Thursday, December 31, 2015

Lessons I Learned in 2015

I know this is going to sound completely cliche but I really really can't believe it's already the end of the year.  As I do every year I decided to look back and think about the lessons 2015 taught me....and this is what I came up with. 

  • I learned that you should always trust yourself.  You know more than you think you do. 
  • Always do what you are afraid to do
  • It's not what happens to you that is important.  It's what you do about it. 
  • It takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it. 
  • It's not what you have in your life, it's who you have in your life.
  • You can get by on charm for about 15 minutes....after that, you better know something
  • A cozy blanket and a cheesy movie can make you feel better after a bad day
  • No matter how thin you slice it...there are always 2 sides
  • It's a lot easier to react than to think
  • You should always leave your loved ones with loving words.  It could always be the last time you see them.
  • You can keep going long after you think you can't
  • People are not as scary as you think they are
  • You are responsible for what you do...no matter how you feel
  • You either control your attitude or it controls you
  • Learning to forgive takes practice (a lot....of practice)
  • Your best friends and you can do anything or nothing and still have the best time
  • I want to marry someone who loves me as much as Chip loves Joanna on Fixer Upper
  • You should tell people how important they are to you.  Always.
  • How to be angry and sad and joyful and excited and lonely and afraid and happy....experiencing every emotion and being ok with every emotion
  • You cannot make anyone love you.  All you can do is be someone who can be loved.  The rest is up to them.  (this is not about just love relationships either....this pertains to friendships and really all kinds of relationships)
  • Your worth is not measured by your job or relationship status
  • No matter how good a friend someone is, they are going to hurt you every once in awhile and you must forgive them for that. 
  • Our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.  
  • A 20 minute power nap can literally change your life
  • Sometimes you have to put the individual ahead of their actions
  • No matter the consequences...always be honest with yourself
  • A good 30 minute dance party can help you work through a lot of things
  • Everyone on this earth is wanting to be loved and accepted.  Be someone who is willing to love and accept.
  • Courage isn't always fighting a fight....sometimes it's just doing something for yourself that is terrifying.
  • I will always regret the fact I didn't marry Zack Morris
  • When you start to see how much you're worth, you will find people who also see your worth.  They will be your tribe.  Love them.
  • Be passionate about what makes you happy.  Passion is a gift to us.  Don't let it go to waste.
2015 was hard.....it was weird and it was wonderful. And 2016 will be weird and wonderful because life is weird and wonderful.  
Happy New Year friends and family. 
xoxo

Friday, November 6, 2015

To the person who will ask me about my church


I don't necessarily write a lot about my church.  Not in blog posts.  I share little snipets here and there about my faith and how much it means to me....but this is different.
Yesterday my church made a very big announcement.  An announcement that is shaking up everything.  And I want to talk about my feelings about it.

When the announcement was first released yesterday I felt a sinking pit in my stomach for two reasons.  One because it made me sad and two because I knew there would be so much controversy and the arguing and disparaging things I would have to read for the next who knows how long, stressed me out.  I have many flaws but one thing I am not nor will ever be is a bigot.  I hope people who know me (and people who don't) can at the very least feel how much I truly love other people.  I was never taught by my parents or my church to hate another because they were different than me in any way (race, gender, sexual orientation) or because of their religious or political beliefs.  But people are not perfect and I understand that some may have run into members of my church who think and feel and behave differently than that.  And I understand these people's actions and behavior can be easily blamed on a church because that church is seemingly different.  It is a church that has always been at the center of very strong opinions and is frequently questioned and made fun of in entertainment.  Let me also say though that at this point....it's starting to feel like an excuse.  Everyone is just looking for an excuse to prove it all wrong.  To criticize this church and it's leaders.  And to that I will say....I think that's kind of the point.

Let me clarify- and in doing so I will share my personal beliefs about this gospel.  This life was not made to be easy.  Roads are not getting easier to navigate, they are getting harder.  That is not changing any time soon.  Anyone who has been taught and believed this gospel will know that.  Statements are bolder and beliefs much more black and white.  How else is the Lord going to test the members of His church?  Because this is just the kind of thing that is going to make you question your beliefs, your religion, and it's leaders.  And you have to make a decision.  This gospel is not an "on the fence" gospel anymore.  It is choosing a side.

