This time last year, I was afraid.
I was afraid I was going to die before my birthday. I was afraid to go anywhere alone in case I had a seizure. I was afraid to drive in case I fainted. And I was afraid to eat anything my body would reject for fear “it” would happen again.
Two months prior, my body started shutting down, alone in a pleather booth in a noisy restaurant where people were too busy watching sports and drinking to notice. “This is it,” My mind slurred. “I’m going to die at a bar at 26.” I did everything not to lose consciousness that night, and I woke up the next morning.
I fought to keep my eyes open the next few days. I fought to keep my mind and body open in the next few weeks.
I spent weeks and maybe months not touching medication, gluten, alcohol (still only taste test), or chemical-ridden beauty products.
I ate raw and organic meals I made myself and reversed years of digestive issues. I remembered how to fall asleep without thinking I would stop breathing. I learned not to have to think about how to walk, breathe, talk, read, and drive when I did it. I got my body and mind back about as much as someone 11 years into lyme attacking them could.
And I was proud.
But, you now what else I didn’t really touch? Joy.
The girl who would hop on a plane to Africa with nothing but spontaneity and the clothes on her back had to think if going to the grocery store alone was too much of a risk. The girl whose favorite food was cotton candy wouldn’t touch bread. The girl who could recite every lyric to about 500,000 songs couldn’t bear to hear music.
I literally thought I’d never do anything “bad” for me again. I thought concerts were out of the question. I thought rollercoasters weren’t “worth it”. I was alive but not ALIVE. I took the bull by the horns, the reigns, my life back, and all the other metaphors for going to task-but it wasn’t enough.
So, I decided it was time to receive. I listened. I watched. I went with the flow. I read about how fear makes us sick. I read about how sometimes the stress of living life as “healthy as possible” even makes us sick. I was doing everything “right” but being scared was at the root of it-being scared to lose my life kept me from totally living it. I realized that just like vitamins and water, finding joy was ESSENTIAL to my well being.
I loosened my grip on my diet. I pushed myself to be BY myself. I said “yes” to shoots I wasn’t ready for. I traveled with anxiety.
And just like that.
I fought to keep my heart open.
I got that girl back in a few more weeks. And For that, I was even more proud.
Food is one of the most tangible symbols we have for balance, for living life to its fullest in terms of both efficiency as well as enjoyment. It’s essential to our health and well-being that we eat nourishing, Whole Foods from great sources. But it’s also representative of decadence. Of indulgence. Of experience. And the decisions we make with it must be very personal and true to what makes us happy-and not in the addictive, hole-filling way.
There are seasons for everything, and sometimes focusing on living fully is just as curative as an elimination diet. Sometimes finding the joy means breaking protocol. So if it’s not going to kill you right away.
If it’s not going to send you spiraling into a junk binge that will cause a heart attack.
Eat the damn pizza.