Thursday, December 15, 2016

My One Life-Changing Awakening

“A kind of light spread out from her. And everything changed color. And the world opened out. And a day was good to awaken to. And there were no limits to anything. And the people of the world were good and handsome. And I was not afraid any more.” 
― John SteinbeckEast of Eden





In this world of social media we are constantly taking photos and sharing them with the world. Our vacations, our celebrations, our daily lives, our pets, our kids, ourselves. 

We more often than not only show people what we want them to see...the good stuff.
The happy times.
The "Hey, look at what I did" type of stuff. 

And that's Ok.

But sometimes while we are scrolling through our Facebook feed or Instagram account that little green monster takes root in our Hearts....making us feel "less than".
Making us wonder why everyone else seems to be living a better life than we are.

Sometimes I go through my own FB posts and think...WOW, I am so blessed. I have been all across the United States, I have an amazing family, home, pets, things. 
My life looks so easy and perfect on Facebook. 
Everything is all so pretty and the way a life is supposed to be.

But the reality is, underneath all the good, the "perfect" is me and my depression.
Instead of a love of self...I have a hate and loathing and disgust.

This is a recent Selfie I posted....


I don't think most people would see how much I really dislike myself in this photo.
True, this was a good day. 
I felt pretty this day.
I felt ok about myself.

But the truth is 80% of the time I don't.
I hide.
I sit on my couch wasting time and wondering where I went. 
Where did all my desire for life go?
It's not that I am not happy...I have hundreds of moments of JOY weekly. 
But in my Heart I am not happy with ME. 

The past few years I have piled on 30 pounds of stress weight. And instead of being active and doing something about it I continue to eat when I'm not hungry which leads me into a deeper place of anger and bitterness and isolation.

But my friends, yesterday....
All
that
CHANGED.

It CHANGED! 

And I MUST share it with you so if you are like me and feeling awful about yourself and your life you can know that you are not alone!!!

YOU 
ARE
NOT 
ALONE!

And maybe you can learn something from me!


Yesterday my Mama, Roger and I went to the Kansas City Dinner Theater. We have had season tickets for years and I really enjoy spending that time with them.

Yesterday as I tried to find something to wear that was festive I realized jeans and shirts I had bought just a few months ago were getting too tight. All day all I could think about was how tight my pants were and I kept screaming at myself in my head...."What's wrong with YOU! Why can't you just get a grip and be disciplined!!!!"

And as I sat there watching the play all I could think about was the dessert I had ordered for intermission. I wasn't even hungry but I ordered it anyway. I was having this battle in my head..."Don't eat that dessert. You don't need it. But I want it. It will taste so good. And besides it's Christmas...I deserve a treat."

I ate it.

And as I ate it I looked around me and saw women just a bit older than me, overweight, eating, too. None of them looked happy.

I got back on the bus to go home feeling VERY full and tired from all the sugar.
An old friend I haven't seen in years was on the bus, too. We had visited a bit on the way down and enjoyed catching up.

Now, as I sat on the bus, ready to take a nap and reflect yet again on my failures of the day, my friend got my attention and we began chatting. It felt so good talking, it made me forget myself for awhile.

As she talked her mood began changing a bit as she shared a story with me about a loved one's medical emergency. As she shared I realized the loved one she was talking about was her husband. The more she shared it became evident that he had died. 
He was only 54 and was killed in a terrible accident. 
She never got to see him before he passed away. 
She never got to say goodbye.

And then I remembered on our way down she was telling about all these bus trips she had been taking and was planning and I had thought to myself..."Where's her husband? Are they divorced?"

And there I was sitting on the bus hearing her tell me he was dead. And even though she loved all the trips she was going on...she was alone. She had no one to share them with. The love of her life was gone.

I got home and the house was empty. I kept thinking about her story and she was going home to an empty house, too...one that would always be empty.
I began crying.
I was thinking about my own sweet husband...the love of my life and my Birthday gift from him.



My dream trip to Hawaii. We are supposed to be going at the end of May.
But I had already decided we weren't going. We were going to cancel.
We can go next year, I said.
I am out of shape, I whined.
And besides I hate the way  I look
and there is no way I am going to Hawaii looking and feeling like this.

I cried harder.
And then the Awakening happened.
I realized we are never promised the next minute, the next hour, the next week.
We never know when the ones we love will be gone.

And what have I been doing for THREE YEARS???!!!!!
I have been eating
and feeling sorry for myself
and worrying
and only half living.

I haven't given ANYTHING MY ALL in YEARS.

I haven't been dedicated or disciplined.

But I realized last night that I can BEGIN....




When my family got home I told them we needed to talk.
I poured out my HEART to my sweet family.
They not only listened to me but they HEARD ME!

