Good evening! It’s been a cool minute since I’ve written anything on here, for a number of reasons.
Reason one: I’ve been working my ass off. Over the last six months, the amount of stress in my life has shot through the roof, and working tends to be my coping mechanism. I don’t think that’s necessarily bad, but it did mean that I had little time for anything else. Up until the beginning of April, I was working about sixty hours a week between my two jobs, sometimes more, which didn’t leave much time of socializing, rest, or writing.
Reason two: I have had some serious loss in my life lately. One month ago, only five months after her diagnosis, my mom died of kidney cancer. In the months leading up to it, my heart and head both felt immensely heavy and I didn’t know how I could begin to talk about what I was feeling, and I certainly wasn’t doing much writing. In the month since her death, I have felt able to pick myself up again and begin doing what I have found so therapeutic in the past, which is to write.
The last few months have been physically and emotionally exhausting. In the best moments, they have been trying, and in the worst moments, they have felt entirely impossible. I am grateful for all that I have learned in recovery about taking care of myself and processing my emotions, but I know that I have not been investing as much in my mental health as I would like to lately. In the months leading up to my mom’s death, I was working myself into the ground as a way of keeping my mind and body busy, and I was running almost entirely on stress. After my mom died, I spent a few weeks in Montana, dealing with logistical stuff and taking some time to myself. That was a wonderful opportunity to grieve and to pause from the chaos of life, but now that I am back in Portland I am ready to begin living the life that I want to live once more.
An interesting thing has happened in the weeks since my mom died. All of the ways that my mom could have done things differently no longer matter. Every mistake ever made is insignificant. Anything meaningless that may have felt important just fell away. I remember my mom only as the beautiful person and mother that she was, regardless of her flaws and imperfections, and I realized how meaningless it is to waste time wishing we were anybody other than our truest selves. Even in my mom’s final months, she struggled with insecurity and self-doubt. She questioned her value and held back from being who she wanted to be because she wasn’t convinced that she would be accepted. It is heartbreaking now to think of all of the times that my mom, one of the most vibrant and beautiful people I have ever known, felt uncertain of her own worth. Since returning to Portland and developing a routine for myself once more, I feel a new commitment to living the life that I want to live. I don’t know what that means entirely, and it will probably change from day to day and month to month. I do know that life is too short to spend it wishing you were anybody other than yourself. In our last days and our last moments, the thing that shines through is our true beauty, and that is what we are remembered for. From here on out, I want to focus on developing that person, the one that people will remember when I’m gone, and I want writing and blogging to be a part of that development.
All of these points bring me to the conclusion of this post, which is the point where I ask myself where to go from here. My domain name is going to expire in only a couple of weeks, and I need to decide if I want to stick around or close this chapter. In all honesty, food and exercise challenges simply don’t plague me like they used to. I have a fulfilling relationship with a great guy, fantastic roommates, and jobs that I love. While exercise obsession, food concerns, and body image woes are still a part of my life, they don’t feel as front-and-center as they used to. However, I still want to help people struggling with these issues and perhaps the best way to do that is to write from a place that is (at least a little bit) on the other side of them.
When I think about getting rid of this blog, it makes me a little bit sad. Writing helps maintain my sanity, after all, and I am excited for this next chapter in my life. I still have work to do on myself, and I want to share the person that I am becoming with you. Losing my mom has been the hardest, murkiest territory that I have encountered yet. My only hope is that some strength and growth can come out of it, and that I will use that strength to continue developing the person that I am meant to be. I want to write as I navigate this path, to help myself and to help others. I want to show that life is possible after an eating disorder and after great loss, and that what looks like the end of the road may only be a turn.
So, because I don’t feel entirely ready to give up blogging just yet, I think that I am going to be making more regular appearances around here. I may write more about grief, or I may write about graduate school. I might post a recipe or two or talk about navigating long-distance relationships. Maybe I will write about life with two cats (I inherited one of my mom’s and there is nothing but cat drama at my house these days). My roommate and I are talking about reviewing $5 bottles of wine from the grocery store. Who the hell knows what I’ll write about?! The options are endless! I do know that I will be writing right here, though, and I would be glad to have you all as my community.