I have been lost.
In adulthood. In wife life. In motherhood.
Where did I go? Me... Emily. The photo junkie, jewelry artist, music loving, traveling fool. What happened to date nights, or even late nights? Slow dancing to Billie Holiday with a bottle of red while fish tacos cook in the kitchen. I day dream of Costa Rica and shopping sprees, sleeping in with my handsome man next to me and having coffee in bed.
Let's talk self care.
It used to mean pedicures and massages, a weekend getaway or a girls night.
It's no secret that life is hard and somewhere in the midst I've lost myself. I have forgotten who i am aside from being a wife, a mom, a friend, a daughter. I don't get my hair done or my nails. I would die for a massage or just a fancy bath where I could soak as long as I want. I could use a few strokes of mascara and could totally benefit from some whitening strips. I didn't realize I had abandoned not just these superficial things but also TRULY caring for myself.
Sure, I keep 3 small people alive day in and day out. Literally, they hardly stay alive. Lola almost always dies emotionally, Brooks for sure almost dies 98 times a day physically, and Dolls.... well we know Dolls has had to have lots of surgical intervention to keep her alive. This last year has been super stressful. Have i actually taken time out to care for me.. NEGATIVE, Ghostrider.
After having Dollie, I ate my emotions. I asked myself "What can I do to make this visit to Vandy better?" SO I'd have a mocha, extra whip. I'd have Ben and Jerry's for lunch. I would have like 4 glasses of wine when I got home. I'd need 4 cups of coffee to get through the next day and so on and so forth. I was drinking ENTIRELY too much and stuffing all of my emotions with calories. I didn't even know I was doing it until I stepped on a scale and saw that I had gained TWENTY POUNDS since GIVING BIRTH. Like, I had a baby and then put on 20 more pounds.
I didn't even know, Rachel did.
Rachel is the owner of Fit4Mom Chattanooga and one of my dearest friends. She has listened to me cry so many times, talked me off a cliff a time or two, and listened to me yell at my kids (only to assure me it didn't sound as bad as it felt). She is the one who called me and TOLD me I was doing BodyBack Transformation. She didn't ask, she told. I said "Ehh I don't know if I really want to commit." Her response, "you will commit b/c you ARE doing this". Now I know that she could see what I couldn't and the truth was I needed it.
Little did I know, I was about to embark on a journey of TRUE self care that would forever change my life.
My 8 week journey included 2 High Intensity Interval (HIIT) woorkouts a week that had me crawling out. I had a nutrition guide that I was forced to follow, weekly meal prep, planning and journaling and a coach that BLEW MY PHONE UP. There was no lying about what you put in your mouth and everyday you were asked in a group text how you planned to move your body. A gallon of water a day and no alcohol. Every week you jumped on a scale infront of other women and your coach documented your weight. It was crazy and so so amazing.
Through this process, I taught my kids healthier choices. I learned how to eat out in a smart way. I learned to cope. The trips to Nashville, surgeries, life.. UGH- I learned to COPE. I Marie Kundo'd my home and organized medical records and tax documents. We added in some date nights. We went to see some live music. I pulled my camera out, y'all.
Reflecting back I feel as though I went to the world's greatest camp where I met my best friends, learned some new trades, and had the summer of my life. Only the mom's who endured this with me will ever TRULY understand the transformation that occurred. See, I lost 19 pounds and 18 inches of FAT. But I gained a new kinda strength... it's called courage.
Life, its TOUGH... you can be strong and just get through the muck or you can be brave and put yourself first every once in a while, take a risk... refuel. You can put yourself out there and remember who you really are. Make new friends. Learn to cope. Be honest... with yourself and with the world. And most importantly you CAN prioritize yourself.
See we all have choices and priorities. We all decide how we spend our time, we're all busy. To be real, nobody is "busier" than the other, right? We just have our priorities lined up in a way that we feel is best (keeping the kids alive, priority.) But, I learned how to take care of me... real deal 'self care' just by adding MYSELF back to my own priority list. The mani's and pedi's can wait... and so can a trip to the aquarium... but dang, my years get shorter and shorter. I'm still a wife and a mama... a friend, a daughter, but I'm also Emily Harmon and I'm gonna try to work on pullin' her out a bit more. I like her. <3