My Not-So-Private-Anymore Journey Towards Self-Acceptance

#2I’m overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with the comments, emails and texts from friends and strangers alike about my last blog. The outpouring, while unexpected, was both comforting and terrifying.

“You just literally wrote every word inside my head and heart. No joke. I could go into some long explanation but as you know, it’s not needed because those feelings you describe said it all.”

“Ellen, I soooo get you! I’ve had the same struggle most of my adult life and I’m 60 now.”

“Have you been reading my journal? I’m a guy and reading that was like looking in the mirror. I appreciate you. Thanks.”

“You are sooo my hero! You’re not the only one! I feel the exact same!”

A hero?! Wow. Some have put me on an undeserved pedestal. I don’t claim to be an inspiration because I haven’t achieved anything to be inspirational. (At least not yet.) Realizing now that many struggle the way I do, I’ve chosen to continue my journey publicly.

Selfishly I write because expressing my struggles releases the stress that consumes me. I write for me just like I’m losing weight…for me. I don’t write to inspire. I don’t write to get attention. I write solely to get the negative thoughts, the toxins, out of my body. A mental detox to work alongside the physical one if you will. If others can take something positive from my experience then I welcome you inside my crazy, scared, and hopeful mind.

It’s time for a new beginning. I started fresh. A clean slate. There was no judgement. No judgement at all in having to start over. There was, however, encouragement and understanding. With Anne’s help, we set up a new plan. We even took pictures.

That morning I had woken up early and took extra time to do my make-up and dressed myself in an outfit that I felt really good in. I find if I feel comfortable on the outside, the inside follows suit. But if I was feeling confident then why was I afraid to have my picture taken? These are going to be my “before” photos but the reality is that they’re my “right now” pictures. It’s a mind trip knowing that I thought I looked great but in a few months, I’ll shake my head and think, “Why’d I ever let myself get like that?”

I promise to share those photos. I just can’t do it yet. Hell. I can’t even look at them myself let alone show them to anyone.

Recently I went on a hike with a great gal pal. While she’s in shape, she also works hard to keep a healthy lifestyle. As we hiked I found myself quickly getting out of breath. Thank God I brought Charlie, my dog, with me. He had to pee every few steps which gave me the perfect excuse to stop and catch my breath. A piece of me was embarrassed then I remembered that I wasn’t going to be like this forever. This was the hardest it was ever going to get. As we walked and talked I realized, I’d been thinking seriously about losing weight for four years. I could have lost that weight FOUR times since then if only I would have stopped thinking and started doing! Talk about a kick in the proverbial nuts.

In a perfect world what would my idea be of optimal health? I can list quite a few things off the top of my head. No more back fat! Not feeling insecure about my stomach when I sit down. And not feeling like my ass jiggles 30 seconds after I stop walking. More importantly, it’s about living the life I’ve dreamed about.

We’re all so consumed about being selfless. What’s wrong with being selfish? I wrote my blog selfishly hoping that it would make me feel better. The impact was more profound. Bigger than me. (No pun intended.) It brought many different types of people together in the common struggle of self image. Women, men, young, and old, we’re not alone. “If you’re not happy with yourself, how will anyone around you be happy?” I think I’m starting to understand what they mean.

Here’s where I try to convince even myself…

This journey is about making yourself happy. The only way to be happy a week, a month, a year from now is to simply start today. Be happy with one day. Go to bed tonight knowing you accomplished one day because that’s all it takes to start! Just one day.