So how does one do that?  Well my friends.....it is one word, five letters. and the hardest principle in the world

FAITH


Last night I prayed for understanding of this decision.  I asked my Heavenly Father to help me understand.  And the answer I received is....I might not ever fully understand.  And that's ok.  Because I have faith.  I know this church is true.  I know that the prophet of this church was called from God.  I know that decisions in this church are not made by 12 men around a table in Salt Lake City Utah.  I know they are made by our Heavenly Father who knows His children and loves them.  This is not made to be viewed as a punishment.  This is made to be a faith tester and builder.  If you have a relationship with the Lord and you love Him and trust Him then you have to trust that there is a reason for everything...even this.  And you have to believe that He loves His children enough to always take care of them.  He will not forsake anyone who comes to Him.  He is perfect.  The Atonement fixes all and heals all.  Someday we will have all the answers but having all the answers is not the point or purpose of this life.  This life is made to test us.  To make us decide which side of the fence we are on and what we're willing to give to our Heavenly Father.

To my friends and family and anyone else reading this who is not part of my church and who I know will have a lot of questions and strong opinions about this I just want to say...you know me.  You know how much I love my church, the principles it teaches, and I love my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  That will not ever change.  That doesn't mean I hate anyone.  I don't.  And this decision wasn't made to cause hate or bigotry.  Hate and bigotry are personal feelings or opinions that have nothing to do with the church's decision or it's teachings.  This is not a political issue even though it will be made into one.  I stand by my church and my Heavenly Father and that also will not change.  It doesn't change the love I have for the people around me.  In fact the love I have for those around me is magnified by the love I know our Heavenly Father has for all of His children.....love I have been taught about by my church my whole life.  

This is hard.  I understand.  Believe and trust in our Heavenly Father and the Atonement of our Savior and the real and everlasting love they have.  

"Only the pure love of Christ will see us through.  It is Christ's love which suffereth long and is kind.  It is Christ's love which is not puffed up not easily provoked.  Only His pure love enabled Him- and us- to bear all things, and endure all things"
-Jeffrey R. Holland. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Another Post About Anxiety

How we react to physical illness vs mental illness courtesy of Buzzfeed (actually a really great article everyone should read)

I wasn't going to write this and I wasn't going to post it and I wasn't going to share it.  These are my thoughts when I'm thinking about writing or talking about anxiety:

- No one wants to hear this again
- Everyone will think I'm looking for attention
- Everyone will think it's just another sob story
- Everyone will think I'm being dramatic
- No one wants to talk about this

So I think the fact that these are the thoughts I have are the very reason I'm going to go against all of them and do it anyway.  Because if you have any of these thoughts when someone talks about their mental illness or if you feel this way talking about yours...maybe the more we do it the better it will be?  I don't really know.  I don't think anyone does.

