Friday, June 8, 2018

The Moment I Fell Back In Love with My Husband, Why Marrying Young is Often an Excellent Choice for Committed Partnership and A "Just Checkin In Sort of Love."

(Disclaimer: *I want to express here to my friends who are divorced or separated, that I acknowledge your immense pain and heartache. This post is not focused on that aspect of understanding and perhaps is not meant currently for your eyes if you are in a tough spot right now. While I understand those tough spots and I currently never wish to be in those moments again, I know that both partners have to be willing to get back to a place of being in love. One person's love is not enough for both. I am so incredibly sorry for the one whom loved, but it was not enough to carry, and that pain can be worse than death when it's fresh. Miserable marriages are the worst, speaking from experience when one particular year was so heartbreaking...I had PTSD for the next full year...in a small part I understand but in another aspect- I don't...because my journey is suddenly in happiness again and this post is about that reclaiming and giving advice to couples who are on the precipice but have choices...)

The Moment I Fell Back In Love with My Husband



I have alluded to the fact that my husband and I recently had 2.5 tough years in THIS and THIS post. In our 17/18 years together, we have had some terrible years, epic times, and neutral moments, but currently, I am celebrating that thus far, this is becoming one of our together times. 


 A couple months ago my husband and I were watching a movie together. It was a perfectly ordinary moment in which we both started laughing and I snuggled into his chest naturally. It took a second to register that I didn't have to pre choose to be near him, or force myself to make contact, and then my head popped quickly off his chest and I exclaimed,"Oh my goodness!!! It happened!" And he knew EXACTLY what I was going to say, because at the same time I said, "I'm back in euphoric love with you." He said, "What? You are back in love with me?"


The fact that he had the same realization at the same moment made me love him even more. I felt like I had in years passed. We have always been FOR each other in a chosen partnership, in good times and bad times. We actively choose to get through the hard years, because we know that we would just have to eventually traverse a similar path with someone else. All relationships have their eventual ebb and flow. We knew we valued commitment and nothing barring two definite rules of ours, would be worth losing what we had. In tough times, if we work on our relationship and actively choose to try, eventually the feelings will come back. This time it took almost 2.5 years to fully come around to the feelings of being IN love, but we still HAD love. We chose to have each other's backs despite our issues. 

Why Marrying Young is Often an Excellent Choice for Committed Partnership
                                            

Our natural relationship is based on the beautiful ordinary. I often tell my children to try to marry young if they want a lifelong committed partnership. Why? Because contrary to popular advice, marrying young causes the couple to GROW together. It's easier to adapt to each other because from a vulnerable age, both people have chosen to consider one another. It tends to go that these individuals are less set in their ways, there are more options to choose from below a certain age, and if chosen with wisdom and preparation, the couple has more time to bond together for a lifetime of choices. The problems of marrying young are NOT from age. They are from a lack of maturity (maturity is ageless and depends on perspective) when making choices, which can be partially remedied by preparation. My husband and I went to seven different marital counsellors of differing beliefs. SEVEN. I admit, we were trying to make a point that we could get married because almost everyone was telling us it was a bad choice. Which in hindsight, the naysayers gave us a head start by allowing us to "rebel" and figure out how to be stronger in our decision. Overall, most issues in life are not about age. Age is different from wisdom. I know 16 year olds who have more wisdom than some 68 year olds. I see couples who will succeed being married at forty and couples who will succeed being married at 18. It's not about age. But there IS an element of TIME. Being together longer, having moments to infuse love and bond together in almost every decade minus childhood, DOES add a special type of element to love. My husband and I knew each other at 17. We have witnessed the changes from teen hood to young adulthood, early twenties to thirties and thirties to mid thirties together. If you are older than 30, think of all those crucial life moments, skills and wisdom that was gathered through those years. Now imagine sharing them with a life partner in vulnerability and balance. That can either ruin a couple or fuse them so tightly together that it is almost impossible to bring them apart.

                                        
What will make the difference between ruination and fusing tighter to each other? This is a complex question. Unfortunately some factors are out of our control. Tragedy, death, and mental illness can change a couple's rate of succeeding. But they can also bring a couple together. It depends on BOTH people. Mostly, in a large generalization, it comes down to communication, humour, willingness to be vulnerable and natural, respect and commitment. If both partners are able to express the truth in love, remain open in vulnerability and share most experiences with each other, most obstacles can eventually be overcome. 

A "Just Checking In Sort of Love."
My husband checks in every day with texts like, "Morning love, How was your sleep? How are you feeling today?" He also calls me during work with his headphones. He can have the worst timing. I will be in the middle of check out at a store, or running to the bathroom, having a serious discussion with my kids, tacking up decor, dealing with broken glass or my arms will be full of packages while I am unlocking my door. Actually, often his timing is "inconvenient." But most of the time, I still answer. Because he is making the time, I need to make the time. I remind myself what I am doing can often wait. Or I can quickly tell him I will call him back. But most of the time, I smile as his ring tone of "At Last" starts to croon and I begin the conversation with, "Hi Babe, what's up?"

Since we were teens together, he has known that I tend to forget the sensory details of the day. He will ask me if I have eaten and make sure that I get food nurturing. I make sure he is covered in natural sunscreen if he is working outside, that his schedule is manageable and that he has drank enough water. During our 2.5 years of chaos, we still made this kind of love a practice.

In general, we have a rule to tell each other important or relevant news first, before anyone else. Sometimes we forget but we actively try to choose to share emotion as a priority. Each morning before he leaves, I will often feel a kiss on my cheek or forehead. If I stir, I will hear the words, "Shhhhh go back to sleep baby." And I will...with a slight smile on my face. When I wake up later I send a text to him with, "Morning love. Hope your day is going well." This routine still happened when we were going through tough times. Because practicing the daily love BECOMES love.



Whenever one of us is going away for the day, we make sure we say, "I love you." It's a habit that has been a part of us since we were 17. We have only had 10 full days/nights away from each other in 18 years together. Even when I feel I hate him, I can't stand to go to sleep without him. When I am super mad, I wait till he is asleep (which doesn't take long) and then I reluctantly move to spoon him, because it is easier for me to fall into slumber in that natural position. He will shift in his sleep to accommodate me and often he will move his arm so that it is holding mine. Even if we were arguing before sleep. Reaching for each other is a habit.

He makes me laugh and I crack him up. We will often be found laughing until our bodies are shaking. Actually the movie "Friends with Benefits" (which I do not recommend if you have issues with sexual scenes) reminds me of my husband and I. We are best friends first. Of course we have our sexy times, but often our private relationship is full of casual friendship moments, laughter, joking and a general comfortability.

