Month: October 2017

Facing My Fears: What’s Been Holding Me Back from Blogging

The other day, I came across an article about self-sabotage when it comes to weight loss and it basically said that often times, we have underlying fears that get in the way of accomplishing what we want. Because we’re worried about those things, either consciously or subconsciously, it creates inner turmoil that can lead to inaction rather than facing those fears head on. It can be really painful and difficult to pinpoint what those reasons are and to sit in the discomfort of confronting them because you have to dig deep and be vulnerable, even if just to yourself.

While this self-sabotage can apply to many areas of my life, it got me thinking a lot about what’s been holding me back from blogging again, even though I’ve been wanting to for some time and have dipped my toe in here and there over the last few years. I’m an expert excuse-maker, so I’ve come up with many surface reasons as to why – I need a new blog name, I need new content to focus on, I need to have it all figured out before wanting to share my life with the world again – but I’ve avoided confronting some of those deeper, more painful reasons because, well, it’s uncomfortable.

But I realized that not facing those fears is exactly what’s been standing in the way of starting to blog again, and I finally took some time to address them head on so I can stop with the inaction. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. People will judge me for not being the “after” anymore. When you write a blog about weight loss, there is a tremendous amount of pressure that’s hard to explain because I think ultimately it ends up being self-imposed, but it feels external. When you step away, it’s really hard to come back without addressing the weight situation head on, and to be honest with you, I don’t think I’ve been ready to until now. While I’m not back to where I started, I have gained some weight, and I’ve struggled with making healthy living a priority in the last couple years. Even now when I go to my Facebook page and see some of my before and after photos, it makes me cringe and feel like an imposter.
  2. People from my current/professional life will see some of the very personal things I’ve shared here and judge me. I’ve changed a lot in the 7.5 years since this blog began, and while I’m proud of a lot of the content, there are some deeply personal things on here that make me pretty anxious to think about everyone in my current life knowing and seeing. I briefly thought about removing some of that more sensitive content, like my plastic surgery documentation, but on further reflection, I realized I’m not even sure what I’m afraid of. Someone seeing it and knowing I had surgery? Someone seeing it and making fun of me for having surgery? And then I realized it’s because of an all-too-familiar judgement that I myself have been guilty of before I knew any better. I am afraid people are going to see the deepest parts of my weight loss journey and wonder how I could possibly let myself gain back any of the weight I’d worked so hard to lose.
  3. Even though I love to write, I am not a gifted photographer, so my blog can’t ever be great. This one may fall more into the surface level excuse category, but not take great photos is something that makes me anxious whenever I think about getting back into blogging, especially since a lot has changed in the last few years and things have gone more digital. I know that some of my content would be stronger if I had great photos to go with it, but good content with crappy pictures is better than no content and no pictures. And, this is something I can work on.
  4. I won’t be able to keep it up and will disappoint everyone, myself included. I think this one stems from trying to come back so many times over the last few years and not being able to stick with it. But, since I’d never taken the time to think through the bigger, underlying fears (see #1 and #2), I self-sabotaged like woah to avoid having to.

It’s pretty eye opening to reflect on these reasons and see that even though all of these stem from a fear of being judged by others, the only thing standing in the way of overcoming any of them is me.

Stepping Out of the Fog

The last few months have been quite a whirlwind. You know how they say “When it rains, it pours”? Turns out that’s true.

I alluded to this vaguely, but back in June my career took an unexpected turn when I found out that the job I’d been at for just under a year wasn’t going to work out longterm. It was a very humbling experience that made me do quite a bit of digging and soul searching, which I’m still knee- (elbow-?) deep in at the moment. In some ways, it’s hard to believe it was already almost 5 months ago (!), but in other ways it feels like it was just yesterday that I still had an office job.

That change in and of itself has been a lot to navigate, but I’ve also been dealing with some health issues, which you may have caught wind of if you follow my Facebook page. Long story short, back in April (so two months before the career shift) my back started acting up again for the first time since having Emergency Back Surgery in 2006 (part 1, part 2, and part 3 of that story), and it really, really messed with me after being pain free for 11 years. I tried to do everything in my power to avoid having back surgery again, including making some pretty dramatic dietary changes that seemed to make a significant impact.

I was trucking along and feeling like I was almost out of the woods with my back (and ready to refocus on the next step in my career!), when seemingly out of nowhere, I started having pretty severe abdominal pain on September 20. I tried to suck it up but after it didn’t go away for over 12 hours I went to the hospital, and I ended up needing emergency gall bladder removal surgery that day. (PS: My first emergency surgery was at 22, my second at 33… let’s hope this trend is over and I don’t have to think about what’s next at 44!)

The surgery itself was pretty uneventful and I was released the next day and sent home to recover. At 10 days post op, I went in for a follow up and everything was looking awesome, and the surgeon decided to put new steristrips and adhesive over the incisions to help it heal even better. When it started itching a bit the next day I assumed it was just from healing, but then it started getting itchier and redder and I realized I was having an allergic reaction to whatever they’d administered. I had to go back in and once they removed the steristrips it was INTENSE to look at the reaction. Since I’d recently had the surgery, I couldn’t use anything topical to treat the reaction and instead had to take steroids, and after being put on the wrong type and then the wrong dose over the next 10 days by the surgeon’s office, I went to see my PCP and got put on the right dose of steroids and at long last, the reaction started to dissipate. That was 2 weeks ago today that I got put on the right dose of steroids and finally, finally, finally I feel like I’m stepping out of the fog of these last few months and can start to shift my focus back to the bigger question of where to go from here.

Since I’ve laid out the crappy stuff that has happened over the last few months, let me end on a positive note and also share some of the highlights:

  1. I formed an LLC to do consulting work and landed a client almost immediately who I’ve been working for on a part-time basis since! I had been thinking about starting my own company for some time and knew that there was never a better time to try, so I did.
  2. I traveled a bunch – including to Charleston for my birthday week in July, Jamaica for a destination wedding in August, and New Orleans for a friend’s birthday last weekend. (Check out my Instagram if you wanna see pics!) Up next: family vacation in Antigua over Thanksgiving in November for my dad’s 70th birthday!
  3. We made an offer on a house that got accepted, but then we backed out. I list this in the positives because while that particular house didn’t work out, it was very helpful to see the homebuying process and looking at houses is really exciting (albeit depressing with the cost of real estate in DC).
  4. I’ve been looking for a volunteer opportunity to weave into my schedule, and decided on Reading Partners, where I’ll work with a student for an hour a week to help with their reading for the whole school year. I had to get a TB test, fingerprints and a background check to be able to volunteer since it’s in DC Public Schools, and I have my orientation tomorrow and am SO excited to start!

I’m planning to expand on a bunch of the topics mentioned in this post, but let me know if you have specific questions or anything you’d like me to address. I’ll be back soon!