I was in a job that I categorically hated. I had a boss that wrote the book on nanomanagement. I had to report to her multiple times a day to let her know when I left my desk for a nature break or lunch (these are basic human functions, by the way). This person had an uncanny way of making me feel like I was worth about as much as a chewed-up piece of gum that some underpaid & generally disgruntled city worker has to scrape off the street with nothing but a rusty old putty knife.
One day, while I was en route to work, I began brainstorming an elaborate plan to break my dominant arm just so I couldn't go to work. Could I stand the pain? How would I replace my income? I did have a decent short-term disability plan.
After a hellish morning, I decided to grab some lunch. Thank the stars it was a nice day out; the sunshine felt like a warm & reassuring hug from the Universe to let me know it's all OK. There's something about sunshine and a blue sky that makes everything all better. I came across a food truck with an enticing offer - a decent amount of food for about $7 plus a drink. Sweet candy! I love food trucks - those people can cook like nobody's business.
That food was so incredibly comforting. It filled me up (quite literally - I didn't eat anything for the rest of the day) but I also felt safe; like my full belly was some kind of Star Trek-type shield from the unpleasantries of the day. That was just the beginning. Anytime I had a bad day at work, I ate. I started to amend my grocery budget so I could eat out more often. I went on a culinary joyride around the world - Chinese, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese... on particularly crummy days I'd go for a bucket of fried chicken - no sides, just chicken. I adore chocolate cake so after downing my latest binge I'd finish it off with chocolate fudge cake.
I tried working out. I'd do this dancefit class on Wednesday nights only because it was my way of making my Electric Circus dream come true. After I worked out, I'd eat. Eating was my drug of choice. I became obsessed with food. On Saturday mornings, I'd watch cooking shows for hours on end. Anytime something went wrong in my life, I'd eat to compress that icky feeling.
Ever so slowly, I started to gain weight. I'd notice it but I'd dismiss it - after all, being curvy is the way to be! I wasn't in the headspace to notice what I was doing to myself, so I just kept eating. I gained over 100 pounds eating this way. I hated myself. I couldn't look at my own reflection; I started retreating from everyone and everything. Even after I left that horrible job, it didn't stop there. I had a ton of food sensitivities. My skin looked like a deluxe game-day pizza pie. I was at my lowest and didn't care enough about myself to make better choices for myself. I struggled with my weight for almost a decade.
Now that I've had a child, it took being rushed to the hospital with an inflamed pancreas for me to wake up. I looked around me and saw a crumbling life - it was in ruins all around me. I let food blind me to my actions - even going so far as to marrying the wrong person. I can honestly say my son was the one who helped me make better choices for myself. I started exercising again - walking, specifically. Walking was the one thing that helped me lose all that weight, which, interestingly enough, was all emotional weight. For me, blue skies & sunshine were my healing tools.
I had to learn how to love myself. It's not a one and done thing - it's an ongoing process. There's no measure to how much I love my son. Loving myself is the same thing. As I began to even just like myself, my health became a top priority. So I broke up with food. I said goodbye to the mindless binges. Over time, my food sensitivities disappeared. I lost all that weight and more than anything else, I just enjoy food. I don't associate guilt or fear with food anymore. I just eat because I love the taste. If I am feeling fear, I get still or use EFT (aka tapping) to go into the feeling. I learned not to immediately get rid of fear; instead I go into the feeling and find the lesson in it.
Sure, I enjoy a massive burger with the works from time to time. Yet it's the relationship that I have with myself that is the most important. Love yourself first
One of my clients recently admitted to me that even though she'd found her calling and left the corporate world behind, she didn't have any goals or dreams for her new venture.
I was unquestionably floored yet not entirely surprised as this was something I'd only just recently began to explore for my own Self. My client, through years of subconscious programming, learned to never aim for anything but middle ground.
