Tuesday, April 28, 2015

i am the meandering soul with no fixed address, but there are maple creamees to be had.

This afternoon I found myself in the corner of a bright patisserie enjoying a crepe while scribbling musings in my coral colored notebook.  This unapologetically pink patisserie features flawlessly constructed pastries, too perfect to touch, let alone consume like the ravenous hyena I become when around complex carbohydrates. This afternoon I found myself smiling as I gazed around the flirtatious whimsy of my surroundings in Montreal, with sounds of French conversations lending an ideal soundtrack to my day that I hardly believe the universe gave me to enjoy. This afternoon I found myself in a state of happiness.

My circumstances haven't changed at all, and yet I feel like a wholly different person. I'm still a meandering soul with no fixed address. I have yet to secure a steady income, dental coverage, or own a piece of furniture.  But I can say with great confidence something I did not posses the assurance to say aloud for well over a year and actually mean it: It's going to be okay. I am okay.

I sincerely do not know where each week will take me. Since my early twenties, I lacked the ability to plan anything too distant in the future as (un)employment, graduate school, and immigration dictated my whereabouts and threatened longterm stability. I've become used to the feelings of short term settings and securities. However, as I inch toward thirty, I find myself with even smaller pockets of stability. I don't begin to blame the universe for my chaos, I chose it. I could have focused my energy on creating a stable family life, but instead I pushed forward with unstoppable energy to obtain an advanced education. I could have chosen a career path with stable job opportunities, handsome salaries, and easier availability of foreign visa sponsorship. I didn't. I decided I didn't want to be someone I'm not.

So why do I feel as if I've changed? Because I have. Sure, my LinkedIn profile has remained at a steady "searching for new opportunities" but my introspection over the past year, specifically the last few months, has gifted me new insights into my own psyche, which in turn has created some peace of mind.

I crave chaos. I thrive in chaos. For the last month I've had the good fortune to travel around North America literally by air, bus, plane, ship, car, train.  I continuously find myself in new cities with old friends sharing warm laughter.  There is no return ticket for me. I keep buying last minute one ways. Tomorrow I leave to Vermont to visit with an old friend from my old life in Austin (and eat a maple creamee or nine). Thursday I swing down to continue building chapters in my greatest love story, Boston. I sincerely do not know when I will return to where my 6 boxes of personal items are collecting dust at my brother's residence in Alberta.  It's chaotic, and it makes me feel alive.  Anyone who knows me from high school/ college/ b-school days knows that I work well under pressure, and continuously leave things to the last minute -- because like I said-- I thrive in chaos. It motivates me, it stirs my adrenaline, and produces business reports that are ass numbingly dull, but well written. Chaos creates my inspiration.

This realization that I invite this chaos into my life, must also translate into the opposite being true. If I crave stability and security, I could switch my gears and focus my energy into welcoming those instead.  I could have chosen the life in the suburb, the fuel efficient car, the accounting job with an oil company. I could choose the taupe walls. I could choose the neutral nail polish instead of obnoxious sparkles. But I didn't. I won't. I'm meant to take the road less traveled. I'm meant to roll the dice. I take risks. I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be, and I'm exactly the person I'm supposed to be, even though society tells me I'm doing it all wrong.

There's a risk out there that's waiting for me, the one I've been searching for this whole time. It knows   -- just as I've come to learn-- it's all going to be okay, kiddo. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Hip Openers, Chia Seeds, and the Ghost in the Mirror

I meant to write this a couple weeks ago, although conversly,  I tend to avoid activities that force me to confront my emotions. But this blog pushes me to be brutally honest-- honest with those whom dare read the inner workings of a pizza-crazed, lost little girl up in Canada, and of course, honest with myself.

I had a complete breakdown in a yoga session.