The other day I could not stop snapping pictures of him. I couldn't get over how beautiful he was. I am often in awe of his natural facial beauty. I can't compare to him that way. I have to put on make up and effort into my form of beauty. He wakes up and those beautiful smile crinkles light up his face. His faded freckles dot his smooth skin and his stubble highlights his full mouth. He has the most stunning smile coupled with expressive, blue sky eyes. I find him more attractive than any movie star I adore (which isn't many but the ones I do think are attractive tend to look similar to him...except for Blaine in Glee, and he just encompasses my husband's charismatic personality in many ways.) Yet despite the fact that he is prettier than me, every day he tells me how beautiful I am. Often, he catches me off guard. He typically says it when I am feeling at my worst. Often he makes advances when I am in sweats, a t shirt and have barely any make up on or my hair is a rat's nest. I sigh with frustration and say, "Why do you never make these advances when I am in heels and a dress or look better?! Now, it will take me awhile to come around to the idea that I am sexy which factors into our time together..." But he always replies, "I prefer knowing you're comfortable. That's hot to me." Which, let's admit, is a pretty quick way for me to get over myself. It works, but I can tell he is genuine. I can be in a dress and heels like in this photo my son snapped below- when I think I look the best I can be:
... and even though we have time to connect, instead he chooses to focus attention on me a day later when I look casual, probably smell, am in glasses and PJs without make up and my hair is messy (pic below also taken by my son- my daughter snapped the photos of my husband and I.) and it seriously baffles me because it has been the pattern all through our marriage. These moments are not when I would personally choose me anyway...:
                                          

Often in Romances or Novels, there is this pressure to have an epic amount of sexiness. The romance hinges on constant sexual advances, hot bodies, or over the top romantic overtures in hot air balloons or exciting, expensive places...Even on Instagram, the trendy couple posts are the ones where two hot people with excellent clothes are taking pictures in stunning landscapes or in the perfect lighting. These photos capture a feeling and are beauty in a different way, but should not be a standard of expectation. While my husband and I have had similar epic moments, and we have a couple perfect pictures together or have had moments of constant attraction...these occasions are few and far between life's ordinary. And the ordinary bliss is truly what romance is about.



It's the moment when he tucks me in because I have been doing too much extraverting and he knows that I will crash if I do not have ample alone time in my room. Or when I arrange his schedule and organize his next business venture because I know those details stress him out and cause him to feel inadequate. It's when we run our hands along each other's backs as we pass in the hallway of our home. Or when we quickly peck each other's cheeks as we cross each other's paths. Love is where we are on Sunday mornings, snuggling in bed because we are free in time to enjoy each other. It's the moment when I finish his sentences and predict his behaviour so that I can change our environment to suit his moods. It's trusting that he doesn't cheat in any form including images on his phone, and vice versa. It's choosing each other to fill our needs instead of going to another convenient or seemingly exciting choice. It's when we share a smile over the kid's heads because something they said hit us right in our souls and we both KNEW what the other was feeling. It's him scrubbing the shower because he knows I lack the strength, and me doing his laundry because I know he lacks the time. A large part of this is also sharing our small hopes and dreams together and finding a way to activate our change together. If one of us wants to change our eating patterns, the research is shared and if it's drastic, we BOTH choose to walk the path together because we know that type of change can re set a person, thus we want to re set together. This also applies in financial goals, home goals and child rearing. (Obviously we also have our important separate choices and crucial alone time too.)


"It's ordinary, plain and simple, typical this every day love, same old, same old, keeping it new. Emotional so familiar, nothing about too peculiar, oh but I can't get enough of this every day love. Every afternoon I make a phone call, listen to the voice that warms my heart, I drag myself through a few more hours, and drive home to try to beat the clock, his smile will be right there, just like it was before, and it will be that way tomorrow, like every day before. I wouldn't change one single thing about it, it's run of the mill but I still can't live without it."- Rascal Flatts

P.S. Happy Birthday Baby. I love walking the tightrope with you in our ordinary day love. You are truly the only person in the world who knows me for all that I am. After these last 2.5 tough years I wanted let you know how very proud I am of you. That even in your tougher moments I was pretty honoured to still be your partner. I wouldn't want to go through hell with anyone else but you! But it's also lovely to be back in Ga Ga love with you. "I Hope you're the end of my story. I hope you're as far as it goes. I hope your the last word- I ever utter. That it's never your time to go."- Pistol Annies

From the Kids- Forever our Thor:



Song Choice: Everyday Love- Rascal Flatts , Tightrope- Michelle Williams, End of My story- Pistol Annies

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Other Side of Boundaries: Value Those Who Genuinely Care For You. The Rare Beauty of Deep Connections. Accepting "Socially Inappropriate" Behaviours as Beauty too. Expressions of Gratitude.


Boundaries and letting go are important concepts for an INFJ to learn. They have been my focal points for about a decade. I will forever be learning in the realm of "appropriateness" and proper boundaries. But there is a counter balance to this lesson. Luckily, for me, this counter balance comes more naturally. However, in the past, it threw me often into the deep end of other's grasping hands of use or desperation. So I had to learn to bury my depth of caring. I began burying it with distant friends, then in immediate circles, and finally this mentality even bled into my relationship with my husband. Luckily, my children were always my constant. They continued to allow me to be ME. They adored me as I was and am. If it wasn't for them, I think I may have locked that aspect of myself forever in the dark recesses of my soul.

But they were there. With their unconditional love, support, and acceptance. And I saw that it didn't matter how intense I was, how absolutely quirky or ridiculously animated I became...whatever I was, and how tightly I held on to them- they loved me back or more for it. When I showed them every day how much I cared in varied ways, they didn't ask me to put up more boundaries. They simply accepted. Of course I had a few natural, healthy boundaries, but I didn't have to actively practice "boundaries" with them the way I had to with others. What a relief that was!

Boundaries are important. For the rest of my life I will be writing, implementing and learning about boundaries, letting go, and allowing growth to take me in different directions. But there IS another side. And I will forever constantly be torn between the healthy endeavour of fitting in, being socially appropriate, and making healthy parameters around myself and my family...and being whom I naturally am at my core; an extremely giving, innocent, intense, deep and quirky person who craves time, depth and emotional connection.

 

A few years back I found a balance between these two aspects. But life is a journey of growth, mistakes and successes. This new season, I am re learning what I already knew. After my aunt died, there was a moment when I realized that, "There is one less person in the world who loved me for ME. Who thought my quirkiness was brilliant, who wanted to protect my innocence, who believed in my words, and wished the best for me. One less person who thought my temper was valuable and amusing and didn't take offence when I was "off," distant or moody. And one less person in the world who I felt the same for back." That hit me hard. 

Recently, one of my former best friends from High School was over. We see each other a few times a year and pick up where we left off for the most part. She will forever be another person who loves me for me in varying aspects. Religiously we are worlds apart and have conflict. But when it comes to my quirks or fears, she has my back. And I have hers. We were talking about her grandparents passing away and she astounded me with saying the exact same phrase I said above. She softly remarked that there were now less people in the world who loved her for HER. Who didn't care if she was fat or skinny, rebellious or kind, successful or failing in any regard...they just loved HER. At that moment I, once again, realized why we are still friends. Our brains often formulate the same response to life. Our ethics are similar even if our beliefs are not. We wish for authenticity and connection, beauty, innocence, sweetness, and family ties. For the most part, we both see value in the same places. We laugh boisterously together and she shares memories with my daughter. That, is invaluable.

