I’m Not Broken Anymore*

At the beginning of this year, I sat down and cried my way through this post. I knew my 35th birthday was coming, and I wanted to make some changes.

I finally felt ready to make some changes.

That’s the thing though, isn’t it. You can make all the grandest plans in the world, but if you’re not really ready for them, it won’t work. It never does for me.

It took me a long time to get here, but I am finally learning how to make myself a priority again. I set some goals in that post, but now that it’s been nearly six months, I thought it might be worth sharing a little of what I’ve been focused on.

At the end of March I woke up one morning and decided that I was ready to try yoga. My back and hips had gone out again, and as my osteopath moved and the world was shut down due to the pandemic, I knew I needed to do something myself. I wanted to stop depending on others to “fix” me. I wanted to feel strong and capable. I wanted to stop feeling like my body would always fail me. I wanted to stop feeling broken.

Yoga has seriously changed my world. I haven’t experienced ANY back or hip pain since I started–in fact if feels better than it has in years. It has helped with my stress and anxiety, and it’s helped me reframe the way I’ve always looked at exercise. For me, it was always just a means to lose weight and it was never enjoyable. Now it’s my “me time”. It makes me feel so strong, and I LOVE that. I haven’t really lost a pound and I don’t even care. I’m doing things I couldn’t do three months ago… and the feeling of being consistent with something for the first time ever feels AMAZING. I now alternate days between yoga and running and I look forward to that time every morning.

Best of all, I don’t feel like I need to rely on regular osteo adjustments or massages to help with my pain. I don’t have any pain anymore.

I also got my chocolate binging under control. I went off it completely for over two months, and still stay away from it as much as I can. Over my birthday I was able to have a treat for a day or two, then I stopped eating it again without the intense cravings. Feeling some control and balance there feels so good.

One of my other goals was to learn how to indulge a little. I typically don’t like to spend money on myself. I live frugally, my clothes are thrifted and I’ve been using the cheap same skin care and makeup products since I was 15. There’s nothing wrong with any of that, but I also felt like I was ready for more.

I waited for a sale, then I splurged and bought myself new running shoes–for the first time in years. They feel SO GOOD and I’m sure it’s contributed to the success of my running regime this summer. I also bought myself some new workout clothes, and two pairs of cute overalls–something I’ve wanted for a long time but kept telling myself I didn’t “need”.

I also decided it was time to take better care of my skin and invested in some new products. I’ve wanted to try some new things for years, but never felt like I could justify the cost. It wasn’t necessarily that we couldn’t afford it, but I just kept telling myself I didn’t need it. It wasn’t worth it. In a way, I think I was telling myself that *I* wasn’t worth it.

So, I finally went for it. New cleansers, toner, eye cream, charcoal mask– I went full in. I’ve struggled with a stubborn patch of facial eczema for MONTHS, and since switching what I’ve been using it’s finally, finally healing. Most nights I wouldn’t even bother to wash my face because I was too tired or didn’t think it was worth it… but I’ve now started a little night time self-care routine and I love those few minutes to pamper myself a little. TOTALLY worth it.

Six months ago I looked forward and hoped I could make some changes. I’m here now and I love where I am. I love where I’m headed. I don’t feel like I’m just surviving anymore… I’m moving forward. I’m enjoying. I’m living.

A friend and I were talking a few weeks ago, reflecting on the challenges we’ve faced over the past three years. I sat and thought about our conversation afterward and my mind turned toward my (then) upcoming 35th birthday.

Thirty-three was a really challenging year for me. In almost every way possible. If I had to sum it up in a sentence, through all that we went through I felt like I lost pieces of myself.

I feel like I found them again at thirty-four. Or maybe, I realized that I hadn’t lost them at all… they were still there, but they had been a little broken. I realized that those pieces were healing, and the cracks in my heart didn’t make me less, it made me more. They made me more understanding. They made me more empathetic.

I hope they’ve made me more kind.

A friend sent me a quote a few months ago that has really stayed with me. It reads,

“She knows that God can use her brokenness to do something beautiful, because the cracks allow His light to shine through.”

At thirty-four I realized that there is beauty in what’s broken, and that it won’t stay broken forever. Like the moon, I don’t need to be whole to shine.

I don’t know what’s ahead for me this year, but I’m really excited for whats to come at thirty-five.

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