There's this really nasty side effect of anxiety that no one talks about.  I've never even talked about it before but it's hit me like a freight train for the last few days and I want to talk about it.
Depression.
I don't know why it seems easier to talk about anxiety for me than depression.  Maybe it's because I've never actually been diagnosed with depression.  BUT here's the nasty thing....severe generalized anxiety disorder and depression hold hands with each other.  This was recently explained to me by my doctor and finally gave an answer to a lot of questions I've had.  Let me start by trying to explain my anxiety a little bit better.  You know how we all learned about flight or fight response?  The way our body reacts to perceived threat?  Heart racing, scared, feeling like you can't breathe a little bit, palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy....(sorry I had to).  In all seriousness....we've all felt the effects of the fight or flight response.  It's not the greatest feeling.  Now imagine feeling that way constantly.  As in 24 hours a day.  I'm not exaggerating when I say that is how I feel. Always.  I do not have a single moment of any day where my heart isn't racing and I'm not anxious about something.  And it's been that way since I was 12 years old.  It wasn't until my doctor told me that's not normal for me to even think it's not because it's my normal.  I actually don't really think about it that often unless someone asks me.  I guess it's not an ideal way to live but it's been the way I've been living for so long that maybe I'm accustomed to it?  So naturally in situations where anyone would be stressed or nervous....my level of stressed/nervous increases even more.  Where my baseline is already "fight or flight"....adding onto that is a lot.  That's usually when I have a panic attack...but not always.  I don't usually know why I'm having a panic attack and I can't usually pin point a trigger.  I'm telling you...it's really frustrating.  Especially when people ask me "well what are you stressed about?".....um....I don't know because I feel this way every day?
Then comes the depression.  And there is a very straight forward and medical answer to why.  Because my body is constantly trying to fight off threats (because my mind perceives everything to be a threat) at some point it just can't handle it anymore.  And it starts to shut down.  Oh hi depression....welcome.
And this is where I've been the last few days.  Struggling to get out of bed.  Feeling completely exhausted and not caring about anything at all.  I know it's just my body's way of coping.  Of giving itself rest because it physically can't handle it anymore.  That doesn't make it easier.  I don't like telling people about this.  I don't like talking about it because it makes me feel like a freak.  It makes me feel like everyone will judge me for it or that I should be strong enough to just get over it.  You just push through it right?  Do it anyway even though it's hard.  Trust me....I would like nothing more.  But when your body has actually literally shut down.....you just can't.  I don't know how people with actual constant depression handle it.  I would like to to say now that you are some of the strongest people I can imagine.  Because this is very very hard...and it only happens to me for a few days every month or 2.
So why am I talking about this?  I don't know to be honest.  Maybe it makes me feel a little better.  I'm an honest person and I think we should talk about things.  Especially the hard things.  When it comes to mental illness a lot of people want to say that we need to treat it better.  We need to provide more help to these people...but then we don't really want to talk about mental illness either because it's someone else's problem.  And that's not how any problems are going to get solved.  There's still so much stigma attached to any mental illness.  I guess if me sharing my experiences helps there to be less of a stigma at all...then I'm all for it.
Because in spite of the depression and the constant anxiety....I'm still me.  I still love sloths, Jurassic Park movies, quoting Taylor Swift lyrics to annoy everyone around me, loud music, crime shows, and laughing so hard it physically hurts.
Because any person who struggles with any sort of mental illness is still a person.  Still trying their hardest and just wants to be loved and accepted like everyone else.  And usually these people worry more about not being loved and accepted because there is something "wrong" with them.  Maybe that's just me but I can imagine it's a little more universal than that.  So all I'm saying is...let's take care of each other as best we can.  Try not to judge before you love.  And let's just help each other get through all the "stuff" good and bad together.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

An introduction

Hello everyone!
I want to introduce you to someone very special to me.


This is high school Vanessa.
Yes...the awkward one in the middle.

I got to thinking about high school Vanessa today and got a little emotional and just felt like sharing.  
High school Vanessa struggled.  Hard to imagine I know.  High school Vanessa moved to a new school her freshman year of high school.  High school Vanessa had dreams about what she wanted her life in high school to be.  She wanted to be popular.  The problem is...high school Vanessa didn't know that no matter what she did..she would never be popular.  But she doesn't know this yet.  High school Vanessa was terrified of being different or standing out.  If she liked things that would be considered "weird" she kept them to herself.  She bought all the make up she thought she needed to be prettier.  She tried buying the clothes she thought would make her seem like she fit in.  She even let popular kids cheat off her tests freshman year because she thought that would make them like her more.  High school Vanessa cared very very very much about what other people thought about her.  
But high school Vanessa was not popular.  High school Vanessa did not have status, money, or looks.  High school Vanessa was awkward, overweight, and scared.  

I got to thinking about who I am today.  I realized that I am weird.  I am goofy.  I am still painfully awkward.  And I started crying.  I started crying because my heart hurt a little bit for high school Vanessa.  High school Vanessa was spending so much time worrying about what other people thought about her that she never enjoyed herself.  Don't get me wrong...high school Vanessa had wonderful friends.  But she always held herself back a little bit.  High school Vanessa was part of the drama club and all the school plays but never tried out because she was afraid.  High school Vanessa lived vicariously through everyone else around her.  
There are still days when high school Vanessa sneaks in.  
When I'm looking in the mirror and telling myself I'm not pretty enough and that nobody will ever like me.  
When I hold myself back because I'm afraid of what other people think.  
It happens to all of us occasionally.  But I'm so grateful that the majority of my days I can look at myself and be so happy with who I am today.  Because I have worth.  I am strong, powerful, caring, compassionate, funny (sometimes), and I love life.  Sometimes I take too much Nyquil and climb banisters, sometimes I cry in sloth exhibits at the zoo, sometimes I make embarrassing lip sync videos and send them to my friends.  It's just who I am.  And I've adopted the attitude that if you don't like who I am....watch me be who I am even more.
I hope everyone adopts this attitude. 
So welcome high school Vanessa.  Thank you for teaching me things.  I wish I could go back in time and hug you and tell you that you are so much more than the opinion of those who don't know you.  That you are funny and smart and good. But since I can't....I'll just give you all the things now that you wish you had then.