Ooh, that was powerful. I know that feeling firsthand because as a child, I was constantly told that I would only ever get a job cleaning toilets because I was female and black. I never listened to that jazz because even back then, my gut told me there's gotta be more to life than that.
Woman, do you allow yourself to dream? It's one thing to dream of a different circumstance; i.e. 'please help me pay the rent this month' or 'please make those awful people at work leave me alone for just 5 minutes'. If your dreams are only those things, let me ask you this - if those "dreams" came true, then what? What happens next? You paid the rent - then what? Those work colleagues left you alone for 6 whole minutes - what happens now?
Dreaming like this means we keep ourselves small and confined. Your life isn't something that's only restricted to a bread-box-sized space. Take up space, woman! The Universe is INFINITE! Infinite means no beginning and no end. In other words, dream big, oversized, crazy-talk-but-who-cares dreams!
Yeah, I know - you're thinking, "Althea, everyone talks about dreams but I can't make them happen." Wrong, missy! You CAN. You've got everything inside yourself to make big stinking changes in your life. You ARE enough. Love yourself enough to listen to your Self. You know it's time for change yet the excuses keep piling up like dust bunnies under your bed.
Write down in your journal your biggest dreams. Don't. Hold. Back. How did that feel for you?
I like to think I'm an organized person. My home is relatively neat, tidy and clean (save the times when my little peanut has playtime; then it looks like a toy store threw up in my living room). I fold my clothes and put them away and I'm freakish about folding bath towels.
Yet in other areas of my life, I was a mess. I like to write things down but I've got WAY too many random notebooks with about 3 pages of notes in them. Sticky notes, while do serve a noble purpose, are the worst. They end up as confetti in the laundry because that flash of brilliance that I just had to capture on paper somehow got lost in the shuffle. (Clearly, there's a lot of shufflin' goin' on.) How could I be so freakish about folding bath towels but not about brilliant ideas from the Universe that could completely change my life??
Every so often, I go through my home and purge what I don't need. People, we don't need as much as we think we do despite the umpteen bazillion messages we get daily about the latest green smoothie, car, mobile phone, shirt, app.. you get the idea. I donate all my old clothes to charity. (Check out my Pinterest board "Thrift Shop" - you'll wanna pop some tags!)
What needs to come together in your life, woman? Think about 1 area of your life that you could organize that'll make a huge difference to your quality of life. Post in the comments below what that is and what steps you're going to take to make it happen!
There's a lot of love in the air in February - plus a ton of chocolate on sale. I say buy what you can and enjoy. Ain't nothin' wrong with those massive imported Cadbury bars. Excuse me while I get me some!
I used to call Valentine's Day "Singles' Awareness Day". My girlfiends and I would take ourselves out to dinner and just celebrate being our fabulous selves. Sure, the unbelievably overwhelming pressure to be in some sort of relationship is still out there but let me ask you this, woman - what about YOU?
Yes, you. Do you love yourself? Think about this for a minute. How much do you love yourself? It's not an easy thing to digest - like Brussels sprouts. This time of year is all about love yet I want to throw this out there - let's make February about loving yourself.
I challenge you, for the entire month of February, to focus on loving yourself. Self-love is, honestly, about how you view yourself. When you talk about yourself, what do you say? Are you hard on yourself? Would you say the things about yourself to your best friend, partner or child? Take some time to journal about how you feel about yourself.
On this self-love journey, I'm asking you to do something crazy for yourself. DISCLAIMER: I'm not responsible if you choose to do something that will do harm to yourself or others - that's clearly not self-love. What have you always wanted to do for yourself but never done? For me, it's a spa day - not just 1 treatment but the full Monty. Maybe you've always wanted a tattoo but never got the courage to do it. Maybe you're still playing chicken with signing up for that cooking class. Or maybe you're jonesing to leave your job but you just can't do it for an infinite number of seemingly 'valid' reasons... either way, share in the comments below what you're going to do for yourself this month!