I have a bit of a grin on my face because I don't even know where to begin!
The past six weeks have been a whirlwind.
- I live in Brooklyn now
- We have a film that is 98% complete (Say whaaaaaa!?)
- Our sales system for screenings is almost live (this is huge for us!)
- We are on the cusp of releasing a 20-part web series to the world
- We sent our rough cut to our first film festival, to the White House and to Glamour Magazine
- I went on my first vacation in three years, to Mexico for a week
- I have a health coach and a nutritionist who are helping me navigate life and my biochemical addictions to certain foods, and I love it and am struggling with it all at once
- I love my apartment and have put my whole heart into making it feel like home
- I am finally living close to, and working side-by-side with Erin. Every. Single. Day.
- I am in a long-distance relationship with the love of my life, Mitch, and it's the hardest thing I've had to do
- This is real life.
My body feels tired just thinking about it all!
I wrote a lot about the fear of moving, and resettling from Ottawa to NYC, and now that I'm here, that fear has (mostly) subsided, but let me tell you... flying into NYC instead of Ottawa for the first time, and walking right through customs with my E1 Visa, knowing that I LIVE HERE NOW was insanity.
It's one thing to be in the routine and intensity of our daily work for Dream, Girl, but it's an entirely different beast to come home to my new home after vacation and not know how permanent this is going to be. I have a feeling I'm going to be here for a long time.
I should have seen this coming.
I've been paused for a few minutes, contemplating what to write next. This doesn't feel like my other posts. I have no specific direction I want this piece to go in, or a specific topic that's making my heart sing or scream today, instead, it's like greeting an old friend, and warming up to each other again.
I was listening to Brene Brown's new book on my flight back from Cancun on Friday, and this sentence stayed with me:
"Rarely do we see wounds in the process of healing."
I feel like I left a lot on the page when I shared the deep vulnerability the night I was packing up my life in Ottawa. I for sure felt a vulnerability hangover, but I actually felt a relief that eclipsed any ounce of shame or fear that could have come up.
I was proud to release the emotions that led to my sobbing and writing that night, but I haven't felt stable enough to do that with all of you since.
To be honest, there is so much hard embedded in all of the dreams and goals, and plans that we have. To 'Dream Big' is to wear your heart on your sleeve at all times, and to understand that sharing vulnerability and authenticity are prerequisites to successfully taking that next leap forward.
Yet I found myself alone on my couch two weeks ago having a panic attack, and succumbing once again, to foods that don't serve me. I felt overwhelmed by loneliness, and feeling as though I had no one I could talk to who could understand what was going on in my life.
To some I would have sounded ungrateful. Others would have used my breakdown as validation that this kind of life is not one worth living, and that perhaps I was not as strong as they once thought. My mom would have held a great deal of fear and longing in her heart to be able to help me feel better, but in that moment I didn't need to instantly feel better. I just needed to feel, to feel seen, to feel heard, and to be reminded that I am loved. Deeply. Instead, I ate. I ate to fill a void that I couldn't name and I couldn't truly fill without opening up and connecting with my loved ones and myself.
This is a habit and an addiction that I am willing to name and face now. I don't know how long it's going to take to feel content, strong, courageous, and whole with myself and my relationship with food, but that moment, and so many others before it, have led me to this moment, and naming that I want to be and feel better.
Food has always been my best friend and my comfort. I remember from a young age turning to food to comfort and numb emotions I had no depth or capacity to understand. But I understood food, I understood the artificial flavours, and the 'comfort' I felt.
Now I understand that there is an entire industry that was built on my dependency, and our collective biochemical addiction to many foods that have left me feeling empty and unworthy, and that define so much of my self worth. That night I broke, I hated every moment of feeling alone in this new city, of not having Mitch in my physical space, of feeling no other out but to eat.
I did stop myself, earlier than I would have in the past. I was so much more aware that night than I used to be. I knew exactly what was happening, and I knew I was ready to stop. I don't want to obsess about food anymore, I want to feel all of the good and the bad. I don't want to project so much power on this neutral substance anymore. I don't want to feel helpless to it anymore.
