The Year That Broke Me

Foreward

I am not going to sugar-coat it. Quite frankly, this is a difficult post for me to write so I am going to share it in the utmost raw and vulnerable way that I desire to. This is heavy, deep, and may be triggering to some. 

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2018, you broke me—like completely shattered me—from all the anxiety, pressure, and struggles that weighed me down. I lost direction in my life entirely and something has never left me so empty and robbed of joy than that. There are all these invisible deadlines for our careers, love, and life. We think that we have to have it all figured out once we turn 20 and we become so obsessed with being perfect and any mistake we make is an embarrassment–just like I was incredibly embarrassed to announce my gap year because I felt like “oh my God this is going to seem like I’m weak and doubting everything I’ve planned for my life. How freaking embarrassing it is to seem like I FAILED.”

Well guess what, I don’t give a **** what anyone thinks anymore or what society tells me about how my life should look. I’m done feeling behind on life because guess what? I’M NOT. Where I am right now, is EXACTLY where I need to be.  Your life is not on anyone else’s schedule–it’s YOUR timeline, so don’t beat yourself up for where you are now because you are right where you need to be. It may be painful, uncomfortable, dark, and scary but it’s making you GROW. 

Typically at the end of the year, I like to take some time to reflect back on all I experienced, learned, and achieved, but I can’t do that right now. I hope that one day I can look back positively, but as of right now, I’m just ready to put 2018 behind me. Yet, I will say one thing that I have learned, is to let myself feel what I am feeling. And you know what else I have learned? that is hard as hell. We tend to avoid feeling _____, so we numb ourselves with ______ (you fill in those blanks).

You see the things that broke me, took a pieces of me and I’m not quite sure how to get them back. I’ve looked for them in places I found comfort, but in the end, those places took more of me than it gave back.

That leaves me hopeful for the new year—that maybe just maybe I’ll find some of those missing pieces—missing pieces of MYSELF.

I want this to be the year of finding courage–to let myself explore my dreams and wonders–running to complete abandon in the direction of courage that I have oh so longed for. Go after it on the mountain. Go after it in the valley. Go after it in the silence between the words in your late night prayers. Go after it everywhere. For wherever you pursue it, God will be there, Ever-loving, Ever-guiding. He will bring you out of that hiding, dispelling every fear, giving courage, giving strength. 

Let this be the year.

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Into the Wild: Pt. 1

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Welp. I’m doing it. Once I hit that publish button there is no going back. I. Am. Terrified. BUT, I’m ready to grow (more so). I am ready to heal.

A few weeks ago, I announced that I would be sharing parts of my life from this past year that I have kept deeply in the dark. I’m not even quite sure if I am ready to share, but I’ve put it off for quite some time and I truly believe that sharing is part of my journey to healing. So strap in because it’s about to get real.

Let’s go back to the start.

2017 had just ended and I felt like that was a hard year…boy did life have me in for a real one. I was feeling super optimistic and excited to see what the new year had to bring. I had already started to study for the MCAT and had signed up to take it sometime in June–I could totally handle the demands of classes AND study for this huge test at the same time, right? Well, things started off just dandy–I was actually kind of excited to be studying for such a pivotal moment in my life, but that wore off sooner rather than later.

As the demands for school began to rise, my anxiety levels began to creep up. I was in a constant comparison trap with other classmates. My thoughts perpetually circled around things like “Oh they have already taken 3 practice exams and I haven’t even attempted one! what am I doing?! Get your shit together Abby, this isn’t a joke.” The demands, the comparison, and the anxiety sent me in a downward spiral to depression. I returned to my old habit of seeking exercise for comfort and began to workout almost 3 times a day–it was the only way I felt like I could get rid of that anxiousness. But then I began to turn to food for comfort as well, because I felt like it was the one thing I had full control of. I would restrict for awhile, then just raid the fridge & binge, which I would then feel guilty about, so I would just exercise and restrict more, creating an even more vicious cycle.

I was miserable. I was unhappy. I couldn’t sleep. There were days where I couldn’t leave my room because I was so anxious–it was hard to breathe and it felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. My body would tingle. My thoughts constantly raced. All I wanted was for it to stop.

