Açai what you did there
Girl loves her puns.
I got addicted to these little gaffs when I was living in Vancouver. They were a growing phenomenon at various health shops and juiceries, but the biggest problem is that you don't really know what's going into them, as delicious as they are.
I am one of many with serious stomach issues, and going completely gluten-free two years ago has given me a variety of setbacks in my diet. That on top of being ultra-sensitive to many other foods, I was finding that when I rewarded myself with something like an açai bowl, my stomach was not happy. Many of these yummy bowls are packed with many unnecessary ingredients to act as fillers to make the bowls 'bigger', but can actually cause more damage to your digestion than you think. My goal was to re-create a bowl that is tummy-friendly for those with stomach issues such as myself.
Today all I could think about was how good it would taste to eat a bowl of berries as a snack. I thought about it pretty much my entire workout to be completely honest! As an even better reward, I stopped into Nature's Fare on my way home from my workout and picked up some açai berry powder along with my other groceries, and head home to take a stab at one of these wholesome bowls myself.
I tried looking up a few recipes on pinterest, but after much failure, I took it upon myself to guess what a good recipe would be and, well, I was pretty pleased with the result.
What I found online was that many of these bowls use dairy, bananas, unnecessary fats and added sugars. I don't want any of that. I have recently stopped eating foods with high potassium in them due to an imbalance in my blood, which caused me to have a long streak of health problems. Stress, unfortunately didn't mix well with it either, but it's better to be safe than sorry.
So, I skipped the nonsense and stuck with what I knew, and it made magic baby.
I hope this brings some clarity to many of you! I have a happy tummy and no post-meal bloating... we're off to good places.
Have a great week, everyone!
Let's get naked
If you asked me to be vulnerable with people three years ago I'd probably cry a little inside.
Being vulnerable with someone, let alone everyone, is difficult. Totally understandable. It's even harder when the other person is essentially asking you to open up to specific topics that touch on areas of your life that you may not be comfortable talking about.
When it speaking to specific topics such as "what makes you feel beautiful", it can be even harder to elaborate on because maybe you never feel beautiful, or loved, or appreciated. Maybe you feel as though you're just a human in this world that is constantly comparing themselves to what their idea of beautiful is.
If you asked me to be vulnerable with people two years ago, I'd be hesitant.
Not a lot of people understand what it's like to battle depression or anxiety. Not a lot of people understand that with this mental constriction, your perception of yourself is skewed. Your perception of you as your beautiful self may be under construction. It may be requiring some TLC in order to get it in tip-top shape to be a floundering, flawless aura of beauty that brings about self-awareness, confidence, and a great deal of self-esteem. You may claim that being vulnerable is something that you're working on, as I believe that it's something that we are all working on, but whatever it takes you'll do it to get yourself confident enough to stand in front of a mirror and say "I am SO beautiful".
If you asked me to be vulnerable with people today, I'd be pretty keen on the idea.
I am by no means the type of person to walk into a room and within 5 minutes, the crowd knows my entire life story; I'm still pretty reserved when it comes to sharing my emotions. But in the two years that I have had this amazing blog, I have been gone from sharing little quiet thoughts about life, to being completely raw and open with you all about everything in my life. Publicly. Keep in mind, anyone can read my blog. It ain't private! No, I don't sit on here and tell you what my uncle's kids name's are and what doctor's office I go to, but when it comes to the self, I love dishing the details to you all. I am so unbelievably grateful that I have the luxury of sharing my story with people.
the naked project
My best friend has started an Instagram page @the_nakedproject which showcases people around our city in their absolute raw, makeup-free and filter-free form, talking about what makes them feel beautiful. She interviewed me last weekend after we had a killer workout at the outdoor track here in Kelowna, where I had the opportunity to open up about some of the most difficult subjects to talk about with any given person. She has had the pleasure of working with many different individuals in the city, from children, to students, to entrepreneurs. Each interview is unique to that person, all of which resonate around what that person perceives beauty to be. Yesterday, I had the pleasure to interview her on why started the project.
The woman behind it all
r: What inspired you to start The Naked Project?
b: I started the naked project when I was studying for my final exams, I remember I had, like, 10 hours just to sit down, focus, and study. I probably spent an hour studying, and 9 hours on social media, that's not even an exaggeration. At the time, I was at a constant state of comparing myself, feeling inadequate, looking at girls' sisters, best friends, friends, girlfriend's pages, and I had no idea who they were. I was wondering why they looked the way that they did and I looked the way that I did. It was a constant feeling that I wasn't enough, and I wanted to fix that. I had deleted social media in the past, and was going to delete it again. My boyfriend told me it wouldn't fix anything, and he was right. My feeling of comparing myself would still be there, just because it's gone it doesn't mean that it goes away, I just needed to use social media in a different way. So I took that to heart, and I said I was going to change the way that I use social media, I want other girls to feel that if they are comparing themselves and if they don't feel confident and have low self-esteem because of what they see on social media, I want them to know that there are other girls that feel the same way and that we are all real people, not this unattainable ideal of beauty. I made the page The Naked Project because I wanted it to be open to all genders, all identities, all ages, everything. The reason I created it was to allow people to come to this page, and if they feel that their self-worth is diminishing or they feel inadequate, I want them to read these interviews of real people in the community, that go through struggles, are vulnerable, are open... I wanted them to feel that they could relate somehow. By doing this, it has been helping me, as selfish as that is. But when I meet these people and I interview and learn more about them, I find pieces of myself in what they say, it allows me to relate to them and not feel like I need to compare anymore.