This had me thinking about all of the people in my life. It is tough to express, in the busyness of life, how much a person can mean. A single connection out of the blue can change our lives. One text conversation can alter our destiny. People are often conduits of growth. We often forget to thank them. Until one day we realize they are absent. They are either far away or out of this life. If they have passed onward without our expression of gratitude that is a moment that can never be given back.

Luckily, in the cases of my aunt and my mother in law (both of whom passed on in the last couple years) I have text feeds that I went out of my comfort zone to express my gratitude for their role in my life. Because I knew the end was coming. I was able to make a video for my MIL and show it to her in one of her awake moments, of the children and my husband, to a song, to thank her for everything she had done in our lives. With my aunt, we shared a couple vulnerable conversations. These conversations have slowly become an engrained part of my soul. They shape how I am with others. They shape my responses in mind and heart.

Strangers can also change our lives forever. Blog writers, books, music, film, actors, past friends, distant relatives, frenemies, close friends, besties, spouses, extended family, children, children's friends, neighbours...Each of these people may be in need of words of encouragement. Their beauty deserves to be celebrated. Kindness should be acknowledged. Care deserves gratitude. And often I bury my overwhelming gratitude because it is not considered "socially appropriate." Yet, the me before boundaries, regularly gave this without thought. When I was 26 years old, I found out that a gal in town despised me. I was so shocked because I didn't even know her. I knew OF her, but I had never had personal interactions with her. So, I began to watch for her downtown and nod with acknowledgement. When that didn't work, I dropped off a gift at her house through a mutual friend with a note apologizing for anything I may have done to offend and hoping an offering of goodwill would suffice. I didn't want another enemy. I wasn't trying to control how someone felt about me. I just wanted to give peace a chance, because that is who I am.

Of course it backfired. She thought I was weird. She told our mutual friend, "Who does that? Who leaves a gift to someone they don't know? What's her angle?" But I stuck to my guns because I knew I did my best. People will judge or perceive you how they view the world. It's not your job to change that. But it is your job to make sure you are acting within your own ethics. I wanted to try for peace. I wanted to acknowledge that she was a beautiful person in her own way, even if we would never be friends. And I knew we wouldn't be because of our personalities. But I wanted to show my acknowledgement of who she was. Do I regret that action? No. Because I know I went into it with thought out intentions and a pure heart. Did I cry later when I found out that I was labelled a freak even though I had to overcome some cowardice to do the action in the first place? Yes I did. It hurt to be so misunderstood. But I came to the conclusion that I understood myself, I knew why I did what I did, and there will be people who don't get it...and that's ok. I am still glad I did it. To me, it's not about the ending, or hopeful resolution (though both are nice bonuses if given), but trying my best, within whom I am, to acknowledge another's existence in peace and gratitude. 

Those situations happened too many times to count in my past. I still give awkward gifts to my Dentist, my Hygienists and basically any professional that helps me. I don't do this to get anything, but instead to show my gratitude for their roles in my life. I sometimes get weird looks. But most of the time, I get astounded shock followed by, "This is exactly what I needed today." My dental receptionist, whom I barely know but has always been so kind to me on the phone, remarked after a gift, "My niece died this week and your gift was the one unexpected bright spot in my week. Thank you. It had me teary in a good way which was a welcome relief."

We don't always get the privilege of knowing how our words of beauty affect others. Sometimes we do not need to know. But we need to give. Gratitude doesn't just serve the one receiving, but also the one giving. When we acknowledge the crucial words, role or love someone has given us with thankfulness, we also see our own growth, our paths, and the love infused around us.

The lack of these words in our lives is a loss. Some of it comes down to laziness. To combat this, I actively try to write a few words of kindness, acknowledgement or beauty back to someone in text, on Instagram posts, or in email as soon as I read. For instance, if someone writes something vulnerable, I hope to validate their bravery. By writing a few words I am essentially saying, "I see you." That matters. Kind comments matter. Every comment I have received on and off my blog, about how my words helped someone, are now part of the fabric of my being. Some are from strangers I will never see or know, yet they are interestingly a part of me. While others are faces I cherish, belong to, and get to love in a tangible way. Both are of value.

As I have practiced boundaries, I have given less in this way. I used to give gifts, send letters, emails and cards all the time. It wasn't bad of me to stop. In fact, I needed to give myself a new phase with practice emphasized on only giving to myself and a few key people. Yet, at the same time, I have missed that girl a bit. The brave one who constantly stepped out of her comfort zone because she saw beauty and wanted to value it by acknowledging it. A girl who cried in her closet when people found her terrifying or weird, but still stuck to her ways of being in the world anyway ,because she knew it was HER beauty and goodness. A girl who was used to people running from her open arms because they didn't know what to do with her love, but she loved anyway. Maybe it was too intense at times. Maybe "socially inappropriate" too, but it was HER truth. 


The quote above was a phrase similar to what my husband used to say to me when I would cry after these experiences. Sometimes he would sway me from sending an email, not because he didn't believe in my words, but because he knew the receiver would be less than perspective taking or kind. He wanted to spare me more grief. But other times, he knew the grief would come but knew I had to honour who I was. He would wait to pick up the pieces and tuck them back into my soul to be used again. What a lovely expression of love. He would tell me that I was one of the only genuine souls he knew. That my Aspie self gave an alien sort of balance to humanity. He encouraged me not to lose this muchness.

On the flip side, I had to learn how to do this in a less scary way...for the most part. People are scared by genuine care because often it is used to mask sinister behaviour. I had to learn to accept this fact. To work around it. Or to sometimes act in spite of it. But over time I became too socially appropriate. I am often more appropriate in conduct, words and deeds than my "normal" friends. I have become that obedient trained puppy, in some regards. While my behaviour now often gets rewarded from the masses, I have lost some of that joy. That unshakable trust and love given has diminished a bit. And I want it back.

I will not be the same person I was years ago. I have learned too much. But it's time to re adjust my own balance. To value those who genuinely care for me and to just be ME when I give back, regardless of what is thought of me. My biggest gift to those I love is often my words in writing. I need to honour that. Be it in a card, text, email, post, comment ect. I have held back for almost a decade. I learned some good lessons. Many of which I will implement and take with me. As an INFJ boundaries will ALWAYS be needed, necessary and hard to balance. But as an Autistic person, it is important for me to also BE whom I am, which IS socially inappropriate. The few who have seen my genuine soul in this regard, like me even more for this part of me. They may laugh sometimes or get a kick of amusement out of my social blunders, but they find it refreshing too. I need BOTH. I AM both.