Throughout the semester, there were several rejections that I received, but decided to ignore. These included things like, a rejection to a study abroad program, rejection to serve as an appointed officer in my sorority, and rejection to serve as a gamma chi for recruitment. I had applied for a summer internship and I distinctly remember telling my mom “I don’t understand why I can’t manage to get anything that I apply for, what is WRONG with me?! If I don’t get this internship, then that’s a sign that medical school is the wrong path for me.

One evening I went for an “Applying to Medical School” meeting. That was the night that I broke.

I came home and cried my heart out. I yelled & screamed into my pillow. I called my mom in a hysteric mess, telling her I just couldn’t do it anymore–I’m NOT ready for this and I think I need to take a gap year. Yes, a GAP YEAR. My mom couldn’t agree more and she told me “Abby, a gap year may be the best thing to happen to you. It is nothing to be ashamed of–lots of students take gap years. It’s all going to be okay.”

I want to add here that now, in December of 2018 I have come to accept that this is the path that God is leading me on. There is NOTHING to be ashamed of for taking a gap year. Many times, I think that I am “behind on life” but I am right on time in MY life, because it is just that–my life. It’s not anybody else’s and I am following where the Lord is calling me. It has been messy and ugly and there are still so many things that I have yet to figure out. But I am trusting in the One who holds my future and I am choosing to embrace every moment of this present season that I am in.

Things sure didn’t feel like they were going to be okay, but thank God for my momma because looking back, I know that she was right–taking a gap year is probably the best thing for me, but there is SO much that I have yet to figure out and it scares the hell out of me. While that was the straw that finally broke me, I was unsure of where to go from here. I’ve done a lot of soul searching over the past year, so stay tuned…to be continued…

 

 

Hi! How are ya?

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Hi! How are ya?

It’s been a hottttt minute since I’ve done a blog post, but to be honest I’ve been in a “creativity rut” and haven’t had the inspiration to post. I’ve felt like i have lost my place in the health and wellness world, which has caused me to do a lot of self reflection. After a lot of thinking, i believe that a big part of this is due to the fact that lots of things have happened in my personal life that i have kept locked away and hidden. I am finally feeling comfortable enough to start sharing with you all. I believe there is a fine line between being REAL and honest, while also keeping some things private. But it’s time I open up because this is the first step to rediscovering myself and my place in the wellness world.

That being said, my plan is to starting writing while I’m on Christmas break so I can really give it the time and focus that it deserves because it’s not just something I can easily write up in a day. It’s very emotional for me and revisiting those times in my life is going to bring those deep feelings back to the surface—but knowing that my transparency can help any single person is what is going to get me through.

I’m going to break it all up into segments that I will be sharing weekly (hopefully). It will have everything to do with the entire year of 2018 and everything life brought my way. Some of the topics will include anxiety, gut health, my future, ED, studying for the MCAT and more.

I want to personally thank all of you for being patient with me as I have closed up and kept a LOT from you guys, but I know that you all understand that I needed to process everything on my own time. It’s time to open up. It’s time for self-rediscovery.

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My Transition to Nontoxic Deodorant

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You need to make the switch to a non-toxic lifestyle. 

Yes, we’ve all heard it.

As the message of making healthy living a lifestyle has grown way beyond just what you eat, it now embodies the cooking ware you use, the storage containers you utilize, the beauty products you put on your skin, your dental products, and more. It is so true that health isn’t just about what you are putting on the inside, but it’s also what you are putting on the outside, what you are thinking and saying too.

But let’s be real here. Switching to a non-toxic lifestyle is NOT cheap and you honestly have to gradually throw out the old and bring in the new. As I have embarked on my own journey in switching to a more non-toxic lifestyle, it has taken several tries of different products from different companies to find what really works for me. In an ideal world, everything I would use would be non-toxic, but to be honest, that is just not ideal for me and that is OKAY. So know that if it just absolutely doesn’t work for you or whatever reason it may be, that is OKAY–just do what you can when you can and where you can.

