Posts tagged ‘healing’

December 31, 2011

2011 review :: One Little Word

My one big goal for 2011 was One Little Word


You’ll see from the lack of entries on this blog that I totally failed in documenting that goal. For over half the year I also believed I had failed in achieving that goal. And then something interesting occurred: I put some thought to the happenings of the past 12 months – to the daily moments, the small celebrations, the big epiphanies – and I realized that 2011 had not been a year of failure after all. In fact, even today there are visual reminders of success. I almost missed it because it didn’t look anything like I expected it would look.

When I chose the word HEALTHY in January, I hoped that twelve months would bring a significant weight loss, a habit of fresh foods, a joy of home cooking, and a pattern of regular sleep. I expected to feel more energy, less sickly all the time. I expected to need an entirely new wardrobe. None of those things occurred. Hence, my assumption that 2011 was a failure in the area of goals. I also wanted to embrace creativity in a larger way, to focus on personal art projects that brought a renewed health to my mind and my spirit. Again, I determined that this goal ended in failure because much of my year was spent in front of a laptop with the television droning in the background. Sometimes 24/7. Definitely not healthy. No matter what I may have been “watching.” With those things in mind, I declared 2011 a resolution FAIL. And vowed to make 2012 “the year.” But then I came to a realization…

It all began with a pair of jeans. Jeans that, last year, did not fit comfortably during the first hour of wear because they were simply too snug in the waist when freshly laundered. This year, when the weather finally turned almost cool, I pulled on those jeans and found room to spare. At first I believed they must had been worn and placed back in the closet unwashed. I rarely do that, but perhaps this one time? I wore the jeans all day and found them to be far too loose for my taste. Baggy in weird places. Still I didn’t think much of it… until I wore a different pair a week or so later. And those were just as loose on first wear. Freshly laundered but looser than ever. Suddenly I realized! I had kept off enough weight to make my clothes fit loosely! And my thoughts turned to the summer and another moment of success.

While visiting my parents in July I stepped onto the scale after a shower one day and saw that I weighed 30 pounds less than the last time I’d weighed, sometime during the past 6 months. Thirty pounds! And I’d not been on the Healthy wagon for four months by this time! But in those four months of neglect and passivity toward my yearly goal I had still managed to keep 30 pounds at bay. That was clearly a success! I held onto that Win throughout the remainder of the year, but until I encountered the results in my clothing I still did not treat it as a completion of my resolution. After all, I still wasn’t sleeping properly and I still didn’t see much difference in the mirror. I also wasn’t eating properly. No, not at all. The old habits were ever-present, with fast food my most frequent menu. Yet, in the midst of all those bad habits, I’d remained thirty pounds lighter than before. Thinking back on this while analyzing my looser jeans, I could not deny that I had made some headway on this goal of HEALTHY.

Nearing the holidays I mentioned all of this to my mother. I still couldn’t believe my clothes were telling a different story than my mind, but she agreed that I had made some progress this year. She hadn’t noticed the clothes – I’m a plus-size girl with a tendency for ill-fitting clothing, so that did not surprise – but she pointed out that I seemed to be healthier than I’d been in a very long time. There seemed to be fewer stomach issues (which I’d had for over a decade), and I’d been more joyful this year than other times. And despite my irregular sleeping patterns, I had, in fact, been able to go to sleep and sleep more restfully than the past few years. At least, she noted, I was able to get to sleep when I went to bed rather than lying awake for hours before drifting off. That itself counted for a lot on this road to Healthy. I had to agree.

In the end, I’m not where I imagined I’d be by December 31, 2011, but I’m further along than ever. And that encourages me and motivates me to continue on this path. While I have chosen a new word for 2012, I will continue to hold onto HEALTHY, as well. That period at the end of the word up there? That will remain in the front of my mind. I want Healthy to be a lifestyle. I want it to be a pattern and a habit of my days. I want the fast food to become a treat, and I want my kitchen to be a place of joy. As far as it will, of course, for a girl who truly despises the act of meal preparation. Simply put, I want to be HEALTHY… period. And this year was a decent start.