If you are an INFJ whom has never practiced boundaries, you may need to go the other way. I have spent a better half of a decade in that zone and I don't regret it at all. But now it is time for a new phase. I am unsure how it will look. I will make mistakes. It will be interesting to incorporate the new boundary filled me while unlocking the hidden intense parts of my soul I buried deep in most situations because I wanted to make other people comfortable. There are different situations for the different sides of persona. My children have taught me that we are most worthy of love, being whom we are. Boundaries are accepting that those who can not see that, can walk away. Being genuine requires us to still be that person that we are regardless.

It is such a gift to have someone see you. In words or deeds. As I am writing this numerous faces are flashing through my head. Elementary and High school friends, relatives, far away friends, Internet friends, called to question participants, professionals, frenemies (people who I may not be fond of or they may not be fond of me but we also played a role in each other's decisions by doing so), therapists, neighbours, parents of friends, children of friends... beautiful, unique souls that are all a part of me...and I am intensely grateful. In this circumstance I refuse to tone down my intensity. I am overwhelmed with teary happiness that I have witnessed aspects of these people's lives and they have witnessed mine.

To all of them, and to you, the stranger reading this blog, I acknowledge you. I wish I could have a deep conversation with you. Be it once and short but valuable or an ongoing friendship. I wish I could express my thankfulness to the unique place you have in my fabric of existence. With some, we have had these conversations and will again. With others, the future is waiting in bravery, and some will unfortunately never have an expression other than this.

With Deep, Intense, Genuine Thankfulness for your place in this world and my place in your world;

"Where there is love, I'll be there. I'll reach out my hand to you. I'll have faith in all you do. Just call my name, and I'll be there. I'll be there to comfort you, build my world of dreams around you, I'm so glad that I found you. I will be there with a love that's strong. I will be your strength. I will keep holding on..."


If Tomorrow Never Comes- Garth Brooks: "So tell that someone that you love, Just what you're thinking of, If tomorrow never comes. Cuz I've had loved ones in my life, who never knew how much I loved them. Now I live with the regret that my true feelings for them never were revealed. So I made a promise to myself, to say each day how much they mean to me, and avoid that circumstance where there's no second chance, to tell them how I feel..."


Glee- You have more friends than you know "Those who love you the most may need more time to grow..."

Friday, May 25, 2018

Ferritin Improved on the Whole30 Reset/Our Subsequent Adaptation Changed Our Life! Gratitude and Daily Delights of Energy. For Once in My Life...



On a rainy night recently I decided to clean and do some Paleo baking to add occasionally back into our lifestyle diet change. (My emphasis is on Coconut flour and natural wholesome ingredients.) Our home smelled of lemon and baking. It looked basically as perfect as it can. While each family member had their well deserved breaks, I decided to have the upstairs to myself. I made my daughter's bed with fresh Thieves Oil smelling linens, folded the last laundry load (of seven) and baked while my sparkle mood lighting created tranquillity and soft Steve Tyrell's " Simple Life" played in the background. Then we all went out to listen to the crickets and frogs while we ate a cookie. It was my version of perfection. And it is a day that would have left me in bed for at least three days recovery if I had attempted it a few months ago. Energy truly is a precious resource in life.
*"For once in my life, I have someone who needs me. Someone I needed so long..."

I found a fantastic millet flour chia seed breakfast cookie to add some variety to a meal sometimes. Instead of potatoes or a starch the kids and I are going to bake a few times a week to give us a break on the budget for food since we are not doing rice ect... as a filler and I'm happy with the ingredients. 
I've lost four inches on my belly, which wasn't the point of changing our habits, but I'm happy and hoping it will continue to the size I am most comfortable in. Finally after years of trying different things this seems to be re setting my hormones. My therapist calls Keto or Whole 30 the hormone balancing diet if one can stick to a form of it for a few months. He's sending me for blood work soon as he thinks it's already changed my hormones more than medication! Especially my thyroid and iron levels. Fingers crossed! (The rest of my family lost three inches, 3.5, 2.5 and 2.5 on waists too.) 

"Someone warm like you, would make my dreams come true..."

What is more important than weight though, is the energy infusion I am finally feeling! I finally have the gumption to do activities I have not tried in years. In the last few weeks alone I have gardened, cleaned the entire house without help a few times, re arranged my daughter's room and furniture, planned a tiny renovation, kept up with my exercising, taken several trips to a nearby city for long days, and have finally had the energy to self care a bit more. I am actually CARING about some of my beauty regime again. As in, I have the energy to look into facial care products and actually care for my face at night. The years of exhaustion made their mark but I was too tired to care most nights. Just getting through the days was my ultimate goal. But now I am taking baby steps to actually care for myself and my family in a more energy infused way again. I am not even close to "normal" yet but spinach and protein 3 times a day is a game changer in my life. I wish I would have done a week re set of Whole30 a few months after our first Whole30 a few years back! And I wish I would have stuck 80 percent to eating that way, like we do now. I don't plan on going back to those other foods anytime soon. I feel FANTASTIC compared to before. Which matters to me.

There is a part of me that feels a tad robbed by my exhaustion looking back. For the first time in two years, I have been regularly tucking in the kids at night. Anemia took moments and deflated them. It not only stole the oxygen from my blood but sucked out the colour from daily deeds that I could have savoured. I rarely could do tuck ins because one more step was too much. I know that I tried my best 3/4 of the time to achieve more than what should be expected from someone with that low of oxygen and blood levels. I know I showed up how I could, but I still feel robbed. And I can't find anywhere to put the blame. It could have been worse but it also could have been better. I know that, now, I just have to continue to live the best I can with the energy and body and conditions I have but sometimes looking back ... well looking back is not the way for me to go. But I need to also recognize I have some grief and resentment towards my body and my blood and what that has meant. But overall, my feelings have been joy, gratitude, healing and every day bliss. Which is more valuable to me than the size of my waist. 

*"For once in my life I won't let sorrow hurt me, not like it's hurt me before..."

There are naysayers to any type of diet including Whole30/ Paleo/ Keto but I feel I am proof of results within moderation. My skin has started to clear up. I feel stable all day (no blood sugar dips or exhaustive moments. My husband also remarked he feels the same.) My energy is making a come back. My iron and hormones are still in progress but seem to be re setting slowly. I am getting my life back to doing what I wish to do. Before our Whole30 week re set, I was laying in bed for at least half my day because I just could not function otherwise. Now, after the first week, and adding a few foods back in but keeping the majority of our dietary needs Whole30 approved for the last 40 days, I have yet to be back in bed after I wake up! (Minus during my cycle which still puts me back quite a bit.) I am sleeping by eleven latest with no insomnia (minus cycle insomnia.) I hit the pillows in the evening after a full day of being on my feet!

*"For once I can touch what my heart used to dream of..."


It feels like the world is mine to slowly conquer. I now am getting a taste of what typical people can do in a day and what a gift it is! I am not at normal capacity yet, but this extra energy is a gift. I am focusing anything extra I get on my family and friends when I can. But also self care. Food truly is an important piece of the puzzle. My entire family has had benefits from eating the way we have. Each of them has improved in energy, mood, weight, and spirit.