I've never considered myself a spiritual person.  I only started doing yoga just over a year ago for strength training, and to help heal a broken heart by focusing my energy on exercise, rather than--you know--jerk faces . Each Sunday at the YMCA in East Boston I attended class with two of my best friends, followed by our ritual of shoveling down pasta and/or pizza together.  I never even considered the mind/body connection, or the emotional implications yoga has on an individual, when I started this routine. I purely regarded yoga as a form of exercise, and a distraction. And a necessary step prior to a weekly Jeveli's trip.

This may come as a shock to most, but, despite my reclusive behaviour as of late, I managed to actually make a new friend up here in Airdrie.  My new amiga happens to be a certified yoga instructor, and has generously offered to provide guided yoga classes. The yoga session in which the breakdown occurred, focused predominately on hip openers, and in the middle of a pose I felt overwhelming dizzy, nauseated, and my methodical breathing turned erratic. After several minutes in child's pose focusing on regaining control of my breathing and my composure, I returned to another hip opening sequence. The aforementioned symptoms returned swiftly, with the addition of deeply rooted streams of tears. Despite this, I finished my session fighting to keep tears back, but bawled uncontrollably the entire way home. The subsequent 48 hours included several rounds of crying in parking lots, while driving, during my shower, in bed, while watching Arrested Development, and perusing Target.  It took me a good 16 hours to get out of bed that next day and I felt completely drained attempting to complete rudimentary tasks.

Turns out the hips are your "emotional junk drawer." All those negative things you're just not dealing with, yeah... they don't disappear, they lodge themselves inside your body and will find a way to resurface. Although extremely painful, and obviously overwhelming to deal with, yoga--my body--forced those emotions to the surface. Though I spend the majority of my time trying to find a new job, (which every lead has ended with me being incredibly insulted, or creeped out) I'm starting my life over, and I focus almost entirely on securing employment. Super fun to do during an economic recession. What I haven't dedicated much attention or care towards: my poor, little soul. The introspection that occurred after my body forced an emotional confrontation, was overwhelming, and terrifying. And necessary.

Being forced out of your life is traumatic. My spirit is in trouble, and I have neglected her demonstrably.   

As I've mentioned in a previous post I go to great lengths to avoid looking at myself. Nonetheless, I spent some time in front of the mirror after this particular yoga session, and truly inspected my face.  I forced myself to take a look in the mirror both figuratively and literally.

I look drained. I look exhausted. I look weathered. I look like I've been broken. The spark is gone.
The bags under my eyes are significantly more pronounced than ever before, including graduate school.   My skin is dull, lifeless. I don't recognize the person looking back at me.

I've battled this immigration nightmare for 8 years. The last round, in which I horribly lost, started around the new year, and the realization that I would have to leave the life I created in the USA came into full play in April of 2014. I have yet to see any security, or stability. I really never had much to begin with, but the little I did have, I cherished. I earned it. Now its gone, and I am emotionally exhausted and worn out.  I knew starting over again would be a lot of work, and a fuck ton of anguish in the short term. I know things will eventually turn around, but that doesn't extinguish the torture of getting through each day. Each day with fresh reminders of how much you miss your city, your friends, your country, your way of life, your favorite diner with your favorite coffee.

Yoga forces me to fully feel these losses. Yoga forces me to put away the stiff upper lip, the "I'm Fine", and sort through my emotional junk drawer. But now I want to heal, feel healthier, move forward, versus just knowing it's what I should do.  The slight change in mindset has made an impact on my every day life, from eating healthier, exercising daily, taking vitamins, and most importantly, truly focusing on healing these emotional wounds. I've become so focused on my resume, and how my life on paper is being repaired, rather than repairing the giant internal lesions.

