Hello, blog readers!
Allow me to introduce myself in case you’re new. I’m a 30-something writer, marketer, and entrepreneur that lives in the lovely city of Louisville. It’s not a perfect city but with all things, I search for the best of it and choose to talk about that instead of the negatives.
From time to time I write about the sad topics but it’s never to dwell, merely a way to reflect to grow. As I referenced in a recent blog, if you’re not growing in life, you’re dying so I choose to grow.
With growth comes challenges and impact from everything we encounter.
I have Crohn’s Colitis. Yes, I’m one of the lucky ones that gets to have both. While it’s a challenge to my life and my state of being, I try to take it in stride with jokes about food and bathrooms instead of complaining about the two and many more topics that impact me because of my illness. One major challenge that impacts me is one for all to see, it’s my personal appearance.
I’m either “heroin chic” looking with a Kate Moss kinda vibe or I’m swollen and puffy and look more like a lost descendant of the Michelin man. Both are extremes and on the occasion I get to live in the middle and it’s a joyous experience to not have people tell me to “eat a burger” to gain some weight or to diet because I’m swollen and puffy. The one extreme comment that I’ve heard about being puffy was when a friend told me that I was fat in my mid-section and she proceeded to pinch that section to show me as if I wasn’t self-aware of it as it was.
I never thought of myself as overweight. I knew that I was swollen and it showed but I didn’t think I was “fat” nor needed to work out harder because I knew it was my body’s way of healing while I was on medication that I had to take.
Just as I’ve written about my vanity trait for loving my hair and how I lost so much of it with chemo and other medications I took to heal my body at that time that I still deal with to this day.
My stomach and my body are another thing that I still deal with and will always deal with since I have a disease that doesn’t have a cure. Remission is the best case scenario but even that is not definitive. But again, I choose to see the positive that I’m awarded each day. If I’m not in the bathroom or a hospital I think that is a great day. If I’m able to eat without getting sick, I think I’m lucky. If I get to live like “healthy” people do than it’s a wonderful day.
Not every day is great but not every day is bad either. It’s a balance and after a three-year battle of managing my symptoms and the mental effects the physical effects bring with it, I think I’m doing quite well.
With another vanity confession, I must own that I’m really hard on myself about my physical appearance. I hate looking sick but I hate looking bigger than sick because after all this time I’ve sized down my wardrobe to the sick size so if I go over that I take it as a default in appearance rather than a positive thing but that’s just the size of my clothing. I feel like I look better with fuller cheeks to go with my smile, a full appearance instead of gaunt, and not to sound terribly basic but to own that I like it when I actually have a little bit of a booty.
All is rose-colored until I step onto a scale then I hear that “friend” in my mind saying that I need to work on that area even though I know my stomach is swollen because I have a digestive disease. I’m not making an excuse for it but I know that it’s the truth whether I think that automatically compared to the times I actually hear that saying and agree with it.
Words can cut like a knife and if you allow yourself to hear them from others it’s going to take its toll upon you whether you want it to or not. It’s the reality of the situation. The one thing I’ve learned throughout the last three years is that I have to decide whom I let in my life because those people are going to impact me in ways that are below the surface. If they’re not mentally healthy, I can’t assume they’re going to treat me any better than the way they treat themselves.
There are so many images that flood the Internet on Tuesdays that typically carry the same narrative. It’s a before and after of when the person posting was overweight and how they look now. I’m not knocking those images at all. I actually applaud those people because it takes major guts to be able to be vulnerable. If they’re selling you something with the picture I’d maybe make sure their motives are to help you and be your friend without selling you something.
I was a Shakeology pusher for a hot minute but I paid for five people to do it with me so I wasn’t ever in it for the money, I was in it to help the people I thought were my friends. That topic can spiral into another so I’m gonna have to save that one for a later date.
To get back to the transformation before and after, make it a mental one. Make your transformation about self-love and learning to be comfortable in your own skin. You’re beautiful even when you don’t think you are. Make your transformation one into learning to love yourself even if you feel as though you need to make an adjustment here or there on your body or in life.
The only thing you can control is yourself and the things you let impact you. Make sure that you’re making changes because you want to. Listen to people’s words and actions more so you’ll be able to make educated decisions on whether they’re healthy for you. Just as you go on a diet and decide healthy foods, you have to be able to do the same for your mind and select healthy people to feed your mind and heart.
Healthy words in = Healthy words healing your mind.
Self-love practice = Loving yourself more and more with time.
In due time you’ll start to love yourself a little more and you’ll be a faster judge about who to let in your life and who to keep away. The words that you heard will hurt less and less as time goes on. It doesn’t mean the words and the feelings are erased, they’re simply a reminder of what friendship isn’t.
Remember this one thing: Friends won’t say unhealthy things to you that hurt you. Friendship is supposed to heal and lift you and if someone isn’t kind to you, you have to realize that they’re not a friend, they’re a foe. Wish them the best and choose love to light your path far away from them.
Photography by Anna May
Dress by Zimmermann
Shoes by Nine West
Hair by Rachel Young @ NOVA Salon
Self confidence by time, lessons, and lots of self-love.