By Lyndsey Hafer-Williams
Jun 9, 2018,
Most of us learn early on that honesty is the best policy and lying is wrong. However, I’m not sure we all realize that a lie of omission produces a pretty serious little creature called a secret.
It goes without saying that secrecy is the enemy of honesty. It’s true that secrets can harm our relationships with friends, family, and employers, but these wicked little fuckers will most certainly destroy our relationship with ourselves as well.
Today, I’m cleaning out my closet, both literal and metaphorical. This is a monumental undertaking as historically, both have been full of secrets.
I have a complete wardrobe in women’s size 22 (when I weighed in at 301 lbs) all the way down to size 6 (145 lbs). I’m not quite back to my smallest sizes yet, but I’m comfortable and currently feel great in a size 10 (150 lbs). I have learned over the years of zooming up and down on the scale that my closet stores my deepest secrets. Each piece of clothing contains a secret, tells a story, and it all holds a closely guarded insecurity regarding the God-awful struggle I’ve had with my weight. I have lost over a hundred pounds on four separate occasions in my life.
The first time was in high school. I wanted to lose weight for all the usual teenage reasons: to be popular, to look good in clothes, to find a boyfriend (or girlfriend, in my case!), etc… I was successful and enjoyed being skinny for all of eleven months.
The second time was in my first professional job. I wanted to lose weight for all the young adult reasons: to be popular, to look good in clothes, to find love. I was successful and enjoyed being skinny for all of eight months.
The third time was with a fabulous new cocktail of magical wonder drugs called Fen-phen. It did work wonders and I was skinny! I also had heart palpitations and trouble breathing, but I was skinny…until they pulled the drugs off the market and then, I wasn’t.
Can you sense a pattern here? Yes, it was all about getting skinny for external and superficial reasons. I just buried my secrets, insecurities, and all the lies that I told myself long enough to lose weight and achieve my goals. No wonder it was only momentary and definitely unsuccessful in the long run.
I always heartily complained about having a weight problem, but what I really had was an honesty problem. I was a master secret keeper, and I buried it all under mounds of cookies, chips, pizza, donuts, soda, and fast food. I even ate in secret and hid the damning evidence in my real closet.
The fourth time releasing weight was different. I was at my highest weight and spent most of my days eating and watching Netflix. I was so depressed that I could barely stand up and was hospitalized for serious depression. It’s hard to admit all of this to you, but I wanted to die…
I had to do something to take control of my weight, my heart, my soul, and my life before it was too late. So, I started cleaning out my internal secret closet.
I slowly and methodically began telling myself the truth about my life. What was true, and therefore helpful, would remain. What was false, and thereby harmful, would be removed from my life. I began by letting go of those things, ideas, situations and people that were negative, and slowly started reclaiming those pieces of me that needed to be nurtured and loved.
This allowed me to find the freedom to start really exploring my heart and to finally connect with that part of my soul that had been previously neglected. By reclaiming my spirit and learning to love myself just as I was, it allowed me to open up to a more genuine and authentic life experience. I was able to truly look at my behavior as harmful to my whole being.
I wanted my body to be healthy and beautiful and I also wanted it to work for me – not against me. I wanted to love my body, but that is impossible to do if you literally hate yourself. It was a slow process, but I came to realize that it would be the only way to release the weight for the final time.
Have you ever thought about peeling off the layers of lies and secrets one at a time? Think of it as simply taking off a piece of clothing. You can begin by taking off one ugly, but persistent, secret thought at a time.
Gently pull those secrets away from your body. Take a long walk and look boldly at what’s really holding you back from your goals. Try to sit quietly and realistically consider what emotions have you tied up in knots and why? Find a favorite place or activity that allows you to let go of fear, and then start to release. Afterwards, try to discern why fear is keeping you from your wildest dreams and desires.
Carefully and mindfully ease those tightly held lies from your internal closet. Look closely at all your pent up worries and doubts until they can be seen clearly and not from a place of skewed or irrational belief. Watch as it all begins to break apart and dissolve like an icy snowflake caught in your warm hand.
Nudge insecurities and unsaid fears away from your heart. Tentatively, but bravely, remove those long held untruths from your brain. Unfurl those wicked creatures that have twisted around your very soul in a complicated web of pain and negativity.
