After almost a decade of daily creative work, I gained some insight about who I am.
Journaling my heart out through writing (either the daily morning pages, transformed into “whenever pages”, or just writing when it became too heavy inside and had to get out out out). Painting in color so emotions would come forward, so texture would tell my secrets without me having to be loud and clear about it. Cooking so my family would know how much I care about them and their well-being, so I would feed their souls as well as their bodies.
I would do all that so I would not have to truly think and acknowledge what I was going through.
Health has not been great for most of my life but nothing too serious until my teenage years. I won’t share into details but it changed how people were feeling about me, therefore it changed my vision of myself as well (because it is often easier to take what they tell you you are for true than going further than that).
It took my body to completely crash down in 2011 and to feel sorry and pitiful for myself to decide enough was enough. I was not even 30 yet and could not believe I felt like I was more than twice my age, that my body was abandoning me like that. I remember silently screaming that it was not fair. For two years, I almost lived in my yoga pants and leaving the house only when I had no other choice; it was that bad.
During that time, creativity saved me from going insane. I noticed that the less I was doing, the more problematic it was to hear my Inner Voice and to create anything. I thought I was fighting but was losing the battle because nothing was working. Until I pushed really hard, to accept my situation and let go of all the “should” I was filling my mind with.
I set goals and work my ass off to reach them
I decided to give gluten a break, as for refined sugar. Just to see if my body would be less inflamed. After all, why not ? It was not easy, especially as I am not living alone and that temptation is here all around.
It takes time to figure out a diet that is not so strict that it is not possible in the long run (I am not allergic to anything, so it is all about the decisions I make for myself, nothing is imposed on me). I tried being 100% Paleo and completed several rounds of Whole 30. But because I am not a meat lover and do not enjoy consuming meat at all, it is not suitable for me in its entirety. I tried to be 100% vegan but always come back to a bit of dairy consumption. I was hard on myself for not being able to fit into any dietary box until I said “f**k this, I will just cook and eat what I both love and is good to me”. I lost about 20kg (+- 44lbs) and felt GREAT (see picture taken in my former Teal Studio).
My creative life was at its zenith, daily painting/journaling was perfect. I was finally in my happy place, in all areas of my life.
And then we moved to the other side of the country. I stopped my daily walks in the morning (I highly recommend it, it helps clearing your mind, and to keep moving is essential when you have fibromyalgia), I ate whatever was easy and quick. The results ? The flare-ups came back stronger than ever, I gained 10kg and started to hate what I was seeing in the mirror. Back to square one. I did not paint or sketch for half a year. No inspiration, I did not even see the point of stepping into my Studio (brand new one)… The picture on the right is a recent one, I still do not like what I see BUT I am taking charge. Going to an amazing workout Studio 3 times a week with my husband since April, doing my best to get back to a healthier diet (bye bye Nutella) and not giving up. It takes time for fat to melt, I always had a very hard time losing weight and keeping it off but knowing it is possible is what keeps me going. And you know what ? I am painting again ! Nixies are back after a little break.
This is how reclaiming my body as my own is keeping me creative.
I’ve hit that point where my body has *way too much* say in what I can and can’t do on any given day and it’s frustrating. Your journey is inspiring. <3 I'm glad you're getting yourself back. A move is super traumatic, eh?
Thanks Effy, it IS frustrating to feel like we don’t have a say. It was not easy to share this, but I felt like I needed to at this point in my journey. Thank you for the nudge <3
And I pray the Gods that we stay in our current home for at least 20 years lol
Thank you for sharing! As someone who has not been happy with her body for some time, I totally get the underlying struggles and stories that appear…..
I want to believe we have power over our stories. I guess body image issues are something we all have to overcome, no matter what our body shape actually is. We can do it (right ?). Thanks for stopping by, Leslie.
Just yesterday I pulled out an old hardly used art journal and discovered it was my old weight loss art journal. It seems my current round of weight loss attempt started at just 2 pounds more than my attempt in 2013 which only lasted about a week from what I can see in that journal. This time round I am almost 6 weeks in and 20 pounds down out of the 112 I need to lose. I know that pretty soon the loss rate will slow right down (no one can keep this rate up forever,) and hope I can hang on to the motivation to keep going when it does.
Funny how the Universe/God works by putting in our way the stuff we have forgotten about 😉
You can keep the motivation up. I think it is about baby steps and the small daily victories (for example, for me it was not spreading nutella on my bagel. stupid ? small step ? yes and yes, but still a good choice was made over a bad one).
You can do it !
I’m all for baby steps and small victories, especially the non scale ones.
I love the connectedness of our body to our creative spirit … and the teacher that she is.
I 100% agree.
Thank you for sharing all of this. ♥ I keep trying to experiment with what foods help (and harm) my physical issues – and I have such a hard time with this, because so often I do comfort-eating. It’s day-to-day for me, step-by-step and having to be forgiving and gentle with myself when I have a day that I don’t stick with it. Reading this has inspired me!
Figuring a diet that works for yourself might be the hardest step in your well-being. And because it would not be funny otherwise, sometimes something works for a bit until it does not anymore. But yes yes yes: day-to-day and step-by-step. I have faith you can figure it out so your body does not feel like the enemy anymore.