My blog has been sitting here collecting dust because I don’t know who I am anymore.
Let me explain.
Just over two years ago, when I decided to try Whole30 to lose the weight I gained on antidepressants, I had no idea what I was in store for. Making positive, conscious choices about food had a major ripple effect, and I started making positive, conscious choices about my life. They snowballed, and today, I am a completely different person than I was in 2014.
Here are just a handful of things that are different:
Dinner in 2014: frozen pizza, takeout, or pasta.
Dinner today: I cook 98% of my own food, and grow a ton of it in my garden.
Medications in 2014: Lamictal, Lexapro, Prozac, Wellbutrin, Xanax.
Medications today: Zero. But if you need a turmeric hookup, I’m your girl.
Thoughts about natural health in 2014: WTF is gluten? Seems like a huge marketing scam. So obnoxious.
Thoughts about natural health today: Obsessed.
A good night in 2014: Going out to eat and drinking a bottle of wine on the couch.
A good night today: Cooking dinner at home and sipping LaCroix in the backyard.
Money consciousness in 2014: Eh, put it on the credit card.
Money consciousness today: I’m a budgeting freak and I have a goal to pay off all of our consumer debt by the end of this year.
Mindset in 2014: I am a victim of my terrible childhood and all of the shitty things that continually happen to me.
Mindset today: I am the only one who has the power to make my life awesome, and I’m hell-bent on doing so, even when it is hard. I am not a prisoner of my past.
I could go on (and on, and on), but you get the picture.
If this seems self-righteous, whatever — I am proud of all the incredibly hard work I’ve done. If I seem like a major control-freak who never has any fun, it’s actually the opposite. I have more freedom, more fun, and way more satisfaction now that my choices are deliberate.
But with this massive amount of growth, I’ve experienced massive growing pains:
- I am no longer fulfilled by my day job, but I’m not 100% sure of my next steps
- Many people in my life don’t get me anymore, and this makes me feel alone
- My environment doesn’t always support my values, and I often feel incredibly out of place
- I feel like I lead a double life: I have a nasty habit of hiding many parts of my “new” self to avoid ridicule (especially in “real life”)
Even with my healthier, more positive mindset, this day-to-day dissonance wears on me and makes me question myself. I am, most definitely, in “The Space Between Stories,” which Charles Eisenstein and Lissa Rankin write about beautifully:
“Many of us are in this space between stories right now, when you feel lost, ungrounded, dislocated, as if your roots have been pulled up and you’re not quite sure where to land. Everything you thought you knew — about yourself and the world — is now in question.”
I’ll admit it: There are some days when I look in the mirror, reflect on all my progress, and think, “Who the hell am I? How did all of this happen so fast? Why does change feel so difficult? What am I supposed to do now?”
My positive mindset is something that I have to actively cultivate and work on every single day, because it does not come naturally to me. To clarify, this is much different than the bottom-of-the-barrel depression and anxiety I used to experience. This is old-fashioned, existential noise — the bullshit that we all deal with, whether we’ve had “official” mental health diagnoses or not.
Like most people, I’ve spent the majority of my life believing the thoughts I started feeding myself as a kid: You are not good enough. People have bad intentions. Everyone always leaves. The world is not safe. Every day I untangle them and rewrite them, bit by bit.
These days, I feel more excited (and more confused) about my life than I ever have.
I have made tremendous progress, but stepping into what I feel is the true, unfiltered version of myself has been scary. And exhilarating. It’s taken all of my lady balls.
Here is the explanation for all of my recent silence: Lately, I’ve been falling into an old pattern — when I feel uncertain and I’m processing things, I get very, very quiet. Hence my pretty-much-ignored blog and social pages.
While we’re on that note — social media, and the Internet in general, has a way of exacerbating all of these issues for me. The image-crafting. The perfectly curated feeds of pretty plates and bright workout pants and green smoothies. Memes about hustling. Memes about not hustling. Highlight reels. Vacations. Tiny glimpses into peoples’ lives that probably represent 1/50th of their reality. And yet that’s all we see, so it feels like the full picture.
Wow, your life is so perfect. Must be nice to have everything figured out.
Note: My posts are highlight reels, too. In no way do I think I’m immune to any of this; I just think it’s something that people should talk about more, so that we don’t feel like losers for not being sponsored by REI to go on perpetual adventures all over the world (though, if that’s what you’re doing, high five. I’m only snarky ‘cause I’m jealous, duh).
Even though I know deep down that you never get the full picture on social media, my wormy little brain likes to convince me otherwise, leading to thoughts like this:
- Your life is unsexy and boring. You sit in a cubicle all day. You don’t have anything worth sharing.
- You shouldn’t work on a blog or a brand or try to help people until you’re absolutely sure of the direction you want to go in.
- How can you position yourself as a go-to resource for nutrition and mental health when you still struggle with sadness and self-doubt?
I could go on (and on, and on), but you get the picture.
Recently, within the last week or so, I’ve snapped out of this nasty funk and I have a new fire. I attribute a lot of it to the Post-Recovery Coaching work I am doing with Sarah Ramsden (if this post resonates with you, go check out her site, stat). I attribute some of it to the simple passage of time. I also attribute it to a renewed commitment to work on mindset every single day, and right now, that means listening to this audio book and this audio book over and over again during my commute.
But back to my silence. I’ve realized that my oldest, nastiest, gnarliest pattern is silencing my truth so that I won’t:
- be seen, ridiculed, or rejected
- make other people uncomfortable
- have to deal with the uncertainty of change
I do this in tiny ways and huge ways, all the time:
- I try not to make a fuss when I’m ordering at restaurants so that I don’t embarrass other people
- I sometimes go to church with my family, even though I am not religious, because I don’t want them to be uncomfortable
- I constantly feel the need to justify and explain my choices
- I keep my thoughts to myself (which is sometimes smart, but more often detrimental)
- I don’t publish blog ideas that I have in my head
And you know what?
THIS IS FUCKING BORING. THIS IS LAME. THIS FEELS LIKE SUFFOCATING. I’M DONE.
And on that note …
- Maybe the answer to all the fakeness is just putting myself out there and not being fake
- Maybe the way to gain clarity about who I am and what I want is to just figure it out as I go, messy as it may be
- Maybe the fact that I’m still struggling makes me more relatable than someone who “has it all figured out”
- Maybe the way to see more of what I want in the world is to BE more of what I want in the world
I don’t know exactly what direction I’m going in, but I’m tired of standing still.
The deeper I dive into nutrition and root-cause resolution, the more I realize it isn’t always about the food (and a lot of times, it’s not about the food at all). The title of the book that forever changed my life, It Starts with Food, is beginning to make sense in ways it never has.
I will always be devoted to quality, ethically sourced, nutrient-dense food. I will always be a nutrition nerd. I don’t think optimal health — mental or physical — is possible without optimal nutrition. That’s not changing.
But lately, my brain is going to different places, and considering more perspectives: the power of mindset, limiting negative beliefs, the mind-body connection, serendipity, spirituality, intuition, etc. The onion is peeling back, folks. If it makes you cry, please do yourself a favor and Unfollow Friday me. No hard feelings.
From now on, you can expect to hear a lot more from me. I don’t know exactly what direction this website — or my future — will take, but it’s not just going to sit here, dammit. I’m not going to sit here, either.
Thanks for sticking around. I love all of you.