All that to say, there is one thing I was determined to completely switch over to and that was a non-toxic deodorant. My old deodorant (thank you Secret) had started to give me a rash so I knew it was time to make the switch. After doing abundant research and asking around, I had a list of companies to try, so I ordered my first one (keeping the brand name disclosed) and couldn’t wait to try it out. Now I am not going to lie, in the beginning, it was kind of awkward. I had to reapply quite often and I was getting sweatier throughout the day. Now why is that? So I did some more research and stumbled upon this great read by Primally Pure. 

So almost all of the toxic deodorants contain aluminum in them (wait WHAT)?! But that’s not all. They also contain parabens, propylene glycerol, fragrances and more. While antiperspirants seem great because they block the sweat, they are actually working in opposition to your body’s natural way of ridding itself of toxins. Okay, so this just part of the process of transitioning to a nontoxic deodorant.

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With this new knowledge, I persisted with the natural deodorant and then I got a yeast infection in my pits. YES IT HAPPENS. IT’S A THING. This can’t be a normal part of the transition, right?! I was embarrassed and confused, so I did some more research and came to find that it is actually more common that I had originally thought. If you think about it, it makes sense–your armpits are a dark, moist place which is the perfect place for some yeasty bacteria to make its home. I wanted to curet this the natural way, so I scrubbed my pits multiple times a day (especially after workout), took my daily probiotic, and did several honey & activated charcoal pit masks. I also made sure to wear breathable clothing and I would even lay on my bed with my arms raised above my head to let my underarms breathe.

Now I feel the need to mention this because I do not believe that this yeast infection was caused entirely by the natural deodorant. Also during this time, I completely gave up dairy, which is a good source of probiotics. I had learned a contributing factor to yeast infections is a lack of probiotics, so I believe this played a part as well.

As badly as I wanted to switch, I was convinced that maybe I’m just at a loss and need to forget about trying to switch. But I wasn’t going to give up yet. That’s when I ditched that old natural deodorant and began using Primally Pure because I had heard so many wonderful things! And let me just say, THIS IS THE SH!T.

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My personal favorite is the activated charcoal deodorant because it basically acts as an antiperspirant without disrupting your body’s natural detoxification. For a deeper understanding of how activated charcoal actually works, read this article here on Primally Pure. I am so excited to say that I now work with the amazing Primally Pure team and have a discount code for you all to use! At checkout, use RUNNINGCARROT for 10% off your order until 6/30 (so go stock up now!) Click the link below to go to their website:

https://primallypure.com?rfsn=1441575.316e5

I also want to add that I am not paid to say this, but I truly adore this company and I am so grateful that they care so much about their customers. Speaking from personal experience, I can honestly say this is THE best natural deodorant out on the market–it’s life changing!

 

xoxo

Abby

Dress to Impress (the Winter Run Edition)

  Running in the winter can be amazing, yet also brutal. The chilliness drives you to increase your stride, but it may also make your a$$ freeze off. So do you just opt for the treadmill (dreadmill) all winter long, … Continue reading

Running is so More Than Exercise

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RUNNING.

My number one stress reliever. My challenger. My loyal friend. My escape. My safety.

To many people running is just a form a exercise–a form of torture to some. But to me, it is everything but that (and by that I mean exercise, not torture lol). To much surprise, I haven’t always been a runner. Yea, nope. I wasn’t exactly the most athletic kid. I mean I played soccer for a couple years, rode my bike day in and day out, practically lived outdoors (making mudpies was my ish). I felt like just about everyone around me had their “sport” that they were just good at. And me? My hand-eye coordination was just shy of a tragedy. Softball? No. Basketball? Yea right. Soccer? Too competitive. Tennis? Nope. Lacrosse? Big no. Swimming? Maybe if I really tried. Golf? Nice try. I felt discouraged–longing to be a part of a team, something bigger than me, but I left the sport scene in the dark and turned my focus on things that I was good at.

I played the violin for 12 years. I love music. I love art. So I delved into the art scene, pouring my heart out onto the canvas, snapping pictures left and right, which I later went on to win several awards for my work. This sparked a desire in me to pursue art school, but when I began to battle an eating disorder this changing my perspective radically. My interest began to lie in the health world. So I started up running (what?!) and went on to join the track and XC team. It’s funny how things come full circle in life because it all started with me wanting to be a part of something bigger and then here I was on a team with teammates who challenged me, uplifted me, and pushed through the pain with me.

