Hi. I’m Lydia. I’m a mess.
I don’t mean that like, “omg I ate 7 pieces of pizza today,” or “I’ve worn this hoodie everyday this week” or “I gave myself a black eye in my sleep” (although all recent truths). I’m saying, I am a whole mess. I’m a 30something single woman living with her parents, abandoning 5 years and 2 degrees worth of graduate school because standard day job work gives me crippling depression, and so I work as a Lyft driver with six figures of debt and sometimes well-managed mental health issues. And on top of all of those things I’m the kind of obese that has to shop in a specialty store because the plus-size section at the regular size store probably doesn’t have sizes big enough. That’s a lot of issues, and a lot of mess. Nevermind my inability to arrive anywhere on time or organize a closet. Last year, I tried to Marie Kondo my part of the house, but ended up just moving into the guest room and started calling the bedroom my walk-in closet. See? A mess.
So many blogs, and even more instagrams, want you to believe that their lives are perfect. That the outcome you see is simple and organic. Every pie, soup and refurbished bookshelf turns out perfect on the first try, and looks beautiful in its gorgeously decorated, perfectly lit kitchen or living room, enjoyed by beautiful people in their pristine, dry clean only casual attire. Usually the blogger is a superwoman who runs every aspect of her life like clockwork, works out all morning and still has time to do her hair and makeup before this baking and cooking and painting happens. All over the internet are people who want you to believe they’re the next Martha Stewart, but with fewer felonies and more used Anthropologie gift cards.
But none of that is real. A lot of those accounts have entire staffs working for them, teams for cooking and staging and web design. Which, good for them for their achievements. A thriving small business is something to be proud of for sure. But that’s not what’s presented to us.What we see is one person writing a quick entry to show off what she just whipped up. We don’t see all the attempts that weren’t a success, the photos that didn’t turn out exactly perfect. We only see the best version, no matter how much editing goes into it.
To be fair, maybe for some people it is real. Maybe they really have culinary and domestic intuition to get everything right on the first try. They really achieved the charmed life, and were blessed with the ability to be organized and task-oriented and never miss a beat. Congratulations to those magical people (and their pharmacists). But the rest of us are messy. Maybe you’re not as messy as me, but we all have our moments.
Weight loss stories are too often the same way. “Well, I realized drinking Mountain Dew was bad for me, so I stopped doing that and lost 200 pounds.” If only it was that easy. There is so much to weight loss, and obesity in general, that no one wants to talk about. Ups, downs, plateaus. Oddities and unpleasantness that we guard and hold inside ourselves because of the shame and guilt we’ve been told to feel. Too many people want to talk about results, but they aren’t prepared for the journey. I don’t love using buzzwords like journey, but that’s what it is. It takes time, effort, and a kind of self-control that I only possess some of the time.
I don’t mean to sound overly critical. I love the kind of accounts I’ve been talking about. I love seeing people’s transformation stories, and I love seeing a perfectly set farm to table meal in a rustic gourmet kitchen. It’s aspirational. In spite of everything I know about myself and the world of Influencers, I can still look at something and think, “if she can do it, there’s no reason I can’t too.”
But as much as I like looking at those things, I know they aren’t what I need. I need something true. Something more relatable. I need to write about my struggles with weight loss, self-care, and healthy living. I can’t pretend everything is going smoothly if it isn’t. I don’t have time for that, really, because the sooner I’m healthy the better. So I need a place where I can hold myself accountable. If I mess up, get distracted or stumble, I want to have this place to tell someone about it. Really talk about it, without sugar-coating. Sugar is what got me in the plus size section in the first place, so we’re done with that.
I hope that you can read this and think, “Omg, I can’t believe there are other people that do that. That’s crazy, I thought I was the only one.” You’re not, and I’m not! One time when I was signing up for personal training at the gym, the training manager said to me without preamble, “Don’t even worry, you’re not the most out of shape person I’ve seen doing this training. Not by a long shot.” At first I was put off, like ‘…well obviously not. That thought never crossed my mind.’ But the more I thought about it, the more I wasn’t offended, I was reassured. Like, ‘well good. Maybe I’m not the only person feeling a little bit embarrassed working out in this giant open room.’ And who’s to say only the people with the most work to do will be the people feeling shy or embarrassed? Or that the people who appear to be fit aren’t self-conscious for their own reasons? And who’s to say the people who that guy thinks will be embarrassed are going to be?? Maybe they’re proud because they showed up to do the best they could. The point is that we all have our journeys. We all have our own insecurities, our own hurdles, and our own measurements of success.
I want a place where I can feel safe to be honest about my progress. I want to talk about both my wins and my failures, because even the failures (there are many) are ways to learn how I can do better. When I started this blog over a decade ago (!!!) I knew nothing. It’s been so long since my last post, and a lot has happened. Now I have so much further to go, but I also know so much more about food, wellness, and myself. Hopefully if I tell you about what and how I’m doing, that will make both of us feel a little less alone. I’m trying to build a better Lydia, but I think you’ll find some ways for how to better yourself too.
But You’re A Mess…
Sometimes my messiness is funny. Sometimes, it’s heartbreaking. Occasionally, it goes away and I seem like I know exactly what I’m doing. I’m trying hard to make that last one happen more often. What I said in the beginning about the messes with the pizza, the hoodie, and the black eye? Well, the pizza was made with cauliflower crust, and it was a small. The hoodie is the shirt I wear when I go for my nightly walk. I wash it frequently. The black eye…okay that one was weird. My friend Google says it was actually because of my sinuses; my mom agrees I would have definitely woken up if I punched myself that hard. No matter, cold compresses, allergy meds, and a cucumber mask cleared it up a few days later.
The point is that right now my goal is small victories. I don’t know enough about architectural history to give you some clever allusions to fast and small building processes, but just know I’m trying to show you the means before I show you the end. I’m trying pretty hard to build a better Lydia.
That’s all lovely but isn’t this a food blog?
Only kind of. I want this blog to be all about self-improvement. Not just clean eating, but healthy living, physically and emotionally. But I also want to offer something readers can take away from each post (aside from my clever prose). I’m a “jump to recipe” type of gal 90% of the time, so I think that’s important. Today though, I just wanted to touch base and say here I am and this is what’s happening moving forward.