I had the realization last night that is the first summer of my life since I was in 5th grade that I have worn a tank top out in public.
I hadn’t even realized how significant it was to me…until it hit me.
I had started wearing tank tops to hot yoga (to be as naked as physically possible in the hot yoga room) and became absolutely unbothered by the dangly skin flaps hanging on my arms that used to stop me in my tracks, because I was proud of the muscles (that I have been been building for years!) that have finally started emerging and showing up to the party.
In fact, there have been a lot of firsts for me this summer.
There have also been a lot of hard stops and pivots.
Scenarios where I would have hemmed and hawed, and over-analyzed every detail to death before…have instead become opportunities presenting themselves to me. Instead of seeing them as a failure, or a personal attack as I would have before.
I feel these changes slowly taking root.
Instead of painfully second guessing myself and over thinking most things…I am finding myself just simply trusting my guts and intuition.
Standing firmly in my decisions.
Having my my own back.
And, instead of hiding out and folding myself up…I am staying in the discomfort of what Brenè Brown calls a “vulnerability hangover” until the knot in my stomach passes…and I can keep going.
She describes this feeling in her book, “Daring Greatly” as when you put your true, most authentic, real and raw self out in the world…and immediately want to recoil and take it all back because it feels too naked.
I feel this way every time I post a progress picture or a blog post. I immediately start running through all the different ways in which my message and intentions could possibly be misconstrued. Then I have to walk myself through what my real motives are, and how the new version of myself cannot care if people like me, or accept me, or think I’m “being thirsty”.
Especially NOW, that I am gaining my baby sea legs as a coach and personal trainer…sharing my progress and passion HAS to be part of my JOB so that people can know my heart and story.
It can feel exhausting sometimes though, doing the WORK.
Taking time for intentional personal inventory, and having to admit to myself where I am phoning it in, lying to myself, avoiding, numbing or sabotaging.
Having to eat shit and admit when I’m in my ego and when I am acting out of fear…and making the changes I know I need to make to keep moving further away from these habits and beliefs that don’t serve me.
Constantly having to talk myself into a headspace where I’m living purely and unapologetically for what is best for me, my family, and our future…and not for others suggestions, or expectations of where I should be, or where I’m going…like I have been doing my whole life.
It’s so easy to look at all of my progress pictures and fitness stuff that I post and judge that maybe I AM just thirsty and seeking validation…and maybe I am?!
Maybe we all are, to a certain extent, if we’re being honest?
We all so deeply want to be SEEN and HEARD…and understood.
Truth is, if you’ve been following me for awhile and are my actual friend in real life, you know that I’m a broken record when it comes to this stuff…because it has become my life’s passion.
I don’t really post progress pics and updates so much for my friends and family anymore, as much as it’s for MYSELF!
Mile markers of how far I’ve come so that I can’t convince myself there has been no change. And, for new people who are following me and getting to know me.
To be honest, I feel like I’m re-introducing myself to myself on a regular basis!
And, sometimes when we’re introducing ourselves we have to recall our history, accomplishments and struggles so that we can see what we’ve overcome and the lessons we’ve learned that have made us proud of who we are right NOW.
The skin I’m in today is not the same skin I was in last week, or last year…or 10 years ago.
My heart is not the same…I am less needy and fearful of abandonment because I know now that I am NEVER alone when I am at home within myself.
My heart has grown strong and steady; beating to the drum of what is best for me, and full of gratitude for all the blessings I have in life that could vanish and change at any moment.
My faith is not the same.
My marriage is not the same.
The way I parent is not the same.
The way I offer myself and my heart to friends and family is not the same.
My daily routines, practices and rituals are not the same.
My body is definitely not the same!
Im out here in these tank tops, and I’m not mad about it.
I have changed.
And what an incredible accomplishment is that?!
That I did not remain in fear, doubt and uncertainty?
That I did not remain in self-loathing and misery?
That I did not continue to repeat toxic cycles of pain?
I did not remain in a posture of believing what other people told me to believe about my life, my abilities, and my beliefs.
I did not continue abandoning myself and sacrificing my own confidence and comfort so that other people could avoid being uncomfortable, inconvenienced, or feel threatened and less than.
And if I’m wrong, I get to be fully wrong and fully responsible for it, respectfully.
That is a new found FREEDOM I am privileged to enjoy now because of all that I have worked through.
I have this tradition each New Year.
I choose a word of intention that I feel resonates with where I’d like my focus to be with a fresh new year and clean start spread out before me.
“Freedom” was the word of intention I chose for the year of 2020, and freedom is what I eventually achieved.
But it’s NEVER in the way you imagine it on January 1st.
It came through loss and grieving.
Humility and humble pie.
It came through having to start AGAIN, from ground zero, and find my way back to myself…my TRUE self, once more.
The word of intention I chose for 2021 was “immerse”.
I romantically imagined myself sinking deeply into my inner world, writing intimate poetry and having epic spiritual revelations and insights.
I imagined some sort of “Oprah Winfrey-super-soul-best-life-daydream” where I would emerge at the end of this year as my most wise, calm, confident and authentic self.
It would feel a lot like hot coffee on the couch with my dogs and blankets, gazing upon a sunrise after the most satisfying journaling and meditation.
I would IMMERSE myself within the depths of my inner world, and emerge victorious.
How it’s ACTUALLY going is looking a little different than how I’d originally imagined…
It has been a DEATH.
Baptism and re-birth.
According to the dictionary, to “immerse” means:
In the christian faith, when one enters the waters of baptism, they’re proclaiming the gospel message that Jesus died for the sins of humanity, was buried, rose from the grave and lives again.
By joining in baptism, one is identifying themselves with Him and his resurrection.
In the Bible, Romans 6:4 says those whom are immersed in the water have been buried with Him through baptism, into death, and thus dead to the powers of sin.
Being raised up out of the water expresses new life and union with God.
I was baptized in this same way when I was 19 years old and just embarking on my faith and life journey…not knowing all that life would have in store for me.
I am now 39 years old, and find myself again…IMMERSING.
Dying to my old self.
Emerging brand new.
This is a eulogy.
The version of myself that I was (that most of you knew) does not exist anymore.
I am so grateful for her, and how hard she fought to get me here. And I know who I am now will continue to lead me and someday introduce me…to future me.
I can look back on my life so far and see and survey all the ways in which I’ve changed…in the absolute best ways, and in some very hard and difficult ways too…and I can call it ALL good.
Nothing is wasted.
“Not in grief she is no more’ but in thankfulness that she was.” –Hebrew Proverb