celebrate with Christ that I  chose to walk in Faith. That I chose to live the life He designed especially for me. That chose to go against everything that made sense, and placed a bet on myself and God.

When you find yourself in this space. That early adult space of WTF. I encourage you to do whatever it is you need to do to begin with yourself and end with yourself. Chose Grace and Truth. Chose love and hope. Chose faith and leave fear in the wind.

If I’m working at Trader Joe’s  or some other highly unexpected parttime gig in the next few weeks you’ll know that I’m out here walking in faith. And if you don’t. Know that I’m searching for other outs aside from food. Know that I am fighting with everything in me to be the person I know’s been living deep down inside of me. Keep praying for me the way I pray for all of you.

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