I mean this in the non-Britney Spears way.
You have to say: Here’s what I want in my life. Here’s where I think I’m going. Here’s what I’m willing to do. Here’s what I know I won’t sacrifice, and here’s what I’m not sure about.
Then, you do what you can do, when you can do it, where you can do it.
Then, the rest is up to opportunities, choices, and, well…surprises.
So, I’m open.
I’m working hard, trying to appreciate life now, and trying to incorporate what I love here and now, while keeping in mind what I believe my goal is.
But I know the tricky, wry thing that is life well enough by now to know this: unexpected twists and turns are to be expected.
I have goals. I have gray area. I have obstacles. I have ambition, hope, gratitude, and passion. My ultimate goal, no matter what form, is wholeness and fulfillment.
And the rest, I will discover as it goes.
Today, I am reminded of the concept of phases.
Because I don’t, I forget that lots of people live on, and swear by, a timeline. “I should graduate from university by this age”; “I need to have this type of job by this time”; “I should be married by this age”; “I should have a home by this age”; “my priorities should be this” and the list goes on.
News Flash: This timeline is full of bullshit. It’s completely made up!
I don’t mean it in a hateful way. If you live by this kind of timeline, and it works for you, okie dokie. Keep on keepin’ on, my friend!
I mean it in the “you are way more free than you think you are” kind of way.
But I feel like this external notion of what “should be” just doesn’t work for most people. And I think it can keep people living in fear, and away from personal reflection.
We all learn things at different times in life. A lesson I learned in high school may be a lesson a peer of mine will learn in her forties. Perhaps I’ll have an insight tomorrow that a friend of mine had yesterday. The lesson does not increase in value in direct proportion to how soon you learned it. Catch my drift?
I’ve noticed, and you probably have too, that people tend to live their lives like it’s a competition. Here’s what it looks like: You have your goals in mind, you know where you stand in comparison to everyone else, you know where you lack and where you want to be. ALL OF THE TIME.
It’s sounds harmless. Sometimes, it even sounds like self-help. But it’s not. It’s consuming and unfulfilling. You get what you think you want…then what? Was it what you really wanted? What DO you really want?
Now. Back to the concept of phases.
I want to propose that people take on their lives in phases. Get in touch with what you think, feel, know, like, want, etc. in this phase. Go with the flow in it. Don’t try to figure out how the rest of it should pan out, or if the phase you are in now is going to take you to that magical successful place. Then, when it’s time to move on to a new phase, you’ll know.
And that phase will have value, and the next one will. And it will look different than your neighbor’s/coworkers/lovers/role models/parents/yougetthepoint.
Get in touch with yourself, man. Stop looking at other people’s answers and work on your own test.
Food is always an excellent metaphor for life, and right now my brain is whirring and I need a reminder.
There are many things I want to do in my life. I am hungry to live fully, to travel, to learn, and to create.
I have a fantasy novel in my head that I’m writing, and I’m choosing to focus on that right now. I’m also working a full time job, have a regular volunteer gig, and am making space for gym time and taking care of my kitten.
But I also have a book on recovery in my head, and spoken word poetry about my experiences that I want to perform. There are YouTube videos on recovery, feminism, LGBTQ activism, and silliness that I could make. There’s community theater that I could do. I’d like to be in a relationship eventually, and that takes time and space, too.
There are dance classes that I could take, and eventually dance classes that I could teach. I would love to help women feel comfortable in their bodies and perform with my dance.
There is always the possibility of University lingering in the back of my mind, as well.
All of these things are perfectly good ways to spend one’s time. But I can’t possibly do everything in this single phase. I’m sitting here, at nearly four in the morning, in a sweat because I’m overwhelmed by my thoughts.
So what do I do?
I breathe. I turn the AC up. I get some water.
Then I remind myself of this:
I am eating a meal right now. The main course of this meal is my job, my volunteer work, and my fantasy novel. These things are important to me, and I am learning from them. I will taste, enjoy and savor this meal. And I will allow myself to trust that another meal will come. At some point, I’ll be finished with this one, and eat something different. I’ll get nourishment from both.
I am breathing, and remembering that I’m doing good work here. Though there are many things I hope to do in my life, I won’t be able to do any of them if I can’t be present and enjoy and appreciate the value of what I’m doing right now.
Tonight, I am making sure I’ve tagged myself in some shots that show my body while I was on vacation. Is it because I think I look AMAZING? Nope. It’s because I am no longer caught in my destructive cycle of an eating disorder. Do I struggle with my body image still? Sure. Of course I do, sometimes. Other times, I think “oh hot damn!” when I look in the mirror. I ruminate over my image still, and feel insecure or judged. But I’ve done a lot of work and continue to do a lot of work to reach my healthy ideal-internally and externally. I’ve let go *a lot* of worrying about what that looks like, but it still concerns me from time to time. I am no longer stick thin. I don’t look as good in pictures as I do when I look in the mirror, in my opinion. I sometimes fear judgment from other people, who may not know my story. But I also am free, creative, emotional, adventurous, inquisitive, growing, learning, and have recovered a long, long way. My body will change or it won’t as I continue to grow. I am constantly seeking more balance and a healthier approach, and sometimes I forget to honor how far I’ve come. But I will not hide myself from being seen in photos, fearing that someone may misunderstand my shape. Whether I have short red hair, long red hair, am skinny or am curvy, I am beautiful. But more so than beautiful, I am alive. I have a voice. I have meaningful connections. I have goals that I am pursuing. I am getting to know *my* body and honor it. I don’t just talk the talk, I am walking. I am not a Hollywood silhouette anymore. But I am not a failure, or someone who has “let herself go.” I am a story of triumph. And my story is not finished.
See Post #eating disorder recovery #fanny packs! #body image #me #gpoy #wizarding world of harry potter #Bulimia recovery #anorexia recovery #queer #feminism #feminist #body #health #balance #life #self image #self discovery