I’ve done cleanses throughout my life for various reasons. This cleanse, coming in at the end of summer, is to clean up my energy by cleaning up my diet and allowing my energetic and physical bodies to process all the doubt I’ve been feeling.
Doubt!? What Doubt?
Embarking on a new project is daunting sometimes. As I settle into the idea of starting my own business, doubt creeps in occasionally. Doubts like:
Am I fit enough to start a fitness business?
Do I have the prowess to guide others?
Can I manage everything on my plate?
Will I be a positive role model?
On some days, the list could go on, my friends.
When I feel that doubt creep up, I try to look it in the eyes. Some of this doubt is warranted. For example, I will open my business in sync with the beginning of a new journey toward wellness. That means that I showcase myself in less-than-perfect form. I show my body at the start of a process. It looks like mom bod. Some people will expect me to look like a model.
For a recovering perfectionist, that’s a big deal!
But I take my time with myself.
Taking Time with Yourself
Ok, that isn’t always easy. For a type-A personality, taking time with anything — especially the self — can be a hurdle. It has been for me.
The truth is that when you show compassion for your process — the process that you really NEED — then getting the results that you want can take time. True, sometimes change is instant. I love THAT kind!
Oftentimes the kind of change that we can wear only comes after a long engagement to ourselves.
Today, in day three of my cleanse, some ugly feelings came up. Let me tell you about it.
Revealing my ugliness to others has taken me some practice but I think that sharing these glimpses of imperfection have helped me to grow in the way I desire. So, I share this.
This morning I did my daily workout. I loved it. I focused on shoulders and I thoroughly enjoyed my workout. I recorded myself doing the exercises with the intention of posting the videos on Instagram. I really LOVE this because I feel like I am reaching out for community and also offering inspiration. It fills me.
I weighed myself when I was done.
As someone with a history of disordered eating and body image who has (successfully!) battled various disorders, the scale is a mixed experience for me.
Usually I will do some affirmations or a chant I created to invoke a feeling of balance within before I step on the scale. But since I was doing the cleanse for two days already, I figured that I would like what I saw.
I didn’t like it.
The scale had climbed up on me.
It affected me hard because I had been focused on clean consumption and, even though I know better, I expected change immediately.
Self-digust and self-hate crept in. Now, this is a bugger that I know well and through the years I have developed tools to deal with her.
But I started hating on myself: squeezing my belly fat, puncing myself in the stomach, speaking mean words to myself, and having hateful thoughts toward my body, including harmful acts. I haven’t had such intense negative feelings about myself in years.
I let myself feel my feelings for a short time because in my experience, that is a necessary action so that I don’t “numb out.” Then, in the back of my mind, I reminded myself that I have some tools at hand and that I can choose to use them if I wish.
Well, I did NOT wish.
So, I continued in a hateful spirit, knowing that I was making a conscious choice to do so.
After a few minutes, I reached a place at which I could use my tools. I put on more comfortable clothing first, because the clothing I was wearing made me feel fat. Rather than sit in it and feel bad for myself, I changed.
Then I looked myself in the eyes in the mirror and I repeated, “I want to take care of myself. Change takes time. I want to change.”
That brought on some tears because I knew that it was true. Very true. I also knew that it was hard sometimes. Very hard. So I felt that. Slowly, a space of compassion opened up.
My husband wanted me to talk about my feelings with him but I wasn’t ready. He sat with me in silence, just holding space for me. After a time, I was ready to talk about how I had felt.
There was a memory I had and I was surprised that it came to the surface. I was in 8th grade and my mom was taking pictures of me and my sophomore boyfriend before going to a semiformal. She said to me something like “suck in your gut, it makes you look fat.”
Huh? I was like, 115 lbs wet.
Wake up moment: I realized that this was the moment that I developed an disordred relationship with my body. My mom, who was obese at the time, body shamed me in front of my older, handsome boyfriend. I thought to myself at the time, “omg, if my mom, who is overweight, is calling me out like this, what do I really look like? What am I not seeing?”
No one, not my mom or anyone else, is responsible for how I feel about my body. I take complete responsibility — radical responsibility — for how I treat myself, how I feel about myself, what I do, etc.
BUT. For the first time in my long struggle, I think I pin-pointed the start of this problem in my life. It was not my mother’s comment, really, but more my willingness to open to the reality of that comment and accept it as my own.
THAT was a moment that I gave away my power.
It felt good to reveal this openly, just like it feels good to write about it now.
Our paths toward wellness may have a lot of speedbumps. But at the end of the day, I KNOW without a doubt that I make progress every single day. Sometimes that looks really ugly. I might feel like I am failing or flailing…but this is all part of that process. I am not going to postpone my dreams or my joy because I have ugliness.
I am going to reach a place at which even my ugly is beauty.
I am in transit.
Day 3 of a cleanse, apparently, is a time to clean house.