Reflecting - thanking the past you


New Years is here. 2017 is gone - 2018, here is a very warm welcome. Now we have the future to look forward to and can drop all the bullshit from 2017. But I'm curious, why the resolutions? why all the goal setting? why the weight loss drama the second our calendar shifts to January?

res·o·lu·tion - rezəˈlo͞oSH(ə)n/ - noun a firm decision to do or not to do something History shows that western culture has a long history of New Year's resolution setting in order to please the gods, correct their wrongdoings and to simply promise to 'be better' this year.

I'd rather take this time to cultivate the practice of reflecting. Reflect daily. Promise yourself you'll do better every time you feel guilt or shame. Forgive yourself (and others) and move on. Keep these resolutions / reflections / promises to yourself sacred and enjoy this secret piece of you. Celebrate these small victories and embrace your journey through this work.

Feeling the 2018 pressure to deliver a 'new me' I've been reflecting quite a bit. I've spent time paging through old journals and blog posts laughing at myself, cringing at myself and crying over some profound experiences I've had over the years. I've enjoyed this process so much that I want to share a note from my former self, a blog post I made live exactly 4 years ago.

S & I were in Mexico vacationing a few days back and it just clicked with me. My brain and body were in check and I realized that I just want to be the best version of me that’s possible. I’m the one that gets to determine who and what that entails. Quite exciting! I know the vacation-sunshine-saltwater high is sure to wear off soon, but in that brain/body click moment I knew I wanted to be who I am when I’m on vacation.

When traveling I have a different look, a different vibe, a more chill attitude and a much more adventurous personality. I want to be always walking around, always soaking up the beauty, eating fresh and culture appropriate foods, always feeling great. One of the first things I do when I know I’ll be out of town is looking on the KPJAYI (Sri K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute) teachers tab to see where I could practice in a foreign land. However, I hadn’t been on my mat in my teachers’ shala where I live in months. If my practice is so important to spend precious vacation hours doing it then why was I not even doing it in my hometown?

Something else that’s opened my eyes is no longer being gluten free. Being able to travel is a huge priority for me and the first anxious thought that always runs through my head is “Shit, what and where am I going to eat… Surely there’ll be Chipotle’s… I can stop at groceries…That will take a lot of time… I wonder if it’ll make S mad…”

What I’m rambling about is that I want to be free of the burdens of everyday life that I have personally bestowed on myself. That weight I’ve unconsciously, yet on purpose, placed between my shoulder blades has been shed quite a bit. Vacation Kaleigh wants to be who she wants to be and wants to have fun exploring what that may turn into.

When I’m on vacation I’m an artist, I’m a photographer/filmmaker who works in a restaurant to support my passion. When I meet a new person while living in Milwaukee I take a sharp inhale and say 'I’m a server'. Period, the end. I let my job title ruin my day to a newfound stranger. I actually do enjoy being a server most days, but my insecurities with not being who I thought I was supposed to be at 26 is disheartening. When I think this stranger could be thinking my profession isn’t good enough I dig myself an even deeper hole of shame.

Shame from people I don’t even care about is one major thing I’m giving up on. Another is guilt from food. Holy cow-mole, I really missed biting into toast and ordering almost anything on a menu (still vegetarian, always vegetarian*) is such a relief. I feel little pangs of guilt here and there but one deep breath in and out and a quick affirmation has seemed to calm the nervous breakdown negative thought storms. All I can do is my best.

I’ve been morphing this My Disordered Eating blog into something more positive and uplifting rather than talking just about eating disorders and depression. Instead of talking about the topics and what it’s like to be in it, I want to explore what it’s like to be out of it once you’ve been in it but are now in recovery. I’ve been collaborating for about a year and we’ve found some really great and helpful people who are in tune with our vision. My hope is to concoct a collection of stories and transformations into an online installation full of video and text content where one who needs a place to go to for help, advice, just somewhere to not feel alone, will find a plethora of information and real life inspiration at their control, a place that’s filled with tools for your box of healing. Which should ultimately be your life.**

* no longer a vegetarian - that's another story :)

** still in motion - see Habitual Healing for what's in store :)

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© 2019 by Kaleigh Atkinson