Friday, January 16, 2015

When life hands you lemons, draw smiley faces on them and start juggling!

I have had several lemon-inspired titles on this blog before, so I decided it was time to come up with one of my own. I'm pretty into it. I kept getting ideas for this post last night, and weirdly, instead of writing them down on a notepad like a normal human being, I scribbled them all over my bathroom mirror in dry erase marker. And this was in the dark, so many of my ideas were barely legible and I had to decipher them this morning. I often leave myself reminders on my mirror, but sometimes I need to be a bit more descriptive. For example, the other day I saw that I had written "Clothes!!" and I was left thinking, "What does it mean?!?" and also wondering if it was something really important or not. But I digress.

Ah January, so we meet again. Not my favorite month, as I explained last year in this previous post. Four years ago this month, my life changed in a pretty traumatic way. It was the darkest period of my whole life and it has taken a long time for me to heal from it. Heck, I'm still healing from it. In the Lifetime movie version of my life (where I would be portrayed by Kristen Bell because a) I like her and b) she already has the right name), I would fearlessly face down my obstacles and demons from day 1 and rise like a phoenix from the ashes to inspire all who know me. I would also probably hate men, as all Lifetime movie characters do. But in real life, while I did face down many obstacles and demons, I coped with them by eating for about a year and a half after things fell apart for me. Pizza was my therapy, and it showed in the 80 lbs I added to my already overweight body. So yeah, real life isn't all rainbows and inspiration sometimes.

It just seems like everything takes more effort for me in January. It's hard for me to work out. It's hard for me to continue to eat healthy, when really sometimes all I want to do is drown my sorrows in ice cream. It's hard for me not to dwell on memories of four years ago. But for the most part, I keep on trucking, if for no other reason, than to prove to myself that I am a drastically different person than I was four years ago. But I've noticed that with each passing year, I do dwell less and less on the person I was before and my bad memories of that time. I think that's because I have more and more positive things and people keeping me grounded here in the present.

What happened to me four years ago changed the course of my life. And sometimes when I'm throwing myself a one person pity party, I think to myself, "This isn't the way my life was supposed to go." I think we are all guilty sometimes of having a picture in our head of how things are supposed to be. I had things all mapped out before, a timeline for everything. I was rigid in my plans for myself, and believed that any kind of detour would mean failure on my part. I couldn't even have told you what I really wanted, what would really make me happy, because I was so caught up in what I should do, what I was expected to do.

I lost a lot four years ago. I grieve for what I lost even now. But I know that regret serves no purpose. The past is just that, the past. You can't change it. I do my best to keep the past from haunting me, and the best way I know to do that is to forgive myself for the mistakes I made then and to keep focused and grateful for all that I have now. Because while I did lose a lot, I have gained great things since then. The truth is that life doesn't go as planned sometimes. But you know what? Maybe that isn't a bad thing. It would be easy to think, "If only this hadn't happened, everything would be perfect." But you can't control cause and effect. You don't know what bad times ultimately caused a good time to come about. I think the bad times I faced in 2011 caused me to become stronger and tougher than I ever could have been otherwise. It made me mentally strong enough to shed 168 lbs eventually. I don't think all the positive changes I have made, all the incredible experiences, and all the amazing people I have met these past few years would have happened if my life hadn't taken a detour then. You have to take the bad with the good. And plus, now I have confidence that I can face anything life throws at me.

January will never be my favorite month. But gradually, month by month, and year by year, the past is loosening its hold on me.

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