The Body Issue Part II

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“I refuse to believe that the processed beauty that I see around me, is what I have to be.” –Rae Smith

We live in a world where waist trainers will give you the perfect mid-section in a matter of days, detox teas will help you release all toxins thus making you skinnier, body wraps will burn belly fat, thinning creams will make your skin glow, and miracle pills can do just that…while all of these fallacies claim to do the unimaginable they’re all just a ploy to make you feel better about yourself, yet at the end of the day you’re left feeling worse because these things don’t work. There’s no quick fix to real, lasting, change.

All of the aforementioned products may change your appearance for a short period of time but that’s where the problem lies. Nothing lasts. Pills, teas, detoxes, and wraps don’t transform you, they merely condition you into thinking there’s something out there that’s easy, that’s quick, and will give you the results you want.

The idea of beauty, of perfection, of looking like someone else, or a better version of you, that actually looks nothing like you is all part of the problem.

If there were a magic pill, or substance that could do that – there’d be a lot more millionaires out there. But the real problem is that people aren’t willing to put in the work or the effort, people also aren’t willing to accept their body for what it is, what it’s capable of doing, and what it does on a daily basis.

We want quick fixes because they make us feel good, but at the end of the day were left feeling like we have to start all over again because the results we were insistent on acquiring are fleeting and short lived. It’s because the true work comes from within. You can’t expect to change your exterior without working on the interior. It doesn’t work like that. When you spend less time focusing on your looks and more time on the way you treat yourself and others you begin to accept yourself, you begin to welcome yourself with open arms, you begin to apologize less for the way your body looks, you begin to stop allowing society to tell you how or why you should look a certain way.

Have we failed to read the memo that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes?

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Taking Flight

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I’ve always worked vacations into my life, they refuel me, and allow me to remember my why and purpose. It’s a chance to step away from it all, even just for a few days, and reconnect with myself.

 

This year life has gotten the best of me. I’ve been so focused on building my business, investing in my business, and learning how to live life solo that I forgot about investing in my well being. My friends and clients would ask when my next vacation was and I didn’t have a definitive response. I knew I needed one but it wasn’t fitting into my schedule. It was one thing after the next and I just didn’t have the time.

 

More recently than not I’ve been feeling like I’ve hit a wall. That I was chasing someone else’s dreams instead of my own, getting frustrated over little things, and forgetting that I’m capable of being successful and achieving greatness. Work was beginning to feel like a chore, and waking up was becoming more and more difficult with each passing morning.

 

Last week, I threw my hands up and surrendered. I know when I need an adult time out, a break from the world, and time to recharge. Without putting much thought into it, I booked an international flight, and hotel, for the following weekend, and that was that. I didn’t think about the cost, the days off from work, or if  was a wise decision or not.

 

March 28th 2015: My parents picked me up at 530am to drive me to Newark international airport (as they normally do for my flights-bless them).

 

While cruising down 95 my Step-Dad said something to me that really resonated within. He asked if I remembered when he picked me up from DC when I came home from Germany. He reminded me how worried I was about leaving all of my clients behind and starting all over again. “You’ve come a long way he said.” I agreed but didn’t think much more of it at the time.

 

Being in an airport has always excited me. Seeing hundreds of people go in hundreds of different directions allows me to see that no matter what, you just have to keep moving. You never know where life can take you, and although in the moment we’re so concerned with the here and now, we can only plan our life to a certain degree. The rest is written in the stars and it’s something we can’t predict. I never imagined I’d live in Germany, never imagined I’d be fortunate enough to travel the world, and never imagined I’d be pretty darn successful doing something that I truly love…

 

I checked in and made my way through security. Sat down to have a cup of tea prior to boarding and took a moment to think of how fortunate I am to live a life where I feel fulfilled most of the time, make enough money to travel, and have some incredibly amazing people as part of my tribe.

 

I called my Dad to let him know I made it and would begin boarding shortly. Once on the plane I checked Facebook one last time (I really need to work on a digital detox, but we’re all a work in progress).