I feel like George Bailey from "It's a Wonderful Life" ...it's the scene when realizes ZuZu's petals are in his pocket. And it's snowing and his lip is bleeding.
He realizes 
He 
is 
ALIVE.


I know the Lord placed my friend in my path yesterday.
Her story was what I needed to hear.
I know I have a long way to go with healing myself...with loving myself.
But I haven't felt the desire, the excitement to TRULY get back up until now.

Girls, if you are struggling I TRULY understand and want you to know that I love you and I am praying for you. I ask for your prayers as well.

Merry Christmas!!!!
And here's to a Brand New Year to grow and learn to Love not only ourselves but each other.

7 comments:

  1. This made me weep.. I too hv the same insecurities.. the same struggles... feeling my art never measures up.. I'm just an imposter trying to make nice art.. LOL it's crazy. I blame some ppl in my past that once told me I had no talent and that I needed to disappear.. hurting words that still hurt.. trying to overcome that hurdle.. thks for sharing.. I too need to lose weight.. but i hv about 120 lbs to lose... and i hv a heart condition and bad knees.. and my mobility isn't what it used to be.. i can't hv knee surgery till i lose the weight... and losing the weight and exercising is hard.. cuz of my heart condition.. I feel like I'm trapped and nothing I can do about the weight.. so i'm choosing to wear my joy when i can and be happy anyway... and try to make pretty art and get some confidence back... I'm with you girl.. I am with you. xo

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    1. Sending out love and light to you Bonita!!! Do not let people tell you you can't create. I have been inspired by you for years!! Your art is BEAUTIFUL!! xoxoxoxoxo

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  2. Love this. Love your raw truth. Love that you are sharing your journey so that it can be a light for others -that's SO Beautiful!!

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing this personal story, Leslie. I bawled reading it as I thought about my own life and all that has come to put "me" on hold. I used to be such a different person. Despite all of the horrific things that have happened in my life, I kept going. I've lost children, been through so much abuse and other trauma and kept going. People thought I was strong. I didn't feel it in those times, but I made it through and still managed to see the things that made me happy and feel like life was good. I have always been insecure and have dealt with ridicule about my weight, my looks, not being enough... no matter what, that was the constant message I would hear in my head. "You are not good enough." And then the accident happened and all of my dreams and future were stolen from me. I had surgeries and promises of being back to normal, but something went wrong. I was supposed to be fine in 3 months, then 6, and now it's never going to be better. My hopes of finishing school and my plans for my life disappeared. I had always hated myself for not being enough and now, I'm not even able to do things without assistance and I've become lost in the thoughts that I'm once again not enough. Now, no matter what I do, I'll never be enough. I have put a huge burden on my family and I can't change it. My medical bills continue to pile up. We won't have Christmas this year and I can't help but feel that I'm to blame. After almost 3 years of medical bills and attempts to make me who I used to be, I have caused us to be in such a horrible situation that my girls will not be looking forward to a single gift. It has been a building depression and a place where I never hoped to be, but I'm also lost because I'm the fixer of everything and I can't fix this. I can't fix me. I can't give them anything and my family doesn't feel like it's Christmas at all. I hate myself for that. I've stolen that away from them as I've tried to get "fixed" and now I, the "fixer," cannot figure out how to fix me or fix this. But, as I struggle with this, I have to thank you for sharing this story. We may not have everything. I may not be enough. I am definitely not the mom that I was as I've been fighting this depression and the loss of who I was or who I was going to be. But... we still have today and we still have each other. Thank you for reminding me that I am here and that the most important people in my life are still here. They are more precious than anything that could ever be given in a gift or than all of the procedures in the world that might make me normal again. I have to start living and making moments and stop thinking about what cannot be. You are a gift, Leslie. Thank you for always being so open and reminding us that we all are struggling in some way with something. We just have to not focus on those things that are stealing the good from our days and our time with those we love and that need us more than we think they do. ♡

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  4. Today, Christmas Day, I can say "We made it." My mother passed away suddenly in February and there's a really long story in here somewhere about a woman (me) that was raised along with 2 brothers by a very creative woman with some hefty emotional issues. I was asked today by my step sister if I had a fun Christmas. No. But anyway, we made it. We are almost to the one year mark and I think that I am becoming more of me rather than just someone only in the shadows. I am blessed with a great husband and 2 wonderful sons. Thank you for this raw honest post. I have ALWAYS struggled to measuring up to expectations, usually Mom's. It's so good to feel that we are not alone.

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  5. I happened upon your blog today- the day I really needed it. I, too, have put on about 25 pounds and have felt horrible about myself. This gives me the courage to keep working on my goals, even when I fail. I am grateful to have found your site at the end of the year, right before I renew myself in 2017. Thank you.

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  6. I am struggling with addiction and your site gave me hope...believe!

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I appreciate your thoughts and ideas...they inspire me!! I will be visiting you soon. Have a CREATIVE day!!

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