Unhappy Birthdays & Broken Bones

It's been awhile since I've shared anything other than Nutrition Tips of the Day <if you're not getting them, find me on Facebook!> and delicious, healthy recipes. And I wish I could say I had a great reason or even a halfway decent excuse, but the real answer is, I haven't wanted to. 

If you've read any of my writing before, you know I'm a self proclaimed perfectionist. My therapist confirms this, just so you know I'm not fabricating for dramatic flare. My self esteem and success revolves around my being able to execute and perform everything up to my own unreasonable standards as well as the standards of those around me. I'm unforgiving, both of myself and of others. I put my control in external factors and fail to appreciate internal mechanisms such as self worth and belongingness. And on a daily basis I fight with the critic inside my head that shouts some variation of, "you're not good enough!" 

I'm working on all of this, but, lately, it's been a real struggle. Because my life doesn't look like I think it should (I know, I know, does anyones?) Case and point: From about 2010-2013 I struggled with disordered eating. This was my coping mechanism for the stress going on in my life at the time, but the bottom line is, I failed to take care of myself - mentally or physically - during those years of my life. There were certain components of my life that were completely out of my control and I hated that (perfectionist, remember?), so I overcompensated by controlling my calories and my workouts to a detrimental degree. I've been in "recovery" for several years now, and just this past month I was diagnosed with ANOTHER stress fracture. My first thought was, "Seriously!? But I'm healthy now. Why is this happening to me?" The worst part is, I have absolutely no one to blame but myself. These are consequences to my actions, no matter how long ago they occurred. It's a hard lesson to learn twice, let me tell you. 

So here I am, coming up on my twenty-eighth birthday with fractured vertebrae, wanting to do just about anything but celebrate. Not because of my back. Injuries heal, whether they come with hard lessons or not. But because, for me, birthdays aren't just about celebrating another year of life anymore, they're a reminder of the life I lost, on my birthday, two years ago. The life of my little brother. I can't expect you to know or understand how hollow it feels to get Happy Birthday greetings on the day you found out your brother died from an overdose, but let me tell empty doesn't begin to describe the feeling. And please believe me when I say, I'm not asking for sympathy in lieu of celebration (please, none of that), I'm simply sharing my story - that's sometimes sad - because I have no doubt there are days when your life doesn't feel like the picture in your head too. Let's talk about it sometime.  

Birthday memories are now happy and sad, expectant and sorrowful. And you know what? That has to be okay, because this is my life. And I'm learning how to deal with this sadness and stress in healthy(ier) ways. What does that mean exactly? It means, making space for myself. Space to heal, space to grieve and space to grow. Space to focus on the things I can change and to let go of things I can't. Space to be obligation free and cry and laugh and do whatever the hell I feel like doing in that moment. Space to be me, scars, stress fractures and all. 

So tell me, how are you creating space for yourself? 

Eat Well. Live Well. Be Well.