The Table Flip.

The Table Flip.

Community Love Motivation + Inspiration Shift Of Power

I had an odd experience this morning. It’s the first Sunday in a while I’ve not only been by myself (Jeremy is in San Diego), but I’ve had a few hours TO myself. No meetings till later, no appointments to rush to, no classes to teach. I take my time making myself a coffee carafe for one. I turn on Destiny’s Child radio on our Pandora because I’m here alone and J isn’t about that Beyoncé life and who doesn’t love a little Bug-A-Boo to start their day.

I open Instagram (when will I learn??).

I glimpse a statistic about eating disorders in women.

And I think:

What the FUCK have I been doing the last two months to help the epidemic of negative self-talk that leads to these kinds of numbers??

~

Empaths like me – like US – have this problem. We’re told to take time for ourselves because we spend so much in the shoes of others – but when we see a statistic or snapshot, we go down that constricting rabbit hole of guilt, thinking of all the time we “wasted focusing on ourselves” with regret and guilt. And so we don’t. We don’t take time for ourselves, because we know where THAT leads. Guilt. Remorse. Regret. Stuff we stuff down boils back up, and then there we are, once again caught in the negative self-talk loop we’re so trying to avoid. Because it’s way easier to focus on tearing ourselves down than addressing the real problem.

I sat with this guilt for a second. Sat with the feeling of “WTF Have I Been Doing To Help The World.”

And what freaked me out more (whoops) after I did is this: I’ve spent so much time in the last two months making sure life around me stays firmly attached at the seams, that I’m unraveling in the places that matter most. I think I’m keeping it together because I’m showing everyone else I can juggle and not drop the ball. But underneath, where only I can see, I’m scrambling to hold on.

In my mind, no one needed to see those parts. So somehow, at some point, I convinced myself that they weren’t important. 

Longer post for another day, but big life-stage-transitions feel like a table flip. You know in movies when a character gets angry or overwhelmed and oh look there’s a nice and neat table so OH SHIT they take their anger out on it and FLIP the mothereffer onto its side? Instead of resolving the conflict, they take all the chaos around them and channel it into wrecking something that was perfectly fine and organized in the first place.

My table flip moments have manifested themselves not in chaos, but in the illusion of control. The amount of change in my life right now is overwhelming to me – a GOOD overwhelm, but overwhelm nonetheless – so instead of letting IT overwhelm ME, I have been narrowly focusing in on the stuff others can see and neglecting the stuff that keeps ME feeling grounded and in control.

Surprise surprise, that plan is backfiring. And instead of the THINGS overwhelming me, I’ve now ended up overwhelming myself.


I’m now six days out from my wedding and I find myself regretting the way I’ve handled the last month, which brings up all kinds of pangs of guilt.
I should have journaled every day to document this moment. I should have taken more time off work to fly to LA and help plan. I should have been firmer delegating tasks to others instead of assuming they’d know what to do and avoiding any glimmer of seeming “controlling.” We’re taught in our society that this is (supposed to be) a once-in-a-lifetime kind of day – should I have amped it up more like I see other couples do leading up to THEIR wedding?

If I dig deeper, however, I realize that I THOUGHT things would look different in my life as I approached this transition. I thought I’d be (and feel) super successful, which (to me) means not just making a difference in ways I can see, but that those visible markers of success flow through my days naturally and with ease. I hate to admit it, but up until now a part of what success has always looked like to me has been: you’re on SUCH a roll that logistics take care of themselves.

I am nowhere near that. Moreover, this time in my life requires all. the. logistics. In the last month or so, I havent felt like I can soften my gaze on the Whats and focus on the Whys, because the Whats feel like I’m starting from scratch. New life stage, new career stage, new new new newnew. It’s an exciting feeling when you’re in it. And also terrifying. Really terrifying.

Good news, or so it seems, is that when the exciting-terrifying-ness gets to be too much, you can just tune them out, and do the work. I’ve been tuning them out and doing the work.

But guess what?

Strong feelings like excitement and fear don’t disappear – they just hide and grow. And grow. And grow. Until one day you wake up with a Sunday to yourself, turn on some 1998 Beyoncé, look down at the table you’ve flipped over, and realize the mess you’ve made.