xoxo
V

Friday, July 10, 2015

Twenty Things



1. Appreciate your parents.  You don't know what will happen.

2. If you don't want to wear make up, don't.  If you love the feeling of a bold lipstick and liquid liner...rock that too.  Not wearing make up doesn't make you sloppy and wearing make up doesn't make you vain.

3. It's really okay to love yourself.  Appreciate the funny curve of your nose, and that gap in your teeth makes your smile prettier.  Just because you don't look like that girl in the magazine doesn't mean you can't tell yourself you're beautiful every now and then.

4. Do what makes you happy.  I know you've heard this a million times, but I can't stress this enough.  Go after your dream job even if it goes against every thing your parents wanted.  If you don't like where you live, move.  Your friends don't make you laugh until your sides hurt?  You don't have to be friends with them anymore.  You're in control.  No one else.  Don't fall under the pressure of pleasing people.  Please yourself and live for yourself.

5. Love who you want.  Regardless of skin color or societal views or really what anyone else thinks.  Please never give up true love because you're scared.  Love is a beautiful beautiful thing and if you're lucky enough to come across it don't you dare walk away from it because of what others will think.

6.Take long showers and lay on your bed naked after, sing too loud, sleep through your duties one day, and another day just don't leave the couch.  It's okay to just decide you don't have responsibilities for a little bit.  Everyone needs a day every so often to just relax.  It's okay to be lazy.  It's okay to sleep for 12 hours straight.  It's okay to go to bed at 6 am because you're reading and wake up at 3 the next day.  Treat yourself.  But most importantly love yourself enough to give yourself time to breathe.

7. Alone time is good for the soul.  I truly believe that.  I think it's good to cancel your plans sometimes, close your door, turn off your phone, and play some Fleetwood Mac.  Maybe you could read a book, or hell even write one.  Take the time just you and yourself and learn to be happy with just you and the sound of your breathing.  At the end of the day you are the only person that is guaranteed to stick around, so you might as well learn to enjoy the way you laugh at your own jokes or the way you pronounce words when you read out loud.  Being comfortable alone is more important that you know.

8. It's okay to be in your 20's and still love Disney movies.  It's not even a guilty pleasure.  Everyone has their favorite whether they admit it or not.

9. Do not compromise who you are to impress someone else.  You are a wonderfully constructed individual.  Your trials, experiences, and life all together have sculpted you into the most lovely version of you possible.  If a person doesn't like the way you live from your personal choices to your music taste, who cares?  You were not put on this earth to impress them, or anyone for that matter.  Impress yourself.  Stick to what you want, stand up for what you believe,  It's your life.

10. High school does not in any manner prepare you for college.  One time my teacher dismissed class early because a kid fell down the stairs and he was laughing too hard to continue the lecture.  That's all I have to say about that subject.

11. I now you're making tons of new friends, but don't forget the ones who have been there from the start.  Your new friends may be exciting and wonderful and the best friends you could imagine but the ones who knew you back in middle school and were still there for you are genuine.  If they loved you through your awkward phase, they're probably in it for the long run.  So send some love their way every so often.  When you're older, you'll be glad you did.

12. Your mom will probably cry a lot as you get older.  Let her.  Hug her.  Cry with her.  She just wants you to be happy at the end of the day.  Spend Sunday afternoon telling her about your life.  She'll appreciate that so much and you will too later on.

13. Stop glamorizing sadness. Sadness is not beautiful.  It does not glow.  Disorders are not something to make light of, and scars are not something to be ignored.  Be proud of who you are.  Eat that hamburger, and put the razor down.  And most importantly, smile.  Happiness is by far the most beautiful thing about a person.

