I knew this tour was going to be the biggest journey of my life.
For years, I’ve come up with reasons not to be alone with myself. If I structured my time, I could be alone no problem; a 10-minute meditation written into my morning routine? Great! A two and a half hour drive home from a gig? No problem.
But anytime I ended up with space to rest, with time I hadn’t carefully manicured into my schedule - I panicked. I found anything and everything to fill my time, from eating a bowl of chips to going to see a show: It didn’t matter what it was, I just couldn’t be alone.
On tour, you can’t structure your time. You can’t plan. I’ve ended up staying in different houses than I’d planned on. I’ve meandered into cities I never knew existed and spent time with people who have changed my life. These aren’t things you can put on your agenda.
The lack of control, the new faces, the sporadic sleep and unpredictable food, the adrenaline of performance, and the hours alone I’ve experienced could easily have turned into an abrupt shattering of my stability. Instead, I chose to hold this experience as a platform to catapult me into the version of myself I’ve always dreamed of.
I didn’t realize National Eating Disorder Awareness week was coming up when I piled a mound of gluten, dairy, sugar, and booze onto a plate (or into a cup, depending) and spent two hours chewing non-stop. 2,000+ excess calories later, I waited for the, “What the hell have I done?” thought to present itself - and it never came.
I was a chronic binge-eater from ages 15 to about 24. When I first began my clean-eating and weight loss journey two years ago, I still binged; I just binged on chickpeas and carrots and paleo muffins and vegan pesto.
It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom last year and rebuilt my beliefs and self-care with a beautiful new foundation that I found myself able to stop the compulsion, and really get to the root of what I was experiencing and fearing underneath the addiction.
Let’s face it: When we started 2018, we set some resolutions, and now that we’ve launched into a new year (oh haiiii 2019!) and have been reflecting on our previous, we’re realizing we uh, didn’t really end up achieving those resolutions like we thought we would.
Here’s the thing about resolutions: They often come from a place of lack, guilt, and obligation. We feel there’s something we need to be doing better; that if we just engaged in X, Y, or Z, we’d be enough, we’d be happy, we’d feel whole; that there’s something we should be doing that we haven’t gotten ourselves to do yet.
It’s no wonder only 8% of people keep their New Year’s resolutions (Forbes)! When we set conditions for our self-love and happiness, i.e. “I’m going to lose 20 lbs this year - then I’ll feel better,” we affirm to ourselves that we aren’t enough just as we are - and that doesn’t feel good for anyone.
So how do we set ourselves up for success? Let me clue you in to a few secrets that will allow you to move toward your goals from a place of self-love, clarity, and beautiful inner worth:
**Trigger warning: Sexual trauma**
As I write this, I sit in the middle seat of Row 23, glancing out the window at the clouds below as Flight 807 leads me home.
I’d never been to Chicago before, and I wasn’t disappointed. I caught Lake Michigan on a windy day and felt waves bigger than the ocean. I found the biggest rubber duck I’ve ever seen (we named him Aqueductus, and yes, I brought him home with me). I had a pumpkin hazelnut sundae, the best gluten-free muffin I’ve ever eaten, and chocolate banana tea, and I sang karaoke for the first time in years (my Diva self had never been so elated).
But the most significant part of this trip wasn’t the waters, the nightlife, or even seeing my best friend (love you so much). The most significant part of this trip was that I made the journey alone.
***IMAGES CONTAIN NUDITY***
I’ve always done my best to shimmer, to softly impart my sparkle onto the lives of those around me.
Ultimately that’s what we all want to do, right? Live our best lives, connect with those around us, and leave our mark on the world.
A year ago, I discovered the secret to offering my full shine: I began to love myself first before pouring my pieces into those around me, and I felt, for the first time, like I was whole.
I’d already been an advocate around mental illness and trauma stigmatization, but with this new discovery, my message changed: Rather than coming from a space of depression, I came from a space of self-love. I yearned for the people around me to embrace their own self-love journey, so I shared mine, and began to follow my dreams and aspirations in new, uninhibited ways.
Six months ago, I hit a snag.