Health at Every Size For Real

I’ve read a lot about the Health at Every Size movement. Basically, they promote the idea that body size has very little to do with actual health and that it is possible to be healthy at every size. They encourage women of all sizes to have a healthy relationship to food and exercise and encourage the belief that you don’t have to exercise, eat, or look a certain way to be truly healthy. I really admire the movement. I really believe in their mission and their message. Except, of course, when it comes to myself. I am more than willing to believe that other women of any size can be truly healthy, but my brain tells me that it’s impossible for my body to be healthy at its current size. I’ve gained a substantial amount of weight so how could I possibly be healthy? Other women’s bodies may be healthy at this size, but I’m sure mine isn’t. 

At the (strong) encouragement of my therapist I decided to test the theory that my body couldn’t be healthy at this size. Of course, the point of the experiment was to prove that I am healthy at this size and confront my own weight biases, but I didn’t see it going that way. The first step was doing something I’d been terrified to do for years: get a physical. I’m going to be honest and admit that unless I was very ill or had a broken body part I had not been to a doctor in years. Going in to the appointment I was terrified that I would be told I was, in fact, unhealthy and that I would need to lose weight in order to be healthy. Even before the appointment I knew that this fear was irrational, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that there must be something wrong with a body this size. 

Despite my terror, I showed up for the blood tests earlier this week and my appointment today. The verdict? My blood pressure is normal, my thyroid is functioning normally (which has not always been the case), my organ function is fine for all my major organs, and my cholesterol is only high because my “good cholesterol” is outrageously high; my bad cholesterol is markedly low. To summarize:  I am absolutely healthy. The doctor literally uttered the words “not a single thing to complain about.” This would be a positive result regardless of my previous medical history, but it’s even more remarkable because I have suffered from chronic illness in the past. Not only is this body, exactly the way it is, not sick, it is perfectly healthy. 

The results of my experiment on health and body size left me overjoyed and confused. I was so relieved to hear that I am, perhaps, the healthiest I have ever been. I was also completely confused as to how this was possible. Everything I had ever been told about my body indicated that I should be healthier when I’m smaller, not bigger. My entire paradigm for assessing my health relied on my body being smaller. All of my assumptions about my own health were based around being a certain size. Today, I was confronted with the facts, in black and white, that proved all my assumptions wrong. I am being forced to confront the fact that I am healthy at this size. 

I haven’t had enough time to process this yet, but I do know that it is the beginning of a monumental shift in how I view my body and my health. I haven’t had enough time to shift my perspective, but I can feel the shift coming. I was once told that in order to fully recover I would have to throw out all my old ideas about myself and the world. At the time that seemed impossible, but now I feel like I see the beginning of the path. It’s a super long path. It’s going to take me a long time to walk it. But you never reach the summit if you never start hiking. Time to walk in to the woods. 

Fight the Patriarchy, Literally

One of the main control mechanisms of oppressive systems is fear. A key example of this is rape culture. The patriarchy oppresses women by making them fear violence and victimization. When women find ways to eliminate the fear created by rape culture, they weaken the patriarchy. This is why I believe it’s crucial for women to train in martial arts, or at least take a self defense class once.

In addition to training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu I have trained in Boxing, Muay Thai, and combined them all for MMA training. At one time I was training for fights in all three of these disciplines. Yes, the featured image is me, a year and a half ago. I was punching, kicking, and getting punched and kicked at least five times per week. I am lucky that I never had the occasion to use these skills outside of the gym. Many women are not so lucky.

Learning how to properly punch, kick, take someone down to the ground, disarm them, and maybe break their arm, was an incredibly powerful experience. I don’t just mean that it was a profound experience, which is was, I also mean that it made me feel literally full of power. Knowing I had this skillset made me less afraid of being attacked.

I want to take a minute here to acknowledge my privilege. I am a white woman from the suburbs of Connecticut. I live in Vermont, in a city, but not a “real city”, a Vermont city. The likelihood of me being attacked is much lower than it is for some women. Walking home from the club in the middle of the night is not nearly as dangerous for me as it is for some other women. Unfortunately violence against women is so widespread that no women, no matter how privileged, can really feel like she’ll never be the victim of violence, but I do feel the need to acknowledge the fact that my circumstances make me much less likely to be attacked and that is a form of privilege.