~

When I was 16, I found a quote somewhere that seemed revolutionary to me: If you love something, don’t hide and suffocate it for the sake of holding on. Set it free. Anything meant to be always comes back.

This obviously isn’t original or unique – hello, every self-help book ever written – but at the time it blew my mind. You mean I don’t need to worry about the stuff that’s MEANT to happen? You mean I don’t need to pour myself into every single person, place, and thing 24/7 to ensure it sticks around? You mean I don’t need to worry?

The things I’m worried about in this moment – they’re things I know aren’t going away. My sweet friends. My beloved routine. Our WANT community. The change I AM meant to make in the world. NONE OF THIS IS GOING AWAY. But, but.. I can feel myself holding on and suffocating it all because I’m so scared that if I loosen my grip it’ll all fall away.

Is that fear of loss rational? No. It’s a concrete thought conjured by a vague emotion that’s trying to make sense of transition and life recalibration.

I am EXACTLY where I need to be to feel the way I want to feel. Click To Tweet

So here I am. Practicing what I preach – but not in the pretty and zen way we read about. Doing the hard fucking work of sitting with my thoughts and asking WHY. Why I feel the way I feel – why I REALLY feel the way I feel – and then asking: so what are you going to do about it?

What’s the answer, then? If I am feeling overwhelmed, if I’m feeling angry with myself…but REALLY I am feeling a lack of a softer focus and wider lens, and REALLY I am feeling the confusion and slight panic of life feeling like it’s going faster than I can keep up with…then what am I really going to do about it??

This:

I will be for the most part completely offline for the next two weeks enjoying every bit of our wedding’s before-during-after – and, moreover, every single moment of the first step in our new chapter. It’s a first we’ll never get back, and I want to be fully present.

I am stepping back and taking a break and not pretending otherwise.

I am pressing pause on the subjective deadlines I’m in control of (created by my mind) so I can make the objective ones I’m not in control of (created by LIFE) worth every single second.

I’m putting aside the pressure to make a difference in someone else’s life…and turning back inward to make a difference in my own.

I’m trusting that I am EXACTLY where I need to be to feel the way I want to feel.

And I hope that, when life hands you a table-flip moment, you will step back and do the same.

 

Never miss a post. Ever. Sign up + join the WANT movement:


I Was So Bad: Breaking Out Of Food Guilt

I Was So Bad: Breaking Out Of Food Guilt

Body Tips + Tools

It’s the day after Thanksgiving and I’m working at the juice box. I’ve got a bottle of greens in my bag, Toms on my feet, and my shiftmate and I cannot move fast enough. We’ve got it down like clockwork: I’m only four days into my training at L.A’s newest healthy hotspot and I’m rattling off produce facts like a boss. I snag the juices out of the fridge, she numbers each bottle, I bag, she closes the transaction, they’re off. We’re zipping through the 20-person line like wildfire, yet spending just enough time with each customer to exchange smiles, words of wisdom, and of course, how-was-your-holiday’s.

The resounding reply makes no mention of family, gratitude, or even vacation days off.

What I hear the most is one thing: “I was so bad. I am such a pig.”

Fun fact: I worked at one of L.A’s very first juice shops, which I lovingly deemed The Juice Box, within its very first year of existence (way before green juice was a thing and there were Instagram accounts parodying the Wellness Elite). While I absolutely loved imparting fun facts about our juices’ ingredients and learning about the customers’ lives, I took the most pride in empowering them to make decisions not out of guilt or a search for a quick fix, but out of self respect and self acceptance.

Still, it broke my heart when a beautiful young woman would insist on the most extreme cleanse possible the day after a holiday or vacation because she was “so bad” and “ate like a cow.” It wasn’t about refueling her body with liquid medicine; it was about punishing herself for what she viewed as failure. I am a big fan of mindful, proactive juice cleansing, but here’s another fun fact: the effects of cleansing only last in the long run when you cleanse from a place of self love, not self loathing. You’ve got to know you’re fabulous no matter what.

