You Don't Know Me || #BehindTheBlogger

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

You don't know me AT ALL...

...if you think my sweet, innocent, "girl next door" exterior means I am unaware, naive, or too "meak".

...if you think I'll say that I like something just to make YOU like ME. I won't put up with something I dislike just to impress someone else.

...if you don't know that I would drop anything and everything just to be there for someone if they asked me to.

...if you think that I expect that everyone's brain is wired the same way as mine.

...if you haven't yet heard my story about recovering from an eating disorder {read about that HERE!!}.

...if you haven't figured out that I am more easily distracted than Dory! And if you think that it means I don't care about things. I really try hard to stay focused on one task, but that's one of many reasons why I'm not a Type A personality. And I'm okay with that.

...if you don't know my primary love language...which is GIFTS! And not because I'm super materialistic and love "stuff", but because when I receive a gift, it shows that you know me well enough to know what I would like. It tells me that something reminded you of me, and you put thought into picking it out. That means the world to me!

...if you don't know that I get incredibly tense and stressed out when I am being micromanaged or controlled.

...if you don't know that I don't do well in the mundane. I try to find new joys in the "same old, same old" routine, but I need variety in my life!

...if you ask me for a long term plan. Most of the time I don't know what I'm doing TOMORROW! My brain is constantly floating around and I'm always changing my mind. That's just how my personality is, and I LIKE change!

...if you don't know that I suffer from SERIOUS F.O.M.O {fear of missing out}!

...if you aren't aware that I feel emotions very deeply, both happy & excited emotions as well as sad emotions...and I appreciate when people accept and validate my feelings.

...if you think that the reason I dress up all the time is for anyone other than MYSELF.

...if you think I'm not sorry every. single. time I finish a sentence for someone or talk over someone accidentally. My mouth moves faster than my brain sometimes. I'm a talker. I don't mean for it to happen.

...if you think I notice details. I don't. I walk into a room and I see the room. It would be completely terrible if I were asked by the guys on Criminal Minds to close my eyes and remember details. Guarantee you I would not recall a thing. It's just not what I'm looking at.

...if you forget that I hate saying no to people, but at the same time get super overwhelmed by having too much going on!

...if you don't know that I need people around me when I'm feeling down. People make me feel better.

...if you think I'm capable of forgetting anything ever said to me...either positive or negative.

...if you think that me wanting to get to know you means I want your favorite color. No, I want to know your HEART. Give me the good stuff!

And most importantly, you definitely don't know me...

...if you think you CAN'T or SHOULDN'T get to know me. I am an open book! I'll tell you anything you want to know! Happy to! :))
{Oh yeah...and I like using "smileys" and "frownies"}

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Thank you for reading a story from #BehindTheBlogger Hop. Every 2 weeks a group of bloggers is given a writing prompt. These prompts are very open ended, so our bloggers can write about whatever they desire. The main rule is that their blog post directly relates to the topic of that week. The point of this hop is for our readers to get to know us on a personal level.  Please hop along and read all of the blog posts in this weeks hop. Just click the links below. If you want real and raw emotion, then you will find it here. After you read each post, please comment and share. We want to get to know you too!

The Time is Now

Monday, July 25, 2016

I truly do not believe there was just one thing that ultimately caused the problem.
I don't think it was any one hurtful comment from someone. It wasn't just one occurrence or event that changed my entire thought process.
There is no one and nothing to blame, not even myself.
I am human, and we all struggle with something in our lives. For me, if it hadn't been this, it probably would have been something else…

I can very easily recall the days of being in ballet class, in front of full length mirrors, wearing a leotard and tights that allowed everything to be SEEN…particularly flaws. No matter how many times I was told that I “looked like a ballerina”, I just didn't see it. Instead of focusing on my technique during class, I spent that time being embarrassed by my body. I knew that every single girl in that class was hard on themselves for any extra cellulite on their legs, or any amount of cushioning on their ribs and hips. Meanwhile, all I could think was that I just wanted to look like THEM…and also feeling quite certain that if they were that disgusted with their own bodies, surely they were looking at me and feeling grateful that, at least they did NOT look like me.

I had fallen into this insecurity pit very early on, though. It definitely did not start in ballet  class.

I remember being so afraid to make a mistake, no matter where I was, for fear that I would either be reprimanded or laughed at for it.

I remember auditioning for various solos or roles in productions, and when they went to someone else, I was sure it was because the director did not like me, and/or that I was not pretty enough to be showcased on a stage.