I have no idea when my life will finally turnaround. When luck will finally be on my side. But for now, I do take great comfort in knowing that each day I attend yoga class, burn through some interval cardio, and eat chia seeds, I'm still moving forward. You just can't see my progress on LinkedOn.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Failure Palate and Life Grenades

Strange things happen when one hits rock bottom. Don’t get me wrong, the things you expect to happen definitely occur, but then there are odd side effects you didn’t see coming.  There’s the usual impaled with a knife in the chest feeling when you witness everyone and their moms’ successes in life, love, and liberty. Which then in turn becomes your obsessive goal to avoid them and platforms where they can share how #blessed their lives are. I went on a Facebook hiatus for a couple months, and absolutely refused to interact with most people, on most platforms, including the increasingly less-used medium of face-to-face interactions.  It’s not that you’re not happy/proud/ecstatic/excited/ overjoyed/supportive of the positive happenings to those around you. You are (at least I am). But it sharply turns into a reminder of your own shortcomings, and the outward enthusiasm is genuinely shared with your uncle, cousin, friend, and dentist’s next-door neighbors’ nutritionist’s son, for their upward life steps.  However, the internal lashing you give yourself for failing to complete the societally defined “Adult life steps” could send you wheeling into a panic attack, or at least another round of crying and shot gunning pizza.

My personal favorite is excessive sleeping, though I rarely sleep through an entire night nowadays. But that rocky, interrupted “rest” does lend some sort of justification for spending an inordinate amount of time in bed watching 30 Rock on loop.  Over the counter sleep aids stopped working around late spring of 2014 for me.  The prescription pills were doing the trick for a brief period of time, but they, too, lost their efficacy.  On the plus side, my mind does run all night pointing out all my inadequacies, and past embarrassments, until eventually I’ve emotionally exhausted myself and I fall asleep again. Who doesn’t love a stroll down memory lane?  Remember that poor decision you made when drinking Chardonnay combined with your ever-present lack of coordination? YOU WILL NOW.

Then there’s complete apathy towards personal appearance and body-scaping maintenance.  Without knowing when exactly this occurred, you do one day notice that the well-groomed individual you once were turned into Gollum. At least Gollum had the one ring to rule them all though, amIright?

 But like I said there’s the ones you didn’t expect- the complete avoidance of reflective surfaces.  Specifically body length ones that reflect the outfit you’ve worn 5 days in a row, the weight you’ve gained from eating your feelings of failure. The failure palate, by the way, tastes distinctly like “things with cheese.” You brush your teeth looking down. When you wash your hands in the sink you stay fixated on the rushing water and dare not to glance up and see the dark circles under your eyes, the redness from excessive crying, or the overgrown eyebrows.  It’s not easy to witness the physical ramifications on the internal destruction you’re feeling, it just makes it ever more present, and even more overwhelming than it already is to you.  Plus you don’t brush your hair very often and it gets wicked tangled. Nobody needs to look at that.

The weight of the anxiety, the stress, becomes physically present. You feel it in your shoulders, your neck, your back.  You expect that, but you don’t expect the way you carry yourself to completely shrivel. The confidence once emitted from a strong posture of shoulders back, chin up, straight spine disappears.  Exchanged instead for slumped, elevated shoulders, and poses that include tightly squeezing your arms across your chest, as if bracing yourself for the next blow.  Perhaps it’s an instinct for protection, or perhaps it’s the weight of everything slowly pressing you into a fetal position. Or both. Or neither. Regardless of the reasoning, it’s not very ergonomic.

Generally speaking I just feel like a weaker person, both physically and emotionally. Is it possible that I will once again feel strong ?

But that’s the thing, a person’s character, resilience, brilliance, courage, bravery, strength should not, and is not, measured when walking down Happy Go Lucky Lane.  Life is not fair. Life is not just. Life doesn’t give a shit that maybe you recycle, and give up your seat on the train for the kind old lady. Life doesn’t care that you graduated Sigma Cum Laude. It will throw every kind of grenade at you, even when you think you’ve endured all that you can. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that while you’re digging through the trenches, covered in filth, dehydrated and near starving, three feet away your chum is drinking sparkling pink lemonade under a beach umbrella and talking about the difficulties of finding a decent maid.  This was thrown at you because you can handle it. And you will. Even though it’s not celebrated widely, and there’s no major life event status change on Facebook for conquering trauma or anguish, you know you did. And that’s a hell of a lot more worthwhile than an expensive vacation in the tropics.