You’ve got to know you’re fabulous no matter what. Click To Tweet

food guilt

Food guilt lasts way beyond the holidays. It’s become almost expected day-to-day commentary, especially around the holidays. While all we speak of during the holiday season are the things we’re blessed to have – the trees we’re down to deck, the family and friends we get to go visit – it makes me sad that those positive sentiments get replaced by jabs at our self image not even 24 hours after our moments of gratitude have ended.

Growing up, the conversational topic of good and bad food was almost as prominent in my family’s gatherings as questions about detailed life updates. We’d starve ourselves the day of Thanksgiving to “save up” for the main event, exercise twice on Christmas Eve (because Christmas Day was just too packed), and while we’d enjoy the pies and cookies and stuffing and wine in moderation, they would all ultimately lead to complaints and comparisons afterward in the kitchen.

For some, it’s almost a way of bonding with one another; to talk about how uncomfortable they are and how guilty they feel. It becomes almost like a game of casual negativity to see who can out-guilt the other (insert Amy Schumer sketch here). And for others, it hits on a deeper level, a feeling of “ruining” days, weeks, months of healthy living and good eating.

Those feelings can stem from a place of truth, however – let’s not pretend that sometimes, especially if late nights and uncommon dishes are involved (yes, I totally count a bowl of Peppermint Bark as a “dish”), there’s not an actual morning-after effect that happens that can be super uncomfortable to experience. But instead of seeing this as our body trying to recalibrate, we instead grasp at the easier and more dramatic response: I was so bad, I’m so gross, and, yes, the vilification of the F-word. Whether we’re actually uncomfortable or just feel like we SHOULD be, the reaction is the same. When food guilt sets in, we’ve got this tendency to go to the extreme.

food guilt

Even the teeniest bit of food guilt is more than likely to arise at one point or another, especially during the holidays. To fight against food guilt and fight for the body that deserves to be loved, put these three tips to use year-round:


Actively choose not to define decisions as good or bad. Click To Tweet
Actively choose not to define decisions as good or bad. This black-and-white mentality leaves no room for the bigger picture. Every choice is just that: a choice. Just like one single day of veggies and probiotics will not clean a toxin-filled slate, one single day of out-of-the-ordinary grub won’t negate every health-conscious decision you’ve ever made. The more we can detach from the emotional hold the seemingly bad decisions have on us, the quicker we can bounce back and the less they affect us, physically and psychologically.

Exercise and eat out of love, not punishment. Click To Tweet
Exercise and eat out of love, not punishment. Gone are the days I would take hours of fitness classes to try and burn off any “bad” decisions I had made. Gone is the jumping from one extreme to the next. I find that when I make my decisions out of self-loathing, even if momentary, I always walk out of the gym or away from the table unfulfilled, anxiety-ridden and empty. Why did it not go away, I wonder furiously. Because I was bringing my negative baggage into my seemingly positive decision.

Not feeling a workout? Don’t force it! Take a walk and call a friend to catch up. Drink water because it revives dehydrated cells, sip on a green juice because it gives you energy. Maybe catch up on sleep. Maybe start to plan a cleanse during December if that sounds like something that will get you excited about taking care of your body and soul. Even if you’re feeling down, whatever you do, do it out of nurturing love.

Remind yourself that you have felt this way before and come out okay on the other side. Click To Tweet
Remind yourself that you have felt this way before and come out okay on the other side. Remind yourself over and over again that it’s fleeting. Chant this in your mind. Brand it onto your heart. You have most likely felt this way before. You have been through highs and lows – stretches of glorious body confidence and punctured (or prolonged) instances of your skin just not feeling like your own. As clean as your diet may be, as active and self-loving your lifestyle, these moments will always ebb and flow…and I promise you will come out okay on the other side. No shame, no guilt, no name calling or bad mouthing.


I don’t know when food became something to shame instead of savour. I don’t know when it became us against our plate, our bodies against our kitchens. But I do know this: as long as you’re making decisions out of self-love and not self-loathing, it’s pretty hard to “be bad.” You are fabulous – no matter what.

food-guilt

WANT YOURSELF:
In the comments, I’d love to hear about your experiences with food guilt. Do you ever struggle with it? Are you able to let it go? What do you do, which one of the points listed is the most useful to you already…or, which one sparked an a-ha! moment you’ll carry with you from now on?