*"For once I can go where life leads me. Somehow I know I'll be strong."

There comes a moment during most days or nights when I'm overwhelmed with gratitude for what I have. Usually it's when I'm looking at my children or the sparkle light in my room or him next to me. My whole house invokes my gratitude because we crafted it as our own. I felt this way even before I had energy, and I believe that perspective is an important aspect of living, no matter how one feels or struggles. Each inch of our home expresses each of our personalities and our imaginations and hopes and the love surrounding... and that's what fills my heart up. Even if I do have disease or symptoms that rob. I just have to look around my home or yard to see my purpose my beloved my belonging, and inspiration. If I'm honest and there is an afterlife I would want it to be exactly this forever -this house, him, and them for eternity doing what we generally do and I'd seriously be happy. I get sad for my future self often and have to remind myself, if I live that long there will be other beautiful moments, and I can look back knowing without a doubt I cherished what is mine.



This lifestyle diet also brought our family together even more. Each meal prep is done with all of us, cleaning, cutting, soaking vegetables, while hubby makes the meat. We talk while we prepare our nourishing food. It takes time but it's time together so it does not feel like that much of a sacrifice.

*"For once I have something I know won't desert me. I'm not alone anymore."

Despite hardships, I honestly have what I never knew I always wanted (to quote Fools Rush In.) This epic, every ordinary love, is mine. Sometimes it's worse than a movie but most days it exceeds the classics - maybe not to anyone else who would switch places with me but to me and whom I am - it suits. I know I'm lucky. I know it's partially crafted, but partially just what was what, and partially unknowns. It's beauty is a gift I daily treasure and nightly struggle not to panic over losing and remember to just enjoy what is given when it is given (and also attained). It's magically mundane but I could live like this forever and my cup overflows. But with the benefits of energy and clean eating, it is magnified. And also, oddly, a calmer, stable sort of existence. Life feels slightly less urgent but also more fulfilling. Energy is a gift. Nurturing, hormone free meat is a gift. Fresh vegetables, fruits and nature's bounty are worth their weight in gold. They are worth the extra budgeting. Because in the end, the body isn't everything, but it is the vessel we travel in through this life. If it can be improved with changing a few habits, even though at times this is hard, it is worth it all.

*"For once I can say this is mine, you can't take it. As long as I know I have love, I can make it!"


*This song is how I feel right now:




or this version:




or this version:

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Guest Post: The ENFJ Personality Type From the Eyes of a Young Teen


*This is a guest post by my young ENFJ daughter, writing about some of her experiences.* Enjoy!

Some ENFJs might not totally agree with me on this post. There are so many other things that play a part in personality. For instance, I'm a Gemini, an Aspie, and I struggle with OCD Anxiety so all of these things could play into what I write. Just keep that in mind.

The ENFJ personality is Extrovert, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging. The functional stack can be found HERE.

In my opinion the ENFJ is one of the least talked about personalities. Typically as an ENFJ, I am either focusing on other types, or I want to be nice and listen to other types first. For me, if I bring up my type I feel like I'm being self absorbed or not thinking about the peoples types around me, which I tell myself ''I should be doing.'' 


I always find it funny that on films or media, sometimes nice people are made fun of. Like when we make fun of Canada, Hufflepuff, (both of which I belong to) and in this case the ENFJ. The part that I find even more funny is that we get so exited that we are even mentioned. I don't think this should be. I mean it's fine... every so often, but I would like to be talked about in a real, positive way too. So that's what I'm going to do here. I'm going to put the ENFJ in the spotlight. 

The spotlight is something that the ENFJ likes very much. Definitely not in a bad "self absorbed seeking" way and not for too long... We want others to get complimented and treated nicely too. Adjust that light on me sometimes and I will appreciate you a lot. I will probably even think about you for at least three days. Normally after an interaction like that most Extroverts will be on a high. Yup, I know it's crazy that a few really nice compliments will cause us to be thrilled. Even if we have a 'not so great time' you can bet we'll go home a little more happy then before we saw you.

ENFJs are really caring and will go out of our way to make sure other people are happy. It makes us happy to help people. This can be a good thing but also can be negative. In these moments we won't be thinking about ourselves at all. We don't want to risk somehow making the other person uncomfortable. For example if I'm at someone's house and it's hot - I'm not going to bring it up. I figure if you are overly warm, you would've said something so you must be comfortable. This isn't always the case. If I'm at a house that I feel comfortable in, I might tell you what I'm feeling, but that's only if I'm really suffering or you're my family.

ENFJ's are probably one of the most feeling types. I go through a million emotions a day. (But I am also a teenager.) I would even say that ENFJs are sort of like empaths. My mom is an empath type too but as an INFJ, she is my sister type. We meet in the middle of emotion. ENFJs are very intuitive to other peoples emotions and can almost sense what they are feeling. For me it's a curse and a blessing. Its hard to balance people's feelings and your own. If somebody is crying, it's most likely I'm going to start crying too. My family always jokes that I cry at least once a day which is close to true. I would say I cry every three days. My mom and my INTJ brother barely ever cry and if they do it breaks my heart. If they cry it means they're at a very fragile state. Crying is how I release all the stuff that's bothered me, made me mad, or upset me in some form. Lots of people think this is ridiculous but I'm totally fine crying. After I cry I'll feel better and like I can let go of everything I was upset about before.

I always say if there were a show to go to the ENFJ personality it would be ''Dreamworks' Trolls - The Beat Goes On.'' I know it's a weird show but the values and rules are everything I believe in. When I first watched ''Trolls'' (the movie) I loved it when the Trolls bracelets glowed and they had to stop what they where doing and hug whoever was next to them. Hugs mean a lot to me. I feel like everybody needs hugs.

The song hair in the air (from ''The Beat Goes On'')  is a song that's totally me. These are the lyrics '' Live it up (Hey!) Everyday you wake up singing. Turn it up (Whoo!) the party's just beginning. All together, you and me. Hair in the air, we're family. We got everything we need.''- ''Yeah, we made it through the dark. Harmony is everywhere put your hair up in the air.''- Dreamworks Trolls: The Beat Goes On theme song.

The harmony part of the song is my favourite part. Harmony is an important topic to ENFJs. Disrupting the harmony is something that will annoy the ENFJ. We work very hard to create harmony and keep it as long as possible, so if anyone disrupts it they will be on the bad side of the ENFJ.
Honestly, the bad side of the ENFJ is not that horrible. We will be mad at you but we'll most likely keep it in (unless you are family then you might get glares, yelled at, tears or all of the above). If we do blowup on you, it's likely that we'll say sorry pretty soon after. We put up with quite a bit so if we get mad it's because you have done or said something (that to us) is really unacceptable. Even if we do get mad though we'll try very hard to keep it as under control as we can.

   

This picture above describes the ENFJ very well. I'll start with lively. We love having fun, talking, parties, and more. My friend always jokes that I'm ''always happy." I am when people are around. ENFJs are very alive, out there, and will almost always have a smile on their face. 