So let’s change the conversation. Let’s stop berating ourselves, and the constant comparisons to our friends, coworkers, acquaintances, or family members. You may feel “behind”, I sure fucking do, but it’s not a race.  On the flipside, STOP MAKING PEOPLE FEEL BAD IF THEY’RE NOT IN THE SAME PLACE AS YOU.  I cannot tell you how I am consistently reminded of “where I was at your age”, or the third degrees I’ve received on not obtaining the conventional life landmarks. Society is putting enough pressure on us, we don’t need our supposed love ones to do the same.  But more on “how not to be a dick” to your friends/family another day.

Until next time, kids.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hot Dogs, The Saddest Eagle Pose, A Sharp Knife, and Fifty Shades Of Grey

Processed foods are undeniably terrible for your health. There are numerous health studies regarding this, and the overconsumption of sodium and sugar enriched processed foods attribute greatly to the obesity problems in Canada and the USA.

Oh my god, but have you experienced the Costco hotdog? I am unsure why Guy Fieri hasn't showcased this simple delight on his Diners, Drive-Ins and Blocked Arteries show. $1.50 for an all beef dog and a soda WITH A REFILL? Costco, are you drunk? You should be losing money on this. Once upon a time I used to (read like a month ago) just drive to Costco specifically for the hotdog. Relax. It was on the way back to my squatter's pad, and I skipped breakfast..and shut your face.

As mentioned before in my blog posts filled with my stream of consciousness, I have been incredibly apathetic towards life in general. Applying for jobs constitutes a large part of my day, but there are only so many applications one can complete in a day, so finding new means of entertainment outside of the Food Network became a large goal for myself in the new year. This is in addition, to treating my body more like it's not a large, black dumpster in the alleyway behind a Jewish deli. More importantly, I'm desperate just to feel like myself again.

Even before the Autumn move above the 49th parallel, I honestly felt like I lost a part of my identity. The turmoil that is being an immigrant wreaked havoc on my life, my health paid the price in a lot of ways--both physically and psychologically.  Overwhelmed with conferring with my lawyers, researching immigration loopholes, speaking to elected officials, my regimented work out routine had dissipated early on in 2014. No longer was I joining the girls for Sunday yoga, or Boot Camp Monday. Hitting the gym for daily cardio became a distant memory. Quick, already prepared meals, delivery, and the oh-so-reliable peanut butter and jam, decided to make a comeback tour. Weekends were spent clutching my chest, and trying to ward off another panic attack, as I looked around my room and wept over knowing I was losing the comfort of the home I had built. It was terrifying to have no idea what lay in front of me, it's still terrifying. I enjoy moving, new adventures, going outside of my comfort zone, but this differed starkly.  This was not my choice, the choice was made for me, and the loss of control over my life's direction resulted in debilitating stress and anxiety. I didn't deal with it well. 

Bottom line. I felt (still kind of feel) like garbage. I was eating garbage. I let go of my healthy routines. I lost interest in almost everything. I was in a vicious cycle where I felt worse and worse, and coped utilizing means that pushed me further into this dark, vicious cycle.  I know I need to break it.

Despite having battled a cold for the last week, I have made honest attempts to once again find joy in
things and activities that once composed my daily life--you know, healthy ones though. And not being such a gross sloth of a person.


I cooked! I am the proud owner of a beautiful, professional, forged steel Chef's knife and I WAS SO EXCITED TO CHOP SHIT UP.  Being sick, I decided to make my own soup, rather than ingest sodium rich canned ones.  I developed my own chicken stock from a chicken carcass and vegetables peelings. After hours of letting that simmer, I strained my soup base, and began chopping celery, carrots, leeks, garlic, tomatoes to add to the homemade broth. Adding in a finely diced serrano pepper (seeds included, peeps), chipotle seasoning, barley, and topped with fresh cilantro, I successfully made a comforting soup. A hearty, though spicy, soup that not only aided my cold, but because the flavor profile reminded me of Texas, it soothed my aching heart for the comfort of another home I left behind.