Never miss a post. Ever. Sign up + join the WANT movement:

Fhop ‘Till You Drop: On Shopping Smart, Saving Cash, And Letting That Guilt Go

Fhop ‘Till You Drop: On Shopping Smart, Saving Cash, And Letting That Guilt Go

Community Tips + Tools

I’m letting you in on a dirty little secret.

I love to shop.

I must preface this entire post with the fact that I grew up with little “indulgences” being a part of my life. You know, a treat here, a toy there. We weren’t rich, but like many kids, we just didn’t grow up thinking of financial health as a lifestyle factor. 

As I grew older and started to earn/manage my own money, I began to get a real sense of how much things were worth, and how each purchasing decision would have an effect on all other purchasing decisions thereafter. “Little indulgences” on the regular was a norm I needed to consciously un-norm.

Still, in some ways, I’m a very stereotypical modern-day, consumer-culture female. I’m not beyond buying a random outfit just because, or a cool purse just because it’s semi-cute and semi-my-style and, most of all, semi-cheap. I’m embarrassed to admit that up until a couple years back, I hadn’t given much thought to what I was actually doing when I would purchase something that I would probably be getting rid of less than a year later.

And then I moved to a smaller apartment with a better view. A place with no closets or shelves (I use racks – gasp!) but LOTS of breathing room. A place I felt at home.

hey, that’s cute.

It made me look at all my “stuff” out in the open and how it really added value to my life.

 

I’ve heard that you rarely learn big lessons all at once – they gradually take shape. In regards to my stuff and its value, I had a little shopping epiphany (shoppiphany, if you will) last weekend that might have sealed the deal.

I’d just taken a break from working all morning, finished a great workout at the gym, and decided to walk to a nearby store to get a refill bubble-maker for my SodaStream…and in the meantime, I don’t know, treat myself to a little mindful mindless spending. After all, I hadn’t bought something “just because” in ages.

I walked into the store and thought, Hey, I’d like a jumper! (you know, as you do) A plain black one I can throw on and dress up or down in a pinch while still feeling like I’m wearing my stretchy pants. That would be fab. I had a picture in my head of exactly what I wanted, but I figured, this is a trendy outfit right now – might as well get a cheapo version I can schlump around with me in my gym bag, and not feel too bad about when it falls apart after a few wears.

I Labyrinth’d my way through the makeshift aisles, the neon summer prints and dizzying patters giving me a slight headache. Distractions were abound. Socks I didn’t know I needed! Oh look, tea lights! Wait a sec, all the clothes I wore when I was a teenager are back in style?! I snagged a shirt, just ’cause I felt nostalgic.

More hippie clothes, earthy-colored basics, and denim galore – heaven! Somehow I was suddenly jumper-minded no more; sifting through the sizes, distracted by the low-rise distressed-straight-legs in the corner, looking for a boho hat because I liked the picture that popped into my head.

And then…I paused.

no?

I don’t really need this, I thought. I don’t even WANT it that bad.

 

How does a seemingly innocuous shopping trip like this fit into the negative talk conversation, you ask? Welp, just like food, we are what we eat – and we are what we buy. Spending money we don’t necessarily need to spend usually ends up stressing us out (a whole other post for a whole other day). And moreover, buying clothes that are made to fall apart in two jiffs or trinkets that will be forgotten about after three days is a reflection of our own sense of worth.

If you’re thinking that I’ve just got a lot of willpower or something for stopping myself…you are so wrong. I’m a bone-fide girl’s girl. And despite my penchant for dark earth tones and anything but pastel florals, I’m very stereotypically female. That includes the way I act as a consumer. I might not like to shop often or in huge blowout sprees, but I do enjoy a fun little shopping trip here and there, just ‘cause.