 

One of my best friends pictures  popped up with what he was doing this time last year (new Facebook feature), it then gave me a link to click on what I was doing this time a few years ago…I clicked.

 

March 28, 2011: “Off to Germany I go…”

I froze for a moment thinking there’s no way this coincidence was possible. As I kept staring at the screen my heart began to flood with several emotions, mostly bittersweet. I called my Dad, as I usually do when I feel an overwhelming sense of emotions because he seems to be the only one to know exactly what to say to calm me down. I told him how ironic I thought it was. He said it certainly is, but you’re in a much better place. I had to bite my lip for a moment as to not allow my ugly cry to take over, and scare the passengers next to me. I took a deep breath and accepted what was…and what is.

 

Four years ago today I was off to a new country with my husband to begin the next chapter of our lives. I can still remember my fingers swelling mid air, and trying to rotate my new wedding band. It was a fresh start, a new opportunity, and the beginning of the rest of our lives, so I thought.

 

The plan I had in my head didn’t work out, but I guess when you really think about it, that was the plan, for things to not work out that way, but for them to work out differently.

 

Sure, the thought of March 28th, 2011 will always be a distant memory and hold a place in my heart, both negative and positive but today, I’m so incredibly grateful to be able to take flight, to spread my wings and soar.

 

Growing up hasn’t been easy, in fact it’s been really f*cking hard, but through this process I’ve learned so much about myself, and that despite what life throws at you, you can still fly- it may just be in a different direction.

 

Isn’t it ironic…don’t you think?

 

Jayel_Sig

Freedom Isn’t Free…

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In Pennsylvania there are two 20-day waiting periods in order to proceed with the divorce process. July 11th was the end of the second 20-day waiting period. I conveniently planned a girl’s getaway right around that time.

Often when I’m troubled or feeling an overwhelming sense of anxiety I go away. Now I realize some of you may be thinking that that’s actually me running away from my troubles and never really addressing them- well, you’re partially correct.

Traveling has always been a form of therapy for me. Although much more expensive than my weekly psychologist visits it is worth every penny. Traveling allows me the opportunity to re-connect with friends I haven’t seen in awhile, to reflect on what has led me to this point, and what I plan on doing to make my next move a better move.

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Although the divorce isn’t finalized (but should be in the next few weeks) the saying most commonly associated with the armed forces; “Freedom isn’t free” has constantly been ringing in my head. Being a future ex-military wife I understand and fully appreciate that freedom isn’t free. That military personnel risk their lives for us on a daily basis without much thanks or praise, and for that I am thankful.

The phrase has had a different meaning for me. In a few short weeks I will be “free.” Still being legally attached to someone bears a lot of weight. Despite not having seen my husband in over a year now he still has the ability to control some of my emotions, cause me pain, and ruin a perfectly good day. I’ve fought a long and difficult road to get to where I am. It’s not to say that the thoughts will instantly stop as soon as I have the papers in hand, but it gives me the opportunity to close one chapter in my life, all while healing and beginning to successfully move onto the next.

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Traveling opens up my heart to new possibilities, the chance to catch up with friends I haven’t kept in touch with as much as I should, and allows me to see that although our lives have taken different paths we share more similar stories than not.

My girlfriend that I met in Germany who was there for me when things went south met me for a week in the British West Indies/Cayman Islands. Unbeknownst to us we stayed on the “worlds best beach” which we took full advantage of. Our seven days of sun, (really, really, hot Caribbean sun), were filled with conversations over wine, salsa dancing until the wee hours in the morning, swimming with dolphins, holding sting rays, and discussing how we planned to make our lives fuller, richer and more rewarding; exactly what I needed.

For me it’s not about running from my problems but rather taking time away to address them and reconnect with myself. In the week I was away I disconnected from the social media world and recharged my own. I’ve learned that when I give everything I’ve got to others, I have nothing left to give to myself. Ladies, if you don’t already know the importance of giving back to yourself I encourage you to practice it on a regular basis; each and every day! It can be five minutes or 50 minutes.

As we wear so many different hats in a day don’t forget to take them off, and let your hair down.

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