#whatslovely YOU

Hello lovely ladies!

Welcome to day one of loveliness. We really have something special planned for you! This campaign is designed to help women become aware of what’s lovely in their life and encourage you to love your life, just the way it is. Why? Because we LOVE YOU! Because you’re amazing and because you need to KNOW IT.

In a time where there’s a lot of discontentment and wishing (ahem, Valentine’s Day), we want you to know that you don’t have a significant other to appreciate love in your life. And no, we aren’t just saying it, we’re living it for this whole week. And day one, as we discussed on Friday, is about loving YOU, all of YOU.

And who else do we have to help us think through why you can (and should) love yourself other than Susie, the lovely, thought-provoking, genuine, and very honest author of the blog, Suzlyfe. I’m honored that she graciously accepted to kick us off, you’re in for a treat!

Hi! My name is Susie, and I command the corner of the internet known as Suzlyfe, a blog where “I run, I write, I opine, I cook, I eat, and I show Crohn’s Disease who is boss.” I also drag my dear doctor husband (and crazy cat) along for the ride. I am a huge fan of Jenni’s–I think that she is a brilliant resource for health and fitness for all. Most importantly, she is just as gorgeous inside as she outside, and that is why I jumped at the chance to help her with this fabulous #whatslovely campaign.

I think that one of the common misconceptions that people, especially women, might have is that others enjoy relatively simple relationships with their bodies, with food, with exercise and fitness. But here is a little secret, and something that I think is imperative to understand: every relationship that involves at least one human (mind, body, or spirit) is inherently complicated.

So your relationship with your body? It’s Complicated. Your relationship with food? Complicated. Your food’s relationship with your body? Likely Complicated.

The next little secret? That is ok. You are allowed to be complicated. That is part of what is beautiful, indeed #whatslovely about you. You are your own complicated, beautiful mess. But this is also indisputably infuriating. We are conditioned, in this technological, instant access world, to demand information and answers on demand. When something doesn’t work, we want to know why, and how to fix it. But that isn’t how the world works. Unless you are the Terminator, you are not bionic and likely are going to need just a bit of time to evolve.

Just as important: know that your history shapes who you are today (no, you can’t escape your past), but it does not dictate who you are right now or in the future.

As a child, I was chunky and solid. I was always eating, always moving, and always thinking. I started being aware of my stoutness as early as 3rd grade, though I didn’t really do anything about it. Then, in 8th grade, everything changed or began to. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, an Inflammatory Bowel Disease that has, in the 13 1/2 years since my diagnosis, become increasingly prevalent, particularly among middle-class, Type-A women. Our combination of hormones and tendency towards stress and anxiety exacerbates our predisposition towards issues. And our issues exacerbate our stress and anxiety. A lovely cycle, yes? Combine that with hormonal issues and clinical depression and anxiety (all of which I come by genetically), and, well, you have a recipe for disaster.

To keep a very long story short, my relationship with my body is about as complicated as one can make it. I have been heavy, I have been underweight. I have dieted to lose, I have dieted to gain. I have felt beautiful, I have wanted to hide. But, and I truly think that this is what has saved my relationship with myself: I have always wanted to be me, and no one else. Wanting to be me means that I have to be me, and if I have to be me, then I better be the best me I can, regardless of whether or not I am feeling “hot” or not.

This past year has been a real turning point for me: I realized that you can only regret amorality, but otherwise? There is nothing in life worth regretting. I don’t believe in detoxes, because doing so would tie negativity to some of the best parts of my life. I learned the difference between fear (implications for bodily harm) and nerves (anticipation, not knowing the outcome). I discovered just how much you can hear when you just listen. Isn’t that the secret to all complicated relationships? If everyone is yelling and insisting, no one hears. But have a conversation with yourself, with your body–that dialogue can be as simple as food and exercise. And if you realize that you aren’t getting anywhere, consult a professional. You wouldn’t feel ashamed for seeing a doctor about having a fever for several days, would you?

Some posts dealing with self acceptance that might be of interest:

Self-Love Selfie

Marathon Weight Gain

What This Marathon Means to Me

Heart Opener

Beyond Vanity: Photo Shoot in Chicago

Accepting the complicated nature of your relationship with yourself and learning to listen within that relationship will change the way that you see yourself, your body, and your life. Take down your own walls, even with the knowledge that it might not be easy. In my case, it took losing my job, taking several huge career risks, and running a marathon (for the second time). But I no longer am afraid of my body, though it may stress me out from time to time.

But when it does? I sit down (or run around) and have a little conversation with myself. And sometimes we might agree to disagree, but for the most part, we can compromise and even serendipitously agree.

Have you ever had an attitude changing conversation with yourself?

How well do you feel that you are able to listen to your body?