60 pounds of self-preservation gone

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It is so easy to lie to yourself. I’ve been taking the easy way out for years. I call it “self-preservation through denial”.

After 8 years, it stopped working. Life slapped me hard and I didn’t recover fast enough. The lies I told myself for years were exposed and they couldn’t hide from my scrutiny.

Rather than facing a hard truth about myself and then deciding to re-bury it like I’ve done hundreds of times, I pushed it to the forefront. I acknowledged it as a truth. It was a brand new feeling: knowing exactly who I am at the moment and what I do not know and what I want to know.
It was a huge relief. I was tired of treading lightly in my head.

I write this to say that it is so very,very important to be honest with yourself. Feel what you feel in that moment in its entirety.

It was in these moments of honesty that I formed a new kind of preservation that was all about becoming a better version of myself. It was through this process of honesty that I changed my lifestyle. I ate more (I hardly ate food before) and when I ate food it was good, good food. Real food. I exercised often despite every excuse I made for myself. I walked, dance, kick-boxed and moved more than I had than I had in my 22 years of life. Nothing that happened in my life, I decided, would get in my way. I let go of placing blame on the people I’d blamed for my choices. This time, even with team-support from family, I did not stop when they stopped for whatever reason. I didn’t want to look in the mirror and see all of the empty promises I made myself. It was never easy, it still isn’t, but I think it gets easier. The difference between me now in 2013 and 2012 isn’t just the 60 pound weight loss:(1) I have a much stronger, more urgent need to pursue my goals, (2) I am much more grateful for everything in my life (3) I am happier because I was honest about the things that made me unhappy.

I was waiting for a magnificent change in my life. It took honesty for me to realize that I’m waiting on borrowed time.if there’s something you want, go get it. If you think you can’t get it, try to get it anyway. What’s the worst that could happen? Now that you know all of the things that could possibly happen: do it anyway. Feel the fear and go.

My identity

I envy folks who can erase their history and create a new definition of who they are; that is absolutely brave. I have this need to learn everything there is about me: the mundane, the things worthy of pride & shame and the parts of my story that were ripped from me.Whether it is fortunate or not, every single part of me, past and present, is who I am.

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The key to carrying my past (my stories & the stories of my ancestors) is perspective. I can choose to let my history drag me down or I can say “I am Imani : daughter, sister, cousin, friend & grandchild. I am one part of a long story that is always expanding, and though it is not perfect, all of it is mine”. I cannot separate myself from this story because I don’t want to lose that feeling of representing something greater than myself. And I agree that it is no one’s job to represent anything, but I volunteer.

So, when I step forward (or backwards), I’m stepping with great-great Mary A. Johnson, My Mom, My Grandma’s, my dear Aunts and Uncles, and everyone who has brought me here.

And, here we are.