Guest post by Lyndsey Hafer-Williams
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 WFPB Chips to scoop up your Salsa and then sit under a tree like a BOSS and munch.
Avocado Mango Salsa
- 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.