being all things, to everyone, all the time.

Recently, I came across an article about loving yourself while you’re losing weight. I shared it with some friends and found that it resonated with several of them.

In a society that’s obsessed with beauty and youth, even just the attempt to lose weight can stir up all kinds of emotions relating to vulnerability, self-worth, and fear.

For me, this has been especially true because my weight gain started during a period of time when my life essentially felt like it was imploding. It seemed like I was experiencing all of the major life changes at once, from moving to changes in my career, friendships, priorities. My relationship was becoming increasingly miserable and on top of that I was running into difficulties with several family members.

I was depressed and not coping in the most positive or healthy ways.

Of course, I’m not exactly the type to just lie down and give up. It’s been a hard, long road, but as I started facing a lot of those issues, I was able to pick up healthier ways to deal with life’s hardships which, in turn, allowed me the time, resources and emotional fortitude to start taking care of myself again.

Dropping the extra weight (20 pounds down, another 20 to go) has been nothing short of an exercise in letting go of whatever no longer suits me. Which turns out, is a lot of things.

There’s the obvious things, like stress-eating every carbohydrate on the planet when I’ve had a hard day. That’s out the window now. Alcohol is gone. As is candy (I will miss you, gummy bears) and any processed food I bought out of either convenience or comfort.

Those things have been replaced with morning runs in the park, yoga, spa water, relaxing with friends, crafts and meditation. I’m an exciting person, I know.

The biggest thing I had to give up, however, is people-pleasing. That addiction, that need to be all things, to everyone, all the time. I have damn near depleted myself trying to be there for everyone else whilst essentially ignoring all of my own needs. Not a habit that’s exactly conducive to mental or physical well-being.

Now, instead of putting myself last, I am committed to being the best friend, the best girlfriend, the best daughter, sister, dog-mom, what-have-you…while still walking in my truth, going after what I want in life and putting myself first.

I don’t know if it’s normal to be this reflective while losing a few pounds, but I’m glad that I’m working through this. As I continue this healthy journey, what else do I need to let go of? What might I pick up in it’s place? What else do I need to become my happiest, healthiest self? Considering the fact that I woke up in the middle of the night and ending up writing this post, I’m guessing there’s a lot more work to be done.

Stay tuned.

Take care of yourself,

-C

what to do when you suddenly run out of fucks to give.

A.k.a. The Tao of Adulting

A.k.a. Adventures in living my best life

A.k.a. Accidentally finding Stoicism

A few years ago, I stumbled upon this hilarious article by Mark Manson called The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. I chuckled at his flagrant use of profanity and was charmed by his apparent confidence and ability to take charge of his life, decisively focusing his energy on what mattered most to him. I was so struck by it that I actually bookmarked it, coming back to it every 6 months or so. I suppose my subconscious mind knew I needed this wisdom.

As I’ve mentioned before many times on this blog, I’ve always felt that true personal change is incremental, gradual and slow, at best. It takes dedication over long periods of time to make even slight personal improvements.

While I still believe this is true, I also think that sometimes, that hard work, that investment in bettering oneself culminates in a big personal shift.

For me, one of those big, personal shifts happened around the New Year, when one day, I got up, grabbed my bag of fucks, looked in, and suddenly realized that I had none left…

You see, I had simply spent far too many fucks on things that did not matter. I used up way too much energy on stuff that just did not suit me. And, in a panic, I realized my inability to direct my fucks properly meant I was barreling at high speed into a future in which I would be miserable. But, of course, I woke up in time to right the ship.

Manson actually describes this process in his article (emphasis mine):

When we’re young, we have tons of energy. Everything is new and exciting. And everything seems to matter so much. Therefore, we give tons of fucks. We give a fuck about everything and everyone — about what people are saying about us, about whether that cute boy/girl called us back or not, about whether our socks match or not or what color our birthday balloon is.

As we get older, we gain experience and begin to notice that most of these things have little lasting impact on our lives. Those people’s opinions we cared about so much before have long been removed from our lives. We’ve found the love we need and so those embarrassing romantic rejections cease to mean much anymore. We realize how little people pay attention to the superficial details about us and we focus on doing things more for ourselves rather than for others.

Since the day I stopped giving a fuck, I’ve been very selective about how I spend my time, who I spend it with and where I direct my energy. I’ve also been careful about listening to my body and my intuition, resting when I need to rest, exercising when I need to move and vegging when I need to veg. Yes, this is actually a pretty new thing for me.

Taking more control over my life and what I want out of it has been nothing short of empowering, actually. Realizing things like “Who the fuck cares if it’s Saturday night, I’m staying in, crocheting and watching one-star rated rom-coms on Netflix”. Or “I know it’s 6:30 in the morning, but I feel like going to the park and getting some sprints in”, Or “This person is toxic and uncomfortable, time to remove them from my life”. Or “Fuck it, I’m eating kale for lunch everyday because I want to wear my leopard print bikini again this summer”.

Looking back, I realize that my sudden lack of fucks was no accident. Just as I had accidentally found that Mark Manson article and slowly uploaded it to my brain, I have also run into many real life examples of what happens when you don’t make that no-fucks-given transition that Manson talks about. A few of those depressing examples have come in the form of:

-The coworker who sacrificed friendship, healthy family relationships and fulfilling hobbies for a job she hated because it’s the only thing that gave her validation. (She was constantly miserable, bitter and anxious as a result).

-The ex who complained constantly about life but refused to make any attempts at self-improvement because he was afraid of uncertainty (and wanted someone, me, to do the hard work for him)

-The manager who got fired because he couldn’t push his ego aside long enough to follow company rules (and state laws)

All kinds of fucks haphazardly given to the wrong things.

Even though I don’t know what the future will look like now that I have so few fucks to give, I’m still excited to find out.

In the words of Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher:

It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.

Stop giving a fuck, and start living.

-C

P.S. Many thanks to Mark Manson for inspiring positive change in myself and others. Check out all of his awesome content here.