Write.

I’ve been thinking of a creative title for the past 3 days. I knew I wanted to make myself sit down and blog about my first morning waking up in the Bay Area as a newcomer. I wanted some profound catchy title. I thought about writing first thing this morning–but since I woke up at 5am bright-eyed, disoriented, and starving, I was distracted by my buddy Maslow reminding me of the basic needs I needed met immediately…FOOD.

I then quickly learned that west coast football = morning football; my Pittsburgh Steelers were playing at 10:00am so no time to write #gametime. With an afternoon quickly filled with answering check-in phone calls, making sure folks knew I was alive, and hitching a ride  with a new colleague to do my first Californian Trader Joe’s run (please note: Bring your own bags!), I walked back in to my sleeping stomping grounds feeling a bit outpaced.

Day. 1. Maslow: Basic Needs met… the reality of the move starts to settle in…time slows…heart rate sky rockets…thoughts racing…

You came here dear Cierra on a one-way ticket. You left the comforts of your 2 bedroom 2 bathroom apartment, your dog, your family, your friends, and you now are shacking up in dorm-style room  with whatever happened to fit in three rolling suitcases. What in the actual hell did you pack that you truly needed?? Have you ever arrived some where and try to make sense of why you packed certain things over others?  I have enough clothes to avoid laundry for 3 months… but no toothbrush case or deodorant *rolls eyes*. I have enough shoes to change my outfit 5 times in a day, but no rain boots or shoes that can put up a fight to wetness…nope..tennis shoes…and “dress boots”…it’s been raining since I arrived. You have 8 bottles of perfume but no blanket {you want to go night night, *****? Kevin Hart reference…} WTF!

I’m fine. Truly I am, lol– I literally just laughed at myself as I re-read my post lol, but really guys I’m okay 🙂 I have my basic needs, but it’s funny what we think we need until we realize what we truly need. I need time. Me time. I need some down time of adjusting. Time to mentally work through all that has happened in the past 24 hours, and what will happen over the next few weeks…months…years?  I need time to cope with no dog–no Ruby laying her head on my lap as she sense my anxiety. I need time to sit in silence, hear the rain, and wrap my mind around being patient with transition. Silent time to remind myself that I am just fine and that I have hit my quota of “figuring out” for today; my brain needs a break.

I’m a Virgo, so naturally one of the first things I did after situating my basic needs was starting to organize. Make list. Write goals. Perfect my living environment (everything has it’s place!) In my “perfecting” I was swept with the overwhelming reality of no matter how exciting and life altering and guts-y this move is… there is no way I’m master overnight perfection. There’s no way I am settling in to the reality of this decision in less than 24 hours. You can, however write. “You need to write, Cierra.”

Write. That’s the title I came up with for my first big day in The City. So I’ll continue to write…and write…and process…and write. I’ll continue looking forward and stepping in to all the discomfort and allow myself to feel everything I’m feeling. I’ll look forward to continuing to find all the little nuggets of encouragement my mom secretly packed within my luggage…because she is the best and she knows that I was unpacking the moment I got here. ❤

What a blessing to have an opportunity to experience a fresh start. What a blessing to look at myself in the mirror and say “Here you are, Cierra. You have actualized your vision board….it’s time to create a new one and start living the life you were designed to live.”

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A Letter to God.

Dear God,

Help. Seriously…help. I’m trying here. I wake up every morning. Three days out of the work week I head to a hip hop fitness dance class at 5:45am. I’m packing something new daily. I’m meeting with people to say goodbye. I’m posting my life as a giant for sale sign, but  I’m not praying… I can’t do it. I just can’t talk to you right now.

I have no idea why I’m feeling so overwhelmed. I mean, Yes, I am moving across the country in less than a month. Yes, I am selling practically everything I have ever owned. Yes, I am walking away from my ultimate comfort zone. And yet, in the strangest way, I cannot bring myself to talk to you. I know that everything that’s happening to me right now is a part of your plan. I know that. I also know that you know that I can’t talk to you right now. I just can’t. 

Talking to you will unleash how totally petrified I am to leave. Talking to you will send me in to this spiraling of tears– guilt– and frustration for how your logic doesn’t match with mine. Talking to you will make me angry because I feel ungrateful and imperfect, and a let down to this gift of change you’ve given me. I don’t get it, I don’ feel worthy of where I know you are taking me in this life, and so I don’t want to talk to you. I don’t understand how something I wanted so badly, something that felt so spiritually sound, is currently causing me an immense amount of distress. Why am I so negative?