r: What have you found the results have been? How have they felt after you interview them?
b: I think they have felt liberated. It's extremely difficult to be vulnerable, but once you are there is this freeing sense to be yourself. I feel like we are so afraid to just be ourselves. No makeup, no filters, no edits, no photoshop, no nothing. We are still beautiful. I always say to people, if you are walking 10 feet in front of me with makeup on, I would say "yeah, I know who you are and I would recognize you". If you were walking 10-feet in front of me with no makeup on, I would still recognize you. You are still the same person inside and out, whether you're wearing makeup, have a filter on, if you photoshopped your face, you're still the same person. That's what I wanted to showcase.
r: That's awesome. I was talking to one of my friends the other day and he had made a really good point about something. When you were an embryo, in your mom. You were just a spec of light, you were perfect. Nothing was wrong with you, you had no feelings, you had no doubts, you had no negative energy. You were just perfect. It's funny how life over time will alter that and it will change your perception of things twice, three times, a hundred times over. I'll just say what I love about The Naked Project is that even after I had done my interview with you I was like "wow, I do feel beautiful after that, that was awesome". It's so great to sit there and have a vulnerable sense of heart and thought, and express it to the whole world, and not feel like you're being judged in any which way or form, because every person is beautiful in their own sense.
b: I wanted it to be a place where people would say "oh I know that person, I've actually compared myself to her multiple times, and here she is being vulnerable about her insecurities and the things that she deals with and struggles with". If it allows people to have more compassion and grace towards people that they may judge or compare themselves to. I'm grateful that people are being receptive to it. I am gaining a lot of self-confidence back from it, and I'm using it as a reminder to myself when I am feeling in a dark place with my insecurities, I use it to bring myself back up. I am grateful for everyone who has been vulnerable and authentic, it just creates space for somebody else to be just as vulnerable and accept who they are, despite their flaws.
r: What would you say is the best key advice that you could give to someone about how to achieve their goals?
b: I would say first, write your goals down. They become more tangible that way. If you live and breathe it every single day, if you watch videos on it, read quotes on it, read books about it, they're constant reminders about how to achieve that goal. No matter how big and how outreached it might seem, it can happen if you put your mind to it. Don't do it for the applause of other people, don't do it to make people think a certain way. Do it because you want that sense of self-accomplishment and success.
r: Where do you see The Naked Project in the next year?
b: I hope to take it into elementary and middle schools as self-esteem projects. I really want every gender to feel that when they leave school, I don't want them to ever feel the way that I feel about it. I really hope to take it into schools and have workshops done on self-esteem, and social media awareness; how harmful it can be and how positive it can be. I want to make workshops out of it.
I really do believe that there is a great opportunity for people to be open and vulnerable. I believe that. I would encourage people to reach out to points of opportunity in their life in which vulnerability can be enhanced. As I mentioned earlier, blogging as been my outreach. I can literally write as I speak on here without a single peep of judgement from anyone, and I am grateful for that.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post, and most of all, thank you Brandy for opening your heart to me about The Naked Project. I encourage you all to get naked with yourselves today.
mahalo for your patience
for today, and everyday... be the love that you want to see in others. love yourself first and foremost. it's not selfish, it's self-love and acceptance. you cannot give what you do not possess.
The connection of the mind, the physical body and the inner spirit equals unity, alignment and peace to the self. Without this connection, this unity and alignment cannot exist.
If you don't believe in your mind that it can happen, your body will respond negatively resulting in a poor spirit, and an overall negative attitude to the world that has been created for us to thrive on. Something that I have found absolutely beautiful about life is that as long as we are alive on this planet, we are given infinite chances. We are given the opportunity to change our life with every breath that we take, every thought that floats through our brain, every stride we step when we run. We are given these choices because we have been given life. I am lucky because I have not only been given life, but I have been given choices, which as a result produced many things. Opportunities. Challenges. Failures. I have been gifted these to broaden my mind, to strengthen my spirit, and to open my spirit.
I didn't always see this way, though.
I started there, now i'm here
I had a dream a couple years ago to move down to the coast. I don't know what was drawing me there and why I wanted to move there so badly, but there was something so enticing about the big city that I hadn't experienced yet, I just wasn't sure when it would happen for me.
When I did move down there, it was only supposed to be for a month as I have spoken about in the past. I was at a point in my life where leaving the Okanagan couldn't have been more perfect, I needed out of the city. There was a lot of toxic energy that resonated here that I will admit, I ran away from for some time. I wasn't at a point of maturity where I had the confidence to approach issues that occurred in my life, rather I chose to ignore them in hopes that they would go away.
