Laurenaissance

Vulnerability – It Makes Us Real

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My life is full of mistakes. I have loved the wrong man, trusted the wrong friend, been hurt more times than I can count, I have stayed too long in the wrong job, and I have been terrified to move on to something else because I live with a very strong case of imposter syndrome.  And while I hope that I won’t repeat these mistakes – it is inevitable.  Because I truly want to believe the best in people. I hope that my work life improves.  I wake up every day wanting to be smarter than I was the day before. Not only smarter, but braver.  And kinder, and more sophisticated. I want to be more me. There isn’t a whole lot that is wrong with the kind of person that I am. I just want a life that I can be proud of. A life without shame. Spoiler alert – I am proud of the little life that I have created.

But a life without shame can’t be had. No matter what I do, someone will call me out on some aspect.  I’ve had a bad couple of weeks. I ended up sleeping in my closet – and someone that I used to know called me pathetic for doing what I needed to do. Or maybe it was for doing what I needed to do and sharing it. Doesn’t matter. The point is – I took measures to take care of myself, and he didn’t agree with my methods and tried to shame me for them.  Me feeling hurt, scared, and angry from that reaction doesn’t do me any good. Once upon a time, I would have taken those words, and changed my behaviour. I would have tried to be better behaved, be more like the kind of person he wanted me to be.  But I learned this lesson a few years ago, I will never be the kind of person someone else wants me to be. I can only be the best version of me that I find acceptable.  We are all flawed, this is what makes us fantastic. Just because I (sometimes) find it necessary to act in ways that you may not understand, doesn’t mean that I am not of value.

I grew up in a family, where we didn’t show our cards. We worked hard, we had our eyes on our own paper, and we didn’t talk about our feelings. We grew callouses on top of our emotions. Being vulnerable – or letting others see that you are vulnerable was not an option.  And thats fine. It doesn’t work for me – but I can see how it might be easier to live that way. But I have carried around a lifetime of shame. My earliest memories are something that nightmares are made of. And the moment that I started accepting those events, and owning them as part of what makes me Laura, and then sharing them – I started to let go of the pain. I will probably not be free of the pain completely, but I am able to enjoy moments of life. Whereas previously, I didn’t think I deserved to have a single good moment.  Do you know what happens when you feel like you don’t deserve happiness – you form toxic relationships (if at all), you become a shut in, you find yourself in near constant chaos (and not the good kind), you aren’t able to speak up for yourself, and you most certainly will never see yourself as a valuable or good person.  And this is why I share my struggles. You may find it necessary to call me out on that behaviour, but disappointing myself is a whole lot worse than disappointing you.  My apologies if that hurts your feelings, but if I am not honest with myself – then I can’t be honest with you.

I have a hard time trusting people, which sounds counter-intuitive to embracing vulnerability. But I also know that if I don’t take that risk (trust), I will never get any better. So I will always ask the “dumb” question, tell the person he is liked (I still struggle with love – but I am working on it), hold a person’s hand when they are having a rough day – even if I have just encountered them on the street for the first time, share a meal and a conversation with a person who needs to share his or her story. These moments mean everything to me. I don’t do it to feel stronger – I do it so someone else can.

These are a few of the gifts that I have been given, because I have chosen to be open about my struggles and my story. Vulnerability has allowed me to:

  • forgive
  • relate better to children (thats important when you work with children)
  • be open to new ideas
  • be more creative
  • stand up to bullies (or ignore them when it calls for that)
  • create better relationships with my family
  • have wonderful friends
  • become much more empathetic
  • smile
  • volunteer
  • go outside
  • listen
  • be sincere
  • not worry about seeing the world differently than others
  • do my own thing

There is not one thing on that list that I could do when I was living a life that someone else wanted me to lead; when I tried to be pulled together, and stoic (there is absolutely nothing wrong with those qualities, they are in fact ones that I admire). But they aren’t me.  My life needs to be a bit messy, colourful, emotional, and filled with both light and dark. I need to do things on my timetable. And I need to not be shamed when I choose to live differently than you. So I live life on my terms. It’s chaotic but its so so good.

I wish the good life for you, however you choose to live.
*Photo Source Trammell Hudson via Flickr

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, cooking, Laurenaissance

When A Diagnosis Gives You Back Your Life

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Five days ago I started an elimination diet for thyroid dysfunction after I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease.  The photo on the left (where I look like a serial killer) was taken on Sunday (day 1). The photo on the right was taken this afternoon (day 5).  Neither photo has a filter, and the only makeup I am wearing in today’s photo is lipstick.  Even I can tell that the difference is fairly amazing.

So what causes the difference?  A diet that has no sugar, no dairy, no grain, no fruit, a considerable less amount of vegetables that I am used to eating, way more protein than I want to eat – which forces me to drink twice the amount of water than normal.

This is what has happened to me in the last 5 days:

  • I had a really rough start – I woke up having a panic attack in the middle of the night, and ended up in the emergency room.  I can’t 100% be sure that it is diet related (considering it happened on the first day), but eating animals is not natural for me – so it might be related. A little valium and some rest, and I am fine.
  • My skin is a lot clearer, and brighter.
  • My eyes are clear.
  • I am hungry all the time. I am obsessed with food now. If I am not eating or cooking, then I am counting down the minutes until I can be eating or cooking. I hope this passes soon – I am so tired of looking at photos of food on pinterest and instagram.
  • I have lost 7lbs in 5 days (without trying).
  • I walk faster
  • For the very first time since I have been living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome I don’t have huge dark circles under my eyes.
  • I don’t crave salt! Seriously for 20 years I have basically wanted to have a salt lick installed in every room in my apartment. NO MORE!
  • I am still exhausted but its a different kind. Its the kind that is caused by over scheduling ones self.  I understand its early days still – but I am hopeful.
  • Today, I feel pretty.  And I can’t tell you the last time I was able to say that.
  • I smile

I feel a little like I am getting my life back.  I have a long way to go, but I am definitely healing. And a healing journey makes me happy.

One final lesson that I learned  – a single cinnamon red heart is enough to cause a headache for an entire night. So now we know, sugar really is detrimental.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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