Sedona Says: Body positivity

I remember the nights where I paced in my bedroom, wondering if I would ever feel accepted. They say that people won’t remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel. Well, in my case, I remember both. 

You’re supposed to know that you were made the way you are, for a reason, right? Well, I didn’t. I couldn’t understand why I was unable to appreciate who I was. 

Until now. 

I’ve talked about the importance of maintaining a healthy relationship and making sure that you are really ready to begin one. It’s my belief that no one should be in a relationship if they are simply seeking validation. 

Full disclosure, I have never been able to make a romantic relationship last. In fact, my longest relationship was only four months. That was the longest! I felt incapable of making something worthwhile last. 

I was unhappy with my body. It seemed as if there was something wrong with me. After all, that’s what people told me. And oddly enough, it wasn’t until March of 2020 that I finally learned how to choose the road that led me down to finally learning who I am. 

I was still in my most recent relationship at the beginning of the pandemic. And, as many of us now know, being in quarantine gives you time to think. Like really think. So, while feeling aimless, lost, and committed to someone, I slowly felt myself slipping. 

One evening, I was browsing through Netflix and accidentally stumbled upon a preview for a movie that was recently added to their site. In the clip of How to Be Single, Dakota Johnson spoke about how a moment of being single in your life is so precious, but many of us don’t stop to appreciate it. 

She was so right. There is something so freeing about having a moment, even if it’s just a month or so, to be entirely by yourself. You have the opportunity to learn who you are without having to mold your time to fit the needs of a significant other. And that was exactly what I needed. 

So, by mid-summer of 2020, my personal journey had begun. Although I knew where I needed to go, I had no clue where to begin. Suddenly, my Pinterest was filled with photos of free-spirited women who had drawn diagrams across their bodies, expressing their gratitude for the efforts of their different limbs. 

But how could I be happy with a part of myself that I hated looking at in the mirror? 

By October I felt even more lost. Isolation and social deprivation had taken their toll. I had gained weight, was sad, and very heartbroken. It wasn’t until my doctor recommended that I take informative blood tests, that I realized that I needed to be the one to want change for my body. 

For months I was searching for a reason to be better. I was looking for someone to change for. But I was never able to change until I wanted it for myself. And that was the golden ticket. 

I soon joined an app designed to keep track of your daily habits and weight loss goal. As I began this journey, I was in the ETC Fall Play, as a character who was known for her gluttonous eating. I found myself thinking: Was that really how people saw me? Is this quite literally the only role in life that I could fill? 

Between the time that I was filmed and the show was released, I had already lost ten pounds and shed all of my “quarantine weight”, plus more. I was so proud of what I had accomplished, until the night of our red-carpet film premiere. Not one of my dresses fit. At least, not the way I wanted them to. 

But after a night full of tears, I decided that this was not the end of the road. And that’s when I unlocked my “Step Two”. Just because I’m grateful, doesn’t mean I cannot want change. Finally accepting that I love who I am, and not where I am became the turning point for my personal growth. 

There’s a popular book, turned Julia Roberts’ movie, called Eat, Pray, Love. It follows the travels of a woman during a midlife crisis. Throughout her adventures she learns how to appreciate food without worrying about fitting into her jeans, meditate with a clear and open mind, and let herself navigate the battlefield of love. 

As Julia Roberts stood on the rooftop of her India ashram, forgiving herself for her past mistakes, I felt something within me also begin to cry for peace. The next morning I went on a walk, replaying the scenes of the movie over and over again in my head. But that was the key… ‘clear your head’. Or as Richard would’ve said, “You need to stop thinking, Groceries.” 

My feet led me to a gazebo near my house. On the cold ground, I closed my eyes and wished every current thought away. And I was left with one thought, directed at the innermost part of my being. 

I love you. 

My legs have carried me through my entire life. My stomach has held food that has given me warmth and strength. My arms are able to lift more than most, and my shoulders have supported every burden that I’ve faced. 

So now, 26 pounds lighter and ready to continue my journey, I felt ready to share my story. It’s easy to miss what you’re not looking for, but once I was ready to grow for myself, I was able to find the love that my body deserved. My experience has made me realize that I hope for others the same success in appreciating their existence.