I also made a return to cardio and yoga! Disappointingly, albeit not in the least bit surprising, I am super not flexible anymore. Not that I was acrobat before, but I have definitely lost almost any flexibility I once possessed. At first discouraged by losing the agility and stamina I once had,  I forced myself to continue onwards.  Muscles stretched, tensions released, joints popped. That small amount of yoga I completed, although nowhere close to the strength I once had, honestly did improve my mood (though not dramatically) despite initial feelings of exasperating disappointment. A slow start, but a start nonetheless.

I was once a voracious reader, as well. I decided its time to start reading again, and not useless Buzzfeed articles, or their quizzes on "What kind of Tea are you". Which apparently, according to the genius developers behind this particular quiz, I am coffee. FYI- that's not fucking tea.  While skimming through these links a preview for "50 Shades of Grey" movie adaptation popped up on the interwebs, and I decided- hey maybe I should read the book. Everyone loves it, maybe it's not that bad.

Yeah, except that it is.

I tried to like it. I really did. Couldn't finish it, I skimmed through pages. Outright laughed at the absurdly awful prose. I've read better character development in Clifford the Big Red Dog. It's actually insulting how the writer spoon-feeds her audience obvious plot elements and underlying "themes". It did not rev my engines, it just outright angered me. Maybe that's why the main male lead is into BDSM, he's just so pissed that he is part of this trilogy. He should try yoga, or long walks on the beach, instead of being a stalker, and a controlling, weirdo creep.

And then I remind myself that the woman who wrote this is a multimillionaire and has sold HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF BOOKS AROUND THE WORLD. Makes my heart sad. Just like when I think of the Kardashian Family or Snooki. They're rich and famous for being talentless. Le sigh.

Today I'll read a new book. I will enjoy my soup. I will continue with yoga and regular light cardio.

I will continue to heal in small, frustrating steps.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Coffee Identity Crisis

I never drank coffee. Except then I did. And then a lot of it. 

It took me until my mid-twenties before I understood its wondrous magic. It doesn't just speed along the bowels to clean out the digestive tract in the morning (which is hugely advantageous), it doesn't just wake you up in the morning, start your day, get the ol' mind engine running. It doesn't just improve mood, cognitive functioning, energy levels. For me, it's the greatest comfort in the world. If I have my coffee -- and I don't just mean any coffee, but my cup of coffee-- I feel like everything is alright with life, even for those few sacred moments while I savor its rich, bold, and complex flavors.

But I lost my cup of coffee. I've been drinking imposters that fail to even remotely soothe me, let alone calm the chaos surrounding me.

This blog-- read guide to coping with my disastrous current life setting-- does not just focus on unemployment. I want to explore the impacts of moving and establishing a new life has on the psyche.  This is no secret: I’m grieving the loss of my old life. Nothing is the same, and everything is different. During my last round of unemployment, after I graduated from Business School, I took great solace in small things offering me stability and comfort as I tried navigating my footing in life post graduate. The diner across the street from my Dorchester apartment had this truly wonderful banana hazelnut coffee. I purchased that same cup of banana hazelnut coffee every single day, in the same foam cup, prepared the exact same way. The diner was normally pretty busy, full of loud and passionate Bostonians, occasionally the mayor, and my neighbors I enjoyed seeing on the daily. I think about that diner, really that cup of coffee, all the time. Its nutty and sweet aroma, the rough texture of foam around my hands, the warmth, and of course its signature taste. 

If I had to label what “home” means to me- it would be that cup of coffee.

Of course you miss the "bigger" things that made any city, or setting, home for you. The people, the skyline, the daily routines, the buildings, your abode. But unexpectedly,  you gravely miss small, seemingly insignificant things that you never thought could mean so much. The sound of the train going by at night while lying in bed. The smell of salt in the air wafting in through an open window. The signature creak from opening the front door of the house. Similar to a fingerprint, no two creaks are the same. You grieve the loss of each one of these. You’ll find new things, more insignificant things, that add inexplicable joy to your life.  But first you grieve, and say goodbye. It’s part of the process, even if it makes little sense to anyone else.