That being said, I did have a healthy fear of being the victim of violence. I knew that statistics dictated that is was more likely for me to be a victim than not to be a victim. I also watched far too much Law and Order: SVU. I didn’t start training to fight with self defense in mind. I started training at a very angry time in my life where I felt like the only answer to my feelings was hitting things or being hit (don’t worry, I’ve discussed it with my therapist). The unintended result was that I began to fear violence less and less. I began to be more confident that I would know what to do in a violent situation. Of course, I acknowledge the possibility that in an actual violent I would forget everything I know and freeze, but just knowing that I had some training made me less scared.

Being less scared has allowed me to stand up for myself in unexpected and seemingly unrelated ways. I used to be the kind of girl who just let guys touch me without my permission when dancing because I was too scared to start something. Now I assertively say no without fear. I used to walk home at night with my keys in my hand to use as a weapon in case someone tried to grab me. I used to insist upon being walked to my car if it was past midnight, even if my car was a block away and the whole path was well lit. Now I walk casually to my car alone, no matter what the time of night, and my keys stay in my purse. If I’m out with the guys I trained with they don’t insist on walking me to my car because they know I can handle myself. If those sentences just made you nervous it’s because you’re a victim of the fear created by rape culture. Your fear allows the patriarchy to control you. Training in martial arts allowed me to be free of this day to day fear. I suggest martial arts or self defense classes to any woman who is looking to make herself a little more free of the control of the patriarchy.

Of course, women training in self defense or martial arts does not address the core issue: rape culture itself. The fashionable thing to say today is don’t teach women self defense, teach men not to assault women. I agree with this statement wholeheartedly, but I find it naive and shortsighted. Of course changing the way men think about women and violence is key to dismantling rape culture, but this takes time. Like generations worth of time. Today’s parents need to teach their sons differently than this generation and generations before were taught. Those sons need to grow up and put their different viewpoints in to action in the world. Those sons need to have sons and teach them their different viewpoints. Whether we like it or not, violence against women is here to stay for quite some time because rape culture is here to stay until we can change a whole generation of men.

So, in the meantime women need martial arts and self defense. Women need to know that their bodies can be powerful weapons if they need to be. Women need to know that they can stand up for themselves and protect themselves if they are ever threatened. Women need to know how to react if they are ever faced with violence. And more importantly, women need the confidence that comes from knowing that they can literally kick ass.

The Empowerment of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Yes, the picture for the post is me choking a dude. How did I learn to choke someone so efficiently? I have been practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for almost five years. Not consistently for five years. Unfortunately my issues with compulsive exercise meant I was injured every six months or so and had to take time to rehabilitate, interrupting my training periodically. I also took a long hiatus from training when I first entered recovery for my eating disorder. I didn’t trust myself not to train compulsively, so I stepped back and took some time to examine what Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ for short) meant to me and did for me. I am proud to report that I began training again six months ago and have not injured myself or trained compulsively since coming back.

Taking time off from BJJ to contemplate its place in my life allowed me to gain a lot of clarity about what it has taught me over the past five years. One of the biggest insights that I gained was that training BJJ has been one of the most empowering and body positive experiences of my life. I also realized that BJJ has allowed me to connect with women in a way I previously had not experienced. I will say that this has not been everyone’s experience in the BJJ community. Some women are treated very poorly at their gyms or dojos and are sometimes even exploited by the males with whom they train. This is deplorable and I hope that every woman who has had these experiences can find a gym where they are treated with respect. I am lucky that I have always trained in places that treated women as equals on the mat.

First of all. what is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? It is a grappling martial art that combines standing and ground techniques. What in the heck does that mean? Think of wrestling and you’ll start to get a picture. Wrestling is another grappling sport. However, unlike wrestling which focuses on dominating and pinning the opponent, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu focuses on the flow of the movement. The two people practicing together, commonly referred to as rolling, switch quickly and gracefully through various movements trying to gain a better position. The focus is on using refined technique to gain an advantage on your training partner or opponent. BJJ is more often compared to chess than other martial arts because of the cerebral engagement involved in gaining a more advantageous position. I always think of BJJ as heavier on the art portion of martial arts than the martial portion, though it is definitely applicable to self defense situations.

