“I’m a beautiful mess of contradiction, a chaotic display of imperfection.” ~Sai Marie Johnson
I don’t identify as having an eating disorder. I don’t struggle with anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating. Yet I exercise precise control of my weight, down to the pound. If I gain a mere two pounds, I can feel it. First in my stomach. Then in my face.
That’s when the self-loathing kicks in.
I beat myself up for gaining those two pounds.
I wear a shirt to sleep at night, instead of being naked like I am when I am two pounds lighter.
“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.” – Zen Shin
In the past, I often felt like I didn’t belong in groups of women.
Sometimes I felt like something was wrong with me, like I was othered in one way or another: too sporty, too quiet, too serious, too emotional, too dumb, too smart, too wild, too normal, too sexual, too prude.
Other times, I felt like something was wrong with all of them. Girls’ nights and bachelorette parties? The screeching voices, the loud laughs, the mundane conversations about makeup, …
“We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light.” ~Mary Dunbar
“I don’t want to sit by Teresa. She doesn’t talk.”
I was ten years old and at a fundraising dinner for my travel softball team.
It was that dreaded moment after I had gotten my plate of chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans, and had to choose a seat at a big table.
I sat down next to my teammate who I looked up to. She was two years older than me. She was …
“Deep in the forest I stroll to hear the wisdom of my soul.” ~Angie Weiland-Crosby
In October 2021, my partner and I embarked on a journey to summit Mt. St. Helens, an 8,263-foot active volcano in Washington State.
We have hiked thousands of miles across the United States, Costa Rica, and Mexico, but this was our first attempt at a summit hike. I was bubbling with excitement and nervousness!
Mt. St. Helen’s greeted us with grace and gentleness. The sky was clear, the views of Mt. Adams to the east were stunning, and the temperature was moderate.
We were chatting …
“You don’t have to be positive all the time. It’s perfectly okay to feel sad, angry, annoyed, frustrated, scared, or anxious. Having feelings doesn’t make you a ‘negative person.’ It makes you human.” ~Lori Deschene
In November, I was on an emotional roller coaster full of sudden unexplainable fits of anger, hysterically crying for no reason, barely sleeping, feeling urges to physically kick, hit, and scream.
One of the main triggers was when my partner would go out without me.
He’d go out with his friends to play pool and I would immediately shut down, shut him out, and turn …
“Live your life for you not for anyone else. Don’t let the fear of being judged, rejected or disliked stop you from being yourself.” ~Sonya Parker
On August 4, 2022, I buzzed off my long, thick, luscious hair.
I marched up Sandy Boulevard in Portland, Oregon, walked into Take Pride Barbershop, and sat in the chair with the most badass barber. She quelled my last-minute fears and boldly took the clippers to my never-shorter-than-shoulder-length hair.
It was instant liberation.
I had finally worked up the courage to do so after four years of internal debate and worry, which went something …
“The best apology is simply admitting your mistake. The worst apology is dressing up your mistake with rationalizations to make it look like you were not really wrong, but just misunderstood.” ~Dodinsky
It was January 2016 and Baltimore was in the midst of a blizzard. Outside, the city was covered in a three-foot blanket of snow. Inside, we were having a blizzard party. My boyfriend, five friends, and me.
We’d been coloring, listening to music, dancing, and playing games. Already, I knew it was one of the most cozy and fun nights of my life. Everyone was happy. The energy …
“Sit with it. Sit with it. Sit with it. Sit with it. Even though you want to run. Even when it’s heavy and difficult. Even though you’re not quite sure of the way through. Healing happens by feeling.” ~Dr. Rebecca Ray
It’s July 2022 and I’m in the middle of a red tent at Shambala Music Festival in British Columbia.
I sit elbow to elbow, knee to knee, heart to heart with a group of women who I am meeting for the first time.
It’s hot and we’re sweaty.
A teacher is leading a healing womb meditation, and she prompts …