Tuesday, April 23, 2013

5 Years

April marks a pretty big milestone in my life.  It's my Healthiversary!!  You might be wondering, "Al, what on Earth is a Healthiversary??"  And you'd be completely right to wonder, since I totally just made that word up! (HA!)

At any rate, a healthiversary is an anniversary of health.  That's right, I got healthy in April... 5 years ago.  Well, that's the month I'm choosing to recognize as my first step towards recovery.  April of 2008... I had had enough.  I spent most of that year watching my team do gymnastics.  Instead of doing the sport I loved I was meeting with a nutritionist, a counselor, a therapist, our team doctor and our athletic trainer.  I was having daily conversations with my coach, my mom and my roommates
(add in all of the people I mentioned above), and I was DONE talking about it.  I think I was honestly just exhausted by the fuss... and I knew what I needed to do.

I needed to get better.  I needed to get healthy.  And if I ever wanted to do gymnastics again, I needed to do it FAST.  So I worked hard, extremely hard, at it every day.  I wrote in a journal, I researched strategies, I talked to the six billion individuals who cared about me, and I prayed.

It was a very, VERY, long road.  One that started over a year before hand... and six and a half years later, I'm still walking the road of recovery.  Scratch that, I'm not walking anywhere.  I'm running... at a dead sprint.

It would be a crime for me to say that I'm 100% cured.  That would be wrong.  Because I'm not.  It's a conscious effort and a day to day choice for me to remain on this health journey.  But I wouldn't have it any other way.  I had to crawl on my hands and knees out of a hole so deep I could barely see the light from the top and I am not falling back in.  I am out of that hole and miles away from where it lies, and very proud of the distance I've put between it and myself.

Things happen, and life gets hard, and I no longer resort to my old coping mechanisms. Or so I thought. This year, I,  and some of the people closest to me, went through a tragedy.  This was the first time I had been truly tested since I had been on my journey to recovery... and I failed at first.  I will whole-heartedly and honestly admit that I failed for a while.  I let my grief consume me for a long time, and I stumbled backward towards that hole... much closer than I would like to admit to.

The more I learned about the little girl we loved and lost, the more I learned about myself.  Avery didn't want me to fall back into that hole.  As a matter of fact, she absolutely wouldn't have it.  So she sent me some words that would act as a slingshot to get me farther away from the darkness than I had ever been.
I will always carry these words with me, &
have a constant reminder of her unwavering faith.

"I lift my eyes to the hills.  Where does my help come from?  My help comes from The Lord, the maker of Heaven and Earth." - Psalm 121

I've thought about those words a million times in the six months since she's passed.  And each time I find them to ring even more true than the time before.  Avery's faith was so deep and so unwavering, and she was so happy.  So, I found faith in Her faith... and I started to run again- Fast, and towards the light.

My life has been abundantly blessed.  Blessed with people who have encouraged me, supported me, and just plain refused to let me self destruct when it looked like that's the path I was headed down.  Those people: My family who love me more than anyone probably should, my coaches who showed me an abundance of patience, and my friends who loved me with their whole hearts and even though they couldn't understand what I was going through, they surrounded me with more love than I could have ever given them back.

Yep, I'm a lucky girl.

One of my best friends commented on my progress today... and said, "I know you still look out for others more than yourself, but you don't forget about yourself anymore... Your inner beauty has come through more than anything."  If I could even put into words what that statement means to me, I would.  But I can't.  This coming from a person who saw me through my absolute LOWEST, who cried with me and held me and never judged me. She told me I was beautiful day in and day out- even when I couldn't look her in the eye, because I knew she meant it and I wasn't ready to believe it.

Did I mention how great my friends are?

I came across a new Dove Ad.  (PLEASE watch this!!) About the way we see ourselves versus the way others see us, and I melted.  I knew this blog was approaching and this video was the icing on the cake.  I smiled watching it because I knew that the picture I could have helped draw five years ago would look EXTREMELY different from the picture I would help draw now.  I don't see those faults the way I used to.  When I look in the mirror... I see me.  That's it.  And I'm happy.