My first experiences of empowerment and body positivity in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu involved the pure amazement of discovering the capability of my body. I remember being a white belt watching higher belts and being stunned by the ways their bodies moved. They pretzeled themselves in to crazy positions, moved their hips like salsa dancers, used their body weight to force their partner to move a certain way, and took advantage of their partner’s movements as momentum for their own movements. Watching two experienced BJJ players roll is like watching an intricate and complicated dance. I remember thinking to myself “there is no way my body will ever move like that.”

The experienced members of my gyms spent hours breaking down the movements for me and practicing them over and over again. After some time, my body just began to move the right ways and I began to complete techniques correctly. I gained a new appreciation for the inherent abilities of my body. Please note, that I am not and never have been naturally athletic. I’m not one of those people whose bodies just understand how to do things after they’ve been taught a few times. I have to work really hard to understand how to make my body move, but with a lot of practice it happened for me. I began to believe that the body I had could do amazing things, which gave me the motivation to continue to push my body and learn new things. Only in the past six months have I learned to push my body safely, but hey, some of us are slower than others.

As I branched out in my training and began to train with new people I also began to notice that there wasn’t one type of body that trained BJJ. Many sports require a very specific body type. The most obvious examples would be dancing or gymnastics. People competing in these sports are under a lot of pressure to maintain a certain type of body that they are told makes them better at this sport. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu isn’t like this at all. I saw men and women of all sizes training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. More importantly, I very rarely heard people pressuring others to change their size in order to be better at the sport.

The most empowering and body positive experiences I have had since starting BJJ were when attending the Groundswell Grappling Concepts BJJ Women’s Camp. These were transformative experiences, and that’s not an exaggeration. Basically, 30-40 women get together and train for 3-5 days straight. It’s a very different experience training just with women. I learned the techniques differently and executed them differently. I got to hear about other women’s experiences at their gyms and their experiences with competing. I got to train with the best female BJJ competitors in the country. Think about going to a basketball camp and getting to train with Kobe. That’s the level of instruction we received. But most importantly, I got to be surrounded by women who loved to do the same thing as me and did it just as passionately. I formed friendships there are still very close to my heart. Every time I have gone to camp my perspective on BJJ has changed  and I have gained invaluable insight about myself.

This was never more true than when I attended camp in January, about six months after I went to treatment for my eating disorder. I was very nervous about attending. I had only begun training again in November and was worried that my skill level didn’t match up anymore. I was worried that I would overtrain and injure myself again. I was nervous that people who had attended camp with me before would notice how much weight I’d gained and comment. Of course, all my worrying was for naught. I was honest with campers and instructors about my previous injuries and they were all very accommodating. I brought enough food and ate when I needed to eat. I sat out of sessions when I needed to and no one questioned it other than to make sure I was okay. I listened to my body and trained safely. I also had a ton of fun! This proved to me that BJJ didn’t have to be the super competitive experience I had made it in to previously. It could be easy and fun.

But the most important thing that happened at camp this year was actually something that didn’t happen. No one talked about their weight or body size. In a group of 45 women not a single one of them talked about being on a diet or compared their body to another women’s body or made any comment about a woman’s weight. And we were changing together in locker rooms! I did see a few women step on the scale, but they almost apologetically said it was because they were watching their weight for competition. Other than that, no one said a single thing about body size. Every single woman there accepted every other woman exactly as she was and there was no implication that body size had anything to do with training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

That weekend was the first time that I ever realized that my body size was unimportant to BJJ. It was also the first time that I realized that a properly nourished body performs much better than an undernourished body. Before recovery I was constantly training BJJ without taking in the proper nourishment to support my training. I realized that weekend that true dedication to BJJ means taking care of my body as it is.

I will pause here for an important side note. Competing in BJJ does include weight classes, like wrestling or boxing. Some people, myself included, feel enormous pressure to be a certain size in order to compete. For a long time in my recovery I blamed BJJ for “forcing me” to maintain a smaller size in order to compete. During my time off from training and later in my recovery I was able to admit that no one had forced me to lose weight in order to compete in a lower weight class. My eating disorder had co-opted the weight class system of BJJ competitions in order to make me believe I needed to be smaller to be successful. This message was never explicitly given to me by anyone in the BJJ community. I internalized this message and followed it to my own self destruction.