14. It will all be okay at the end of the day.  Life has a funny way of working out.

15. Speaking of funny.....life literally never goes as planned.  Don't waste your time fretting over the future.

16. You can never go wrong with pizza

17. Don't wish your years away.  Being young is the most fantastic exciting adventure.

18. Don't ever think that you know everything and it's time to stop learning.

19.  Take risks.

20. If you ever feel unloved and worthless just know you have people who love you.  You're destined for big things.  Never forget your worth.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Did You Know....?

Hi guys!
Did you know that I have a beauty Instagram???  You didn't???  Well guess what?  I do!  You can head over to xoxo_ness13 and follow me for tips, tricks, and product reviews!  See ya there and share the love!


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Forgiveness

Something I've learned about myself is that I am quick to reaction. In situations where hurt feelings are involved...I become a little like Michael Scott.


 I like to think it's just because I'm such a passionate person and I feel emotions so deeply but really I think it's also because I can be stubborn...and obviously my feelings are always right.  Growing up, because of the bullying I experienced as a kid, my feelings were invalidated.  I was basically told by other people's actions that my feelings didn't matter.  As I've grown up and developed a voice I have become fiercely defensive of my feelings.  I want to make sure that my feelings are validated.  I don't think there's anything wrong with that but I have learned that instead of jumping to reaction...I need to sit with my emotions for a little while.  Like a stain you need to soak....otherwise instead of solving the problem...you end up making it worse.  
So then the word forgiveness comes to mind.
I've been thinking a lot about forgiveness lately.
It's easy to look at a situation and see that someone has wronged you, place blame, and then become the "bigger person" by forgiving them.  We've all done it.  However...usually we deserve some of the blame and in my experience...the gift of forgiveness ends up being for us.  By forgiving others we forgive ourselves.  This is a big lesson I've learned in my life but have found a hard time putting it to action.  I used to think forgiveness is magnanimous but really....it's required.
There is a song called "For Blue Skies" by a band Strays Don't Sleep.  Matthew Ryan is the leader of this band and he is a poet.  A guy who uses lyrics and melody like others use words on a page.  To deal with it all.  The heal something inside.  Sometimes...just to tell a story.  The phrase repeated the most in this song is
"I forgive you"
A refrain so simple and gentle and at the same time so powerful and inspiring.  For you and your world.  For me and mine.  "I forgive you".  Add a few solitary piano keys and it becomes heartbreaking.  "I forgive you".  Words we've all needed to hear.  
I believe strongly that forgiveness is circular...not linear.  It does not begin and end.  It is a constant and it's affects are continual.  Forgive someone, heal them, heal yourself.  Rinse and Repeat. 
So many of life lessons we learn as children are basic.  Say "sorry" and forgive.  As we get older situations become more complicated and heartbreak becomes deeper...and it becomes time to change the way we see those lessons.  I'm still learning. And while I am...please forgive me.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Two Lives

I don't know how to not be the fat girl.
I've had this thing my whole life.
"You'd be  perfect for our group performance in the talent show...if you lost 10 pounds" I remember girls saying to me in 4th grade.
These same girls would quiz me on random pop culture or music lyrics and if I got them wrong they told me I would have to weigh myself in front of them.
I hated going shopping with my friends because I knew the stores they shopped at wouldn't have my size.  So I would try to shrink myself into corners while they laughed and pulled clothes off hangers.  I was the friend in the dressing room on the sofas that the store employees looked at with a "what are you doing here" look of disdain while I had to assure my size 6 friends they did not look fat in that skirt.
I would get uncomfortable at sporting events or amusement parks, scared that I wouldn't fit into the small seats.
I would always get shot gun when we were traveling in a big group...not because I have long legs like everyone claimed, but because you don't put the big girl in the seat everyone is squishing in to.
I was not the girl the boys asked out.  I was the tag-a-long while my friends were breaking boys hearts all summer.  I was the shoulder they cried on when the boys broke their hearts right back.  Me giving relationship advice was about as equal as a goat teaching a driving lesson.
I wore sweatshirts in the middle of Indiana summers because I was trying to use as many layers as possible to hide my shame.  In hindsight it's a miracle I didn't die of heatstroke.
I discovered a love of make up because it didn't have a size.  I used it to make myself seem good enough.  I mean I knew I wouldn't really be accepted but I wanted to try and look like I was trying.  I didn't want people to look at me in sweatpants, messy hair, no make up and think "of course...sloppy fat person".  I didn't want to be a cliche.  "You have such a pretty face" is something I heard a lot...and all I heard were those 4th grade girls "if you lost x pounds"