I hope that every woman can see themselves the way that their friends see them, or the way their boyfriends or husbands or Moms or daughters see them.  Don't hesitate to tell your friends they are beautiful.  They might not believe you right away, but a little positive reinforcement can go a long way. And so can a little help from above.  ;-)  (Thanks, Avery!!)

So... here's to my 5 year Healthiversary, to those who have offered any (and I mean ANY) support along the way... and to the next 5 years!!  

Love True-

Thursday, April 11, 2013


I had been spending my evening watching Youtube videos of Christian rock star, Jamie Grace, looking at Facebook pictures of my team's recent National Championship, and searching for songs I want to learn to sing, when I switched tabs on my browser to my twitter feed.


That's when these words smacked me across the face.  

"The longer you wait for your future, the shorter it will be."  

Thank you, Emily... for the swift beating your just handed me.  I needed it.  

You people are probably thinking I'm crazy, and perhaps I am, but anti-psychotics aside (just kidding of course), let me clue you in.  

I have an amazing life.  PERIOD.  That's where the story really ends.  I don't have to get into details about my amazingly supportive family, and my inspiring friends and the job I LOVE with all of my heart... I think I've covered all of that in this blog about a MILLION times.  But one thing I have never written about is my love life.  (YIKES)  Well, here goes...

I am 26 years old and single. (Cue dramatic DON DON DONNNNN) YEP... single.  And I have been... Forever.  (I wish the word Forever was an understatement... but I can't even exaggerate in the sense of that word with regards to my relationship status... and I'm exaggerating a lot right now)  :-)

Okay so, if we take another look at the facts:

Al is 26
Al has a great family
Al has AWESOME friends
Al has a kick ass job
Al is single

In a list of pretty great life situations, why does that last one have to feel like such a heavy fact.  And why the HELL do I buy into that.  Because I do.  I completely get down on myself sometimes for being "alone."  F- that!  I'm not even close to being alone!  I swear, that if I have to hear one more distant family friend, or acquaintance, or stranger ask me about my love life, and sound bummed when I tell them I am not currently dating... I might actually need those prescription drugs.  

WATCH OUT! (she's on a rampage) 

Now... I understand what you're all thinking.  You're all silently reading this saying, "Um... Al, you just said you weren't waiting for your future... so what are you waiting for?"  Well my friends, let me tell you!  

I'm waiting for that person who makes me smile.  The one I can't live without.  That person who understands all of my stupid quirks, and expects me to be a little bit crazy during gymnastics season. I'm waiting for the guy who looks at me and knows what I'm thinking, because he actually listens to me when I talk to him.  The man who understands my weird need to work out, eat ice cream and drink wine... LOTS of wine.  I'm waiting for the guy who needs me... as me, as much as I need him.  The one who will listen to me rant about the toddlers, the twelve year olds, and the 22 year olds whom I LOVE but sometimes run me completely ragged.  I'm waiting for man who will love my little sister and support her dreams the way I do because that's how I'll know he'll be a great dad.  

I'm waiting for my best friend.  

Pretty normal right??  That's what I thought.  So before you unknowingly make an understanding and  slightly sad face or remark at the next single "twenty (or thirty) something" you run into... keep these things in mind.  

1. Just because we're single, doesn't mean we're miserable... it means we haven't settled.
2. Life might get lonely from time to time... but we have friends too, so we're okay... promise. 
3. Waiting for love doesn't mean we're waiting for life... they are two completely independent things that (I'm sure) when placed hand in hand, make for an extremely meaningful and blissful existence.  

So, now that I have gotten all of this off of my chest, I will tell you what I'm going to do.  I'm going to climb down from my soapbox and get up tomorrow, go for a run, go to work, go to the grocery store, read my book, and be happy.  Sure, there may be a few other things that I squeeze into the day... maybe I'll spend time with a friend, maybe I'll go to lunch with my boss... who knows?  But the point is... I'm not WAITING to live... I'm waiting to LOVE... and there's a big difference there.  

Sweet dreams, Y'all!

Love True,