No seriously, I am extremely and ridiculously tired.
Physically and mentally.
But I am the happiest I have ever been in my life. And as I type this tears are streaming down my face and I am becoming that weird girl crying on an airplane for no reason whatsoever.
But I'm ok with that.
The people around me would feel the same way if they just went through what I went through.
I honestly don't know if I have the words to describe what this weekend meant to me. But I can tell you that I am not the same girl I was Thursday morning.
And of course I can't find my tissues.
Shit, I must have left them behind after one of the group discussions. Or maybe in a bar (yes, I cried in bars) or maybe at one of the fitness sessions (yep, cried then too) but it was good crying. Soul cleansing, cathartic crying.
Sometimes it was sad, and scary, and I was more self-aware than I have ever been.
But most times I was happy, I forced myself to be honest (always, even when it was difficult), and it was beyond a doubt one of the most humbling experiences I have ever had.
Now take all of that and mix it with:
A billion deep belly laughs.
And amazing hugs. The good kind; the bone crushing bear hugs. The kind that I never wanted to end.
And eternal bonds formed with people I have known for years and with people I have known for days.
And of course lots of beers.
And all the vegan food :)
I wanted to use this weekend as a way to help me work on the issues I currently/still struggle with. Yep, news flash- I struggle. Every day isn't easy. I don't have all the answers. I am still learning. I will always be learning. But sitting in a room with 30 people (or 300 or 3) and hearing others talk and share and in turn being open and honest and bearing my soul and showing my scars- literally and figuratively-I really cannot tell you how much it has already started to help me deal with these issues. How much it has changed me.
I asked myself some pretty difficult questions and turned to others for their help. Guidance. Thoughts. Their stories. I leaned on others when I needed it and pushed myself outside my comfort zone when it called for it.
I took chances.
I refused to let fear stop me from doing what I wanted to do and saying what I wanted to say and meeting who I wanted to meet.
And yes, those situations were made easier at a conference filled with 'my people' but I did it all nonetheless.
And it was awesome. In my wildest dreams I couldn't have imagined this outcome.
It was so freeing.
Fuck, this is really overwhelming me with emotions right now.
I feel raw. Like I left behind a shell I didn't know I was wearing and am now exposed.
But in a good way.
In the most amazingly, unbelievably good way.
God, I know this is all so vague but I really don't know how to talk about this. How do I explain this experience in detail? I don't know if I can.
Because honestly, I could recount every moment of this weekend and it wouldn't paint you an accurate picture of how/what/why this all changed and affected me so...
So for now (yes, there will be many more posts to come- and of course lots of pictures) I will leave you with some of my big takeaways of the weekend. Written as if I am reminding myself of these things, not preaching to you.
1. Everyone struggles. Everyone is trying to work on their issues. And everyone has problems, whether you think so or not. You don't always (almost never) see the whole picture. So be kind. Always. And in this recognize that you deserve kindness back. Accept it.
2. Stop with all the fucking judgement. Stop judging others, you have no right to. Let them be. In turn revert back to item 1. And stop judging yourself. Be your best friend, not your worst enemy. Work on quieting that voice inside your head that tries to tear you down and of course, revert back to item 1- kindness.
3. Enough with the self deprecating bullshit. It devalues your self worth. Why do that? Your awesome. Accept that.
4. It's not always easy (and sometimes it's downright scary as shit) but if you want a different life, a different perspective, a different outlook, a different body shape, whatever, you have to be willing to make the changes necessary to get you there. And accept the struggles you may face along the way as just a part of life, not a failure.
And last, something I try to remind myself of daily (sometimes even many times a day) but was a prevalent theme for my introspection this weekend...
5. Stop comparing yourself to others. You can only compare yourself today with the person you were yesterday. And recognize that measurements of progress go far beyond the scale or fitness goals or run times or inches lost and should always include your character, your resolve. How do you treat the people in your life; are you being a good friend/spouse/child/ human being today? Are you being good to you? And ask yourself if there is something you can do today to help you be better. I am sure there is.
And on that note I think I will stop here. Not sure how long this post is but it feels like I just wrote a novel. Sorry about that. But I needed this. I needed to get some of these thoughts out of my head so i have them to reference in the days, weeks, months, years that lie ahead.