Accepting All of You (FF)

It’s happening again, friends.

Exactly one year and one day ago, I published this post in concert with Momastery. It is my confession. My release. My absolution of myself. It is the real deal, Holyfield. It is my truth. My messy beautiful.

Much has happened in the last 366 days – some great, some awful. And this week, I find myself grasping onto that roller coaster so hard, as it feels like it’s going to jump the rails and careen into a bottomless ravine, just falling, falling into the ether.

There has been a lot of melancholy in my life, a lot of loss and struggle, but also a lot of joy, so there isn’t one single thing I can point to as to why I’m feeling this way right now. As I slip deeper into the dark places, it becomes more difficult to claw my way out. The sadness is all-encompassing, engulfing me in a wave of rolling storm clouds. I imagine it looks like The Nothing in The NeverEnding Story. But I have been doing a lot of thinking about it which brought me to scroll through some pictures on my phone. I came across these two.
Left: Saturday date night;
Right: Sunday morning pre-run

These are both pictures of me from last weekend, taken roughly 18 hours apart. In my own opinion, they look like two completely different people. (This may also adequately explain why people don’t remember me. I look different every time they see me, and they don’t realize I’m the same person.) The woman on the left looks youthful, confident, striking. The woman on the right looks tired, older, plain. Average. Forgettable.

How do I love and accept both of these people when one makes me feel worthless and the other doesn’t feel real? Just a painted on façade with decent lighting.

Even after all the time and energy I have invested into loving and accepting myself, those old insecurities are always still there. Those facets of me still exist: The petrified child afraid to do or say the wrong thing for fear of punishment. The bullied tween called an ugly dog. The teenager rejected by her boyfriend who decided he could “do better” than her. The heartbroken college girl discovering her boyfriend cheated on her. The frightened woman crouching under a bathroom sink after being assaulted. The scared and vilified female sitting in a clinic debating a decision she wouldn’t wish on her worst enemy.

Those people haven’t been around for more than ten years, yet I see all of them every time I look in the mirror. A choice is made every day as to which version of myself to present to the world. And lately, these terrified, hurt, broken versions have been winning. I want to disappear and leave these heavy feelings to someone else to bear.

So much of my journey to health has been mental and emotional. The physical changes and challenges are important, but I find my mind and mood can override anything my body wants, and until I get right with my head and heart, it’s not going to stick. I am unable to make lasting changes because I continue to hold myself back. Worried I am not worth it. Never feeling I am enough. Anxious of who I will be when I reach my goals.

I write this today not for want of sympathy, reassuring words, or compliments. I write this to show that as human beings, the past affects us no matter how much we try to put it behind us. Repressing it does not work for me. Pretending it didn’t happen is insulting to the versions of me who had to live it. The ones who survived it. They are the foundation of me. I thrive because of them. We are one.

I am flawed and haunted. But I am strong and smart. I am brave and honest. I am both the woman on the left and on the right. And I will get through this. One messy, beautiful moment at a time.
Inspire. Motivate. Move.

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