...are you kidding me?!
I will admit, I have still yet to perfect this, however I've gotten a hell of a lot better at dealing with my problems because who knew that handling it actually reduces prolonged anxiety... weird.
Anyway, in my mind at the time, Kelowna sucked. I didn't like the city at all, and after experiencing the lifestyle of Vancouver, I really didn't want to go back. I had met someone down there when I had initially moved, my family was down there, I saw a future with my job, and the lifestyle seemed to fit pretty alright.
All aspects of my life were aligned. I was completely head over heels for the person I had met down there, I saw myself being with him long term, the relationship was new and exciting... Why would I risk losing a relationship like that? Plus, I was closer to reaching a corporate job that I had always dreamed of, with the company that I love.
So I stayed.
From January to February, I was morbidly depressed, packed to the rim with anxiety, disliked everything about my life, and was extremely suicidal. I didn't see a lot of purpose for me to be in Vancouver as the relationship I had been in when I had initially moved down had come to a sudden end, my trust issues revolving around relationships exploded out again, and ultimately I just didn't want to be here anymore. Or anywhere. I cried almost every day because of what I was going through and didn't have anyone I could really talk to about it.
What had I done?
I had a horrible track record. I went through relationships like I did with shampoo, I got bored of the scent or it left a residue that I needed out ASAP. My issue was that I got so picky with the people I chose to spend my time with, that I allowed myself to build a reputation that I had commitment issues and would jump from relationship to relationship, without actually giving myself an opportunity to be single.
I realized how much I disliked myself for it. I ruined my sense of pride. I wasn't proud of my track record, because I allowed these relationships to develop to a state that, well, they liked me more than I liked them. Why? Well, as much as it may be hard to believe, I'm actually not that confident. My trust issues in relationships mostly involve me assuming that all males have 2-3 other women on the go while they are investing their time in me, and as soon as I caught that assumption, I ghosted them. Every. Single. One.
Now you're probably waiting for the whole 'so... when did it change?' story. It's nothing too crazy to be honest, just a couple trips to the doctor and an amazing human being who came into my life who taught me how to value myself and be true to my word. He quickly became one of my closest friends. I learned how to be completely vulnerable with myself. How to be patient, to trust that everything will fall into place, how to plan, and how to care. I'm grateful for that. I have gotten a heck of a lot better, I promise that. Although this was the only real positive I had in my life, I was also under so much stress in the city living paycheque to paycheque, making it merely impossible for me to make ends meet.
I lost confidence in myself that I wasn't able to make it by in Vancouver, and that even though I was on my own, I was becoming more dependent on finding balance than I had ever been before.
Why can't I get it together.
Why can't I make this work.
Why can't I find happiness.
Beginning of the month: I need out. Get me out. I cry almost every day now with how unhappy I am here... But I love my job. I can't stay afloat because Vancouver is annihilating my bank account, as much as I love it. I go home to Kelowna for a few days. Not even making it into West Kelowna, I have crystal clear settlement that I need to move home. My emotions are unbearable, my heart hurts. My visit home I did as much meditation as my body would allow. The calmness that surrounded me stuck. I was clear, my mind was pure. I need to go. How the fuck do I do this.
Middle of the month: Bit the bullet. I gave my notice to my job that I absolutely love. I know that in a perfect world I would take that job and bring it with me back to Kelowna, but unfortunately that isn't going to be the reality. I know though, that I made the right decision. I have absolutely no idea what Kelowna is going to bring me. I don't even know if I have a job when I move back. But holy Hannah am I ever happy to move back to the Okanagan. The vibration flowing through my body is making it clear as day that the timing is right for me to move home.
End of the month: Difficult. Saying goodbye to the people I have worked with over the past nine months brought instant nostalgia. I know they're going to be okay, I know they will continue to grow. My heart aches knowing I won't physically be there to support. But I trust that they are in good hands. I left behind what could have been a really amazing relationship, and I didn't even have the opportunity to fall into it because I didn't allow myself to. I met him at the wrong time, although part of me wonders what would have happened had I chosen to give it a shot.
I wonder if I'll ever know.
Since I have come back home to Kelowna, it has been different. The best way that I can describe it is that it's slow. My life has completely slowed down, and I have found my balance again. I may not be working my dream job at the moment, nor do I know what that looks like right now. But I am happy to say that I am on my own, independent as always, contented. Little things don't bother me. Traffic doesn't bother me. Nothing really phases me; the most important factor of all of this though, is that I finally feel like I'm home. I'm alive, for that I'm grateful. I have devoted the first part of my day, every day, to compliment myself. To love myself. To set my intentions for myself. To embrace what it's like to be a whole, naked-souled human being (read more on my interview with the face behind @the_nakedproject here). The past is what I can barely see in my rear view mirror, but the bright, fiery future lies ahead. Brb, going to start building my empire.
It's good to be back.
Providing you with the knowledge that I encounter on a daily basis through my fitness lifestyle.