My life has been a constant struggle. Every thing I do or even think about doing is a struggle. Weight gain. Struggle. Weight loss. Struggle. Anxiety. Struggle. Depression, this one is more of an all out fist-fight. I constantly hear my grandmother’s words, “Knuckle down and power through. If you aren’t struggling, you aren’t working hard enough.”
Thanks, Gram. Well, I am here to say eff that bullshit. Now I am not saying things should come easy, all rainbows, unicorns and marshmallow fluff. Nope, that’s not how things go. I wish. I also think hard work pays off, but white knuckling your way through life is no way to live.
I was 40 years old when I figured that out. It is no secret I have struggled, wrestled and fought with my own thoughts. Not wanting to think them. Not wanting to be depressed. Not wanting to live. Not wanting to weigh 504 pounds.
Fighting, kicking and screaming my way through life. Constantly trying to be unaffected by my thoughts. Constantly trying to forget the traumas of my past. Hating everyone and everything around me. Even if those things or people brought a small amount of joy into my life, I hated them. “Just leave me the F alone, I’ll figure it out,” was my mantra. Battling addiction and depression is no fun nor is it often that people live to tell others of their brave battle. Most addicts’ lives end early.
If you want something, then go get it. Well, I did just that and it is working. I am working harder than I have ever worked in my life but I am not struggling. My thought process has changed. My body has changed. My spirit has changed. Yoga has changed me. I have lost literally half of my body weight without any sort of surgical intervention. For those of you that are mathematically challenged, that is a weight loss of 252 pounds. It still sounds crazy to me and I am the one that made it all happen. My mind has not caught up with my physical progress. Not yet, but it will. I just need to wait for it to happen. It won’t happen any quicker if I go back to struggling. I cannot worry about when it will happen or try to rush the process because when I do those things, think those thoughts, soon enough I feel like shit and here comes the negative thought process yet again. My brain HATES when I listen to my body. My brain tries to make me think horrible, mean things about myself and I struggle to not let that happen.
My very first yoga teacher, Reggie Jones, always said during class, “don’t worry about what you look like in a pose, worry about what it feels like.” Holy shit bro, that actually works! At least it did for me. Nowadays, when my brain tries to stress out my body with that infamous negative self talk, I recognize it for what it actually is and I greet it. Hello negative self talk. Hello anger. Hello jealousy. Hello grumpy. Then I try to take it out of my mind and put it in my body. How do I feel physically? Can I release my thoughts through my body? I am telling you that you can do just that. Yoga taught me that.
I am scarred. I am traumatized. And honestly, I am slowly learning to love those parts of me. Slowly trying to reverse the damage of addiction. Slowly becoming healthy…physically, mentally and spiritually. I am slowly recovering. Yoga is slowly teaching me these things. I am slowly learning to give up the constant struggle against myself and my thoughts. Once I can do that, I can accept myself for who I am, what I am and for exactly where I am in life. No longer judging myself for all the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s. Once I get there I can actually start to fight for what I believe in. I am hopeful that I will get there and it will not be a temporary feeling. It will be permanent. A new way of life. A new way of looking at myself. A new way of looking at others. A new way to live. And that is where the unicorns, rainbows and marshmallow fluff becomes a reality. And who wouldn’t want to live there? Not me.
ABOUT MICHELE: Michele can be found at the gym six days a week kicking her own ass as well as her sister’s and anyone else who is ready to challenge themselves physically and mentally with a serious work-out. She can also be seen three days a week at Be Yoga in Marietta teaching yin and taking various flow classes as well as hot pilates throughout the week. Follow her on Instagram @yoga_bitches.