I Promise That You’ll Never Find Another Like ME!
I put Taylor Swift’s new song, ME!, on repeat pretty much from the moment it was released in late April. It was the catchy, self-empowering bop I didn’t know I needed. Bubblegum pop at it’s finest, the lyrics are the anthem of individuality, of being confident in and comfortable with who you are. This has never been a strength, but the older I get, the more natural it is becoming. Because, I promise that you’ll never find another like ME!
Except, I don’t really know who I am these days. In the midst of fighting against depression, I lost sight of myself. I knew this to be true, but I couldn’t fully recognize just how lost I felt until very recently. On my best days, I lived. Most of the time, I was existing at best. I lost the desire to be in the world – often, I would come home after work and zone out in front of the television. On many weekends, I wouldn’t leave my house, or even change out of my pajamas. I turned down plans with friends and rarely venutred out on solo dates. Thanks to time, medication, therapy and a lot of inner work, I’m working to get back into proverbial fighting shape. I want to do more than just float through my days, simply existing. I’m reclaiming my identity. Because I’m ME!
So, what does that mean?
I hardly ran for two years because I was (am) out of shape. I felt defeated that I couldn’t run fast (for me) anymore, so why bother? I’m a middle of the pack runner on my best days. Most of the time, my pace averages in the 11 minute per mile range. Lately, I’m starting at what feels like square one. I rarely make it through a run without needing to walk at least once. I struggle through each and every run. As much as I dream of qualifying for the Boston Marathon, it’s a pipe dream at best. I don’t stop dreaming, though. No matter how slow I go, I’m out there doing it and that in and of itself is something to celebrate. Because I’m a runner.
As a kid, I carried around multiple, sometimes dozens of, books at almost all times because I needed options. Even as an adult, it’s rare that I leave the house without a book tucked in my purse. I didn’t read as much in the last couple of years because my attention span was minimal, and the desire to read even less. I love an overflowing bookshelf but I stopped buying books in the name of minimalism. Already in 2019, I’ve finished 23 books and am in the middle of several others. I’m rediscovering just how much I completely love the written word in all forms – history, memoirs, or getting lost in a fictional world the author envisioned. Because I’m a nerdy bookworm.
In 2006, I weighed 233 pounds. At my lowest weight in January 2017, I was less than fifteen pounds from my very first goal of losing a hundred in total. God, I was so proud of how far I’d come. It wasn’t just about the scale, but about the fact that I felt incredible. Since I started this journey, I fluctuated in my weight and in how I feel about my body. I know I am at my best when I feel strong, flexible, and confident. I’m not there right now and that’s okay. I’ll get back there. In the meantime, I’m working hard on body positivity and loving myself where I am. Because I’m a work in progress.
I started a blog in 2010 because I registered for the Healthy Living Summit and wanted something to talk about with the other attendees. In the early days, I wrote posts sharing my daily meals because that’s what we did a decade ago. I shared the ups and downs of my weight loss journey. In race recaps, I experienced everything from personal bests to a DNF at my dream race. More than once, I’ve considered shutting this whole thing down. I never pulled the plug. I published minimally over the last few years, feeling like I’d lost my voice and my audience. But, I’m still here. Because I’m a writer.
After some time on my health journey and writing in this space, I knew I wanted to help others. I studied for certifications as a holistic health coach and a personal trainer. Both of which I do very little with because I fight against the imposter syndrome every day. The self-critic screams “who are you to think that you can add something of value to this already over-saturated market?” And, so I limit myself from finding clients and creating my dream business. I know I can help people if I get out of my own way. Because I’m a legitimate coach who can help people.
All of this, and so much more, I am choosing to celebrate. I am choosing to reclaim and to own my life, my passions, and the things that bring me joy. I’m going to sing pop music and showtunes in the shower and in my car with the windows down because it makes my heart feel light. I look foward to hiking all along Lake Michigan this summer because the beach is my happy place and I am so freaking lucky to live so close. I’m skipping the half Ironman I registered for; while the idea of it thrilled me at the time, I just don’t want to do it anymore. And, that’s okay! I’m doing some half marathons this fall because that’s my absolute favorite distance to train for and race.
I’m going to doodle in the margins of my notebooks and look at the stars in awe. I’ll walk barefoot in the cool grass and try to do cartwheels and buy myself flowers because I can. It’s time to start baking and drinking copious amounts of coffee and getting overly excited about the littlest things. Because that, because all of this, is who I am. I’m going to start living again, doing what brings me joy and light no matter what others might think. Because I promise that you’ll never find another like ME!