Bye, Felicia

Project Healthy Holly

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.”

-Paraphrased from Marianne Williamson’s book, “A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles”

I returned from New York and the Today Show airing to a virtual tidal wave of support and inquiries from friends and followers. The heartfelt, and sincere messages of admiration were touching, and appreciated – and, if I am being perfectly honest, overwhelming at the same time. When I arrived back at work on Tuesday morning, my boss, who is wholeheartedly supportive of me, asked me about my experience. Instead of matching his excitement and support, instead of standing tall in my achievement, and instead of claiming my worthiness, I minimized, deflected, and I stayed small.  And that is just one example of the half dozen conversations I had that morning. Each one of them left me feeling a mixture of shame and regret.

On one hand, I truly felt proud of myself. Even though my response was to minimize and deflect, I still enjoyed the positive attention and validation I was getting for all of the effort I put in to regaining control of my health. On the other hand, I would never ever dream of saying those things in my head to someone else – so why would I say them to myself? If it was a friend of mine who lost weight and ended up on the Today Show, “freak show” would never occur to me in a million years. I would be their biggest fan and cheerleader. So why wasn’t I my own biggest fan and cheerleader? Because slowly but surely, my negative roommate (or self-limiting voice) was slipping back into control.

“Who do you think you are?”

“Today Show? More like Freak-show starring the 300 pound woman turned success story.”

“At the end of the day, fat is gross and therefore your story is gross, and therefore you are gross.”

It may have started after the New York trip, but that’s not where it ended. I also haven’t published a blog in a long time, which by now should be an obvious indicator to me because it’s not the first time my negative roommate has left me with writers block. I thought about writing a lot, and definitely felt pressure to publish something. I had half a dozen good topics to write about. I even carved out time on my calendar, only to sit and stare at my screen. Once or twice, I would tell myself to just get started – a strategy that almost always works for me – but I would get one or two sentences in before the paralysis would set in and I’d give up. Still, it didn’t occur to me that Felicia (my negative roommates name) was back. Felicia is my muzzle, and my blog is my authentic voice. It is where I feel comfortable sharing the sometimes painful and sometimes triumphant lessons learned in my journey to better health. She tells me to question my ability. She tells me that I am too busy to spend time writing. She also tells me that my writing (even this writing) isn’t good enough. When the truth is that writing, for me, is a significant part of my own healing. It is time that I take only for me, and it’s time that I can reflect and articulate the things I am learning about myself. It is also where I stay connected to being humble through this process.

Project healthy body teaches us to chase progress, not perfection. Even though my negative roommate popped back up doesn’t mean I haven’t made great progress. The difference between then and now, is that these days I am armed with a toolbox of strategies to lock her back up and get right back to the work of progress. Most of the time, I can quickly recognize when she tries to creep, or scratch, or claw her way back into my inner thoughts about myself. She may never go away completely, and that is ok. As Jennifer reminds us, there is no there there. I am not chasing a number. I am not chasing skinny. I am chasing energy, vitality, and absolutely gorgeous clothing.

Bye, Felicia


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