Stop lying to yourself. Stop the secrets. Fling open that closet door, clear out the sticky cobwebs, and tell those secrets to go to hell! It does take time, especially for those whom secrecy has been a way of life. It’s not an easy process, and it can be scary, painful, and massively overwhelming.
But! You know what happens when you begin? IT FEELS SO GOOD! It’s like WAKING UP to your life because you are discovering your true self! When you allow all the hot, ugly, disgusting dark secrecy to pour out of you in a mad intense rush, you are then free to EXPAND and EXPERIENCE your life!
It took me 45 years to finally learn that my secrets were killing me. I had to let go of the shame of childhood abuse. I had to accept the truth that I was gay. I had to overcome the fear of failure. I had to learn to love my body in all its shapes and sizes. I had to realize that I was not everyone’s cup of tea and not everyone would love and celebrate me. I had to stop lying to myself and others not only just to survive, but because I wanted to absolutely and positively thrive in this magical world.
Today, as I begin bagging up items to donate from my bedroom closet, I feel that tingle of excitement, hope and freedom that comes from purging unnecessary clutter and clothes. It is so easy now to see the connection between a stuffed literal closet and a stuffed emotional closet. Nothing good and honest will ever come from living a closed, suffocating, inauthentic life.
Removing unneeded clothes from the closet in your bedroom is therapeutic and important.
Removing harmful secrets and lies from your internal closet is pivotal to growth and healing.
When you throw away the dishonesty and purge the secrecy from your life, that’s when there is room for truth.
That’s when there is room for beauty and for loving yourself in all your perfectly imperfect glory. That’s when there is room for the light to get in and for nourishment to take hold.
And it’s at that point, my gorgeous friend, that there is room for every single thing you need to outrageously BLOOM like a Mother Fucking rose!
Here I am in 2014 (left) and in March 2018 (right).
Lyndsey, thank you for sharing your voice and your honesty with the world. You are the real deal, my dear, and a force to be reckoned with.
Today’s recipe is fast, delish and perfect for warm weather. Whip up these Whole Food Plant Based chips to scoop up your Salsa and then sit under a tree like a BOSS and munch.
- 1 fresh mango, peeled, pitted and diced (about 1 cup / 150g) OR 1 cup frozen mango, defrosted and diced
- 1 small-ish avocado, peeled, pitted and diced (about 1 cup / 130g)
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (leave this out of you don’t like spicy)
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (10g)
- 1/4 cup finely diced red onion (35g)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- In a mixing bowl, gently stir all ingredients together.
Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with reassessing the non-truths in your life.
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What I love with Lyndsey is that she writes exactly what I feel with words I could never put together myself !!!
44 in a few months and on the path of peeling and letting go since one year…. Painful, hard, liberating, scary, sooo exciting !!!
Thanks for sharing again Lyndsey 🙂
Thank you, Cecile! It’s such a hard journey, filled with every emotion possible, but it’s so worth it! Wishing you much joy on your path!
Great read, so inspiring and true!!!
Thank you so very much, Anna!
Wonderful! She is such an inspiring writer. May I also recommend a book as a follow up to this wonderful post? “The Untethered Soul” by Michael A. Singer. Thanks, Lyndsey!
Thank you, Stacy! I’m always on the hunt for a new book. Thanks for the recommendation!
I just finished reading The Untethered Soul and highly recommend it. A totally different approach to the usual advice of trying to control or fix your past or current issues. Great techniques for letting that shit go!
Thanks Terri! I’ll check it out!
You are such an inspiration to me, and I think to many others that may have never considered the 2 things as related. Thank you for your honesty and apparent hard work at crafting such an amazing story to captivate me.
Thanks, Martha! Yes, it took me a very long time to figure it out myself…
Thank you for such inspiring words. As i embrace plant based eating i struggle with losing weight. I know its a long process you give me hope that i can do it.
Angie, try to focus on eating plants in order to nourish your soul and love your body. The weight will release as a great side effect!
Lyndsey, you are truly a sister of mine … each time you write I say, yep, there she goes again showing off just how much we have in common, haha!
I’m still in the mental/emotional/physical shedding process, and have been at it quite a few years, but you are so right about the way it does truly let in light, air, space, joy — all of which I’d reached a point at which I didn’t think I could feel anymore. But it’s always there, just underneath the clutter like a diamond waiting to shine & be loved.