I remember being reminded semester after semester that I was not listed among my many, obviously better, classmates in the newspaper for making the honor roll.

Plenty of other little things happened as well. Like I said, there was no “one thing”. The poor self-esteem built overtime…


The day came that I was told, point blank, that weight was a big deal. That men liked to be attracted to the women they are with. That thinness was important to them. And by that point, I had put on some of the weight that college students typically do. So, of course, I took this very personally, feeling very much the opposite of beautiful or even worthy of any kind of positive attention. 

{By the way…I look back on this now and I get it. My mother, when she said those things, was holding onto a lot of shame and insecurities herself. I don't blame her for anything I'm going to talk about next.}

I floated very aimlessly through college, and questioned every choice I made, so full of uncertainty at all times. Everything I did was because someone else had a certain expectation of me. I didn't have a clue who I actually was…only that I wanted people to like me. So I molded and re-molded myself, never happy with the results. I tried to be good at everything, but I didn't think I WAS good at anything…even things I already knew I was good at. I tried to be so in control, but I didn't feel like I could control anything. 

So I focused on the one thing I knew that I could control, and the one flaw that I had always found to be the worst. My weight. 

I began to go through cycles of total restriction and massive binges. I would go a few days in a row eating next to nothing, or at the very least keeping my calories between 300-500 a day. Eventually I would be so hungry I couldn't stand it, so I would eat anything I could get my hands on. The feeling of delicious food was a sort of euphoria in a way. But it wouldn't be long before the shame of what I had just done would hit me. I would think, just like in school, just like in ballet, just like in music, I’m not even good at THIS. Then I'd get so scared of weight gain and start the restricting again. It was an awful cycle that I just couldn't get out of. And that continued for a very long time. 

My final semester of college came, and I was a total wreck of anxiety, panic attacks, and depression. I was in bed for days at a time. I felt no purpose. I was sure that I was not going to make it through the end of the semester. My fear of failure and mistakes kept me from going to classes, which caused even more guilt and shame on top of that which I was already carrying inside. This put me into another vicious cycle. And along with all of this came a loss of appetite. The anxiety caused very bad stomach aches, and I didn't even have a desire to eat. Nothing tasted good. But believe it or not, I thought this to be a good thing. At least I wasn't binging, and if I wasn't eating at all, think of how much weight I would be losing!

Of course, the weight loss was incredibly noticeable. The compliments {“Emily, you look so good!”} went straight through to my core, and I found my identity in these affirmations just as much as I'd found them in the many criticisms I'd heard over all of those years. And in my mind, losing weight was something I was actually good at…finally! After my appetite started coming back, I figured I'd better still keep this weight loss thing going.

The restriction and binge rotation cycles started again…only with an even more unhealthy addition. This time, if I felt guilty enough about overeating, I would get rid of it. I did not purge regularly, but just doing it once was enough for my downward spiral to continue a lot more quickly. Soon enough, I began to stick with my counting of calories, never allowing myself to go over 800 a day. I felt weak in ballet class and made no progress. I was way too exhausted all the time for teaching my dance classes, and I couldn't put my heart and soul into it the way I wanted to. I just didn't have it in me. I let down a lot of people in my life because I couldn't follow through on so many commitments. Physically, I just wasn't strong enough. And all of this was just reconfirming in my mind that I was not good at ANYTHING…except staying thin.

I was so very sick. Anorexia had completely taken over my life.

About three years ago, almost to the day, I spent an entire day lying in my bed in extreme pain. I had just gone a full 48 hours without a bite to eat. I could literally feel my body shutting down.

That was my defining moment.
I had no desire to ever feel this way again. I had to eat.
Had I not made that choice, my illness easily could have killed me within weeks.

Now, for the past three years I've continued to struggle on and off with my distorted perception and low self image. I never had a healthy relationship with food. I still kept a lot of pain buried deep inside of me. Pretty soon I had gone the opposite extreme and began overeating on a regular basis in order to deal with pretty much anything that brought up negative feelings. But the binging itself brought up even more negativity! Especially with the inevitable weight gain. Again I was caught in a vicious cycle of guilt and food! And I was so convinced that I would never be able to stop it. I didn't have enough discipline. Every time I tried to go on a new meal plan and tell myself I was going to stick to it this time around, I failed miserably, and went back to the old unhealthy eating habits.

