I am not going to claim that I have it all together. I am not going to claim that my life is balanced and wonderful 100% of the time. I am only a young woman who experienced things as a girl that made it harder for me to find joy. As I reflect back on the moments that have shaped me, I am able to accept them as part of my story. Coupled with the tools and personal insight I have gained over the last five years, I look forward to writing the next chapters while creating a balanced life.
I believe my story and what I have learned throughout my journey has value and I want to share it with you. Whether you relate personally to my struggles and triumphs or we are kindred spirits when it comes to accepting our past, finding mindfulness, or cultivating joy through living authentically, I hope we walk away from this little corner of the internet understanding that we aren’t so different after all.
From the age of six and into my early 20’s, I struggled with body image. Coming from a conservative background and being brought up in a Montessori school until seventh grade, I wasn’t taught how my body would change and grow. I felt like I was an outsider looking in at a stranger every time I saw my body in the mirror. Was this normal? Was I normal? With every red and painful blemish that dotted my sensitive forehead, I thought to myself “You are dirty. You don’t wash your face enough”. At six body dysmorphia crept upon me like a budding new friendship, making herself known as I stared at myself in the mirror in a faux-silk tap dance costume. The dress’ painful seams dug into the flesh around my thighs and the sleeves were two inches too short. Instead of thinking “This is not my size”, I thought “I am fat and that is bad”.
The struggle to know and love myself remained as I battled an eating disorder from 16 into my early twenties. I was so consumed with eating and not eating that I didn’t notice the loneliness that sat beside me every day throughout those formative years. I isolated myself after feeling the sting of rejection that most girls will face in middle school. I welcomed loneliness as a companion for my eating disorder. When I didn’t feel the slight melancholy feel of my old friend, I felt raw, exposed, and scared. Depression and anxiety came to join the party but I wouldn’t know it until I was 24 and was able to look back on my life without judgement.
I know what you might be thinking, why is this woman who clearly struggled to love herself through crucial formative years, now only a few years later thinking she can dish advice about living a balanced life? I will tell you…
I have spent the last five years fighting for myself. In those five years, I have been able to heal from my ED through the help of therapy and a great doctor. I have accepted that anxiety is part of my journey and have stopped wrestling with the idea of trying to rid myself of it. I have developed my self-awareness – that has been a great gift to me – so that I can catch destructive behaviors or thinking errors before I am caught in a downward spiral (which can mean a variety of things).
I have made it a distinct mission to cultivate self-love through acknowledging my inherit value. Through mindfulness practice, occasional yoga and meditation, uplifting literature, creativity, and the thirst for a successful life, I have made my life more durable, more loving, more kind, more compassionate, more full, more empathetic, all of which leads to more joy.
This “series” of posts will be called “The Balanced Life” and will be separated into four basic categories: Mental, Physical, Spiritual, and Intellectual. There will be multiple posts under each category that will contain my personal experiences, the tools I find helpful, and literature that I find inspiring.
Along with this series, I will be posting reviews of my favorite books that have helped form these ideas and inspired change or creativity within me. They will be in separate posts titled “Book Club”. On the side bar of this page, you should see a widget from Good Reads that is hosting a few examples of what’s on my bookshelf currently. Feel free to browse my Good Reads profile for books I recommend. I will try to get around updating it ASAP, as of right now, there are still a few great books on there that I give 5 stars!
Have a wonderful week,