How A Sunday Afternoon Drive Gave Me The Courage I Needed
I have wonderful parents. I feel incredibly blessed to have a mother and father that care for me and console me, and pick me up when I am crashing and burning. They have not given up on me despite the many, many times I have given up on myself. They are patient and they are understanding, and their unwavering love for me is more than I could have ever asked for.
A lot of people ask who the person behind the camera is - the person who takes all of my pictures. Unfortunately, I don't have an insta-husband (or even an insta-boyfriend at the moment!). I do, though, have an insta-dad.
From the moment I started to take blogging and social media more seriously, my dad has been my photographer. I must say - he has come a long way! Do you know how many times we had to re-do a shot because his finger was covering the lens, or because my phone was on video and not photo mode?!
Now, my dad knows that when I ask him to take a picture, that does not mean ONE picture. It means multiple pictures one after the other while I move around and change my body's positions ever so slightly. Now he knows that angles are important and people or cars in the background are my nemesis. He now even suggests various places in Montreal where we can snag a good shot and knows better than to not listen to my instructions!
I don't thank him enough for his patience. Struggling with body image issues can make taking pictures a difficult task, and if I don't like a set of shots, he allows me to re-do them - and he rarely complains about that. Although in the -40 degree Canadian winters, I sometimes sense his frustration!
Last Sunday afternoon, my dad took me to a London-inspired phone booth in his childhood hometown of TMR (Town of Mount-Royal). While I found it incredibly cool that we had discovered a Montreal landmark that not many Montreal Instagrammers have photographed yet, the highlight of my trip was driving through the streets where my dad grew up. We saw his childhood home, where his old girlfriends lived, where he played pranks with his brother and cousin, and where he carved his initials, along with his girlfriend's initials, on a tree in the park.
Being with my dad and hearing about his youth was really something. It brought me back to the simpler days of childhood. When bills and careers and responsibilities didn't matter. When food and weight didn't matter.
I only developed my eating disorder in my early twenties - when childhood and adolescence were over. But this particular afternoon brought me back to what life was like before this nasty illness took control. I pictured my dad as a little boy, and remembered my earlier days, too. Playing in the park until the sun went down. BBQs at our local community pool where my biggest concern was whether or not they would run out of my favourite chips. Tanned skin and chlorine-drenched hair, or rather, frost-bitten toes and red cheeks. The simple days.
Reminiscing can be emotional. Sometimes I reminisce about my past and I am filled with sadness. But it can also make me feel good. Thinking about my past serves to remind me that life has been pretty great, and the good times don't have to end here. I am soon entering a new phase of life (hello thirties!) but who is to say that the fun is over. Maybe the fun is just beginning.
Maybe these are the moments
Maybe I've been missing what it's about
Been scared of the future, thinking about the past
While missing out on now
We've come so far, I guess I'm proud
And I ain't worried about the wrinkles around my smile
I've got some scars, I've been around
I've felt some pain, I've seen some things, but I'm here now
- Macklemore feat. Kesha
All of this brings me to the main point of this blog post. Spending Sunday afternoon with my dad and being reminded of "the simple days" when food and weight weren't such a focus in my life allowed me to walk into a bakery and pick up a muffin that I had been craving for weeks.
Whether or not I ate the whole muffin is not of importance. What is, though, is the fact that I used my surroundings, my people, and my positive memories to give me enough courage to buy something that I had been putting off for way too long. I listened to my body and my mind and was able to "quiet" the incessant voice telling me to eat something sweet, a voice that was interfering with my ability to find peace of mind. The thing with cravings is that until we satisfy them, they will not completely go away. More often than not, they will actually intensify. So, I satisfied the craving. I ENJOYED the sweet treat. And truth is, it was not "the end of the world". I did not instantly gain five pounds and I did not have a panic attack.
So what's the take home message in all of this? Sometimes we get courage from unexpected places. I did not know that an afternoon drive would lead me to be able to conquer one of my biggest fears (uh... sugar!). But when I felt that little fighting voice popping in to say hello, I knew I had to jump on the chance to conquer a huge eating disorder fear of mine.
What gives you courage? Who inspires you to make changes? Have you been a "fighter" this week? As Monday nears, think about what goals YOU can conquer this week. Don't be shy to make a change in order to live a better life.