February 2, 2016

metaphors + mental musings

I took this selfie after nursing Louisa in the car outside of REI when she was just a week old. She was so bitsy and I was on a huge high from giving birth and finally having this sweet baby girl, safe and sound. I felt so pretty and good in this picture. Two months later we moved to Seattle and I lost it. Depression and anxiety took over. I gained a lot of weight. I was a hot mess.
The last year has been one giant yoga move that I can't pronounce or practice correctly. Maybe that metaphor only makes sense in my head, but my body can't move the way it used to because I'm now in my 30s and haven't taken good care of myself. My brain has been through the wringer between bouts of mental illness, feelings of inadequacy, spiritual discovery and general self-reflection and growth. I feel like I'm growing up and growing into myself more than ever. For those of you who have been my internet friends for years, I think you've seen a lot of this in these pages of my life and I'm grateful for the e-mails, comments and love.

Here's what I've learned:

- Self care is important. No. Vital. I am still figuring out what that means for me on a personal level and how to practice it every day, in small ways.

- The scale doesn't matter. What I eat and my activity level does. Not because I should feel shame for eating all the cookies but because it impacts the way that my body is able to function. Staying up late, not drinking enough water, and eating my feelings are all common issues for many of us and they directly impact the way that I am able to be a good human.

- Wanting to feel beautiful isn't a bad thing but it isn't the ONLY thing. I also don't owe prettiness to
anyone. "Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked 'female'." - Erin McKean

- Authenticity = happiness. People that will not accept you for who you really are, what you really think, and who you really want to be aren't your friends. Authenticity is stretching. It hurts. It's terrible and terrific in one. Forgiving people who don't love your authentic self is also really stretching, hurts and is terrible and terrific.

- I'm OK. You're OK. We're all OK. And if you need a pep talk, check out the Pep Talk Generator. We got this!

"From one grown woman to another, in the face of a challenge you can either break down or break open. When we allow ourselves to break open and let ourselves be immersed by our emotions, we can truly be honest with ourselves and evolve in the most positive and healthiest way. One of the nice things about growing up is being able to say no, to change your mind, and to become brave enough to show who you are even if it hurts. The self-awareness and self-love you grant yourself can be your saving grace; they might help you reacquaint yourself with the courage you forgot you had all along."- Shaya Ishaq

19 comments:

  1. This is why I love your blog. Thank you for your honesty!! And amen on self-care. Some mornings I feel guilty for sneaking out of my house at 5 am and letting my husband handle breakfast for all the kids...but those pre-dawn hours alone running are what stave off crippling depression, and that is 100% worth it.

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    1. Thanks Rachael! I am trying to be a runner but my stupid knees and ankles are not my friend. Can't wait for the weather to warm up a little so I can start jogging again. I definitely need to be better at getting in more exercise!

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  2. Lizzy, you are the best, really. You are so right about that! Mikael and I have been talking a lot about balance in the past week as I am not good at that.. Too much work. I love working but it will never end and I need to take care of myself. So your post made it all more real. :) Thanks so much! Love you :)

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    1. Back at ya, Senja! Balance is tricky and I think you are doing a better job of it than you think. XOXO

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  3. The best blogs are the honest blogs. I just joined the YMCA and went last night for the "get started" session. My plan is to do weights twice a week. I want to get strong. And I started the Matt Damon Diet (don't bother googling it -- I made it up!). He is the commencement speaker at MIT (where I work) and I've given up soda and desserts and hope to get in shape in case he wants to hang out with me after his speech. hahahahaha!

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    1. Don't know how to do a cute heart back but it's there. :)

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  5. I just think you are fabulous. I originally came for the recipes, but I LOVE the authenticity. It's so refreshing!

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  6. These posts always make me stop and think. i always enjoy your blog and appreciate your honesty. Wish we could be friends in real life. :). Take care of you and thank you for your words.

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  7. Great post! Our move up here was brutal for me too. Lots of loneliness and figuring myself out. I've learned so much about the importance of self care this last year. It's a necessity. Not only do I need it, but my family needs me to do it. When I can take some time out for me I'm a better wife and mother. Check out the book, Fringe Hours. Lots of great stuff in there about the balance of being a mom!

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    1. Thanks Carrie. I hate that we've loved here over a year and I still haven't seen you! What's with that?! I'll have to check out that book. It sounds great! Xoxo

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  8. This your internet friend in LA saying hi. Thank you for being courageous to talk about the tough things in life. I too am trying to balance many of the things you spoke of and by gosh, it's hard! Keep fighting the good fight because you are worthy!

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  9. This brought actual tears to my eyes. Tears of relief and understanding. I am a woman in my 30s who has ten months ago had her third baby; who suffered anxiety terribly after her birth and who should be taking better care of herself (and still isn't). Thank you. I feel more myself now than I ever have, I feel more enlightened and lighter. Still anxious. Still struggling some days but I can see how this journey has shaped (and is still shaping me) and I can look to the future. You're a good woman, Elizabeth. X

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    1. Lots of love, Alex. One day at a time, right?! Xoxo

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  10. This brought actual tears to my eyes; tears of relief and of understanding. You and I live parallel lives; I have three children, the youngest being 10 months old. I struggled with anxiety after she was born for ages; it was the hardest year of my life. I too am in my 30s and haven't looked after myself as well as I could have (still don't). What you wrote resonated with me very strongly. You're a good woman, Elizabeth! Thank you and take care

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