Welcome back to The LoDownLiving Podcast. I'm so excited to be back on the show and connecting with all of you in my most favorite way.
I'd like to first thank each and everyone one of you for being apart of the community. For a while there, things were really tough and I didn't really have anything to say. And many of you reached out with kind words, sent me love & prayers and were just fully in my corner. And for that, I really do thank you.
I wouldn't feel so inspired to connect with you each and every day if it weren't for YOU. And the fact that you took the time to send me positive vibes when life seemed a little dark is something I'm truly grateful for.
As you know, it's been some time since I last recorded a podcast. And it took awhile to get me back here. Honestly, I think podcasting can be really hard sometimes because, it's one thing to type something out, hit publish and walk away from your phone. But, when the truth of your words have to leave your mouth and you have to actually say out loud what it is you're feeling and thinking inside, it's really hard. For me, at least. And I think that's why it took me so long to come back here.
Writing comes naturally to me. I can write how I'm thinking and feeling with ease - written words are second nature. But when it comes to speaking these types of things out loud, sometimes I tend to clam up. Sometimes it's like I no longer know how to speak.
I think that saying it out loud makes it true and concrete. And maybe some part of me thought that if I didn't speak it, it wasn't actually happening. Even though it was very much happening in my everyday life. And so what happened, you might ask?
Why I Took A Break
The last time I did a podcast was in April of 2017. And just thinking back to that, I'm reminded of how tough times were. I had recently moved back home to Cleveland, Ohio from New York City to rethink my path in life and improve my relationship with my boyfriend. While I loved living in NYC, the day to day lifestyle wasn't for me.
I was living on a very, very small income and had little left over to actually enjoy all that NYC had to offer. That created a lot of stress and negative emotions in my life. I had expectations of living in the city and doing it up Devil Wears Prada style. And that was very much not my reality.
After finally deciding to move back home after a year, I had these negative emotions inside of me. I was upset that I couldn't be the NYC girl I had hoped I'd be. Why couldn't I make it work, I kept asking myself.
I was upset that my relationship was struggling at the time too. A lot of old feelings from previous relationships were coming to the surface quite often for me and I couldn't seem to shake it. We were doing the best we could considering the circumstances, honestly.
And on top of that, I moved back home to a part-time job that paid lower than I could afford to live on.
TALK ABOUT STRESS!
In addition to being resentful for moving back home, having little income and trying to improve my relationship, I was also still dealing with my gut issues.
I was having a hard time sticking to intuitive eating (a topic I talked about so often before) when I'd end up having a flare up after following my intuition. I became resentful of my body and I couldn't understand why I was the one in this body when all I wanted to do was eat broccoli and brussels sprouts.
Yet, if I did, my body would tear me to shreds. Truly leaving me in the bathroom in tears, literally praying to God that He'd take the pain away.
So I was spiraling downward fast. And at that point, I didn't have anything positive or uplifting to serve myself let alone, to any of you. And so slowly I faded to black. I stopped writing my weekly letters, posting on Instagram, blogging & recording podcasts.
I hadn't sorted through what I was going through at the time and I wasn't ready to be THAT vulnerable. It wouldn't have been pretty, I promise you that. And looking back, maybe that would've been okay - to be that open, honest & raw. But, in the moment, there was no way I could've done that in a productive way.
What Came Next
After letting go of my creative outlets I kind of let go of myself altogether. I was giving everything I had to my relationship that was still struggling. See, we were fighting against one another when all we wanted was to come together. But I blamed everything on him, so he retreated and the cycle continued.
I finally found a little bit of relief with my gut issues and found out that I have Candida. I began talking more openly about that and began food blogging. I started to feel creative again but I also felt really alone. I don't know anyone else that has Candida or anyone that's even talking about Candida.
I felt that no one understood what I was going through or what it was like to have this condition. Again, I was angry at my body.
A few months later, I decided to end my relationship. He moved to a different city and we parted ways for about 6 months. At this time I had started another new job (up to 3 new jobs in 1 year by this point) and moved into my own place.
I had never lived alone before and I was terrified of doing it. Everyone talked about how great it is to live alone but I wasn't feeling that way. Actually, it's only now that I feel SO much better and am finally beginning to love living alone.
I think that I didn't like living alone because I didn't know who I was. I didn't know what I liked to do. And I was craving a distraction from my depression, anxiety, and heartbreak. Being alone with my thoughts was too much.
But I kept talking things out to the close friends and loved ones that would hear the same story for the 100th time. I'd allow myself to cry, a lot. And I spent a lot of time alone.
The Power of Self Care
I can't express enough how important self-care is. And I know it's such a buzzword right now but, I truly think it saved me. Being away from my relationship and having to take a long hard look at my life as a whole saved me.
See, I didn't realize how far removed I had become from myself. It was like I had just come out of the water and was like "where the hell am I and how'd I get here?" I didn't know. But now, I do.
For so long (almost as long as I can remember), I had put others before me. I pour my entire self into relationships and friendships and giving all I can to them. And believe me, I know my purpose here is to serve others. And I love doing it. But it can't be at the cost of my own well being.
But at the time it was. Relationship after relationship, friendship after friendship I gave it all. And I forgot what I needed. I forgot what I enjoyed doing. I forgot who I was and what I stood for. I lost my sense of self.
And so, being forced to be alone figuratively and literally and take care of me FOR me, changed everything. It was the beginning of a second chance.
- putting my phone on Do Not Disturb in the evenings
- I said no to a lot of commitments each week
- I spent a lot of time with my parents
- I threw out a lot of my belongings (clothes, furniture, etc.) to clear up space for newness
- I unfollowed a lot of people on social media
- I began following people that truly inspired me to be better
- I went back to therapy
- I actually talked to Albert (my boyfriend) about my needs & non-negotiables
- I stopped asking the opinions of those around me
- I journaled
- I let go of friendships that no longer worked
- I paid attention more to friendships that inspired me
- I continued to challenge my spending habits and cut back
- I put the work into my relationship
- I listened to uplifting and inspiring podcasts
- I woke up earlier
- I went to bed earlier
- I began dressing my body in clothes that felt beautiful & sexy
- I said positive things to myself in the mirror
And these are just the ones that I can think of off the top of my head. I'm sure there are more.
The power of self-care is huge. And I continue to practice all of these things at one time or the other. And no, these all weren't happening at the same exact time. Some would float in and others would float out.
It was a daily conversation with myself saying "hey, what do you need right now?" And then seeing if I had it within me to give myself those needs. And almost always, the answer was yes.
This is where we begin again with this show. These types of experiences and conversations are ones that you can count on showing up here week after week.
What I know is that I am only an expert on my life. And even then, I'm still constantly learning and changing as time goes by. But, I hope that by me sharing my experiences and my lessons from them, that you'll sense a "me too" and understand that you're not alone. Whether we're talking about dating, period cups, tacos, depression, making friend, etc. - you're not alone.
I just ask that you continue to show up 100% as you are today and I will too.