Since 2005, around the time I was hitting my mid-twenties crisis, I started blogging to a public abyss of followers who watched and read as I detailed my reflections each week on a Sunday or Monday night. Like my life today, I didn’t hide much. I openly and transparently wrote about finding my passion, struggling with disordered eating, quitting my corporate job, starting my nonprofit, moving home to care for my mother and overcoming difficult relationships with my siblings. Followers read when I met my future husband, became engaged at the church we would marry in and discover we were unexpectedly pregnant not once, but twice. People would read about our blended family, my carehome business, our marital struggles and my rise to internet fascination following my “What’s Your Excuse” photo.
In one year, people would see me being kicked off of Facebook, build a No Excuse Mom movement, write The No More Excuses Diet book and purchase my first home. In the same verse, followers would see me struggling with acne, weight gain, acute depression and perceived failures.
I don’t hide much. I feel when you are hiding, you are scared – and when you’re scared, you are weak. There’s nothing weak about living your truest self and being vulnerable for exposing exactly who you are and how you really feel about yourself and the world around you.
After years, and especially months of nonstop working, moving and existing – my world is starting to slow down – just a little bit, and I can reflect. Just as I had time to do when I was 25 years old, without children, a husband, a job and the multitude of responsibilities that take up my days…I’m able to sit down and write as I once did regularly when I began this website.
I’m the first to say that I struggle – that I have a million excuses to why I seemingly fail at certain efforts. I gain weight. I lose weight. Sometimes I’m happy. Sometimes I’m incredibly sad. These past few weeks I’ve been pensive, really in deep thought, because here I am, sitting in a beautiful office I worked hard to build and I feel exactly the same as I did when I sat proudly at my used desk in our first two-bedroom home. While our world may change, while our bodies get older or heavier, while our possessions increase or decline – who we are deep inside – our spirit – does not change.
If there’s anything anyone can learn from my life online these past ten years, is that nothing is permanent, that life is all about perspective and in the end, all that matters, is that you lived with extraordinary passion to challenge your best self every. single. day.
It doesn’t matter if you have millions of social media followers, rent your home, drive your grandfather’s old van (like my husband does) or rock a lean body fat percentage – really, the only thing that matters is that you love yourself, love your life and love the people and things around you.
That means being grateful when you have one dollar or a thousand dollars. It means loving yourself if you weigh 150lbs or 250lbs. It means that regardless of your physical manifestation, the embracing and caring energy flowing inside of you – remains constant and in connection with the source that accepts you unconditionally.
I was grateful when we first traveled cross country with all my boyfriend’s belongings years ago. I appreciated our used furniture and the appliances we bought from Craigslist. I won’t forget our weekend garage sale hunts and how proud I was to purchase two big bags of used boy clothes for $50. I loved everything we were given, everything we worked hard to achieve and every person who was part of that journey.
I was thankful when I gave birth to a healthy boy after an emergency surgery for internal bleeding, when my mother survived her heart attack following her kidney transplant and when I found purpose after dealing with the pain of public backlash.
Life is not about being grateful when you are on top of the world and humble when you are at the bottom. On the contrary, we grow in wisdom when we seek humility when we succeed and gratitude when we fail. There are extraordinary lessons learned when life doesn’t go your way, this website is a testament of a woman whose life didn’t go as she planned.
And as I embrace that imperfection, my world became more perfect.
We pulled out the carpet, took down the doors, laid the hardwood, built the book shelves and bought new furniture for the office I’ve been waiting 20 years to have.
What a fun throwback picture of my office in 2011. It also functioned as a playroom! You can see my 12-week calendar, something I’ve had for years and talk about often in my book.
This is my current view. I’m finally completing a long overdue journal entry on a quiet Monday.
My sons start(ed) school last week, this week and next week. Tomorrow I will be in San Diego and I will be in Anaheim on August 22-23rd for the Fit Expo. Go to www.efcnow.com and type in code “maria” for a free expo entry to my keynote speeches at 10am both days. I will also be at the Capitol City Expo Sacramento on August 29th, put NOEXCUSE for a discounted entry on eventbrite.