I am ready to have my life exist on one path. Not only my public path that I feel comfortable sharing and projecting, and then going home and hating myself. But rather, having integrity permeate all facets of my existence, and to actually utilizing the amazing community of people and family I have built around myself, and to not hide from them when I am low anymore.
It took some time to come back to calm that night, but Mitch stayed with me on FaceTime until I fell asleep. I went into the office the next day feeling raw, and emotionally hungover. I talked to my health coach, Steph, and she helped me realize and create 'rules' for myself to wake-up in my lowest moments, and to establish an action plan for resilience, and to enable myself to healthily navigate my lowest moments.
I am going to share that here with you today, both as a form of accountability, and hopefully, as a template if you are in need.
My Wellness Manifesto:
Food has been my last emotional resort in moments when I feel overwhelmed and as though I have no one to reach out to or talk to about what’s boiling under the surface. I commit to following the rules listed below, that I have established to prevent this habit from continuing on and to instantly shine a light on all guilt and shame I may feel. To do so:
- I will call one of the following people to talk through the emotions I am experiencing and need to further release or understand:
- Just as I am selective and thoughtful about the people I surround myself with, I will be extremely particular with what I choose to bring into my home, specifically with food. My home is my sanctuary, it is where I am safe and supported, it is where my food nourishes me.
- The foods I will eat are like the friends I listed above. They support me, nourish my mind, body, and soul, and they enable me to live the life of my dreams. These are foods that are nutrient dense, delicious, and that bring vibrancy and truth to my life. These foods bring truth because they do not numb, self-medicate, or sedate me. They force me to feel my emotions, good and bad. These foods are my best friends that allow me to be exactly where I am at, that truly ‘see’ me, and know that I can do anything.
- I will remember that food is neutral - it has no agenda. I will remember that it is my actions, not the food, that define me. Each action has either a positive, healthy outcome, or a negative, demeaning, and sinking outcome. I get to choose.
- My cause is to live a life of integrity that my audience and those I wish to lead, aspire to. I aim to support my vibrant life every day, through each decision, thought, and action in order to represent to this world, the living embodiment of integrity and of a values-driven life. This is not dependent on any aesthetic or appearance driven goals, but by daily integrity-filled and fuelled actions compounded over time.
- In the words of Steph: The strength of feeling your best on stage, and everyday will not come from the result of how you physically look, but it will be a result of every choice, every action that has allowed you to demonstrate your internal strength. It will be the result of standing up to do what others CANNOT always do for themselves. You are the role model, the manifestation of ‘the best series of choices’ to show others that what is possible in health and in life. THAT is when you will feel at your best. It will not be from shame, guilt or from not utilizing the resources (people, your self) that exist around you, or the presence of guilt that leads to a great workout. Remember, food is that last resort friend/ex-boyfriend that needs to be cut off. At the end of that list of great friends… is your SELF... and you are enough to support yourself. You can get through these times with your OWN support, you just don't know it yet.
- I will love myself each and everyday of this life. I will understand the slip ups and hard and dark moments, and I will not judge myself for what transpires. I will hold myself accountable for how I react, and how much love I continue to demonstrate to myself. Not just lip-service, but action. ACTIONS that I commit to include:
- Daily meditation of 20-45 mins
- Daily movement of 20-45 mins
- Daily journaling
- Consuming nourishing food to support my vibrant life
- Reaching out for support and love when I am in need
- Indulging my body with facials, days at the spa, massages, long walks, and clothes and shoes that make me feel like a queen
- Being non-judgemental in the moments when any of the above seem impossible, and moving on when I do find the strength I need
By committing to the rules, commitments, and understandings listed above, I hereby manifest my highest self to come forth to, each and every day, live my best possible life.
Food was my drug of choice when I felt alone. I will overcome it, and open up to love. My community, nourishing food, and my love for myself, are what serve me most.
When I started this post today, I didn't expect to share this - my deepest desire, and greatest challenge - with you all. I feel deep shame around the habits and actions I seek to change, but, as Brene Brown shared, "rarely do we see wounds in the process of healing."
I want to share my journey as I heal this deep wound, and my relationship with using food to nourish vs. numb, that I am on a journey to better understand.
To eliminate shame we have to shine a light on it. Although this feels incredibly vulnerable, and terrifying, here's to using the biggest flashlight I've got.