I no longer compete in BJJ because of this, which has forced me to explore different motivations for my training and different avenues of advancement. Really, it forced me to open up my BJJ world. Instead of competing in our last local tournament I reffed and had just as amazing of a time. Probably a better time because my perfectionism wasn’t beating me up about whether I’d won or lost a match. Since my day to day training is no longer focused on competing I have been able to focus on improving holes in my game; stuff I never would have worked on because I was too busy improving what I was already good at in order to win. I have also started as an assistant teacher for our children’s program and have started co-instructing new members of our gym. Already teaching has given me more than any medal I’ve ever won. I have discovered completely new sides to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and my world has expanded in ways I never imagined.

Today I train BJJ 3-4 times per week depending on what my body feels like. If I’m too sore or tired I skip class. Sometimes I obsess over whether people are judging me for missing class, but then I remember that the people I’m training with love me and want me to take care of myself. Today I train BJJ because I love to learn, not because I’m driven to win. Today I train BJJ without believing that I need a smaller body in order to gain the advantage. Today I train BJJ without the competitive drive that made me hate the sport more than I loved it in the past.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has taught me that my body has incredible power that has nothing to do with its size. My body can move, flow, perform. My body can learn a new skill and put it in to practice. I haven’t found the empowerment that comes from this kind of connection to my body anywhere else. I still struggle with accepting my body’s new size, but every time I walk out of a BJJ class I feel a little bit closer because if my body can perform at this size that’s what really matters. I can honestly say that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has changed my life and propelled my recovery. What more could I ask for?

 

 

The Value of the Struggle

I took a bit of an unplanned hiatus. Partially because I was visiting my family this weekend. We had a lovely time. But the other part of the hiatus is that I was having a really rough time last week. I’m still kind of having a hard time. I don’t like to admit that. I am more than willing to share the stories of my struggles after they’re over, when I’ve gotten through them and have some insight to share. I do not like talking about my struggles while they’re happening. It doesn’t matter what I’m having trouble with or how many times I’ve talked about it before. When I’m struggling I don’t want anyone to know.

I have spent so much energy throughout my life creating facades. I used to be much better at this than I am now. In the past, my entire life was devoted to making sure that things looked great on the outside even though I was suffering internally. I thought sharing about my struggles was a sign of weakness. I believed that I needed to be able to get through everything on my own in order to be respected. I believed that suffering in stoic silence was a sign of strength. So, I spent my life hiding my pain and smiling through my struggles.

Today it’s much more uncomfortable for me to lie and say I’m fine when I’m not, but I still do this more than I’d like. This is especially true when I am trying to craft a public image. I want people to like me. I want people to think well of me. I want people to think I am strong and cool and that I have my shit together. If it were up to my ego I would only ever post about the times that I am awesome, or the times that I struggled through and overcame adversity all by myself. I wouldn’t share about the times that I spent crying in my room, or zoning out to Netflix for hours at a time, or feeling hopeless. But if I eliminate those experiences from the narrative of me I present here then I’m not being honest or authentic, and I want to be honest and authentic.

So the truth of my absence is that I spent a lot of time watching Alias instead of writing so that I didn’t have to feel lonely and abandoned. I smoked a cigarette instead of bingeing. I got trapped in the bad neighborhood that is my brain and didn’t come out for a few days. I looked in the mirror and didn’t like what I saw. I looked at pictures of myself and wanted to cry. I built a blanket fort on my couch and stayed there instead of hanging out with friends. I was emotionally stuck. The other truth is that I still went to all my scheduled appointments. If I’d made plans prior to getting stuck I kept them instead of canceling them. I didn’t use behaviors to deal with my feelings. I just got stuck feeling lousy and rode it out.

I was reminded during this time that I was exactly where I needed to be and that there is value in the struggle. I can learn more from these stuck places than I can when I’m happy. The growth comes from the pain, not from the contentment. Over and over my experiences have taught me that these things are true. Once I’m on the other side of the emotional stuckness I can see that I have gained new knowledge and insight about myself, but when I’m in it, like deep down in it, these mantras infuriate me. I think, this may be exactly where I need to be, but fuck it, I don’t want to be here. I think, I’m probably learning something valuable right now, but why does it have to feel like this? I think, when will this end? Because when I’m in it it feels interminable.

Right now, I’m beginning to see the true value of the struggle is actually just sitting through it. I never used to be able to sit with my feelings. I always believed I felt too much and it scared me, so as soon as I felt something I reached for a drink, a smoke, or a bag of chips so I didn’t have to feel the feeling anymore. Or if the feelings got too out of control I just starved to prove I could control myself. I didn’t ever allow feelings to happen in their natural course. Today I know that no matter how I feel right now it will go away eventually. Today I know that I don’t have to chase the feelings away, I have to feel them. If I don’t feel them now they’ll just be back later insisting to be felt. I just have to build a blanket fort, be gentle with myself, and wait until the feelings change.