I’ll be back this week with my goals and resolution for 2012. It’s my favorite One Word yet!

One Little Word is a yearly challenge issued by Ali Edwards. I also (kind of) participated in the One Word community at Grit and Glory this year. Perhaps you’ll join me in the new year!

May 13, 2009

one word: reconnect

Naturally, thinking of the word “reconnect” will bring memories of past relationships that were dear but somehow faded along the way. I spent much of the past few years pondering a “reconnection” with a friend who was my closest companion for ten years but from whom I grew apart in recent years. We were college roommates, closest friends, carrying each other through challenging years (more difficult for me than her) and staying very close for several years after college despite hundreds of miles separating us. I had a very clear sense when the friendship began to fade: birthdays were no longer important, or if they were remembered, the once-personal and thoughtful handmade treasures became haphazard afterthoughts thrown together months after as “belated gifts” just because we were going to see each other in person. The guilt was always palpable, turning a fine gesture into an empty experience. Sadly, I felt most of this myself, becoming the afterthought in the friendship, feeling such a burden because I disrupted her life by wanting to see her. I wrestled with this for many years, trying to pinpoint exact reasons and gain perspective over the success and then ultimate dissolution of our friendship, and yet still I longed to reconnect. She was, after all, the very best friend I’d ever had in my lifetime, and there had been no other true and intimate friends after her. A couple of years ago I finally became resigned to the fact that I may never see her again and most certainly that our friendship had run its course. And yet, as recent as this January, I found myself googling her name and searching websites of old employers in the hope that I might find an email address for one more attempt at reconnecting. Nothing came of it. Then I read this:
“Every time someone walks away from an opportunity to be your friend, it is good information. As we become more adept at learning when to release shallow, unhealthy or imbalanced connections with love and gratitude in our hearts, we lighten our load and step more confidently into the best future we can create for ourselves. In the big picture, this is all positive, forward movement.” — Christine Mason Miller
I would never characterize my friendship as shallow or unhealthy, but it was certainly imbalanced. But I was the catalyst in creating the disproportion. I was the one suffering from dark depression, and I was the one afraid of being replaced by a more interesting friend. I was the clingy, emotional wreck of a human being during those college years. And it was my friend who remained a stabilizing force for me. God only knows where I’d be today had I not had her as a lifeline to ground me and keep me from circling the drain. It must have been exhausing for her. What is interesting to note, however, is that once I came out of that pit and reclaimed my self-worth and began the journey to healing, our friendship began to take its dive. It was slow at first but steady, and I recognized very quickly that she was no longer on board with the person I was becoming. It confused me for years, although my renewed relationship with God and her lifelong non-spirituality was definitely a chasm between us that I didn’t yet know how to cross. I’m sure that my 180-degree turnaround confused her, as well. And since we didn’t know how to communicate around this new element, we eventually just grew apart.
What I like about Miller’s quote is the last line: “this is all positive, forward movement.” Reclaiming my life and my faith has certainly been just that. Not having to support the basket case that I was must certainly have been positive for my friend. Still, I often wonder just what it was that made her pull so far away. Was it my faith? Was it our different life paths? Was it the distance in miles? Or was it simply that our time together was done and we had nothing left to share? I may never know, and I’ve come to be okay with that. From that long chapter in my life I’ve learned to appreciate the friends I have now. I understand that we may not always have the same relationship as we do today, and I recognize how important it is to stay connected all the time since there may not be a chance to reconnect in the future. I’ve learned to be grateful for the people who love me as I am, with the faith I have and mistakes I make, and I no longer take any of them for granted. If God sees fit to allow a reconnect with my college friend, I’ll praise Him for that day. But even if that day never arrives, I continue to feel connected to her through two simple acts: praying for her continually, and remembering how important she was to me in my darkest hours. That’s a connection that never fades.
This post was derived from the list of inspiration words gathered on Ali Edwards’s blog and from the concept of writing about one word.