January 31, 2011 just shut up already
yesterday started out interestingly.
saturday my family threw a 90th (!) birthday party for my grandma. it was incredibly sweet and touching. one of my aunts (my g-ma had 6 kids!) is super tech savy and put together a video of my grandmother’s life, documenting her wedding and the birth of all six of her kids. she went on to include the photos of all the grandkids, including my brother and i. some photos showcases my younger (and much, much blonder) years. then came the present day pictures. she showed photos from about a year to a year and a half ago.
and all i wanted to do was cry.
why? because in those photos, i was much, much thinner. in those photos i saw the person i left behind and the voice in my head told me i failed, that i got “fat” (though, no, that word did not cross my mind in all actuality because i don’t use that word any more!), despite the fact that, in those photos, i was running myself sick and not eating. the worst part? instead of appreciating the video and the amazing and full life of my grandma, i stole a moment to sneak away into the restaurant’s bathroom to cry. yes, i am pathetic.
i returned home in a funk, naturally, and fell asleep with it by my side. when i woke up in the morning, i felt just about the same. then i heard the little positive voice in my head speak up. it said: “zoe, you can choose positivity. choose it! focus on all the love in your life!”
so i did. i choose to see the people who loved me and all the things i am grateful for and by ten thirty in the morning, i felt great. k came over and we shuttled down to the farmer’s market in my hometown where i bought veggies galore and ran into my favorite aunt and two cousins. following our little trip we headed into san francisco to go climbing (really, is anyone surprised?) for about five hours. despite surpassing my climbing plateau (climbed more 5.10’s and had some breakthrough bouldering sessions!) and being with the boy who makes my heart sigh, i found myself confront my negative voice about two and a half hours into our climbing session.
now, this happens a lot. morning time is the easiest time for me to feel the happiest and the most optimistic. it might be because there is new, fresh energy in the morning and it dips mid-day but, regardless, i am always my happiest in the morning and my least happiest mid-afternoon or at night.
the least happiest part of the day hit me when i started looking around and started doing something awful: comparing. the voice inside my head said things like: “everyone else here has a flat stomach. no one looks like i do. everyone here is so thin. so toned. why can’t i look like that?” the feeling of embarrassment replaced the feeling of happiness and my mood took a nose-dive. all smiles and laughter disappeared and i sunk into myself, a victim again of the negative voice in my head. at one point k called me sexy, a word i am not used to hearing, saying, or believing. i scoffed a bit and he asked me a simple question: “why do you laugh when i tell you that?” a good question indeed, one that took me off guard and challenged the negativity i found myself in company with.
this feeling of self-doubt and unworthiness followed me for about forty minutes. then, something happened.
i hopped onto a route i’ve been eyeing for months. it’s on the tallest wall in the gym and it’s never free. so when a spot opened up, i tied in as quickly as possible and got to climbing. if you’re not a stranger to the negative voice, you know how hard it is to accomplish anything. it tells you you’re going to fail, you suck, you can’t do anything right — and you believe it. usually, i do, too. but yesterday, something happened.
about half-way up the route, doubt started to creep in. i thought, or rather, my negative self thought, “you can’t finish this. you’re going to fall. you’re not going to make it to the top.” two words answered the flurry of negativity: “shut up.” they came out of no where and surprised the shit out of me. something in me was obviously so tired of hearing untruths and decided to fight back. the often ignored positive voice spoke up for me without me choosing for it to do so.
how did i feel? amazing. it was thrilling, telling myself to eff off. i said it one more time (internally) and this rush of positivity flooded me. suddenly, i was telling myself “you’ve got it! you can do this! you’re so close, don’t give up! you’re strong!” and a few seconds later, i found myself at the top of the route, accomplished, sweaty, and super pumped (a term describing the feeling in your arms/forearms when you climb really intensely).
k lowered me back to the ground and the rest of the day was spent in a cloud of positivity. i stopped caring what other people looked like because they’re not me. yes, i used to be thinner, but i used to be unhealthy. i used to punish myself with exercise and deprive myself of food. now, i am healthy. now, my clothes actually fit. my period is back, my skin cleared up, my glow is apparent and i am stronger than i have ever been. i am not the number on the scale, the number on the tag of my pants, or the reflection in the mirror. i am far more important things.
i feel good today, too. i just finished a massive veggie-packed juice (is it weird that all i was craving this morning for breakfast was vegetables? my usual breakfast fare did not sound appealing at all.) and am about to hop onto my mat (which has been neglected this past week) for some solid dave farmer power vinyasa. i am craving a sweaty yoga session today! i hope you all have a wonderful start to your week! and i hope you remember just how amazing you all are — just the way you are!
do you find it difficult to stay positive? what do you do to regain your positivity? have you ever told yourself off? no? try it!
(oh, also…keep an eye out for my first ever guest post over at i came to run! let me know what you think!)