…I’m scared. that’s why. It’s easier to be negative, passive aggressive, and short-tempered, than it is to admit that I am flat out terrified of failing this mission you have for me. I feel like I am being slowly stripped of everything I know. Good things, challenging things, and situations you’ve called me to move on from. I have death grip on this life, and you and gingerly, yet purposefully, calling me to let go.

The last time we talked I prayed a big prayer; I asked you to remove anything from my life that wasn’t for me. I asked you to transform me into who you made me to be. I had no idea that the transformation process would be so shattering to my current identity.

I look at myself and I see, deep in my heart, everything you created me to be. A woman who will transform into this beacon of hope to people who cannot see beyond the immediacy of their circumstances. A voice of reason to other people who share an identity of being smothered by depression and anxiety in world that calls you to be at your best at all times. I see that you created me to be an example of dreamer who actualized everything you have planned for me. I see it all. And I’m scare d…

I think this is one of the greatest misses in all the success stories people share. Either I’m a total nut, or people just don’t get into the weeds with this part…

The thing is, I know what I am capable of. I know that I’m unique and wonderfully made. I know that I will literally set this world on fire with everything that lives within me. I know that my purpose is so much greater than I could’ve ever imagined. The hard part is stepping into that. The hard part is knowing that my strengths can quickly become my weaknesses if I over do it…and that in the same breathe, overthinking everything will keep me right where I am. The hard part is turning my back on the crowd to lead the orchestra. My entire life has been so centered on appeasing the crowd. I’ve always wanted to fit in.

This mission you’ve given me, God, is scary, because it’s a reminder that you never intended for me to fit in. You didn’t make me to be like anyone else in this world. That’s scary for this small town girl who’s primary goal in life has been to have a boyfriend and a dog to go through life with. You haven’t called me to simplicity– you’ve called me to greatness…and to whom much is given…much is required…

So I write this letter to you, God, because I can’t pray, I’m scared. I write this letter to you, God, because I hope that writing will help remind me that you have given me so much. I write this letter to remind myself that everything I am fearing is a reaction to leaving my comfort zone. I write this letter to remind myself that I am covered, despite my fear, and despite my resistance to pray. I write this letter to remind myself that it doesn’t matter how far I think I’m running away from you…you are right here and you love me…and  I can’t run away from you.

Love always,
Cierra

Believe in the Journey

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It’s Within You…

“You have the power to climb out of the darkness and reconnect to the part of you that is worthy of everything you want. You have the power, but you have to realize that it’s within you. It’s not out in the world. It’s not in the words of this article. It’s not in your yoga practice. It’s not in your therapy sessions. It’s within you.”-MBG 10/17/16

Life is tough. Everyday is mixed with such a plethora of emotions, i.e. weddings, babies, new jobs, to deaths of family members and friends, scary diagnosis, and reminders that it could all change for you in and at any moment. It’s a gift, life- but it’s tough. It’s hard to wrap our human minds around the concept of spiritual guidance/acceptance. Whomever you pray, for me it’s Jesus, there’s at least some part of you that can’t escape the human nature of worry. Some days present themselves and you have all the faith in the world…get some news from a friend or family member and that unwavering faith may start to wobble.

At least mine does. I use to be real embarrassed about that. How one morning I could wake up and post something super inspirational about moving forward and then in the very next moment, end up crying the entire way home from work. Why? Because something happened in that day that shattered my faith. How does that happen? How can I be so faithFULL and faithLESS at the same damn time ? (Song pun intended).

One practice I’ve picked up is silence. I wake up in the morning and make every attempt to spend 2-3 min awake, but in silence. I try to hear what’s causing to me feel anxious, or excited, or nervous,or upset. Focus on what’s triggered the emotion and then just sit in it. The other day I woke up in a panic fearing I’d lost information I need for creating my business. I was so certain that I had lost it and was sadden and pissed off at the thought of having to start over. Before my feet had even hit the ground I was spiteful and angry. I sat still. Embraced everything I was filling–laughed at myself a little for being so uptight, and gingerly said, “Cierra, if God wants you to have this, you will find it, and if he doesn’t, he needed you to be okay with a fresh start.”

A friend talked to me last night about “the wisdom to know the difference”. The serenity prayer is a good one…but I had never really taken the time to work through this part of it. The prayer reads, God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

The wisdom to know the difference is the trickiest part of that prayer. I have a piece of art a friend and business owner made for me that says “Feel the fear and do it anyway” my therapist in grad school would say that to me when I would come in to see her bottled up with fear and anxiety about a decision I needed to make. Most recently I’ve struggled with two perspectives on that… feel the fear and do what’s in your GUT anyway or your HEART anyway or your HEAD anyway? If you are anything like me, it’s a rarity that these three are in alignment.