I have learned a lot of things.
I learned how to develop a personality first.  I started making jokes so I wouldn't be the joke.
I developed fortitude.  You kind of have to learn how to let things roll off your back when you've been teased since you were 8 years old.
I learned compassion.  I knew people made assumptions about me because of my weight so I learned to love others because I didn't know why they were the way they were or the things they were dealing with behind closed doors.
I developed confidence.  I'm not really sure how.  I think I finally just decided that I had more to offer the world than a number on a scale.  I was smart, creative, empathetic, nurturing, and kind.  That was what the world needed.

And now here I am.  I have lost 70 pounds (and still losing) and I have become more "acceptable" by society standards.  And I don't know how to do that sometimes.  I still walk through the plus size section at work thinking those are the only clothes that fit me (even though all of those clothes are actually too big for me now...weird).  I actually had a woman the other day ask me if I knew anything about plus sizes and I wanted to scream "yes! I used to be you!"
I still get taken aback when a guy asks for my phone number because in my mind I'm still that girl who watches their friends get asked for their number.  Swear to you I have actually turned around and looked behind me to see if the guy was talking to someone else.
I have lived 2 lives.  This one is definitely easier (which is completely ridiculous and our society should re-evaluate pretty much everything) but I wouldn't trade the first life for anything.  I love first Vanessa because she taught me how to be a good human being and develop all the qualities I want to have...and I love second Vanessa because she has the energy to share those qualities with others.
I am grateful.  I will know how to teach my children love.  Love of others and love of themselves.  I will know how to teach them hard work and how to dream big dreams because they can become reality.  I know how to show them that self worth is so much deeper than the shallow views of the world.  It is the spiritual and celestial potential that our Heavenly Father has for us.  I have become the person my Savior died for - because He did not die for me because of my jean size.  He died for me because He loves me and those deeper qualities I have.
Heavenly Father knew I needed these lessons in my life.  And again I'm so grateful.  I love my life and I wouldn't trade a single second of it.


xoxo
V

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Big* Post

*pun in title not intended but also hilarious so I'm keeping it.

So this is a post I've wanted to do for awhile but I just kept putting it off.  I think I finally figured out why.  Because a part of me feels shameful about it.  Let me explain.
Back in September I made a decision about my life and myself.  I was pretty overweight and felt completely out of control of my life.  I had struggled with my weight most of my life but high school and college is when it got bad.  The summer before my freshman year my family moved across the country.  I had no friends and felt so out of place.  I probably gained 20-30 pounds in high school.  The year I went to college was a year of a lot of change for me.  I was again across the country...this time without my family, and while I was there my family went through the hardest thing that has ever happened to them.  My little sister passed away unexpectedly.  This was so hard for everyone and instead of dealing with it in a healthy way....I did the opposite.  I think I coped with everything in my life, including my anxiety, with food.  It's a strange thing when you think about it.  At what point did food become tied with emotions?  Our ancestors didn't do that....so why do we?  I don't think I ever knew why I did it but I did know I wanted to change it.  So back in September I decided it was finally time to make a change.  Not because I wanted to look like a super model (that will probably never happen and I'm 100% ok with that) but because I wanted to be healthy.  I wanted to live life to the fullest and experience everything this world has to offer.  In my life I've become a pretty confident person.  I know that I have a lot to offer.  I'm smart, I'm a hard worker, I have a pretty decent sense of humor.  I guess I just always knew that the person I was on the inside was not reflecting the person I was on the outside.  I really felt held back and tied down by my weight.
And let's just be really really honest for a second....our world does not accept overweight.  The world does things like "sympathize" with or feel sorry for people who are overweight but they don't ever really accept them.  They're still "others".  Have I mentioned that we live in a really weird world???
I would like to clarify that I am a firm believer that everyone should be happy with the way they look and who they are.  If you are 300 lbs. and you are comfortable and happy with  yourself....rock on.  Like I said...for me personally, it was mostly about health (even though I also hated being in pictures..the vain part of me needs to make that known)  I knew I wasn't healthy which was not making me happy.
So I made a change.
Now for the scary part....yes.  Pictures.  This is the reason I've been putting this post off.  Even though most of my friends and family saw me like this....I know I wasn't happy and I felt out of control so obviously....I don't want to post those pictures but I'm going to do it anyway...


