In my last post, I explained that things were about to get bumpy, so we’re going to dive into some complex subjects that are essential if you genuinely want to improve yourself.
I mentioned how I could not help you find your epiphany, but my friends have encouraged me to delve further into how I reached mine. It’s not pretty, but if it helps someone, I’m all for sharing my truths.
I cannot recall a specific moment or pattern that led to that moment. Still, I can help break things down to explain how I went from the girl sitting on the couch eating Cheetos to the girl who walks an average of 5 miles a day and still enjoys Cheetos in moderation.
Before we get into my journey, however, let’s talk about you! When I was in school, I remember my teachers drilling in our heads to ask the five most important questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why?
So, when it comes to any significant change in your life, whether you want to get in shape, get your degree, or start a new hobby, whatever it is, your “who” should be yourself for two reasons,
- Change is never easy. It takes hard work, dedication, and focus. If you put that kind of pressure on someone else when times are tough, and they will be tough, you will grow to resent that person.
- When you make changes for yourself, you gain a deeper appreciation for who you are. You learn more about yourself. I cannot tell you the last time I felt so proud of myself! There is nothing I cannot learn. There is nothing I cannot achieve when I really put my mind to it (realistically speaking, for you smartasses thinking, “You can’t walk on water”).
Your “what” is whatever it is you want to change. You should focus on one item, but I can tell you once you start, do not be surprised if there is more you would like to improve. When I started focusing on my overall health, the weight loss came. When I obsessed over my weight, I made little progress. However, it can be overwhelming if you try to do too many things simultaneously. I will delve deeper into this later and share my mistakes, so hopefully, you can avoid them. So, if you want to lose weight, start with that, but do not obsess over it. Again, I will delve into this later. But it would help if you had an end goal in mind. My end goal has not changed, but my focus has. The second “what” is what do you need to do to get there? What is stopping you? Once you figure these out, your goal becomes achievable.
I would encourage your “when” to be as soon as possible. I understand that sometimes it is not possible to start immediately. Depending on your goal, sometimes it takes time and money before you can jump in, but make a plan and stick to it, and don’t put it off for the sake of putting it off. Do what you can to make it happen.
Your “where” will vary depending on what your goal is. If your goal is to lose a significant amount of weight, and you’ve been lazy, then you need to start at the beginning. If you’re primarily active but want to firm or tighten some areas, you can probably start at an intermediate level. Some goals might be a move, and your “where” could be a new city or town. Take note of your dream and figure out where you should start.
And lastly, your “why” can be other people, but for the reasons I mentioned above, achieving your goals for other people should not be your primary focus. Maybe you want to live longer to be around to see your grandchildren grow up, but your why can also be yourself. Perhaps you want to lower your cholesterol or get in shape to build stamina. Whatever it is, you have to find these for yourself.
My personal recommendation is a self-journal. Find deep questions that get you thinking, and learn to get to know yourself on a deeper level. I am always learning new things and finding new passions, and it’s exhilarating!
Changing Your Mindset
Grandma bought me a self-awareness journal, and I loved it because the questions were odd and unlike anything I had ever heard. This is where my love of self began. I really tapped into my talents, passions, and the woman I wanted to be. I want to make younger Kristian proud. I want to one day look back at where I am now and recognize my efforts to become my best self, achieve true happiness, and create the life I have always dreamed of.
To achieve this, I learned I needed to let go of the toxicity I had been holding onto.
Buckle up! This is where things get bumpy. I will also warn you that some of these confessions might be hard to read, especially for those of you who are close to me.
There were four people I needed to forgive, and I wrote them all letters that they would never read, but it got my emotions out on paper, and then, I burned all but one of them.
The first letter was to my mother. I hate saying this, but she verbally abused me. Now, let me clarify that I do not believe she did it with malicious intentions. I know my mother loved me very much, but she also did not understand me because I was so unlike the women she knew and the woman she was. She also put a lot of her own insecurities onto me. She did not realize that drilling into my head that beauty is the most important thing a woman can own and that a woman cannot be beautiful unless she has the perfect body would stick with me into adulthood. I developed early. I wore a B-cup before I ever left elementary school. I was “blessed” with an ample bosom, wide hips, and big bottom. But ya know what? Freddy Mercury said that Fat-Bottomed Girls make the rockin’ world go around, so you’re welcome, world!
