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Monday, March 28, 2011

One year later!

WOW!! I can't believe it's already been a year since having Weight Loss Surgery! This last year has gone by a lot quicker than I thought it would! It hasn't been easy at all and as I look back on this past year I'm grateful for all the changes! I've grown in so many ways while shrinking at the same time! As I sit here and reflect on where my life is and where it's headed I get an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and love! I couldn't have gotten where I am today without God's grace and the love and support of the amazing people in my life both in my inner circles and the online communities! I've learned so much about who I am and who I want to be and although it's a daily struggle to move beyond years of mental conditioning, I have faith that I'll always be where I need to be because I'm not alone! Some would say that I took the easy way out and to them I say unless you've lived this life, you have NO idea! It's been rewarding sure, but it's also been the biggest fight of my 29 yr existance. I'm really learning to love myself for the first time and I'm really starting to believe that I deserve all the happiness God has in store for my life. I look at myself in the mirror and am beginning to see someone worth while, someone who deserves to be healthy, someone who has the passion and the desire to live life the way I'm supposed to live life. I've always had an internal hunger for more in my life but never felt like I was strong enough or good enough to go after and achieve more. Always standing on the outside looking in, dreaming, wishing life could be something greater than what I had settled for. I've been given a second chance at life, the opportunity to step up and move, live life instead of watching it pass me by. I've always had this deep feeling that God had more in store for me, I just wasn't letting him show me what it was! I've said it before, this is SO much more than a physical journey! Every fiber of my being has been shaken to the core and it's downright uncomfortable at times because I'm somewhere I've never been before and that scares the shit out of me! Fighting those old comfortable feelings, thoughts, habits and pushing beyond my personal comfort zone is absolutely a struggle, but the more I push beyond those feelings and thoughts the more I long to keep pushing, even when they push back. I've been seeing a therapist for a while as I adjust to the changes and face head on the issues that have in the past held me back. It's raw, it's uncomfortable, but I know that I can't grow unless I clear out the junk that's holding me back, keeping me from growing like I should be. I've been through a lot in my life and God's gotten me through some really serious struggles and I have faith and trust that as I continue my journey God's going to be right there along with my wonderful husband and amazing family and friends! As I celebrate a year since my life was saved I get to be there as my husband begins his journey to better health and a better life! I get to take care of him as he has taken care of me since the day we met! God only knows what's next and I'm anxious and excited to see where he leads us. We are planning on starting our family soon and as we both continue on the journey to better overall wellbeing, I see great things happening! Today I will challenge myself to look in the mirror and see myself as God sees me, love myself as God and others love me! I'm perfectly imperfect and I'm starting to think that's perfectly OK!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Give up trying to be anything but YOU!!!!

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Who are you? No really Who are you? We're all given a name when we enter this world, it's as we grow that we begin this ongoing quest to find out who we are. I'm 29 yrs old and I still don't fully know who Amanda Jolyn Matthews is. We live in a society that tells us we have to aspire to be something else. They tell us to be smarter, taller, skinnier, change our hair color, eye color, weight, boob size and THEN we'll be who we want to be right? WRONG! We grow up in a world that's constantly telling us that in order to be worth anything we have to change everything and be this way or that way and only then will we be good enough for...what?
We've allowed society to dictate how we look at ourselves and as we see this false image of "perfection" that we'll never obtain we beat ourselves up for not being a certain way. We take it as truth that we are in some way less of a person because we don't fit into this absurd mold that we've come to expect ourselves and others to fit. We're sent the message that we're not lovable as we are and we need to do XYZ and then we'll be lovable, but when we don't achieve XYZ we beat ourselves up and convince ourselves we're never going to be good enough.
As I go through this change physically I'm beginning to feel more insecure about myself. I was insecure about myself at 450 pounds, why am I more so at 263? I look at myself and although I should be happy with what I see, my mind goes and picks out all my flaws and tries to convince me that because I have saggy skin and stretch marks I'm still not beautiful!  I wish for one day I could see myself as my husband does, as God does. On my worst day, hair a mess, wearing yesterdays tshirt my husband will tell me I'm beautiful and often I respond by rolling my eyes or saying "whatever, you need your eyes checked" and he tends to get upset if I say something negative about myself. I try to tell myself he's just being nice, but in reality does he love me just as I am? Truth is he does! I often doubt God's love in the same way. How can someone who's as broken, messed up, and imperfect as me deserve to be loved unconditionally, as I am, serious baggage and all?
Last week began the lent season and I never really thought about it until this year when I read a friend's blog post on instead of giving up something like coffee or soda why not try loving yourself as you are? Giving up trying to make yourself different or trying to be what society tells you that you should be? This friend of mine gave up a hair straightener, which to some may seem odd, but it's a big deal when you've spent much of your life trying to live up to everyone Else's standards as to who and what you should be! We are the only version of us that we have, why not embrace it? We're all different, flawed, scarred but we all deserve to be loved just the same! As I continue on this journey to a healthier me, I'm doing a lot of work on the psychological aspect of who I am, who I've been and who I really want to be.  Focusing on letting go of those preconceived ideas that I have to be a certain way or do a certain thing in order to be worth something in this world! What would happen if we ignored all the in your face garbage about how this item or that item or changing everything about you will make you prettier, more "socially" deserving? Whether it's freckles, curly hair, glasses, intelligence level, your weight, choices you make or anything else, you are just as beautiful and just as deserving as anyone else! Don't let anyone tell you you're worth less than everything!!
I challenge all of you to spend some time thinking about the good qualities you have and focusing on loving yourself AS YOU ARE! Write down a list of things that make you amazing and see yourself the way you truly are! It's easier to believe the negative self talk, it's so easy to believe the bad things that have been drummed into our heads most of our lives. As we go on this journey of growing and learning who we truly are it's important to love ourselves because we're worth it! As my friend Lindsay says "be a self love warrior!" There's an affirmation I used to have that says "Never be afraid to be outrageously YOU"

What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.”~ Ralph Waldo Emerson