Worrier. I've been called this on many occasions. I worry all the time about random things. If I go out and see people I worry if I'm going to say the right  or wrong thing. Even at home I worry I did something bad if someone says my name in a certain way. Its just what I do. 

Optimistic. I am very optimistic if I want to be and I'll try to make other people optimistic too. I mean come on, it feels good to be optimistic. 

Oversensitive. Even just today I've been called oversensitive a few times. For me I'm more sensitive to tone. So if someone says something that to me sounds harsh I will feel upset. I admit I do have to work on it a bit. ENFJ themselves will mock this trait. But it is something that makes us who we are and we shouldn't be ashamed of it. 


Now I'm going to go over the ''unhealthy'' ENFJ. When we are unhealthy we will be very hard on ourselves and almost no one can get us out of our slump. This (as Personality Hacker describes) is the Three Year Old process witch is Accuracy. We want to be so accurate that we will think we aren't doing good enough. Another thing I learned from personality hacker is that it's also unhealthy if your Driver (Harmony) goes to your Ten year old process (Sensation) for advice. I don't know too much about this but if you want to learn more you could listen to Personality Hacker podcasts. Click HERE.  to listen to the loops that certain personalities can get stuck in.



CLICK HERE for a list of famous ENFJs online. Here's a list of the people who I think are ENFJs or I saw online that I thought were interesting:
Emma Watson (Actress, Feminist), Emma Stone (Actress), Julia Andrews (Actress), Jennifer Lawrence (Actress), Oprah Winfrey (Talk host, Self Help), Helena Bonham Carter (Actress), Faramir (Lord of the Rings), Bofer (The Hobbit), Peeta Mellark (The Hunger Games), Snow White (Once Upon A Time), Uncle Iroh and Katara (Avatar the Last Airbender), Asami (Legend of Kora), Poppy (Dreamworks Trolls), Lilly Potter and Cedric Digory (Harry Potter), Katy Perry (Singer), Sara Bareilles (Singer), Barack Obama (Former President of the United States), Leslie Knope (Parks and Recreation). For bad guys there's not much (because, hey, we are pretty much angels.:) but there are some things that are saying that Loki (Marvel) is an ENFJ or INFJ and Hans from frozen. 
If you have any questions as to why these characters are ENFJs or any questions about the ENFJ then just leave a comment and I'll try my best to answer them.


There is so much more that makes up the ENFJ. We are special and unique in our own way. I hope this gave you a little bit more knowledge on the ENFJ. If you want to know more on the ENFJ there are links at the bottom of this post that will take you to articles that will give more info. 
Thanks So Much for Reading!!                                                                     

cursive-fonts
https://personalitygrowth.com/the-thing-that-makes-each-personality-type-unique/
https://www.personalityclub.com/blog/famous-enfj/
https://personalitygrowth.com/heres-why-we-believe-that-enfjs-are-actually-superheroes/
https://www.psychologyjunkie.com/2017/03/17/understanding-enfj-feeling/
https://www.psychologyjunkie.com/2017/07/18/10-things-never-say-enfj/
https://personalitygrowth.com/what-each-personality-type-is-like-at-their-best/
https://personalitygrowth.com/what-makes-each-personality-type-angry/
https://personalitygrowth.com/something-profound-that-we-can-learn-from-each-personality-type/

Song Choices: Unique- Lenka, Hair in the Air- Trolls Theme  Here is a song for ENFJs. WE ARE UNIQUE!


This is the song that I wrote lyrics to up above. ENJOY!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Now That Autism Awareness Month is Over, I will talk about Autism and Dyspraxia. Valued but in Need of Support.


Autistics May be Different in Process but The Human Element Still Shines Through:

It's May. Autism Awareness month is over and now I will blog about being Autistic for a moment. I have a tough time with A.A month. It is pretty much everything Autistics don't want it to be. I feel THIS brief post by another Aspie explains this thought more. She quickly covers the main reasons why inclusion and awareness are failing and how our world is still perpetuating harmful myths and facts. But then she says; "Meanwhile, autistic people are living, loving, laughing, thinking, creating, caring, acting, performing, helping, supporting, advising, campaigning, sharing, uplifting, amplifying, celebrating, commiserating, learning, working, teaching, making, saving, rescuing, mentoring, encouraging, inventing, designing, innovating, suffering, shouting, crying. Speaking. And all the other things that humans do. We’re here. It’s time to accept us, and appreciate us as a part of the world we, and you, all live in together."

I used to have a blog dedicated to all things Autistic. It was a needed phase in my acceptance and diagnostic journey. Now, I feel I am in a different stage. I feel that my words and life show what an Autistic's "normal" looks like to ONE person. And I don't have to mention it much anymore, until an issue comes up I can't ignore or I suddenly get a desire to talk about being Autistic specifically. I feel autism is an organic part of who I am. Sometimes I fight for acceptance. Most times I quietly create it. Neither is better. Both are valid. I love blogs dedicated solely to Autism. I glean from them regularly and believe they are a needed place in this world, where stories from actual Aspies/ Autistics are often silenced.

One of the biggest issues I run into, is people assuming my process is like theirs. Because I look "normal" and act somewhat "appropriately" it is assumed I process the situation the same. That maybe my sensory overload is not all that bad. Or I can "stretch myself" beyond what I say I can. This also applies in the world of perspective. Even people who have known me for years, have the tendency to forget that I do not work they way they do. They forget that just because I process verbally does not mean that I expect them to see the world the way I do. Or that just because I sound, in a statement, like I am making a judgment, that I actually am expecting them to "take my side." I don't work the way most people do. Even my husband sometimes forgets this for a second until he is reminded again of how odd I can be. Recently he stated, "You know, most people in the world, if they talk about people at all (which is a natural process), have this expectation for others to back talk, take up their mantle or give pressure to induce a negative emotional response to someone they are upset at. They like their tribe to support them by disliking the person who has hurt or abused them. You are not like that. You can absolutely dislike someone but still be ok with your friends being their friends. You can stand in the same room with someone you door slammed and be polite, civil and cause no disruption to the rest of the relationships unless the other person instigates. People get upset sometimes when you verbally process because they assume you are having the same motivations as most people. When you just verbally process to figure things out. Because you are an external feeler and also have a social disability, you need more information in some areas before you use your intuition to guide you. You are about knowledge seeking to find the overall picture and understand the people involved. Even your considered "enemies." Where as most other people seek information to destroy or get people to "their side." Of course you have valid anger and emotions but your neutrality when it comes to perspectives IS unusual."

Yes, we are still part of this human race even if we are different. Our humanity should be remembered even if we are often likened (and sometimes feel) like we are part of an alien species. We still have the souls, hearts and anatomy of humanity.

