Glow Up

My apologies for the radio silence. I’ve been chewing on this post for a few weeks. I didn’t realize it was so difficult for me to get out. Thank you for your patience & understanding.

I had a scary thought. I realized in about a month, I will have been graduated from high school for 20 years & college for 16 years. Damn. Time is flying.

I was thinking about how people stress out over reunions & try so hard to be who they were when they were growing. We all try to lose weight, gain hair or muscles or money, be successful, & whatever else to prove to others that we didn’t peak in high school. I don’t quite understand the reasoning behind it. I’ll be honest – there is a part of me that’s like, “I want to prove those assholes wrong” but to what end? I haven’t thought about them in 20 years & chances are good they feel the same about me. So who cares?

I went to a very small private school (my graduating class was 32). I HIGHLY doubt there will be anything that remotely resembles a reunion & I’m fine with that. Honestly, I don’t think my former classmates & I would have much in common anymore. I mean, I know we all grow & learn. You can’t judge someone for who they were when they were a hormonal nightmare. Brains & bodies are still developing. And part of that is being okay with the woman I’ve become.

Several years ago, thanks to social media, a former classmate reached out to me. She was always a raging bitch so whatever. She wanted to check in, apologize for making my life hell, & then brag about being “skinnier than she was in high school.” And all I could think was, “how sad.” I was a victim of her bullying & after a half-assed apology, she felt that this was the time & opportunity to talk about her weight. I wasn’t sure if she was trying to make me jealous or proud or whatever. It was just bizarre.

Psychology has taught me that people’s actions say more how they feel about themselves than others. Bullying is rooted in insecurity, unhappiness, & a lack of control. It was almost as if she had to put in one more dig to make herself feel superior to me. Again, I just thought it was pathetic. I mean, who does that? People who peaked 20 years ago do that.

So she’s tiny. Bully for her. She had an eating disorder so logic tells me she hasn’t worked through that to be “skinnier” now. Not healthier. Skinnier. Big difference. I’m not the same size I was in high school (& who is?) but that’s okay. I would rather be healthy & that’s what I’m working towards. Most people put their physical health first while, for me, it’s last. As you know, I had other urgent areas. 😉

So for me, this is my glow up:

MENTALLY

Probably the most important & what has made the biggest difference in my life. For my newer readers who don’t know my story, here’s a quick synapsis. I grew up under very verbally & emotionally abusive parents (there were a few instances of physical abuse but, IMO, it didn’t affect me as much as the verbal & emotional abuse did). Fundamental Christianity coupled with narcissism so nothing was right or good enough & God was upset with me. I’ve recently cut off communication from them & I’ve been a lot happier. They’ve been trying to buy my love with gifts which just disgusts me.

I’ve been going to therapy for a few years & I’ve been on the right medication about that same time. It’s made a world of difference. In the beginning, I would cry from being overwhelmed with how much better I felt. I couldn’t believe that this is what other people experience. My mind was calmer & I felt more in control of my thoughts. I didn’t feel like a slave to my mind anymore. It’s hard to describe but for those who have been in the thick of that darkness, you get it. It’s a cold, numbing feeling with no way out. But now I was finding a teeny, tiny way out & I was gonna take it. So yeah. It’s a big, fucking deal.

SPIRITUALLY

Another large chunk that helped me was accepting the Jewish side of myself. I’ve always been curious to learn more but felt like I wasn’t “allowed” to (quick recap: Dad is Jewish. Mom is Christian. Christian side squashed any Jewish practices in our house). Once I stepped away (painfully) from a church-turned-cult, I started to do my own research. It took me a while to get the balls to actually go to a synagogue. It wasn’t until my therapist instructed me to that I finally went. I had been pushing it off for years. I even tried going to another church after the cult but it didn’t sit with me. They were great & all. I had found that my views didn’t line up with theirs. 🙂

After one service in my local synagogue, I felt like it truly clicked. As I’ve described it to my rabbi, it’s like finding that missing puzzle piece & snapping it into place. From there started my ongoing journey into fully converting to Judaism. The whole process has been about 18 months in the making but I’m almost finished. I have a few more items on my list to take care of. For the first time in my life, I’m proud of my heritage & I look forward to creating my own memories intertwined with traditional teachings.

FINANCIALLY

For years, I felt stuck. With teaching dance, I felt like I would never get past the shallow end. I would, occasionally, get some classes I loved & would knock it out of the park…only then to have someone else step in & take them from me. Like I got them “good” so they could benefit from my hard work. It happened a few times & I was pissed. Since I’ve been at my studio (this year marks 3 years), I’ve been treated with respect by the owner, fellow staff, & my students. My opinion is valued & heard. Just today, my boss, RV, sent me a message asking about a summer class to teach. Two summers ago, I taught for a local community college. I never wanted to be famous or to travel for dance. But I wanted to be somewhat known & appreciated where I am in my city. I feel like that dream is becoming more of a reality.

And next month marks my one year anniversary at my day job. I can’t believe it’s been that long. I’m still kicking ass & doing my best. There is a real part of me that feels inadequate & scared. That they are annoyed with me & my work. I try to remind myself what Dr. G says, “Find the evidence.” The evidence, or lack thereof, tells me everything is good. It’s hard to judge when you’ve been working at home & you can’t read people’s faces or body language. But, I’m choosing to believe the good. Even if I have to make that choice every day.

So what’s next?

Now, I’m focusing on my physical health. I’ve been somewhat kosher (as you know) & have changed my eating habits. I’m down 2.4 lbs since last week & I’m feeling really good. I’m definitely baby-stepping it but I feel like I’ve got the mental, spiritual, & financial support down & ready to back me up. I don’t have any deadlines or hard-lined goals. I’m just taking it one day at a time & doing what I can. 🙂

My glow up isn’t the same as yours or anybody else’s or even what I thought it would be. But you know what? That’s okay. It’s still strength, progress, & healing to my soul. It’s mine & I fought hard for her. I’m proud of the woman I’ve become. ❤

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