But because I aim to live in a certain “way,”I sometimes tell myself I’m being materialistic, or straight-out “dumb” for enjoying it. What’s more, when I do get sucked in by the alternate vortex that is Inexpensive Fast-Fash, I usually end up feeling bad about myself (note I did not say “about my body”) because the generically sized outfits and straight, easy hems were not meant to hug my curves in a way that works best on me. 

Maybe it was the serenely gloomy clouds looming over this pre-summer afternoon, maybe it was the fact that I hadn’t eaten lunch yet and was a little extra-sensitive. Maybe it was a Mercury Retrograde magic trick. But in that moment, I softened my gaze and really looked at what I was holding. A slashed price for something I only somewhat like. Jeans and smocked shifts that seconds ago I was confident would look great on me started to look…cheap. What did this say about what I thought of myself?

#back.

I did a lap and realized – nothing was worth it. It wasn’t even the money: it was the feeling that buying these clothes would, in some way, not be in line with what I stand for and how I aimed to treat myself. I was worth an investment and, at bare minimum, worth clothes that made me feel like a rockstar inside and out. And so, empty-handed, I walked out.

 

We deserve to have things that bring us joy, make us feel good, and last at least a little while – not stuff that fills a void, fits okay and is ultimately made to be disposable. We’re made to last, and our clothes should be, too.

Here are some ways to check yourself before you shop it out – and what to do if you somehow find yourself in the thick of it:

CHECK – HOW ARE YOU FEELING ON THE INSIDE? Are you hungry? Tired? Irritated? Sometimes when we’re experiencing an extreme emotional or physical feeling we make decisions to self-soothe. Instead, try doing something else that brings you joy: exercise, call a friend, take a walk, binge on Netflix, write, read, draw diagrams of your Action Plan for the year (no? just me?). Whatever it is, see if there’s something else that will bring you joy in the moment – and moreover, remind you of who you are at your very best. And if you still want to shop for fun, go for it! Give yourself the permission.

COMPARE – HOW MUCH IS THIS, REALLY? When I’m vacillating in between if I really need/want something or if it just feels good in the moment, I’ll look at the price tag and think of something else in that price range. These jeans are only $20, but that money could be spent on a pedicure, a nice meal, a month’s worth of those high-grade Vitamin D supplements I love, a book I’ve been coveting, my utilities bill from The Gas Company – heck, I could stretch $20 to feed me for a week if I really needed to (I’ve been there). An extra $20 saved per month could even buy me a ticket to NYC on Jet Blue with money left over for shopping to see a show! All the sudden, those jeans don’t look that great. Or maybe they do. But I’m making an informed decision. 

FHOP – THEN SHOP. Okay, here’s another secret. Fhopping is my term for fake shopping. Here’s what you do when you’ve got the itch: you go to a store with the specific intention of getting a sense for what you really want. Look around as long as you’d like and try on whatever speaks to you. Take a photo of yourself in the things you like. And then put them back and leave. If you’re compelled to come back to them in a week, then treat yo’self! But take some time to make your decision, assessing your wardrobe and asking yourself if it’s something you really need and actually want taking up space in your room. This has not only saved me tons of money, it’s made me feel in control of both my spending and what is actually worthy of my time. Fhop courteously, of course, and make sure you treat the dressing room attendants the way you’d like to be treated :)

wowoweewow

Will I never buy something just-because ever again? Probably not. But I know that making mindful decisions with my money, treating myself to what I actually WANT and what is a reflection of who I strive to be, are key to being a balanced consumer living in the modern world, conscious of the choices we’re making and how those choices inform the way we view ourselves.

By the way, I found a black jumper exactly like what I’d envisioned in my head. Not once did I get distracted by what I didn’t really want. (Well, too distracted. Still working on un-norming the norm, after all.) There was only one left. The perfect cut, the perfect fit, the perfect material – just perfect for me.

When the cashier scanned the tag, it was 60% off. Coincidence? I think not. It’s exactly what I wanted. And it looks killer hanging in my “closet.”

update: it's love.
update: it’s love.


WANT YOURSELF:
What is a purchase you’ve made that you absolutely LOVE – that is a reflection of who you are and how you want to feel?


Photo credits here, here, here and here.