Thursday, February 02, 2006

"as is"

You know that point in a big project where you stop for a minute, look around you and say, "this isn't fun anymore?" Creating a vegetable patch in our entranceway seemed like a fantastic idea on Monday night. We have a raised garden in front of our house that used to be home to an overgrown tangle of ancient honeysuckle, roses, and fuschia. It sounds pretty but it really just was a tangle of old old growth and lots of ivy, and we decided to make it look better and to grow some things we could use at the same time.


I've got pictures that I will share when I can summon up the energy to plug in the camera. One is of Mark using an axe to break up some roots. Remember in the Secret Garden when she brings that garden back to life with the help of one gardner and a robin? Don't believe it. We've had to employ a pick-axe, and an axe and we've already broken a pitchfork.

Still, gardening does give you lots of time to mull. I read Alexandra's post this morning before donning my gloves and my longjohns and then I thought about what I've been saying over the past little while about strength and learning to use your energy in the right ways. For a long long time I was stuck in a rut. I think it's because I was reading all of these books about loving and accepting yourself as is. I wanted so desperately to love myself and to find someone who would love me as I was - no matter what size my thighs or how unhealthy my attitudes. I wouldn't exercise or try to change my diet or try to write anything because I was loving myself as I was. Trying to change myself went fully against what I was trying to believe in.

I was stuck.

Things began to change when I stopped and realized that instead of loving myself 'as is' and leaving it at that, I needed to love myself enough to make the decision to change the things I had control over. I also had to love myself enough to keep on making those decisions, over and over and over again. That's the hardest part. I can't count the number of times I've written in my journals that "from now on I..." or that "I am really going to..." I would get all fired up and start really well and then the momentum would slow and I would find myself back in the same old patterns of behavior.

But slowly I am discovering that the more steps you take towards your goals, the easier they get. A year ago I wasn't writing at all. Since then I have finished a book, started two more, and begun a blog. What changed? I started writing. I stopped worrying about whether or not I could and I just did it. I started showing up at the page. Very slowly I am beginning to use this theory for other parts of my life as well. So now I know that I will get stronger and I will get published and I will do everything I want to do - not because I want to but because I have cared about myself enough to choose to - over and over and over. And that has made all of the difference.

To Change One's Life:
1. Start immediately.
2. Do it flamboyantly.
3. No exceptions.
-William James


la vie en rose said...

i love this megg. like you, loving myself "as is" is so important. but i love that other, sometimes very difficult, step you added. loving yourself enough to do what ya gotta do. excellent!

Laini Taylor said...

Hi Meg! These are the same thoughts I expressed on Alexandra's blog this morning, and I feel like we've been on parallel journeys in many ways. With writing and with body image/self acceptance. I am lucky enough to be with someone who loves me just as I am, but I still feel so much better about myself and stronger to have made the commitment to being healthier and losing that 25 lbs now, and succeeding at it, in my 30s -- because it only gets harder! And it's very empowering to learn you CAN change your habits. Same with writing, like you! It was a big breakthrough for me to progress my novel and to develop a habit of writing every day and the payoff has been so tremendous. Being the people we know we CAN be, and WANT to be -- not someone wholly different, but the best of ourselves, is absolutely something to strive for!

chest of drawers said...

I agree with Laini...but I also often get sidetracked. I have tried to change my habits and lifestyle often in the past but now I weigh up what is really important. I have treid to lose weight so often in the past and succeeded only to have it creep up on me without noticing. Since I have started being more creative, writing this blog and finding acceptance and positive feedback -food has lost it´s position. Maybe I was using it to fill a hole and to reward myself-I don´t have the answers but I do know that there are more important things that I´d rather be doing now than eating. I can´t even remember the last time I got on the scales! 2 months ago it was the first thing I thought about in the morning. I think I will have to take on this topic in my blog - I have so much to say about it. Once again, thanks for getting me thinking.

Tarun said...

Thats so true.

But as hard as I try, I can't love myself as is.

My intellect can understand that I'm not my achievements, opinions, sense of belonging (rather lack of), knowledge and wealth (or lack of). But I'm not able to really like myself at all.

I must learn that from you.