My whole life, it seems, has centered around TRYING HARDER. DOING MORE.
Change this. Fix that. Check all the items off your list. Follow these steps.
Be a better Christian. Pray more. Read the Bible more. Figure out how to improve my spiritual life.
Do all of this and everything will get better.

No. No. And did I mention NO?

I’ll tell you what has healed me. I'll tell you why I'm no longer bound by shame, anxiety, depression, and food struggles. And it's not what you expect…

I made a choice. One choice. A choice to be filled with, and to walk in the Spirit of God.
And because of that, the desires given to me by the Holy Spirit are stronger than the desires of my own flesh. I don't struggle with food anymore because God goes with me into the grocery store. He goes with me into the kitchen when I'm cooking. He gives me energy I never had before, and excitement to try new recipes {part of a new eating plan that I will talk about at another time}. And none of it requires discipline or anything I have to muster up myself. He's just taking me through it. Because I let Him.

What?! You mean there's no 5 step {or whatever} process you went through to recover?

I'm sorry friends {although kind of not really}, I sort of wish I could offer you a more practical way to just “fix” whatever your struggle is! I wish I could tell you that the decision I made was easy. It was NOT. It was the hardest thing I've ever done. It requires total vulnerability, and total exposure when you ask God to break down the walls around your heart and invite His spirit inside you. And that is ridiculously scary!

But the fact is that everything that I tried to fix by myself, I ended up falling short and messing up. Every “goal”that  I just tried harder, or with a different approach every time, to meet, I would never accomplish. But once I invited God’s spirit inside of me, it was no longer about what I had to DO. It was all about what HE could do. He is limitless!

Will I still have bad days? Of course! I'm still human! Yes I'm saved and I'm free, but I'm not perfect, nor will I ever be on this earth! That is not my claim! Will I still struggle with feeling depressed and discouraged? You can pretty much count on that. But I am no longer bound by that. It does not have to bury me anymore. And as long as I continue walking in the Spirit, it won't.

The Holy Spirit is not talked about very much, and is often overlooked. I've only recently been learning about who exactly the Holy Spirit is and what he does. And I'm still “getting there”. But I've discovered a great deal and it's so beautiful! I will be writing more about it over the next several weeks, as part of a new series I'll be doing on this blog about the Fruit of the Spirit {found in Galatians 5}. And I hope that these upcoming posts will be an encouragement to you, as I have been so encouraged by those who have been teaching ME lately.

I have been hesitant to share all of this because I did not know how it would be received. People usually want something practical. Something concrete. A step by step process to follow. In other words, something natural. But there is nothing natural about my experience, and the change in my heart and in my life. I did not beat anorexia naturally. It is completely and utterly SUPERNATURAL! I take no credit for it.

I didn't think this kind of freedom existed. It does!

This World || #BehindTheBlogger

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

"If I find myself with a desire nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."
~ C.S. Lewis

It's been difficult to watch the world go by recently hasn't it?
So much darkness and hatred. 
Division is the enemy's ultimate goal...and he's getting exactly what he wants.

I try to stay out of the arguments and debates that float around Facebook on a DAILY BASIS. But then I kind of have to reevaluate the real reason why I keep my mouth shut. I'd like to think that it's just because I know that everyone has their own personal views, and that I'm just not the type of person to try and contradict what someone else believes. And yes that is true of me. But I think the real reason is that I just want to be liked by everyone. If I have an opposing view to someone else, I'm just afraid they'll think I am opposed to THEM...that I hate them...and then, in turn, that they will hate me.

My biggest fear my whole life has always been that I am unlovable. Why would I feed that? Why would I do something that would just increase that fear?

But, you know, it's not just me. This is what life has become.

A difference of opinion must be a sign of hatred.

But really, if people don't know me well enough to understand that my having a view that may differ from theirs does NOT mean that I dislike them...well...they don't know me at all. 

The division in this world is scary. Not just all the attacking through social media, but all of the attacks, and all of the death we've seen all over the news. From shootings to bombings, there is something else happening every day that is enough to scare all of us even more. But that's what I think drives the hatred...FEAR. But see, if you allow yourself to remove the hatred, you then have to deal with the fear. And that's painful. We continue to stuff down our pain, and allow it to feed our bitterness and the darkness within us grows. Pretty soon it just becomes a part of us.

I know that there is freedom from darkness. I wish EVERYONE knew! 
I wish everyone could take hold of the hope that, no matter how bad things get in our world, or how scary things are, we have HOPE! A hope that this world is not our home. A hope that this pain is not eternal. 

