It isn’t an easy one—her story, that is … my story. But then again, is anyone’s story easy? Depends, I suppose, on who’s doing the asking, or the story telling for that matter.
In an effort to keep this as concise as possible, I’ll skip through the whole happy childhood, never wanted for anything blah, blah, blah bullshit and just get right to the good shit … so here you go.
“Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant filled with odd little waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don’t always like.”
― Lemony Snicket
When I was in grade school, my parents came up with some far-from-brilliant idea to follow Nathan Pritikin’s absurdly restrictive (and disgusting to a sixth grader) diet and to this day, I vividly remember being forced to eat a bunch of very unpalatable crap. And so, in order to combat their “weirdness” I learned to carefully place food—if you want to call it that—into my mouth and then very stealth-like, expel it into my hand, and onto the floor. My deceptive behavior worked for a while, and served me well until my mother vacuumed and discovered my hidden pile of the aforementioned very unpalatable crap.
After that, I was watched closely during mealtime and the next time I tried to spit my food out, I was swiftly gathered up by my father, taken to my room, and beaten with a belt until I bruised so badly I couldn’t sit down for three days (yep, there’s the not-so-happy childhood part).
Eventually, I learned to stomach the very unpalatable crap and just to prove my “superiority” I taught myself to vomit every single bit of it … I taught myself to hold my hair back with one hand, shove the other hand into my mouth and tickle the back of my throat until I expelled it all. Every. Single. Ounce.
So … for years, I dealt with a “sometimes manageable” eating disorder, and at other times, dealt with a debilitating disease that hindered my collegiate athletic career … held my hand through one shitty relationship after another … served as a confident through a marriage built on a facade … and coaxed my ego through a life drenched with mediocrity. But I managed. Barely. But I managed.
Don’t get me wrong, I had moments of triumph … moments where the world literally laid at my feet. I had three children who own the very breath I breathe and throughout the years have had some personal success with my writing career. But. I have also suffered with feelings of inadequacy and at times have wondered if I am worthy of happiness.
“You will face your greatest opposition when you are closest to your biggest miracle.” ~ Shannon L. Alder
Flash forward to now. It has not been easy to get here. As “dumb” as this may sound, being happy isn’t always as easy as some might make it out to be. Being happy is a choice. Difficulties are inevitable. But when it comes right down to it, we all deserve to live our life and we all have the right to be the absolute best version of us that we can be. And for me, revamping the way I live, the way I love, the way I eat, is all part of that. So … I believe eating a mostly plant-based diet contributes to my overall wellbeing. I believe trying to live a less-complicated life makes me present and compassionate and far more understanding of the world around me than ever before. And, I believe being with someone who ignites my mind, body and soul … someone who challenges me, who makes me think and unapologetically lets me know when I’m being a bitch but still wants to undress me and rock my world … Well, I believe allowing myself this is possibly the biggest gift I can give myself, let alone the biggest gift the world has to give me.
And for now … that’s all I got. That’s how I started down this path and where I sit now. As for what the future holds or how my story continues, that I’m not sure of. But for the first time in my life I can honestly say that whatever it holds, I will embrace it and I will love my fate. Amor fati. Always! Shauna