Have you ever lost touch with a really good friend that you once spent numerous hours talking, laughing and exploring life and dreams together? A person that you knew so well that you could predict what they would say or do and it would make you smile even before they did it?
What if that person was you?
That you woke up one day and realized that over the passage of days, then months, then years you had let such distance creep into your relationship with yourself that you no longer had the pleasure of being friends with you the way you remembered yourself being. That what you find left is a person that doesn’t even look, act, walk or talk like you. A complete stranger.
If you are new to this blog, you might not realize that I am describing my own relationship with me, Kelly, but a year ago. It may not seem like it now, but there was a time when I didn’t bother looking in the mirror. In truth, I couldn’t recognize the woman that I saw there. A fire had gone out inside and I was at my wit’s end failing to see all the opportunity that I had before me. I felt that I had already made a series of irreversibly, bad choices that had led me to a place where there were none left over for the taking.
It was a desperate, powerless, terrible feeling.
I cannot point to a specific event that led me to that space. It was more of a process that once begun led towards an increasingly slippery slope into personal oblivion.
Losing myself had a sort of gradual, steady momentum that might only be at first viewed on a time-lapse camera. Hardly noticeable on a daily basis, until years had gone by and the changes were more glaringly obvious.
Although I am not one to dwell in the past, I wanted to remind myself of all that has changed this year because I am actually astonished by how easy and quickly it was to reverse course once I had decided that it was what I needed to do. Well, not even just needed to do, but had a right to do. I had a right to seek happiness, to be healthy, to be in control and feel alive again as much as anybody else, no differently.
That decision was totally life changing. When I began to prioritize my happiness above all other considerations (even at times those of my own child), in a stunningly short period of time my world became brighter, bigger, full of possibility, choices and potential (aha!, think of how that affects my child).
But there’s more. When I began to prioritize my physical strength, my health and my sexuality as essential requirements to my overall well-being and happiness, that it when I really wholly reclaimed my friendship with myself inside and out.
Taking care of my emotions was a necessary first step for me. But then about eight months later, I decided to dedicate myself to taking care of my body. I focused on building up my strength and endurance. I made myself look into the mirror and be sweet on me. I spent money on whatever I needed: physical training, physical therapy, doctors visits, clothes, make-up, massages, and salon time. All of it. I made sure it was in the budget and on my schedule.
And guess, what? That woman in the mirror? She got a whole lot friendlier. And energetic. And high on life, and movement and other people. (Another aha, prioritizing her means that I get to wake-up feeling excited about my life! Hmmm…interesting).
So again, if you are new to this blog and you notice me photographing my workouts and are wondering about the potential of a different slippery slope into narcissism and self love, I don’t want you to worry.
I am not afraid of falling in love with myself. But anyway, it feels more special than that.
It feels like breathing new life into an old friendship.