Morphing Perspectives

I'm amazed by the change my life has taken this year. Amazed and incredibly thankful.
Exactly a year ago, I was having full on panic attacks on a pretty regular basis. I was insecure, self-conscious,  angry, afraid and all around, a flipping hot mess.
I had no idea where my life was headed (and had an early mid-life crisis because of this). I was pretty much always in a horrible mood (and letting everyone around me know it) and I was making it a point to avoid all mirrors and/ or reflective surfaces of all kinds, to say nothing of avoiding clothing stores all together, so as not to want to punch the creators of size "0".
Now, I could go on a three freaking page rant about how the media has damaged my very fragile self-image, and how every time I look at a magazine, movie, or clothing catalog, I want to rip my body open and scrape every ounce of fat off so I can look like "them". But I simply don't want to.
Not that I don't firmly believe society has taken its little search for perfection too far, because I most certainly do, and I really do feel sickened by it; but the truth of the matter is, I FINALLY find that none of it truly matters the way I though it did for so long.
Funny, I still can't believe I am typing this, but it happens to be true; so true, it makes my heart flutter with a joy it has not felt in a very long time.
So, how did I go from being your average yo-yo dieter/eating disorder ridden little girl to being... well, a truer version of the real me? Frankly, I can't pinpoint one single moment or event. All I can say, is that I decided to "morph my perspective" of things.
That may sound wishy washy to you, but the thing is, it really is true.
The first step I took, was to stop obsessing over the number on the scale. I stopped the daily voices of "Look how fat you are", "You need to starve to lose weight", "If you are going to eat that, you need to do at least five hours of cardio", etc and I changed them to: "Lets eat healthy" and "I want to be able to live life to the fullest, no sickness, no worries, just live it" and "Scale? What is that?"
I also discovered the most amazing jewel in the world, and I took it, to make it mine. Yoga.
And I devoted myself to it. (or so I thought) Practicing twice a day, urgently wanting to move on from being a beginner to at least an intermediate practitioner. I even woke up one morning thinking, "Wow, I could really go for an egg plant sandwich right now" (which for those who don't know me, was very rare until this year, because I was an Atkins girl. I was meat, meat, and meat all the way, I loved meat), and so I looked up what yogis ate and discovered, most yogis were vegan or vegetarian [insert light-bulb moment please] and so, I decided, I would become a ovo-lacto-pescetarian and be as light as possible for my practice. And so began my journey. And pretty soon, I began to notice a difference. I was no longer anxiety ridden (mind you, this also had a TON to do with my wonderful brother hiring me to work for him, because my other job had literally been killing me) I was less grouchy, I was not sickly anymore, I was stronger, felt lighter, happier, and more confident. I truly couldn't believe how great I was feeling. And I thought I had it all perfectly in hand form that moment on. [Little did I know how I would be tested]
The funny thing was, once I thought I had mastered the little voices inside my head, once I was confident and healthy, and, yes, a little cocky, I came across a beautiful actress, at a movie premier, and then my world came crushing down around me. All my voices came slamming right back! My confidence went out the window, my body forgot all I had been teaching it though my yoga practice, and so did my mind and soul. It was like I was being devoured by it all! I immediately attacked myself, "See, that is how skinny an actress needs to be. That is why you never get cast.", "If you were that poised, and slender, you would be able to get that movie" "You are fat!" "Why are you standing there!, run! burn calories! go!" "I bet you she can act better than you" "Look how gorgeous she is. You look like a rat next to her! and she is so much more the embodiment of movies than you are" And then, the tension began, I wanted to hide, wanted to run out of the event, wanted to disappear, wanted to starve or diet again, instead of eating grains, and legumes (because they had surely made me even fatter with out me even knowing it). It was awful. All my "work" all I thought I had overcome, all of it, came back to haunt me, and it completely broke me. In fact, I put myself through such a horrible mess, that I made myself sick. And not just any sick, I am talking full-on fever, throat infection, flu, kinda sick.
And yes people, we can make our selves sick.
So, after the "run-in" I went back to my hotel to cry desperately until a little voice in my head went, "Enough!" "You are enough!" "You don't need to be any one else" "YOU are a beautiful, loving, talented, amazing woman, and you do not deserve this abuse. You deserve better." "You deserve to love yourself just the way you are" and with that, I took a deep breath, did some asanas, and went to sleep.
But the damage had been done, I had mentally harassed myself to the point of sickness, so, I woke up feeling rotten, and was forced to stay in my hotel room (mind you, I was in the beautiful Dominican Rpublic, conducting interviews for Poema de Salvación, which was a lot of fun!)
But God sent me an angel. (She knows who she is, but just for confidentiality purposes, I will only call her "angel" in this post). I had only met Angel two days before, but I instantly loved her. She is the kind of woman who lights up a whole room just by showing up and smiling, and I knew instantly that we would hit it off. So, I was very relieved to know that she would stay with me, and care for me while I was sick. But I had no idea, she was going to be the biggest gift for me this year.
In my sickly delirium, Angel and I got to talking (and crying) quite a bit. In fact, we talked (and cried) all day long. And she saw the broken person in me. I don't know how, but she saw the reason for the sickness (not only the physical sickness, mind you) and she confronted me about it. Well, more accurately, she opened my eyes to reality.
Staring with the fact that, as much as yoga really had helped me, I was still approaching it as a crutch, much the same way I could have chosen to use P90X or Slim in 6 to lose weight. Sure, I was opening up to grace and really letting the philosophy touch me at a deeper level, but the thing was, I still needed to morph my perspective even deeper. I needed to let go completely, not just a little bit. So, Angel, took me over to a full-bodied mirror, and, yes, you guessed it, she made me take a hard look at myself, and boy, do I have to tell you, that was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. But once I was done fighting it, once I truly opened up to it and simply let go, a calm swept over me, a calm that has followed me ever since.
I don't know how to explain it, and I do apologize for the length of the tale, but truthfully, this is the cliff notes version, so, yeah. But I digress, it was a wonderful moment that made me realize, everything happens for a reason, and morphing our perspective (really changing how we perceive things, and not just pretending that we do) really can change our lives.
It is all about choosing to really let go of the negative things in our lives, and really looking at our true selves with loving eyes. The moment we shift our perspective, the world changes, and we can begin to change along with it.
No longer did I see my yoga as a way to lose weight, but I began to see if for what it truly was, a way to bring body, mind and spirit together, a way to change myself and the world around me, a way to truly live. From this moment on, I loved my-self, and decided to listen to my-self, truly listen.
So, instead of forcing my-self to become an"intermediate" or "advanced" practitioner, I decided to simply listen to my body, and realized that the asanas are only one limb of the beautiful yoga tree that I have decided to cultivate.
The same went for the food. No longer was it a matter of "oh, I do yoga and yogis eat this", it had actually become something my body asked for. I had listend to my body, and realized, it liked veggies, it liked being a vegetarias, and it liked feeling healthy, so I listened, and have kept on listening ever since.
Now, I won't lie, I am human and still have my insecure, "bad inner voices" moments, but I can catch my-self more easily now, and I can change my perspective more creatively than I could before.
So, yes, I am still growing, and I love that. I am still learning, and will continue to morph as time goes by.