I ran into a friend from my hometown who has recently moved near to where I live. We hadn’t talked very many times when we lived in the same city, but the times we had were always memorable, even powerful. Despite not having stayed in-touch in over a year, we still seemed to know the other was going through her share of struggle.
With the help of social media, I’d learned early this year that this friend was diagnosed with difficult medical conditions and was undergoing treatment. She seemed to know that my lifestyle was taking a toll on me as well. We got to talking about life and our experiences only to realize how similar they are.
More than two years ago, I began seeing a functional MD for a myriad of concerning health symptoms. Fatigue, stress, hormonal imbalance, non-existent libido, depression, gastrointestinal upset (overall digestive issues), insomnia, headaches, dizziness, clusters of large red blotches on my body, and more.
This was the beginning of more than two years of pills, powders, supplements, tests, IVs, prescriptions, and restrictions. At the time, I couldn’t imagine what my life would look like. What would still be fun, “on my program,” or enjoyable?
Looking back, I would never call what I felt melodramatic. But, I would call it a fear-rooted over-exaggeration.
Two and a half years is - in the grand scheme of life - not very long. Certain moments may seem like an eternity but they cannot compare to what it feels like to stand on the other side. To learn to and genuinely heal your body.
My friend and I laughingly commiserated over how positively awful it is to give up pizza and beer and convenient food and eating at restaurants. How identity-challenging it is to give up so much of the ingrained lifestyle we’ve taken for granted. When every food item, environmental impact, and missed supplement become possible threats to your wellbeing.
It completely, unabashedly, undeniably, sucks.
Feeling her strife and meeting her where she is has illuminated something in me, something I didn’t anticipate or know existed.
With my health journey. With disordered eating. With not being exactly where I thought I’d be. With the feeling that my path has forked.
There were tears and hugs and I hope that she felt just as warm and nurtured from our conversation as I did. Mind you, this is all happening in the men’s clothing department at REI while I was on-shift.
Before she and her partner continued their shopping trip, we got on the topic of creating. Herself a talented photographer, myself a diligent writer, both of us found that we’d struggled with our creativity just as we struggled with our wellbeing. So often, the act of creating doesn’t feel ‘quite right,’ and we put off putting ourselves to the task.
When I feel especially vulnerable and sensitive to my wellbeing or my environment, creating feels a bit selfish. A bit indulgent and one that will most certainly result in disappointment. And at this time, I don’t think I can handle much more disappointment.
I shared a quote with her that someone recently shared with me,
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
Lately, I’ve begun a daily ritual of writing morning pages, three stream-of-consciousness pages in my journal to jumpstart my creative juices. I’m also practicing illustration, learning to hand-letter, and re-igniting my physical fitness. While typically someone who falls off a bandwagon quickly, this quote presses me to keep showing up.
“Show up, even when it sucks. Even when you suck.”
We laughed as I shook my head in disbelief, words spilling out of me that my conscious mind certainly didn’t conjure. I looked at her with immense hope that she finds herself in her creativity. “Show up. Just keep showing up. With your treatment, your creativity, all of it. Because on the days that it doesn’t suck, you’ll surprise yourself. And when you’re on the other side looking back at this time, you’ll know lessons and life experience you’d never have otherwise gained.”
Our conversation jump-started my desire to share my journey. The path I’m on is my own and I’ve fought the current for too long, believing it was my job to conjure every turn, every change in the wind to be certain I became who I was supposed to be.
It’s as if someone has cracked the door and let a little light in.
To this blog, I’m going to keep showing up. To my dreams, I’m going to keep showing up. With the authentic perspective of what I’m going through because maybe you’re going through this, too.
Beyond my health journey, which is the origin of this public self-inquiry, I’m learning the hard way in a variety of subjects.
Debt + finances. In other words, being a millennial in America.
Forging my path because I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up.
Seeking joy and adventure despite limited resources and experience.
Living an alternative lifestyle while still wanting to conform to *some* of society’s norms.
The lifelong art of self-inquiry, development, and mastery.
Wanting to try the latest *thing* and wanting lots of things *right now.*
Exploring my neighborhood and the world for kindness and connection.
Here’s to 52 weeks of showing up for something I’ve wanted for a long, long time. A place to write and to be read. To touch someone’s life, to give someone a laugh, and to share in this journey together.