I cannot help these things, and I wish instead of being criticized for them, my mother would have helped me understand that this was all part of becoming a woman, I just happened to develop before my friends, and that’s okay.
So, I wrote a letter to her after she died, and I said everything I never got to say. I disclosed how much pain she caused and how she made me feel like I was only ever second best (this was especially hard after another betrayal from the person who vowed to love me left me feeling the same way). I closed the letter with how much I love her, and I thanked her for teaching me to be both the woman I want to be and the woman I do not want to be. I explained that I understood she thought she was teaching me tough love, but love was not what came through to me, especially as a child who had no idea what it was like to be a woman.
The second letter was to my middle school best friend. We’ll call her Hope. Hope turned out to only be my friend when it was convenient for her. When my life started crumbling, she was nowhere to be found. She walked away from me when I needed her the most, but it taught me that she was never really my friend, and it brought my soul sister, Amanda, and me closer, so I also thanked her for that. I remember, after my mom died, watching Amanda chat with my brother as he made dinner. She knew where all the items he needed were, helped set the table, and sat beside me, every once in a while holding my hand. I remember looking over at her at one point and thinking, “I am so blessed. This woman genuinely loves me.” She and I have an unshakable bond, and although we have always been close, I realized then what true friendship was. It is not what I had with Hope. I will always cherish the memories I made with Hope and hope she has the life she has always dreamed of. I genuinely wish her well. I put all of this in the letter and then burned it.
The third letter was to my ex, the man who raped me. We will call him Donald. Donald was 6’3” and probably 250 lbs. He was stronger than I was, and I tried to fight back, which pissed him off, so he held me down by my throat. It is challenging to fight and try to breathe at the same time. He took something that did not belong to him, and after that incident, I became a scared woman. He started stalking me. He would randomly send me texts and tell me I looked good in whatever color scrubs I wore when I worked at the dental office. I would look out the window, and sure enough, he would be standing in the parking lot. He showed up at my last job and went to my boss’s boss and complained because I refused to be his financial counselor. I had to sit in an office and explain to the President, Vice-President, and my boss why I could not work with him, and I hated him for making me do that. It has been sixteen years, and to this day, whenever he sees me, he tells me he still fantasizes about it, tries to hug me, or makes a scene. Fortunately, I do not see him that often anymore. I ran into him last fall at a gas station, and he walked up behind me and placed his hands on my hips, and it was I who made a scene.
After all the pain he has caused, I also learned the woman I did not want to be. I hated being that scared girl who could not walk through a dark parking lot alone, slept with a weapon next to her bed, and obsessively checked that every door and window was locked before taking a shower. As hard as it was, I forgave him. Not for his sake, but for mine, and despite everything, I do not wish him ill. I hope he has never hurt another woman, and I hope he never will. I put all of this in the letter and then burned it.
The last letter was to me. I apologized for allowing myself to become the woman who sat on the couch eating Cheetos. I explained that I was not responsible for the daughter my mother wanted me to be, and her opinion of me did not define my worth. I apologized for my self-loathing and that the people who had betrayed me did not do so because I was not good enough, they did so because that is their character, which was also a hard thing to accept, but at least it took the pressure off of me. I apologized for putting myself in the situation with my ex, for allowing him to manipulate and gaslight me, and I promised myself that I would grow strong, learn some self-defense, and never again ignore my intuition when it is screaming at me to run. I did not burn that letter. I still have it, and any time I feel discouraged, I pull it out and remind myself that I am worth the effort. I deserve love so deeply it can move mountains, and I deserve that love from myself. I am not the things that happened to me, and I refuse to let these things harden me. My light is what makes me who I am, and I am proud of it. I will never again allow anyone or anything to douse it.
I was pretty at a size 22, I am pretty now, and I will be pretty at my goal size. I am worth the effort it takes to get there because it’s what I want, and I love myself enough to give that to me.
You, my dear friends, are worthy of that same effort. You are also beautiful no matter where you are. You are worthy of happiness, love, and light, especially from yourself. So shine, my kings and queens, and go after your dreams. It doesn’t matter what size you are, what you look like, how old you are, or anything else you think might be standing in your way. Kick it to the curb and go after your dreams.
YOU ARE WORTH IT!!
Love & life lessons,