I have always struggled with figuring out my place in the world. I have asked the question, "Where do I belong," over and over. I felt the sting of abandonment so many times. I've questioned whether or not I am loved, even by members of my own family. I never felt like I fit into a particular "group" while I was growing up. And right now, in this time we are in, all I can think is, What can I do? I am just one person. And I've never done anything significant. How could I help? That's when I cry out to the Lord and exclaim of how painful this is for me to watch! And I just say, "Help me to love well! That is all I want. Just help me to love YOU would love." And I decide that wherever He wants me, and whatever He wants me to do, that is what I will do. 

I leave you with a song. A song that brings me hope during these troubled times...

"All I know is I'm not home yet.
This is not where I belong.
Take this world and give me Jesus.
This is not where I belong."

#BehindTheBlogger Sidebar Button
 Thank you for reading a story from #BehindTheBlogger Hop. Every 2 weeks a group of bloggers is given a writing prompt. These prompts are very open ended, so our bloggers can write about whatever they desire. The main rule is that their blog post directly relates to the topic of that week. The point of this hop is for our readers to get to know us on a personal level.  Please hop along and read all of the blog posts in this weeks hop. Just click the links below. If you want real and raw emotion, then you will find it here. After you read each post, please comment and share. We want to get to know you too!

Hello July || #MonthlyGold

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The word "GOALS" has always had a huge intimidation factor for me.
Whether they have been big or small, short term or long term goals I've set for myself, fear and lack of self-esteem have always prevented me from reaching them...or even taking the first small steps in reaching them.

Even now, writing these words, I have no reason to believe that any of these goals are going to come to fruition...except for one thing that is different...

This time, I'm taking God with me on each step. I'm not going to have the mindset of "work harder, try harder" that I've had my whole life. I've always tried to accomplish everything on my own merit, relying on my own limited mind, all the while knowing that I serve a LIMITLESS God {a subject I'll expand upon at another time}. That mentality has always resulted in disappointment and guilt over not being able to set out and do what I hoped to do. It's time to allow the Lord to go before me, beside me, and behind me.

Monthly Goal Linkup
{Linking up with Autumn}


Blogging Goals

//one// Write a post AT LEAST one day a week. Aim for more, but don't beat myself up too much if it doesn't happen.

//two// Learn how to better manage my blogging social media accounts.

//three// Be active on the blogging Facebook groups I'm part of. Really get to know and befriend other bloggers.

Personal Goals

//one// Clean up my room. I'm seriously embarrassed to say it. I've let my poor living space go for way too long without cleaning it. So much so, that it feels so overwhelming to just start...but I have to just start.

//two// Read one book. I just finished a book by Emily P. Freeman in June that I will write about in another entry, and I'm ready to start another one of hers this month.

//three// Set a wedding date. Putting it off is only going to bring about more and more anxiety, and that's what we are trying to avoid throughout this wedding planning process.

//four// Start writing down my prayers. If only because I so struggle with articulating them out loud, or even in my mind. And also so that I can go back to look through them, remember, and see evidence of God's responses.

//five// Lose 5-7 pounds.


loving. Warm weather and sunshine. 
needing. Summer recital music ideas for my dance classes, particularly the younger groups {my theme this summer is music from movies & musicals}.
wanting.  more time...more time to spend time with the all the people in my life, more time to read books, more time to invest in other things I want to do. 
writing. All the blog posts! A lot has happened recently that has inspired a lot of writing! Can't. Stop. Writing.  
reading. Another Emily P. Freeman book. Finished Grace for the Good Girl, and now starting A Million Little Ways.
watching. Way too many shows! LOL 
listening. Keeping up with all the latest Christian music mostly {cannot wait for the World Pulse Festival in a couple weeks!}  
wishing. That I could be with all of my cousins. 
feeling. Thankful that I had the opportunity to grow up so close to my cousins and relatives. 
craving. Old musicals! There's going to be a showing of Singin' in the Rain this coming weekend in the local movie theater!! GAAAAHHHHH!!!! 
eating. Desperately trying to eat healthy.
drinking. Iced caramel macchiatos from Starbucks...All. The. Time.
smelling. The delightful floral scented shampoo in my hair.
working on. Choreography. And choreography. That's pretty much my summer in a nutshell.
contemplating. Everything. I contemplate by nature.

What are YOUR July Goals?
Do you have a "Currently" post I should check out?
I'd love to hear from you in the comments!