So to you, McKenna's Banana Hazelnut Coffee, I say farewell. I look forward to our next reunion, but for now I have people to meet, a life to build, and many cups of coffee to taste.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Truffle Oil Contention

There are a few reasons why I decided to name a blog about how I grapple with my personal quarter life crisis, and my ups and downs of starting over, in honor of truffle oil.

Truffles are exquisite. They have a beautiful aroma, rich flavor, and in many culinary cultures are considered "haute cuisine",  including those that I identify with: Italian and Spanish.

Truffle Oil is often made from anything but truffles, but used to mimic the flavor and aroma of actual truffles. It's often regarded as an abomination to upscale cuisine by the culinary masters we see in popular media. But it's widely used in restaurants, home kitchens, and it makes a specific flavor more accessible to those that cannot afford the exorbitant cost of actual truffles.

Also have you eaten truffle oil fries? They're bangin'.

I have privileged problems, and I am well aware of that. I acknowledge my privilege, and every day I am grateful for the advantages that I do possess. I am well educated, I live in a first world country where I do not, generally speaking, fear for my life. I am blessed with parents that support me, a brother and sister-in-law that took me in while I have nowhere else to live, and a network of loving friends.  I am in good physical health, I boast hair of the gods-- even after three days of not washing or combing my mane, it looks like it came out of a magazine advertisement--and I'm proud to claim a decent mind.  I thank my lucky stars continuously for my good fortune, and I genuinely try to make my gratitude known to those that stand by me, and the big guy upstairs.

Does good fortune translate into: not deserving of the right to talk about pain or sorrow?

And why is there a rule that exists that we are only allowed to have discourse on happy subjects? Why are we not allowed to talk about our mental health? Social media is such an amazing, powerful tool that has, and will continue to enact actual positive change. Why should we not use it as a vessel to have an open conversation about our lives when they are not rosy? Let's celebrate our contemporaries' new houses, engagements, weddings, babies, promotions, and positive life changes! Should we not, at the same time, use this medium to bring those of us struggling together-- giving a sense of camaraderie in today's modern mental trenches?

Since I launched this blog a few days ago, many people within my network privately reached out to me admitting to their own struggles. Individuals I haven't seen or spoken to in years, that identified with me, and stated that they have either gone through, or are going through their own rough patch. I am wearing my struggles on my sleeve. I am openly announcing them to the world-- not because I'm trying to garner sympathy-- but because when I hear or read that I'm not solo in some of my sentiments, it gives me hope, and just a little bit of peace. Why as a society do we encourage silent suffering, when a simple glimpse at the less glamourous parts of life could resonate with someone and allow them to feel less alone in their struggles?

On the flip side, I've had some pretty negative feedback as well, which I expected. No, I am not looking for life to be perfect. My life is far from it, nor have I ever asked for perfection, or hoping for it now. I do not feel shattered over not boasting a perfect job, house, wardrobe, etc. I FELT broken over losing a mediocre job, my city that I absolutely adored, my way of life, my apartment, my independence, STABILITY, some dreams... the list goes on.  For anyone that truly knows me, I am extremely resilient, and will continue to drive forward with unstoppable energy. But I also want to talk about the process openly.

So why truffle oil? It mirrors the privileged nature of my problems, it has controversy surrounding it (within the culinary realm, that is), and to be honest, I enjoy the flavour.

It's Day 2 of my Rebuild and I am successfully sugar free….and I was also told I have "big, brass balls" for laying it all out there. I like both of these things.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

DISCLAIMER: Habaneros are spicy, yet delicious. Additionally, I don't care what you think about me.