God sent a carrier by way of a friend yesterday to help me work through that… he said that God greets us through his love, guides us with his unconditional love, and shapes us through love…the heart…the heart is the single organ that keeps us alive. Yes, it works in tandem with all other parts of our bodies, but it’s the heart and when it stops beating that determines when earthly life has come to an end. God speaks to me through my heart. He speaks to me through a quickened heartbeat, a flutter, and then a short small whispered voice. I know how God speaks to me and I hear Him when I get silent and still enough to truly listen to my heart.

I write all this as I have woken u with a lump of anxiety on my chest. I woke up with a big giant fear of the unknown– curious to what God’s plan are for my life. Curious of what hardships and celebrations will be apart of my story. Fearful for wrong decisions and misunderstandings of feel the fear and do it anyway…am I hearing God? or am I hearing myself?…the wisdom to know the difference…

Silence ( and writing to share my story) helps provide me with the wisdom I’m seeking. Find yours…it’s within you, I promise.

serenity-prayer

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A Birthday to Remember

10, 21, 25, 28. My most memorable birthdays. 10th was a pool party at my high school’s public pool. Double Digits. I vividly remember asking my mom if this could be my last birthday. I didn’t want to get any older.

21 for all of the obvious reasons. Sloppy drunk at Ugly Tuna with my dear friend Theresa. She was determined to have me out at the stroke of midnight. Particularly because I was the last of my friends to turn 21-always the baby of the crew. Rolled down a hill in front of my residence hall and passed out. A friend hosted a house party for me too somewhere around that time. That’s when Sophia and I’s RA relationship started. I got broken up with the day after the party, not truly broken up with- we weren’t formally dating. He liked someone else more. Went to Bob Evans that morning- borrowed his Kid Cudi CD, and later that day he said he “just wanted to be friends”. Something of the sort.

I had a mental breakdown and didn’t leave my dorm room for several days.

25th birfday was the last one I remember spending with my grandmother. I went to Steubenville to get my new license and then to her house to hang out. We watched Steve Harvey re-runs…maybe some Gun Smoke? Went to lunch with my mom, dad, and cousin Julian. The waitress spilled hot coffee on my dad. We haven’t gone back there since. They didn’t even comp. us at all…oh steuby.

28. Took my first totally solo trip to the city of my dreams. Rode a bike 9 miles from Pier 41 down pass Crissy Fields all the way around to the west entrance of the Golden Gate Bridge. My eyes welled up with tears and I literally just paused to try bottle the moment. I didn’t want a picture. I wanted to remember with everything in me the extreme sense of accomplishment that comes with packing a single backpack, looking myself in the mirror and saying- I’m doing this. No matter what. I took a picture just in case.

If I die on this trip so be it. Okay, I know that’s a bit extremist; the point being I refuse to sit still any longer waiting for the world to make sense. It’s just not going to. I’ve lived a successful 28 years, and I vividly remember 4 birthdays. Probably a few more if I really sat still long enough (sleepover with 21 girls at my house in middle school where one of my closest friends had peanut butter spread all over folks… She’s severely allergic… 😶 I have the best mom ever.)

4 birthdays. This 28th birthday my momma told me the story of my coming into the world. Everything that was going on around her. I listened on the phone and silently cried. I was her dream come true. A baby girl. Her girl. She would give her life for me to live- she almost did.

I refuse to allow her dream to be a waste. Sept 16th is the day God chose to bring one of her greatest dreams to life. 28 years later I know exactly why He created me. To live, to travel, to share, to experience near death moments and survive in His light to tell the story. To challenge the world built with suffering and fear. To step in faith with Him as my companion. To understand why I’ve never feared death and always struggled with the choice to live. Not to breathe, but to live. To have moments where it doesn’t make sense, cry through it, and move on…at my own pace.

When I die I’m going home. I’ll be with my Aunt Alexis, my Nana, my Mama –all my previous pets and whomever else God takes that way between now and then. I’m not looking forward to it happening any time soon. I hope the plan for me is beyond year 28, but here’s the thing, I’m not afraid of that. I’m afraid of sitting still–breathing and not living.

What an experience. To have your heart flutter with the unknown. To step on to public transportation with a slight tinge of am I absolutely crazy/ will I get shanked today, and how freeing it is to know that I have no control over what happens next. May as well, live.

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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.

hydration.nutrition.fit.sound


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

 

hydration.nutrition.fit.sound.