Dyspraxia and Physiotherapy:

I have mentioned before HERE how Physiotherapy has helped my life as a chronic pain sufferer. But there is another side to Physio. Half of the time, my reasons for coming in, are because I injured myself. Doing "normal" activities like getting out of a vehicle, walking on the treadmill, lifting my nephew, or completing chores can have terrible affects. The worst one in my books is doing Physio exercises completely wrong and having to go back to Physio for heat packs and massage healing.

I have written about the struggles of being an adult with Dyspraxia HERE. I have mostly adapted to a life with my level of severity. I would say out of all my nuances, Dyspraxia is where I am the most severely impaired compared to most on the scale. It affects me every day in obvious ways that I try to work around. My independence is drastically cut down by being Dyspraxic.

 I can't judge pressure well and my body awareness is lacking. Recently, I spent nights in the shower in agony because the pain woke me up at 2 am due to an exercise gone wrong. Finally I called in and  my therapist told me to walk backwards on the treadmill and also to use heat on any affected areas. When she did her assessment, she told me I pulled my hip flexor. It went into protective mode which means pain upon certain movements. I thought at one point that either my ovary had a large cyst or my bowel was acting up. See, I am not good at body perception. I also pulled out my Quad and Hamstrings. I had muscle fibre lumps that tightened deep into the leg. I thought maybe it was a blood clot. I am always astounded at how much of my pain is often muscular when it feels organ related. Often my muscles are associated with weird nerve paths that are typical of those with diseases like Fibromyalgia or Lyme ect.

It turns out I was also walking backwards wrong. I was kind of marching in place instead of sliding my leg fully back which was triggering my already inflamed hip flexor. Le sigh. I am one of the only patients who is not discharged after a few months of rehabilitation. She went to the board and asked to keep me on as a casual patient who can call in any time due to my pain conditions and my lack of body awareness. They made a "special" exception to my case, upon review. I can call in whenever I injure myself without having to register again. My poor Therapist. Just when she thinks we are making progress, I come in telling her I can not do a certain exercise. I try to do it in such a way that she still feels she is helping me. I want her to feel empowered and inspiring because otherwise my support could be taken away.

The fact is I NEED her. I need her to tell me when it's muscular and why. I need her to remind me how to move in the world. Over and over again. We often go over the same concepts. Because being Dyspraxic, I unfortunately, will need this type of support indefinitely. She insisted on taking pictures of my posture performing a simplified exercise for my weak hip. She wanted me to copy my own photos at home. I thought this was brilliant (picture above.)

Different, not less or more. Valued but in Need of Support:

Inclusion can not be about "being the same." The main goal should not be focusing only on what is similar for people. While that is hugely important, it is missing a key piece. Anyone who is born as a minority does experience the world differently. They WILL need different treatment, circumstances and support. This is crucially important to their health and being. Do they also need people to see their similar humanity? You bet. But that should be included in basic respect. Everyone deserves to be equal in respect and love. Yet, within a life, there should be a different treatment of a person who has different needs. In these circumstances, one size fits all will not work. We need people to be open to possibilities and perspectives. Just because a person requires more in one area and maybe less in another does not mean they are "taking too much" or a "societal burden."

I believe I give a lot to the world. But I also take what I need when I can too. And this is why I can give. I am heavily supported. When I am not, I find other ways. It has not been easy to build my support. I still sometimes run into obstacles that make me feel six years old. I regularly have encounters that induce self doubt. On the rare occasion I will be found crying in my closet (my ultimate meltdown mode.) I need people like my Physiotherapist. She stems her frustration when she sees me again or I "failed" one of her easy tasks.  It is just a fact that I will regularly hurt myself in daily activities. Sometimes it's laughable. Sometimes it's depressing. Luckily, she sees I try. I bring her little gifts and make her laugh. Because I know a regular support is rare in our society that wants to "get em in, and get em out." Especially in the medical world. I know I have a responsibility for her to see how she is doing something large in my life.

I AM different. Sometimes that is stunningly, shockingly clear, even when I already know this fact. I feel slapped by my abnormality at times. Then, for quite awhile, I can feel almost normal. I go about my day under the allusion that maybe I am NOT that different. Maybe I am just quirky? End of story? Ha.

Regardless, I am never under the impression that I am more because of my conditions, nor am I less. I am valued within my own structures and with a few of my people. I provide value too. Yet, on the other side of the bread, I am in need of "more" support than a typical person walking through life. This is what inclusion truly is. Allowing a person to be part of humanity the way THEY CAN. Maybe pushing occasionally to meet "normal milestones" or to help them fit in so life is a little easier. But also allowing them to set their own limits and help them find a way to adapt to life in the world in the ways they feel the most comfortable. We have one precious life, and we should be allowed to minimize painful sensory onslaught or avoid the situations that are terrifying to us but nothing to others. We should be able to find work or a way of living that honours our soul in the ways we can give. It is about meeting us where we are at. Yes, growth is a part of any existence but natural growth is far different from forced.

However you are in the world, you will find your existence easier by being honest with yourself. Seeing your strengths as value and your weaknesses with acceptance. To know thyself is one of the quickest ways to live a life of content. Do bad things still happen? You bet. But the overall feeling of this type of life is peaceful because you know your value. And you LIVE it.

Embrace your story.
 Song Choice: Back in the Saddle again- Gene Autry, Fantastic, Fantastic That's You- Louis Armstrong




Saturday, April 28, 2018

Our "Revised" Whole30 After Week One. Intuition as Strength. Re adjusting isn't 'Quitting.'



Our 'Revised' Whole30 Journey

Day 6.5 and I found my food freedom...in quitting the COMPLETE Whole30 Re Set program. We are actually still going to eat 85- 90% of the Whole30 guideline mentality for now. But, we are actually reintroducing some foods back in during week two instead of eliminating for thirty days. This may even change as we go. If we find we are getting more issues, we will change our minds. I realized I literally do have to go with my gut (ha ha?) and intuition. (We have done Whole30 before so thus WHOLE7 for Re sets is truly all that is needed.)

I want to say that our first Whole30 was a life changer. I still believe most people should try this form of elimination diet at least once in their lives. Especially if they are having unexplained medical issues, food allergies they can't figure out or severe gastro distress. It is WORTH it. I also still stand by everything I said in previous posts. But with all things in life, there is another side.

For our family, I had to re ask myself the main reason we were attempting a second Whole30 again. My main reason was iron absorption and to cut down on any inflammation. My reasoning for my family was to get back on track with eating, figure out a few issues each member was having, and cut out the sugars (over use of honey) again or other not so great aspects of food we were mindlessly consuming. Honestly? Seven days was enough for this. We already know we react to gluten and all sugars except honey in moderation. So 7 days was a great reminder to be mindful of what and how we eat. My secondary reason was to lose weight hopefully by re setting hormones and look younger and healthier. Perhaps that wasn't quite as noble? Although I do have a goal of cutting down inflammation still and re setting some of my issues. I still hope this will help with iron absorption along with my Kelp and BC1. Now, I simply will be doing this process a little bit more relaxed, with a few added elements for life quality, budget and food enjoyment. Again, we are still planning on sticking 85-90% of the plan. If we were needing a full gut re set (and we may still if we get too sick after this) we MIGHT do this again at some point or a form of it.

