In a way I’m kind of scared to post this. I’m worried what people will think of me when they see what I looked like at my heaviest. What they will think about the fact that I lost all that weight. The “wow, you look so good” and “you lost weight!” comments echo in my head. I know the intentions behind these comments are well-meaning, but they sting each time I hear them. Comments someone who has stayed a steady weight their whole life never have to hear. I’m proud of myself, don’t get me wrong. But I’m not necessarily proud of the weight loss in and of itself. I’m proud that I learned to enjoy exercise because I enjoy hiking and dancing and being an active person, and I’m proud that I can be a healthier person. I’m proud of the shift to happiness after years of depression that allowed me to break out of my high school habits and into a more active lifestyle. This was who I was in high school. I did not get a lot of mean comments, and all of my friends consistently stated that I was beautiful. I found clothes I liked eventually. I still have a lot of work to do for myself. Its hard to look back like this and constantly think about how high school might have been better if I had just been smaller. But I’ve learned so much from it. It was a physical representation of how much my depression was affecting me. It was still my body. It doesn’t hurt to look back because I hate how I looked. It hurts to look back because I see the joy in peoples eyes to see that I “overcame” how I looked, when in fact they should be joyous to see that I really overcame my depression.
We often get so caught up in the glamour of jetting off to another country, some tropical destination, that we forget that there is plenty to explore in our own area. This past weekend I took two of my friends (both from out of state) to Duluth, MN to give them a taste of the place I grew up. To my surprise, I found myself looking at my own state with a visitors lens and discovered a new appreciation for Minnesota. The beauty we found here, at Jay Cooke State Park (pictured above), was unexpected and breathtaking. Even with a chill and a slight drizzle, we found inspiring views at every step. I love to travel, and I have every intention of going to another country, but I often forget that its ok to start where you can- to find those hidden gems right where you live.