In regards to the blunt nature of my blog:

I’m not looking for sympathy, encouragement, and I’m especially not searching for some insincere compliment about my intelligence, drive, and so forth. Not that compliments (genuine, of course) and encouragements are not appreciated, they truly are. But I’m not publicly baring my insecurities, frustrations, humiliations, and perceived life failures in order to have people pretend to give a damn for five seconds.  I write because I no longer want to be shackled by this. I don’t want this shame I feel for not having my life together to hold me back for another day. I’m owning this. Judge away, snicker behind my back, and gossip about me and my lack of successes. But I’m owning this, so it stops owning me. Yes, I am distraught, I am struggling, and my life is pretty on par with Kristen Wiig’s character in Bridesmaids, but --god damnit-- I am not pretending its anything else. Also, I like to write. 


I’ve been reading blogs, and articles about depression, unemployment and of course articles about how the two go together like habaneros and distilled vinegar. These are the main ingredients for hot sauce, if you did not put that together. My favourite pepper- so flavorful and adds a nice kick. Not for faint taste buds. Personally, I don't find it that spicy. The heat has a gradual rise, but it's not overwhelming, nor does it mask the flavor of what you're eating, or the flavor of the pepper itself. 

Taking care of yourself physically and mentally goes on the back burner when confronted with life traumas, unemployment, bouts of depression, et cetera. When getting out of bed takes a couple hours of mental preparation and emotional stretching, making a healthy meal and finding your way to yoga seems as daunting as climbing Mount Everest in a teeny, weeny, yellow polka dot bikini. 

Start slow. Don't expect to change your habits overnight, and turn into Jane Fonda (YEAH! DATED REFERENCE!!!) by the end of the work week. For those that have work weeks, that is.  My immediate goal is to force myself to do light exercise everyday, or at least every other day. 45 minutes on an elliptical, maybe a round of weights, or even a walk. Exercise has amazing health benefits, and it saves you money from having to buy new clothes if you cannot fit into your old ones. Unfortunately, yoga pants are not acceptable everywhere, and eventually regular everyday life will include trousers with non-elastic waistbands. But seriously, the health benefits are almost Harry Potter like magic. Promotes healthier sleep, increased energy, clears up your skin, helps with digestion, and even improves mood, to name a few. 

If you make it to the gym, or take a small walk around the block, congratulate yourself. You don't need to be a marathon runner to be active and improve your health. Remember to celebrate the small victories. The most monumental changes that you will personally go through in personal development (or maybe its just me) will often seem insignificant to anyone else. It could be taking the stairs up to the second floor instead of an elevator. Perhaps its putting on an iota makeup after weeks of neglecting your appearance. Perhaps its picking up a book for the first time in months to read for pleasure. Perhaps its admitting that you live in Airdrie, Alberta for the first time while you start your life completely over. Celebrate it. At the very least sit back, take a deep breath, silently congratulate yourself and emit a half smile. Yes, you did it. Don't let anyone take that away from you. It IS a big deal, and if they don't understand it then maybe they can just go to hell, or Idaho. 

On the opposite end, do not berate yourself for any minor setbacks. As I mentioned, I'm trying to cut out sugar. Last night I found myself eating hazelnut chocolate seashells in bed while watching 30 Rock at 1:30am. I also woke up to one melted to the bottom of my Macbook. Yes, I did slip. Pretty quickly at that (LIKE  RIGHT AWAY), but I also only had a couple and ate sugar free all day prior to that. I also did not have a diet coke, which is my biggest addiction in life.  AND YES. I KNOW SODA IS TERRIBLE FOR ME- THAT'S WHY I'M TRYING TO CUT IT OUT. SO FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING HOLY, IF ONE MORE PERSON GETS ON THEIR SOAP BOX TO TELL ME ABOUT ASPARTAME, I WILL VERBALLY RIP YOU A NEW ASSHOLE.

Day 1 of the fight for a better life summary: I ate sugar. I drank 4 cups of coffee. I did zero exercise. I left the house. I had chocolate. I cried once. 

Most importantly, I opened up.