A few years ago my journey got a big boost when I read Marie Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I decluttered 30 years worth of stuff from our house over a 6-month period. The result was spectacular — including a doubling of our income, out of the blue — and a big introduction to the greater depths of my own feelings.
Like you said, it takes time. It’s the old peeling-of-the-onion bit for me, but I could not recommend this journey of courage and light more. And to see you writing about yours in such a beautiful way makes me so happy to have a sister with me on the same trail. I sometimes feel like I am alone on the path, but that’s just another lie to kick to the curb — your piece here today proves it.
Blessings on your beautiful light, Lyndsey!
Thank you, sister Kate! Yes, it’s a long and winding journey to find our true selves. But isn’t it fabulously worth it? You are most definitely not alone.
**Vent Alert**: This makes me want to cry. All true what you wrote (applause, applause!) and I have so mightily tried on so many occasions both mentally and physically to shed/accept/try again that I am worn thin from the trying at nearly 60. I seem to be able to get there 98.5% of the time but that 1.5% just keeps me from gaining (losing) any more ground. Now I’m starting to have health problems which are terrifying me. But still I go on. I’m still fighting the fight. I just feel like I can never get there no matter how much I try. I have hope but not much belief left in me. Sorry, this just really struck a nerve within me, I want to this paradigm shift so badly – that freedom, that joy. It’s like a carrot dangling in front of a horse (that’s me, the big horse). I am SO very glad you were able to push through, Lindsey, to the other side. I can only hope, pray, and try to believe that I am not far behind somehow, some way.
Hi Laura! I completely get it and know exactly what you’re feeling! Most days I am successful, but it is always a learning process, one in which I still work on continually. Keep trying, keep believing, keep learning to love yourself. I’m right there with you!
Thank you Lyndsey! You are truly awesome. Can I use the phrase “Outrageously Bloom like a Mother Fucking Rose” ? That should be on one of those inspirational posters.
Hahahahahaha! Love it, Tracey! Yes, let’s keep blooming!
love this Lyndsey…. so happy to see u healthy and happy…. and what a gift u have to articulate the struggle and thus helping others. keep on keepin on !
Thanks, Tracy! It’s been a lifelong journey and I’m so glad I can share it with others.
Your writing is a joy to read.
Oh, Deborah! Thank you – that made my day!
I just read the post and all the comments and now I’m finding it really hard to keep the tears back (I’m at work…). Absolutely awesome post Lindsey. And so true.
I’ve come to realize, quite recently, and at almost 45 that seems to me a bit thick (!) that I’ve got issues I never thought I had. I live my life (for the lack of a better metaphor) in the tree tops. I never go down into the woods in fear of what I might find there. I live my life “shallowly”, but I’m not a shallow person. I just don’t do emotions very well. And I never grasped exactly how “on top” I stay in order to not touch the dark corners, until recently.
I’ve never stopped and asked myself why certain situations or things make me tense. I’ve just plodded right through it all. But recently I’ve started to stop and reflect a little, and fuck me it’s scary! I’ve come to realize I have anxiety. Me!?!? Li’l Miss Roughty Toughty That Handles It All!
You write about peeling back. I’m too scared!!!!
I am CERTAIN that if I start thinking, reflecting, opening that for EVER locked part of my mind I will for CERTAIN realize how useless I am! I am absolutely clueless as to how to love myself. (lets not even get on to the topic of body image… holy feckadoodledoo)
Every time I even think about contemplating life on a deeper level I (oh shit my boss came in…. whoa… managed to suck the welled up eyes up REAL quick….) get super scared. I mean SUPER scared. As in I cannot physically bring myself to think. I know how that must sound. Totally super fucked up. And I’m not even a person who’s had a traumatic past (not that life’s been easy, far from it, but no childhood abuse or drugs or…), that I can remember anyway. I remember very little from my childhood. I remember very little from anything! I do not DO remembering. Because when I do I keep bringing up failures. All. The. Time.
How the fetch do you even DO peeling back??? Thinking about it makes me wonder if I only have one layer? And that sucker needs protected or all hell will break loose! Or not? I don’t know. (more like a water balloon than an onion….)
Sorry, it became a bit of an out pour… Loved the post! I do aspire to manage some of this so I can have peace in my life and stop running around like a maniac just so I don’t have to stop and “be”.