Tuesday marked my 43rd birthday. The beginning of my 44th year of life. I have spent every one of those years, or as far back as I can remember, living with fear and regret. Fear of doing something wrong and regret for every mistake I've ever made. And I beat myself up at each step of that ugly cycle. A dear friend from college recently sent me a message to my Facebook inbox, reminding me of two boys I stupidly slept with in college (she'd recently seen both of them for the first time in years), and I was right back at it again. I've been happily married and off the destructive path I spent so much of my life on (looking for love with every hookup, allowing men who did not care for me to use my body for their entertainment, judging myself when they turned out to be unworthy) for years, but still I spent hours remembering how I behaved back then, how little I cared for myself, what a bad person that made me. And I'm here to tell you now: forty three years of hating myself is enough.
I hereby pledge - to myself, first and foremost - to spend the next year focused on finding ways to love myself as I am AND make changes to live a healthier life both mentally, emotionally, and physically. I've tried so many times to "fix" my body with restrictive diets and punishing physical regimes, but there's nothing wrong with my body...if anything, it's miraculous in the way it has survived all of my crazy "lose weight now!" schemes, the looking for love in all the wrong places, and the complete lack of love or appreciation and still carried on. I need to celebrate my body, to cherish it, and to do everything in my power to take better care of it and build a healthy life that will support it instead of tearing it down.
Inspired by my blog friend, Lori (whose blog I cannot link to due to stupid trolls), I am going to post a picture here each day showing something I've done in the prior 24 hours in support of my pledge. And the biggest thing I've done today to help me stop beating my body up and start living a healthier life is writing this post, so here's my first picture: