I Choose happiness
This week on the blog is another writing piece by one of my clients, Hannah. Originally, we had set this writing task as one of her goals but when it landed in my inbox I was so blown away by it that I asked Hannah if would share it with everyone. I’m so happy that she agreed because to me, these words sum up exactly the joy and mental freedom that’s possible when we can let go of diet mentality and the idea that we need to shrink ourselves (or look a certain way) to be happy. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
I CHOOSE HAPPINESS
I want to remember and celebrate, every day, in every way, the choice that I have made.
I have chosen happiness. Instead of restriction and denial, I have chosen joy. Instead of pain and anxiety, I have chosen pleasure and self-compassion.
I have chosen to love myself, in every moment, for where and who I am right now. I have chosen a present and a future that are bright and sparkly and full of laughter and love.
The past was about shrinking to fit someone else’s idea of how I should look, what I should be. The past was putting everything I ate into an app (My Fitness Pal - the name so ironic, for that app was never my friend) as if I wasn’t consuming food but a set of numbers and data. The past was obsessive and bleak. It was measured out and miserable. The past involved dreading a workout for the hours and days before, was wanting to cry and sometimes even throwing up during. The past was self-worth built entirely on the current condition of my abs.
I have stepped out of that past. I have chosen to be present, I have chosen to be happy. I have chosen LIFE!
I thought for a while that my body had been taken from me, taken out of my control when I was put on medication that caused me to gain weight. But really my body was given back to me - given back, quite different, but more valuable, no longer a shiny object of desirability and discipline but a place to live my life in, a haven and a home for my soul.
A body that can still run and jump and dance and fuck, but a body that can now do those things without restrictions and one eye on the mirror to check it is still adhering to the rules of a beauty standard - for it has now been let out of that prison. I always held the key to release it, though I did not know it for such a long time.
Liberation - for my body but just as importantly for my mind.
It is not an easy thing to set yourself free - free from the rules and restrictions you have been (often very literally) buying into for so many years. But I will no longer shrink and starve and punish myself into submission - I am too weird, wonderful, smart, unique and valuable to live a half life again.
I used to want to be as small as possible - now I want to spread my arms and legs out like a starfish! I want to be here.
Yes, I have gained weight in the past few years, but look at the other things - the experience, the life, the love - that I have gained at the same time. I used to wear a “small” size in my leggings. These days, I need to buy a “large” - large like my life experiences, large like my love. I think it was a trade worth making. I think I will continue to make the same choice.