The Promised Land
The Promised Land
At the age of 9, I boarded the Someday Train with a harmless Slim Fast shake for breakfast. I crept deeper into the rail cars at 14- holding the hand of my frenemy, Jenny Craig, and by 17 was promiscuous with all the weight-loss railcars, forking over money (I didn’t really have) to deliver me unto The Promised Land.
Ah, the Promised Land— a Utopia built from scenes constructed in the twisted alleys of your brain. You’ve tried navigating the darkness on your own, with a half-dead flashlight, gripping both your shame and desire tight in one hand while being dragged down by a purse stuffed with glossy magazines, ghost stories, and a music box of voices that love to tell you how much they hate you, your skin, and body when you open the lid. We’re pulled through the journey by an alluring whisper: you can have it all… love, success, family, wealth, adventure, and beauty….
We carry a lot of Brain-Baggage with us on The Someday Train. But that’s okay, because The Someday Train is a savior and offers multiple money-back guarantees. Clearly, This is where people go from:
1. Not to Hot;
2. Hand-wringing Self-doubt to Powerful Confidence;
3. Debt, Diabetes, and Depression to Freedom, Health, and Vibrancy.
Sounds amazing, right? What do you have to lose beyond the pounds that we’re going to melt off you…?
I wandered the corridors, in and out of miles of train cars— Atkins, Phen Phen, Cabbage Soup, Hypnosis, Nutrislim, Jared’s Subway, Weight Watchers, Dr. Oz, Richard Simmons, Susan Powter, Grapefruit, Shakes, Pills, Vitamin B Shots, Fasting, Juice Cleanses, Biggest Loser Gym Competitions, Marathons, Hydrocolonics, and more. I’d longingly look out the window of the world passing by, but never long enough to truly see anything of worth beyond the blur of what I thought I was missing. In short, it’s a funhouse and nobody knows what is real, inside and out.
The Someday Train stops to let passengers on and off, but never long enough to allow for reorientation, breath, or respite. Someone is always cheerleading us to return: “the wedding is in three weeks, let’s do a juice detox.” Someone is amping themselves up to give it one more try: “I got new workout leggings that finally fit and some great shoes, let’s do this.” Someone loves to put piggies back in the pen: “your BMI is in the obese category and you’re gonna die of a heart attack if you don’t drop 60 pounds.”
Sometimes that’s okay. But not all the time.
The problem is that someone needs you to do this, to buy into this, because there is 68 billion dollars on the line for a diet industry that eats off the plates of The Promised Land, The Male Gaze, and a Woman’s Ache to Belong in her Skin.
At 36, I chose to enter the last car, bariatric surgery, even though I never had faith it would work. In desperation, my thinking had become a skipped record: if I don’t feel amazing in my body than I won’t live my life the way it was meant and therefore I will have failed my one shot at happiness and I might as well die now because clearly the pursuit of wanting more and becoming more is expensive, miserable, and futile… and definitely not in the stars for fat girls who grew up like me….
Here’s the truth, I was pissed off at everyone and everything. I could spend hours arguing internally with myself and “the system” while repetitively winding up the music box of voices that affirmed everything that was wrong with me.
90% of these voices are of my own perspective-making.
The Someday Train, the magazines in your purse, the diet industry, the friends who love to diet, the music box of voices you carry, and the ghosts that fly out of the stories you packed away will never leave.
They also have nothing to do with your change.
You dictate your change by taking 100% responsibility for what your brain says, thinks, and feels. Not everything you think is you. Not everything you believe is set in stone.
It is not futile to want a better body, a sexy body, a boob job, a tight ass— it’s futile to want that if you think it will deliver you power, the career, the soulmate, the family, the white picket fence, and the Promised Land. If you want to lose weight or be more healthy or feel confident in your brain: FABULOUS! DO IT!
Here’s 33% of the equation: Eat nutrient-dense food that (en)lightens you. Move your body with joy. Choose a tool that helps you and treat it like a tool. A hammer is a hammer, but becomes a weapon when yielded with frustration, anger, depression, and other self-sabotaging thoughts.
The other 66% has to do with your brain and nothing to do with the scale, the gym, or the fridge. The Someday Train feeds off your Brain Baggage and its negative energy. It can’t output positive energy because it’s built on conflating your shame and desire. Without shame it can’t chug along.
You know what happens with band-aids that deliver short-lived happiness and success. You’ve seen the friend gain the weight back, start drinking again, spend her way into a hole, date the abusive jerk…
You know why she does that.
Why you do that.
Weight loss didn’t change me. It helped though because: 1. I feel amazing and therefore have more confidence to do or say things I didn’t have the strength to do before; and 2. A sexy female body is rewarded in many ways in our culture. But having this body doesn’t mean I’m fulfilled with what every human needs: purpose and belonging.
Hopping on the Personal Growth train with a focus on becoming a leader in my business and community changed me. Unfogging my perspective and becoming clear in heart and mind about what I wanted for my life was paramount. Unpacking my Brain Baggage and looking at it through an objective, new lens was scary, illuminating, and the thing that made the difference.
The Someday Train and The Promised Land are distractions to your real life and a blatant dismissal of your existence, as-is, in the present moment, and the bliss that is your body.
I want you to step off the Someday Train. If you found a tool that works for you on the train, then bring it with, but treat it like a tool.
I want you to unpack the Brain Baggage and set it aside for Forensic Evidence later.
I want you to tell your brain to shut up.
I want you to smash the music box and replace it with a choir of amazing people, things, animals, and places that fuel you sustainably, authentically, and organically.
I want you to feel your bones and the squish of your skin and have gratitude for this home that carries your soul and your ocean inside it.
I want your soul to tell you that your Promised Land is already here, a small garden waiting for you to tend to the weeds and grow new things.
I want you to want more for your life.
I want you to stop interfering with your change via the litany of stories that you’ve constructed to keep yourself safe and from changing.
I want you to step on a different train.
I want you to arrive to whatever it is that makes your eyes sparkle and weep because you embraced the journey of living a meaningful life that fulfills you, not a superficial life built on other people’s promises.