It doesn’t feel good to be in the struggle. It never will. But now I know that I can survive the struggle without falling apart. And I know that I can speak honestly about the struggle. I don’t have to pretend to be anything.

I Didn’t Agree to This

Sometimes when I think about the ideas that shape the way I think about myself and how I relate to the world the only response I can come up with is “I didn’t agree to this”. Like the concept that my worth in this world is dictated by my appearance and the size of my body. At no point in my life did anyone ever ask me if that standard was acceptable and whether or not I agreed. If asked, I might have said that this was bullshit and rejected the standard, but I was never asked. I was indoctrinated. In order to move through this world in a way that was more amicable and less painful I agreed to accept dogma that made no sense.

In reality, society has a list of bullshit rules that we’re all supposed to play by regardless of whether or not we accept them. Women are supposed to look a certain way, behave a certain way, engage in certain activities, and avoid other activities. All this to adhere to some sort of structure in which we didn’t agree to participate because we were never given a choice. On top of that, women who break the rules are shamed for their non-conformity. So, if we acknowledge that we didn’t agree to the rules and follow our own rules we are punished. The system even has a failsafe built in because women are conditioned to be overly concerned with what others think of them, so they abide by the rules in order to be accepted. We’re trapped in a system set up for failure in which we didn’t ask to participate.

Part of me wants to shout that I didn’t agree to this, please let me out. The other part of me fears the retribution that would come from such a balking of the system. Part of me wants to reject the rules entirely, and the other part of me wants to do anything it can to be fully accepted by the system.

This cognitive dissonance is a really painful place. The voice deep in my gut tells me that freedom lies in rejecting the system. The good little girl inside me says that it’s too dangerous. Right now, I can’t offer any insight or answers. I can finally see the system for what it is, but all I can do is stare. I’m at the top of the fence, stuck on the barbed wire, trying to decide which way to jump.

There’s Nothing Wrong with You

I don’t know about you, but I’ve lived most of my life believing that there was something wrong with me. Exactly what has changed a thousand times over the years. When I was young I thought I wasn’t smart enough. When I got older I wasn’t popular enough. In high school I wasn’t thin enough. There was the constant mantra that I was not enough and that meant that there was something wrong with me. As I got older this cemented in to a core belief that I was fundamentally broken and that nothing could fix me. It’s taken years of work on myself to even say this core belief out loud and it will take years more work to truly convince myself that it isn’t true, but today I am able to entertain the idea that maybe, just maybe, there’s nothing wrong with me that needs fixing. I’m going to put out the radical idea that there is also nothing wrong with you that needs to be fixed.

The reason that this is a radical idea is that much of our consumer culture is based on convincing people that there is something wrong with them that needs to be fixed and that a product will do the trick. The beauty industry wants to fix your face with the right makeups, face washes, and creams. The diet industry wants to fix your body with the right pill, supplement, food, or drink. The pharmaceutical industry wants to fix your feelings with prescriptions. No matter how you look or feel on a daily basis there is an industry out there that will sell you a fix. Generally, we are more than happy to buy these fixes because we truly believe we need to be fixed. There is some piece of us that we believe to be broken and we are so desperate to be whole that we will buy anything that promises us that fix. Unfortunately no product can fix what isn’t broken, and you are not broken. I am not broken.

I have this meditation app called Insight Timer. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a way to integrate daily meditation in to your life. I’m not a sit still kind of gal, so guided meditations are my jam and Insight Timer has a ton of them. One that has engrossed me lately is called “There is Nothing Wrong With You” by Robin Rice. I’ve listened to it every few days for the past few weeks. She runs through a list of everything people tend to find wrong with themselves: their bodies, their personalities, their life circumstances, and their relationships, then gently reminds the listener that there is actually nothing wrong with these things. Our lives are just fine exactly the way they are. Our bodies are just fine exactly the way they are. Our relationships are just fine exactly the way they are. We should not be compelled to fix something because we believe it is broken, we should be compelled to change something because we want it to be different. This is not to say that we are all perfect and don’t need to change anything in our lives. We all have character defects that need to be addressed, but this does not make us broken, therefore we do not need to be fixed.

