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The Journey From Dying Inside to Coming Fully Alive

It was one of those mornings. Laying in bed affirming, "I love my body. I love my body."

And that's when it came to me...

"My body loves me."

A simple shift in perspective and yet, it felt so profound. Maybe I need to focus less on trying to love my body and more on allowing my body to love me. Whoa.

This body was meant for me. It was made for me. That's why I came here in it. If I was meant to have a different body...if you were meant to have a different body...then we would be here in different bodies.

That simple.

I've struggled with loving my body my entire life. From as young as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories begin around seven or eight years old, that age when many kids begin to get that pre-pubescent roundness. Family members would jest, mean kids would be mean, and those words and jokes formed the core of my body shame.

My entire teen years, I hated my body. I was ashamed of it. I thought I was fat and unattractive. I was neither of those things, but I didn't believe it or know it then. If only I did. How much would that have changed my 20's and 30's? But that wasn't my path.

The self-loathing continued into my 20's. I didn't love my body and therefore, I didn't care for my body. My hormones changed. My lifestyle changed. The stress of my choices began to mount. And my weight began to climb.

By the time I was into my 30's and about to learn I was pregnant with my second child, I was the unhealthiest and unhappiest I had ever been in my life. I was extremely overweight and I honestly hated myself.

The birth of my second child triggered what would become my own rebirth. My life began to unravel. When my son was only six weeks old, I became incredibly sick, needed emergency surgery, spent a week in the hospital, and then fought an antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection for a year or more after.

While going through all that, my father-in-law had lost his battle with a rare infection, our home was full of grief, sadness, and anger, and our marriage was completely falling apart.

I cried myself to sleep every night. I begged for answers, for resolution, for guidance, but I was scared to follow my heart to where it wanted to lead me.

I sought out a healer. I wanted her to tell me to hang in there, that everything was going to be alright. She certainly did not do that. I will never forget those life-changing words. With deep love and compassion, she looked into my eyes like no one ever had before and said,

"You're dying inside."

Those words changed my life. I was pretending like everything was fine and the people in my life were reflecting it back to me. She was the first person to reflect my inner truth.

As I left that session forever changed and knowing in my core exactly what I needed to do, I cried for three days. The walls broke and everything I was holding on to came pouring out and there was no way any of it was ever going back in.

My marriage ended. Then my job ended. Eventually my career ended. And one by one, my toxic habits, cycles, and patterns ended. It turned out that I didn't know who I was anymore, and I didn't know what I wanted. But I knew who I wasn't and what I didn't want and that kept me moving forward. I committed to finding out, I rolled up my sleeves, and I waded through the darkest and murkiest of places.

I transformed from the inside out. Over the course of those eight years, I became a different person. I became me. And this peculiar thing happened.

As I unraveled emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, I began to change physically. The more I healed on the inside, the more my body transformed on the outside. I always knew there was a connection between the energetic and physical, but this reinforced it for me at a new level.

From that moment where I was at my unhealthiest to now, I've lost over 100 pounds. I've felt better than I ever remember. And although I have turned the corner with self-love in ways I never imagined possible, there are days that don't come easy.

Those body shame demons can flare up quickly. I'm quick to catch myself when I'm looking in the mirror feeling too big, too soft, too jiggly, and so on and so on. When I'm not at the weight I want to be because I just want to eat some damn pasta, or I'm exhausted from working and home schooling and make excuses not to get outside and exercise.

Or when I look at beautiful women working to break cultural "norms" on Instagram only to see comments shaming the "normalization of obesity." I realized that my body demons extend so much further than my own personal experiences. What a world we have created, especially for women, around femininity, beauty, and health. It's sad, even infuriating at times, and it runs deep.

Body shame and self-disdain is cultural and generational. We can certainly work on it alone, and all change begins on the inside, but we also have to work on it together. We have to do better. We owe it to ourselves and all the other women who will walk after us.

It's not my job to decide if you're too big, too small, too whatever, for your own skin. Nor is it your job to decide for me. But it is my job to see your beauty and to love, support, and cheerlead you. And why is that my job? Not because i chose a career in wellness. No, because I'm here, a human with a heart, and feel that we all need to start working a hell of a lot harder to break harmful norms.

To me, that's the healthiest thing we can do for each other.

I see you, I hear you, I love you, and I'll always hold space for you whether your belly jiggles when you laugh and your thighs bulge when you sit down, or your bones stick out and your skinny waist won't hold your pants up, or when you walk through the door, I think, "Damn, I wish I looked like her."

Let's face our shame together and lay it to rest. Let's rise together and keep elevating the world with authentic love and beauty.

I'm never going to tell you, "If I can lose 100 pounds, so can you." But I will tell you that if I can find my light to shine out into the world, so can you. This I believe in my heart to be true.

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