I would like to say that it doesn’t matter what people think but, I spend my whole life striving for the approval of others. I would like to say, that being unique is beautiful but, I spend my whole life trying to look like someone on the cover of a magazine. I would like to say I’m happy and that my life is easy, but it’s not. I’m not. This is my story why that is ok.
It’s no surprise that I’m overweight and even considered medically obese. It’s been a struggle since I was 12 years old and I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I could work out endlessly and stick to a cracker a day and still somehow gain weight.. Not muscle but fat. It’s contributed to other health concerns like acne, Acanthosis Nigricans, Pre-Diabetes, Pancreatitis, High Blood Pressure and so on. As a child I had asthma and as an adult, I have been diagnosed with OCD, Anxiety and Depression. My appendix had to be removed. You can only imagine what this does to self image. My own body rejects me.
Early on in elementary school I was bullied. I mean severely bullied. I dealt with thoughts of suicide because of it. How could a child even know what suicide is.. Somehow I did.
My own grandparents on my father’s side never even cared enough to know me as an infant, as a child or as an adult. I dealt with rejection in the family.
School never came easy for me. Even if I got straight As it was because my mother spent all her money on tutors and all her time at the dinner table with textbooks open. School was hard. I had to fight for each grade I got. I failed grade 1 due to illnesses. I failed courses through high school which almost saw me get kicked out of the arts program. I dealt with rejection by the school.
By the time I got into university, our family home burned down. I was literally rejected by my own home. My mother died. My best friend and my everything – gone. I had to deal with rejection in a scary world without her!
Over time, people grow apart. We join organizations and leave organizations. We gain friends and loose friends. There are some people who I thought I could be totally safe with. I spilled all my vulnerabilities on to them. I let them see me inside and out and I held back no secrets. This is a dangerous thing to do. It’s these people who have hurt me the most. Rejected me the most. Judged me the most.
Why is this all ok? Because this is how we grow. This is how we learn. This is how we are supposed to live.
I started writing this several days back when I was feeling a heavy heart and emotionally weak. I wasn’t sure why it was ok to feel the way I felt. I just knew that in a couple days I would feel better.
What did it take? It took strength. It took bravery. What does that look like? Bravery for me is leaving the house on a day when the blue skies seemed grey.
Bravery is knowing that when friends cancel plans, it’s not a personal attack. Bravery is approaching someone with what has been coming between your relationship and not just gossiping about it with others. Bravery is knowing that when you talk about your feelings with someone else, it may potentially lead to a resolution and it potentially may not.
Bravery is knowing that not everyone will like you, and that’s ok. Bravery is knowing that having lots of friends is great but having few great friends is greater.
It’s hard to cut people out of our lives. It’s hard to invest in someone and see them walk away.
It’s important to see that your investment is not gone. It will have always made an impact.
If it’s an ex boyfriend, a friend you don’t speak to anymore or a family member who is no longer around.. Know that you made an impact. Know that nothing can take away the good times you had. Know that there are lessons to be learned in every relationship. Above all, know that even if you don’t speak anymore, or of things aren’t the same, it’s ok to still love that person. It’s ok to forgive yourself and it’s ok to forgive them.
Know that forgiveness is important for healing. Know that it’s ok to not forgive right away. You’re human. You’re aloud to grieve. You’re allowed to have feelings.
Know that if you don’t feel brave enough to step outside on a grey day, maybe the next day, the skies might seem less ominous.
Time is important. Time might not heal wounds contrary to popular belief. Time has the power to to create bigger wounds. Time can create greater distances. Time can also give you what it takes to learn from the things that have grieved us.
A couple days ago.. The world was heavy. A couple days ago, my heart was bursting. A couple days ago, bitter tears stained my cheeks. Maybe there has been no resolution to the hurt that I faced. But, somehow I knew that in a couple days, things will just make more sense.
Again today, I felt let down. Again today, my anxiety got the best of me. I stopped. I let my head rewind itself to a time when I felt happy. I reminded myself that I was loved. I reminded myself that beauty doesn’t have to resemble a magazine cover. It doesn’t look like Hollywood’s latest and greatest celebrity. Even though I can strive every day to be those people, I never will be.
I’m learning lessons everyday that it is ok to be who I am. The people who don’t like that, aren’t meant to be in my life. It doesn’t make them a good or bad person. It just makes them meant for someone else. I’m learning lessons everyday about who I am.
Today, I’m learning that I am not my mental illness. Mental illness doesn’t define who I am. Anxiety is a symptom I get. Depression is a feeling I have. My obsessive compulsive rituals are things I do. It’s hard. Life is hard. I’m working on these. I’m working on my health. I’m working on me.
So today, this glorious Victoria Day in Canada is a reminder to me that life is for the living. Life is to be celebrated. Life is to be fulfilled.
Today, I am stepping outside my house. I’m looking up at that big grey sky and when the rain pours down on me, I’m going to dance in it. I’m going to sing in it. I’m going to thank myself for being the best me that I can be! It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be ok.