The meditation offers the idea that we can change anything we want to about our lives, if we want to change, but asks us to keep in mind that we are not required to fix anything because we are not broken. This got me thinking about my motivations for changing in the past, especially related to my body. When I really think about it, most of the times that I have been compelled to change myself it was because I believed I needed to be fixed. In fact, I have always thought of my body as something to be fixed. Much of my life was spent researching the next new thing that would fix me, pursuing that thing, and then being disappointed when it didn’t fix me.

As I continued with this line of thought it occurred to me that if I believed that my body didn’t need to be fixed would I really want to change it at all? This is a very uncomfortable question for me to address because it challenges all of my core beliefs about my body, but when I really think about it a voice in my gut tells me that I wouldn’t want to change my body. The voice in my gut tells me that I have always changed my body to fix it and that if it doesn’t need to be fixed then I don’t need to change it.

I can’t say that I totally agree with this voice in my gut. I’ve spent too many years believing that I was broken to just stop believing it and change my ways, but this voice allows me to explore new territory and start to internalize new beliefs. What would change if I were to let go of the idea that I need to be fixed? That voice in my gut says that everything would change.

The Challenge Comes to an End

Today is post 30 for my 30 day blogging challenge. I didn’t do 30 in 30 days, but I did complete all 30 posts in 34 days. I never thought I’d make it that far at all. I figured I’d give up around halfway through. I’m not very good at sticking things out, especially if they’re difficult, and this challenge was, but I made it all the way through.

So what have I learned? First blogging every day is really hard. There were days when I just didn’t feel like I had anything to say. There were other days where I was so emotionally drained that sitting down and writing felt like torture. There were other days where sitting down and writing just felt like an annoying chore I wanted to blow off, like cleaning the bathroom. But I wrote anyway. Each day that I just didn’t feel like writing, I did it anyway. I remembered that I had made a commitment to myself, I took out my laptop, and I just wrote. And I am proud of every single piece I wrote for this challenge.

I also learned that it’s not super sustainable for me to write every day. I need to take days off for self care. I need to focus on my wants and needs in order to put out good writing. Instead of powering through on a couple of days, I recognized  and honored my limits. I know that posting every day is not the level of blogging that I can maintain. I’m going to try to stick to a four day a week schedule going forward. I do think that writing on a schedule has helped me a lot, but that schedule needs to be less than daily.

I discovered that I actually have a lot to say. When I started the challenge I didn’t have a list of 30 topics to write about. I had a pretty sizeable list, but it certainly was not 30 topics. I was legitimately concerned that I wouldn’t have enough to write about to fill 30 days. I still have topics left on that list because other topics felt appropriate on certain days. There wasn’t a single day that I felt like I didn’t have something to say, and I have a lot more to say. Having to come up with things to write about every day got me really comfortable with writing about my feminist journey. I’ve had to do a lot more learning and a lot more thinking, and I feel like I really discovered my voice on feminist topics.

I also discovered that I have so much more left to learn. Feminism is so broad. I’ve barely scratched the surface of intersectional feminism, which is what I really want to focus on right now. I want to expand my understanding of the topics I’ve already covered and learn completely new things. After 30 posts in 34 days I’m still passionately learning and writing.

Lastly, and most importantly, I learned that I can be a real writer. From a very young age my writing was praised and many a high school English teacher told me that they hoped I would pursue a career in writing. Life got in the way, as it often does, and writing fell completely off my radar. I kind of assumed that I’d lost my touch, and certainly that I lost my passion. This challenge has reignited my fire for writing. I really love it and I really want to continue.

So where do I go from here? Like I said, I want to stick to a 4 day a week schedule. Probably Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. Weekends off and a break in the middle sounds good for me right now. I want to continue cranking out content and building up my portfolio. My original plan for the challenge was to build up a portfolio of my own work and then begin pitching major online publications. I intend to do this. I will be working on a couple of pitches and projects and sending them out by the end of April. Maybe I’ll get to see this dream of being a real writer come true. I’ve struggled in so many ways in my life, but I have always come out the other side and seen my dreams come true, so here’s hoping.

Thanks for coming along on this ride with me. Thank you for reading over and over again. The support I have received has been overwhelming and it’s kept me going. Please stick around and let’s see where this goes together.