I don’t know about you, but I like to drink. No, not like that…I ain’t no alcoholic! I mean I like to drink my meals, as in smoothies. Over time, I’ve built up quite the large collection of smoothie add-ins to give my liquid meals some substance. I never make one without adding flaxseed, chia seeds, hemp hearts, or protein powder. These superfoods provide staying power, energy, digestion aid, and many more health benefits. For this particular smoothie, I’ve also added coffee for an extra kick in the pants. This supercharged smoothie makes for a perfect post-workout recovery drink, or a quick breakfast on the go.
I’m not sure why I’m at a loss for words when it comes to writing about my Israel trip. Maybe it’s because I experienced so much in such a short amount of time, and now I’ve been home for two weeks and life has resumed right where I left off and it feels like it never happened, like it was all a dream. Only it did happen and I have all these photos and memories to prove it.
In my high school yearbook, there is a quote next to my photo: Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. Wise words from a 90’s alternative rock band that made so much sense. Back then, life was divided into four year increments. Four years of elementary school, then four years of middle school, and four years of high school. Most of us went on to four years of college, myself included. And then the four-year increments end and this vast desert that is the future is spread out before me. “Ok, I just graduated college…and now I go find a job…for the rest of my life. Holy shit.” Everything’s so planned out. And we just go with the flow…until we hit that metaphorical desert and realize we don’t want to die here in our grey cubicles.
I went to the actual desert when I was in Israel and slept in a Bedouin tent. At night, our guide brought us into the desert holding hands in a line. We giggled as we stumbled into the darkness hoping we didn’t step in camel poop. We stood in a circle and he instructed us to take a few steps from each other and be silent to absorb the stillness of the night sky. In that moment, I felt so small, and so alone, yet we were all together.
I’ve been in the working world for over four years now, and I’m feeling it. The four-year turnover, that “what’s next” tick. I suppose the next phase is the full transition into adulthood: marriage, parenthood, etc. but it’s not so cut and dry as the four year increments of schooling. This is when life does what it wants. Some of my friends have high-powered careers, some people are back in school, some are becoming parents. Whatever this next phase may bring, we’re all in it together.
This used to be on my “about page.” I’ve decided to remove it, but I didn’t want to delete it completely, so I’m turning it into a blog post. If you haven’t read it yet…here you go!
By now you’ve probably already scrolled through this looking at the photos, and you’re wondering where the infamous “before and after” picture is. You’re probably thinking: where are all the fat photos? Maybe she had an eating disorder? Then where are all the anorexic photos? But my story isn’t really about my exterior, it’s about what’s going on up in my head.
For the longest time, I was constantly seeking the acceptance of others. In grade school, I was painfully shy and always thought everyone was judging my every move. It was always about what others thought of me…was I cool, was I pretty enough, thin enough. Nothing was ever enough.
During freshman year, I had a crush on a guy who was part of the “gothic” clique, so I started wearing dark eyeliner and all black clothing. Except on Fridays, because I was also a cheerleader and had to wear my uniform to school (hello…identity crisis?). I just wanted to fit in…with everyone. Luckily my gothic phase didn’t last the year, but it did help me realize that I liked being different than the rest of my Abercrombie & Fitch-wearing classmates. Eventually I gained some confidence and let my true personality shine, but I still wasn’t happy with my body.
I was never fat, just pear-shaped compared to my rail-thin friends. Sir Mix-a-lot’s “Baby Got Back” was my personal anthem at school dances. My friends would circle around me and we’d all point at my butt and sing along. (I have a friend named Becky too, so it was perfect) Aside from those moments of glory, having an hourglass figure wasn’t so fun when it came to clothes shopping and events that require swimsuits. I hated the fact that my friends could wear anything and look great, but I could never pull off whatever trend was popular at the time. I think gaucho pants were my only saving grace, but those were popular for like, two seconds.
Living on campus, I feared the “freshman 15” so I ate what I thought was healthy at the cafeteria, and stocked up on 100-calorie packs in my dorm room. A friend had convinced me to join the women’s rugby team, which ended up being my saving grace. Since my one and only semester of cheerleading in high school, I had never been part of a real team. The whole experience contributed to my most fond memories of college.
my mom and I at one of my rugby games, probably 2008
During that time I had also become extremely close with a girl in my suite, and we ended up rooming together for the next three years. Unfortunately, something changed in our friendship towards the end of junior year and she became a negative force in my life. I didn’t see it at first, and I thought her comments about my looks were just her being an honest friend. Eventually I realized she was putting me down to make herself feel better, and we stopped talking senior year. We lived with four other girls, and it turned into a nasty division of three against three. It was truly an awful time in my life, but during the last two weeks of college, I spent my time with friends who I should have spent more time with all along. I had a blast, and vowed to never let someone bring me down like that again.
After graduation, I was ready to move on, though I was still so hurt from someone who I thought would be my maid of honor someday. I spent a lot of time in North Carolina with DK during his last few months in the Marines, telling stories of all the drama that happened at school. He couldn’t understand why it was so difficult for me to forget about it. While he was at work, I applied to jobs online, watched movies all day, and ate. And ate…and ate. By the end of the summer, I still hadn’t found a job, but had finally gained that freshman 15…four years late.
Me on the left, at Country Fest, 15 pounds heavier
the “real” world
That fall, I finally landed a job. Having some structure helped me develop a routine of doing Jillian Michaels videos before work and making a healthy dinner when I got home. It was the year of workout videos and “Eat This, Not That” books, which really helped me choose the right foods. In 2012, I discovered Pinterest, and that opened up a whole new world of fitness. It led me to healthy living blogs, propelling me further into my newfound obsession.
Though this was all in the interest of losing weight and becoming a healthier person, I became extremely critical of myself. If I missed a workout, I’d feel lazy and worthless. If I dipped into the candy jar at work, I’d feel like a failure. My subconscious was constantly berating me on my “bad” behavior, and it was not until recently that I discovered I’d turned into that mean girl from college. I broke my vow and didn’t even realize it was me who was bringing me down inside.
So here I am, working on self-acceptance (2014 resolution!), sticking with my healthy habits, and blogging about it. I hope my stories provide insight to your own lives, and I encourage you to reach out to me with any comments or questions of your own.
The above story was written in the beginning of 2014. Now, it’s September, and I’m still trying to not be so hard on myself. I eat cheese. I eat carbs. I don’t do juice cleanses. My main goal is to just live my life and be happy.