There it is.  The reveal. 70 pounds gone.  A lot of people I've met since I've done this so they don't even know this about me.  I feel like I've lived 2 completely separate lives.  This has been the greatest journey of my life.  I have learned so much about myself...that I am strong, that I am dedicated, that I can do hard things.  This has been the hardest work I have ever done (and I'm not even done yet) but also the most rewarding. You know how nice it is to be able to shop in a regular store and KNOW that they have my size?  I can even shop in the JRs department....if you've always been able to do this....you definitely take it for granted.  All the silly insignificant stuff aside.. I also discovered that our physical bodies are so connected to our spiritual bodies.  When I started working on my body, I could feel the connection to my spirit so much stronger.  I was able to change a lot of things in my life, strengthen my relationship with my Heavenly Father, and I even went through the temple (the happiest and best day of my life).  

I have learned that nothing is impossible.  I am a regular person.  I am not a celebrity who had a trainer and someone cooking for me every day.  I busted my butt and I changed my entire lifestyle.  I can actually do a spin class now without wanting to puke (I know) and I'm even planning on doing a 5K.  My goal is to run a marathon someday (I actually like running!  I know....I've become one of those people). I have learned how to deal with emotions in healthy ways.  Instead of soothing emotions with food I go to the gym or walk outside or meditate.  I did have the support of my good friend Lindsay who I have to thank for all the help and motivation she gave me (she helps people...if you want her info let me know because she might be the greatest human being alive).  It is not too late to do the things you want to do.  Life is short!!!  Live it to it's fullest potential!  I really am so in love with my life now and the energy I have to live it.  If you are waiting to change something in your life...whatever it might be...DO NOT WAIT.  Do it now.  And I promise you are so much stronger than you think you are. 


xoxo
V

Friday, March 6, 2015

This One's For You

To any girl reading this:
I've been thinking about my life and all the lessons I've learned and I thought....if I could share anything I've learned in life...what would it be?  What advice would I give my sisters? It's taken me a lot of heart and hurt to learn the lessons I have on
 1. Friends
 2. Boys
 3. Yourself

Friends.
Who you invest your time into should be willing to invest the same amount of time in you.  You should never feel like less than who you are with your friends. Don't feel like you have to compete with your friends.  If you ever feel like someone isn't supportive of you or they are not happy for your happiness...they are not your friend. You should never feel like who you are isn't accepted with your friends.  Sometimes your friends will be the worst...and sometimes so will you.  Look deeper at people.  Forgive.  Friendship takes so much forgiving and someday you'll need the same forgiveness that you give.

Boys.
A part of me wants to write "boys are dumb" and leave it at that....but you already know that.  I think the main thing I've learned when it comes to boys is that no matter what...they can't define you.  One day you might give your heart to someone who just doesn't know what to do with it.  This will hurt.  This will hurt so much.  It does not mean that someone someday won't see the depth of the love you have and be willing to swim deeper rather than stay on the shore.  One day you might realize that the boy you love isn't the boy you are supposed to love.  That's ok too.  It's ok to say no to something or someone.

Yourself.
Whoever you are is the perfect person to be.  Sometimes you will feel like you're too loud or too quiet.  Sometimes you will feel like your heart could burst with all the love you're capable of sharing.  Sometimes you will feel like your heart could burst with all the love that you feel will never been reciprocated.  Sometimes you will cry or maybe you will never cry.  Sometimes you will be best friends with everyone and sometimes you will need to be alone.
All of this. Every single thing is ok.  It's ok to feel and be all of these things.  Be who you are.  Love yourself and never apologize for what that might be.  Love with everything you have, laugh too loud, dance too much.  Live life on your own terms.  Anybody who is worth having in your life will accept who you are.  Every single part of you.  Don't waste time on those who don't see you and appreciate everything you have to give.

xoxo
V


Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 Resolutions

I've tried to keep my resolutions as realistic as possible

And I don't know how I'll top last years resolutions

But here we go anyway....

Bring it on 2015
xoxo
V



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