So the question I get asked a lot is how did you become such an amazing runner? Well first off, thank you, I’m so flattered you think that I am amazing, although I think I am a far cry from it haha. Well if you are wanting to kickstart your running career then here is my advice:

  1. Know that your body is capable, it is just your mind that you have to convince. It’s a mind game really. You’ll be 10 miles in and your mind will say “stop you can’t do this. Think about how tired your legs are and how your hips are already sore. Just stop.” Well you know what I do, I tell that little voice to shut up because as a matter of fact I CAN do this and I WILL do this.
  2. Set a big goal, then set smaller goals to get you there. Make big goals your big race–whether it may be a 5k, 10k, half or full marathon, set a BIG goal. Then set weekly goals: run 2 consecutive miles by Sunday or run 22 consecutive miles by Sunday. All these small goals will add up to help you achieve that big goal.
  3. Run outdoors as much as possible. There is no place like the great outdoors–even as a kid I craved the earth’s environment. There is something so freeing about running away from the crazy and getting lost in the trees. So utilize the treadmill when absolutely needed, but run outdoors the most (I promise this is huge game changer).
  4. Be patient with yourself and don’t push yourself too hard. The greatest marathoners weren’t made overnight, no no no. But rather over years and years of grueling workouts, many discouragement, but even more triumphs. So you may not hit your goal that week, you may have some set backs (like injuries or a life event) and THAT’S OKAY–that’s life. And when that does happen, because it will happen, don’t beat yourself up, don’t quit. But choose the next day to better than you were yesterday and that doesn’t always look like faster times or more miles, but rather listening intuitively to your body. The worst is pushing yourself too hard and then suffering an injury, so be gentle and patient, you will get there.
  5. Lastly, don’t focus on the pain or difficulty, but keep your eyes on the joy that is ahead. I’ll leave you with this quote that left me more than inspired. Louis Zamperini is one of my biggest inspirations in life and if you don’t know who he is, I suggest you go look him up because he was a man full of incredible strength and dignity. Before he got on the train to go to the Olympics, his brother shared these words with him “a minute of pain is worth a lifetime of glory.” 

Changing, Challenging, and Cherishing Seasons

 

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Well fall is finally here: a season of change, a season that brings coziness in sweaters, and yes, a season for all the pumpkin spice. During autumn equinox, the sun is tilted in such a way that the earth receives both equal parts of day and night, making it the optimal time to embrace the power of balance.

Being back at school called for some adjustments that’s for sure, even if it is my third time around for all of this. Life brings us unexpected events, ones that we have never had to encounter before–ones that shake everything up. We won’t always know how to cope with them, despite all the advice that everyone heaves our way. Some things just take experiencing for yourself and learning to cope with them in a way that best suits you. It’s not easy, but challenging. Frustrating, yet pushing you to move forward–growing each step of the way, discovering things about yourself you didn’t know existed.

“there are stars you haven’t seen

and loves you haven’t loved

there’s light you haven’t felt

and sunrises yet to dawn

there are dreams you haven’t dreamt

and days you haven’t lived

and nights you won’t forget

and flowers yet to grow

and there’s more to you

that you have yet to know.”

-g.c.

These words resonated with me and reminded me that where I am is not who I am. The future is full, exciting, and waiting for us to arrive. The journey is testing at times, but it’s preparing us for what is to come–for who YOU are to become. Embrace the present and be present, the future will be here before we know it. Something recently may have “shaken” things up, caused you to loose your balance and now you may find yourself looking in the mirror wondering who you are anymore. But you’re supposed to be wherever you are right now and I can promise you it won’t last forever, good or bad. Focus on today. Focus on you. Each day presents itself with a new opportunity–a new opportunity for you to decide and act in a way that supports you in being all that you are capable of being. We may not be able to control the situation, but what we can control is how we respond and react to the situation. You hold that power, make good out of it.