I recently did an interview with Rebecca of Strength and Sunshine’s Freedom Feature Series, which was extremely fun for me.  Rebecca works to connect the celiac/allergy community together by sharing stories of food freedom. The interview allowed me space to reflect on my life pre and post celiac disease.  I forget sometimes how different my life was before celiac disease.  I often forget what it felt like to be in my body, because it was that different.

My GI symptoms began to heal fairly quickly after adopting a gluten free lifestyle, but it has only been in the last few years that I have reflected on how deeply my mental health was impacted as a result of consuming gluten.  If only I had known what I know now back then.  As crazy as it is and as much as I wish I would have had a diagnosis then, I could not be more grateful to know now and get to live a life I am completely in love with now.

Knowledge is power.

In many ways, I feel like I’ve experienced a lot of things “backwards” in life.  I did not have “normal” college years.  I did not have “normal” high school years either for that matter.  I grew up in an extremely volatile home environment, combined with undiagnosed celiac disease and my mental health was really out of control.  The secrets.  The shame.  The gluten.  They all impacted me so deeply.  On the surface, I always managed to have it together, but deep down I was dying inside.

I lived for so many years without talking about life.  I look back now and I truly was a shell of a human.  I was taught to keep secrets.  To keep my mouth shut and not speak about the hard things of life.  It didn’t work well for me then and it most certainly doesn’t work well for me now either.  I spent my twenties breaking through a lot of the crap I had been dealt and trying to get emotionally healthy.  It was a lot of blood, sweat, and tears.  A lot.  I know so much of this is a shift in generations and I am grateful that my generation, at least the people I choose to surround myself with, believe in authenticity and talking through the truly deep parts of life.  But even that was not enough for me.  I was quite a mess the entire time I got my Master’s in Counseling.  My emotions were uncontrollable when I was alone.

My body was literally revolting and I had no idea why.

This year, I have vowed to myself to speak my truths.  I could sit here and say I vow to not be afraid.  Sure, that would be great – but that’s not going to happen.  Fear is a part of life.  But what I have vowed to myself is to lean into my fears.  To look my fear in the face and to trust that everything I’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.

Last year I had a blank slate in front of me.  I had no job.  I had time.  It was such a gift.  But I wasn’t mentally ready.  I needed time to heal.  Time to dig deep and figure out what I wanted.  I needed to understand more about the power of choice.  The power that I hold enormous strength.   Enormous gifts.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of playing small.  Tired of living as if life is happening to me and that I’m simply meant to pay bills and struggle.  Yes, life is hard.  We will save the last few years of my life for another post.  It is hard.  It’s also beautiful.  Incredibly beautiful and I am so damn grateful to be alive that I will choose to find the good.  I am choosing to succeed.  My deepest desires and dreams are on the other side of fear and I’m pressing in and leaning in like never ever before.  I hope you join me.  It’s going to be a magical and rad ride!

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