I still believe that our food choices shape our health. I believe there is a time and place for the Whole30. But I also realized it probably was not going to help me absorb iron more. Or maybe it would, but I wasn't willing to suffer the runs to find out. I prefer to keep my bathroom habits healthy and regular. I do think that eating more protein and veggies could help with this anyway but I need a bit of starch and fermented dairy in that department. At least I think I do...time will tell.

The Week of Lessons:

This week taught me a lot. I am relieved and happy that we started this journey. Already in week one I have modified some aspects of our eating. We will be incorporating grass fed, organic protein in as many meals as feasibly possible. Vegetable variety will be found on our plates or in our smoothies. Fruits will be consumed in moderation. My tongue has already adjusted and tuned into natural herb flavours and the lack of additives. We will still be especially meticulous in these areas. But I am hoping to add back in the yogurt, mozzarella, and butter. (Update: This was unfortunately not successful other than clarified butter.) Along with a few non gluten grains. If we react or find our quality of life goes down, I will take these elements back out. Nothing is set in stone. I feel we can afford to experiment without a full reset. I don't wish for mindless grazing or snacking. I also like the concept of not eating after dinner for the most part. Honey has many beneficial qualities. Just in moderation. We were consuming too much. We can scale that back but the raw honey is still on my list. I do like a home made, gluten free muffin at breakfast sometimes, and there should be no guilt in that. As long as it is paired with a quality protein source and some vegetables.

This whole experience has showed me that I was not enjoying food much before, and I was not really enjoying it on the re set either. I have always struggled with the pleasure aspect of food. It's rare I actually savour and love what I am eating. I mostly eat to survive. In this way I am a bit disordered in my eating. I also don't eat enough. I need to learn to love food for both it's nutrients and it's goodness. Part of quality of life DOES revolve around yummy, yet nutritious food choices. Deliciousness should also be a factor sometimes.

The Budget and Obsessive Factor:

Another reason why we are cutting this short? Our already stretched budget went overboard. Now we are two months behind our monthly budget and it will be hard to recover. (Perhaps we over prepped? And we had to drive to get our groceries...but luckily we still have a month of good food stocked and ready to go!) I think quality food is worth it, but we also have to do what we can afford. I was also OBSESSING about food from the time I got up to the time I went to bed. For 7 days my quality of life revolved around one aspect of living. Prior to I wasn't feeling a lot of guilt about my food choices, other than knowing I needed to cut back on a few choices and add in more veggies. But on the Whole30 this time, it felt like I had a full blown eating disorder. I already tend to have a warped perception of my body and maybe I do have a form of disordered eating that I need to unpack. I was revolving my life around image, health and food. All good things...in balanced moderation.

Cold sores appeared all along my tongue last night, which I never get otherwise, and this seemed to be an indicator that I was consuming too much of something or not getting enough of another nutrient. Some say it could be a detox symptom, but I felt energized more than ever because of the protein at each meal. I wasn't suffering mood swings or cravings. Although I did crave the smooth texture of yogourt. Overall, it was a good seven days of eating. But it needed to be switched up.

A week was enough to learn some valuable lessons, new nourishment strategies, and re set our minds on sustenance. I'm still planning on reading the rest of the books to my children. I still believe in most of the science. (The crucial wording is MOST. From the beginning I disagreed on some concepts like honey, yogourt ect. I come from more of a Weston Price mentality in general but do believe something like the Whole30 can do wonders for those addicted to sugar or processed foods.)

This experience was exactly what we needed...for seven days. Just not thirty. I feel freedom. Maybe it's not what Melissa Hartwig would view as food freedom forever. But life is a journey. Maybe she would think I deserve my health problems? Maybe I do. But I also have to believe in myself, look at my body intuitively and make the best of it. I have to stop comparing myself to the energy and looks of those around me. My most content years were the ones when I knew I was doing what was right for me. When I knew that my life mattered even if I struggled or was sick. There are many different reasons on the net for why people quit so I don't need to back mine up with bullet points. What I can say, is that I am happy we did this. I learned I loved Bok Choy. And that I could drink a smoothie with coconut cream and spinach and blueberries and LOVE it.

Re Adjusting Expectations, Cultural Conformity and Personal Intuition:

Some of my best choices in life have come from re adjusting expectations. Some would call this "quitting." Perhaps it is within definition. But I feel it's more of a re start from a re start. An organic way of moving from one healthy introduction into another form of Being that WORKS for the individual or family. Most people would say we "quit" school, church, swimming lessons, organized sports, piano lessons ect. Changing plans is not something our culture is generally comfortable with. And perhaps 60% of the time, this is how it should be. Otherwise there would be chaos supreme. Yes there is something to be said for accountability, finishing a project, or sticking a tough aspect of life out. On the flip side, it also takes strength to find another way, contort the box for flexibility, and be accountable in a different form.

I know I am stubborn and resilient and can stick anything out if I believe in the overall out come or benefits. But when I realize it is not the best decision? Then I take myself out of the equation. And that takes strength. Because people judge. And we also have an inner moral compass to develop. If not one way, we must grow in another. I had to fight a lot of guilt during periods where I changed the direction I was taking. But whose life is it? Mine or the majority? Who will benefit the most? My loved ones or the social structure? Sometimes I choose both. Sometimes I pick one over the other. But most times, I have to go with my intuition. Our culture has a lot to learn about the merits of weighing options, and choosing to walk away. My best decisions have involved walking away, but then opening up a new door to another path, and maybe switching that one or going back to the old one for awhile to find multiple directions of fulfillment and meaning.

Our family still needs to take some lessons in regards to food. My children were hesitant to not finish the Whole30. We had to have a discussion on basically all I covered in this blog post. Now they see it as a re adjustment. We also had to really decide WHY they wanted to continue and consider their points. Weight loss was not a good enough reason in my books (although yes, for some it would be.) In the end they settled on mostly whole30 compliant with some gradual additions. But our journey won't be as much about restricting as it will be about what is good, healthy, and yes delicious (and affordable.) I need to learn to love all kinds of food without discrimination. My husband needs to love food for fuel and in moderation. My daughter needs to learn to back off emotional eating but then allow food to heal her too. My sons need to learn to consume more veggies when they want a snack. But all in all? I am proud of their general choices. Do we have more to learn? Certainly? Does food matter? Absolutely. But is food everything? Maybe you are what you eat, but you are also so much more.
Just a reminder: I am NOT in charge of your life. Do not take my words as your truths. Work with your health care team to find what works for you. This hopefully includes a functional health doctor along with allopathic. Your journey should look different from mine, since we look different from each other...it would be ridiculous to assume otherwise. That said, I share my experiences to help others process my truthful stories and maybe help hone in on their deeper truths. May your journey be a glorious wild mess of beauty, hardship, truth, change, growth and healing.

Song choice: Just Another Day- Lady Gaga