On the left is me. Smiling the biggest I knew how at the time. In the middle of a party celebrating food. Holding a jar of lemon curd. This was after I had lost the first 15 pounds and I felt pretty great.
On the right is me. Smiling the biggest I know how. Fifty pounds lighter than the girl on the left. Celebrating the fact that I was returning to Crossfit after a 2-3 month self-imposed hiatus. Celebrating the fact that I have muscles and know how to laugh genuinely and without shame.
I enjoy both of these people so much. The one on the left had to exist. She had to be sad and cushion herself with food and hiding on the couch and all the heartbreak and fear and heartache and sadness so the person on the right could come to being.
The person on the left had to happen in order for the right one to be a better, stronger, happier version.
Sometimes you have to tear a house down to the studs because there’s peeling wallpaper and the toilet is cracked and broken and the foundation is crooked and there is a weird tree and the tree’s roots have grown up under the house and there’s an attic full of raccoons and the chimney fell down and the roof is leaking and there’s dry rot.
Oh, and the walls sweat.
Sometimes, you have to reach the very very bottom of yourself while you are curled on the bathroom floor sobbing quietly at 3am so you don’t wake the children and actually LOOK AT the dark parts in order to air them out and let loose the skeletons and embrace them and be ok with them and let them go and THEN AND ONLY THEN can you repair your “relationship” with food and stop using it as a faulty security blanket to make yourself feel better when things get tough.
Because things get tough. And you need coping mechanisms that don’t involve bread.
I am not, under any circumstances, suggesting that you face your demons without help. I have the best series of friends a girl could ask for (and an AMAZING THERAPIST). They pray for me. They offer me advice, even when I don’t want to hear it. They drive me places and invite me places and bring me food and go get their nails done with me and send me random cards in the mail and check in on me when they haven’t heard from me in more than a day and laugh at my jokes and tell me jokes so I can remember how to laugh, and above all, every single one of them has been patient with me while I figure out how to be a human being and a functional member of society.
So I am a lucky girl indeed, that between the girl on the left and the woman on the right is 3 years ago, 2 houses and an apartment, two amazing children, 50 pounds lost, three jobs, a hundred miles or more run, hundreds of miles driven, ups and downs and sideways and countless interactions with people who bring me light and life and were quiet with me when I just needed a friend and rejoiced (with or without me) when I learned a new lesson and became a bigger brighter person.
I can’t wait to see what’s next.