April 22, 2015
It’s not you, it’s me.
That’s what I told all the social media pages I began ‘un-following’ this past week. I decided it was time to censor constant posts and pictures of perfect bodies, blissful marriages and successful careers. I couldn’t look at it anymore given my internal struggle to stay positive while arguing with my husband, finding a new home, promoting my first book and operating a crazy household.
I wasn’t jealous of those who outwardly seemed to have more than me at that moment; I admittedly knew I was losing a sense of self and therefore lacked security to guard against sensitive emotions. Some days I would feel positive and in control, other days I would feel sad and defeated. Often times I would sit outside while watching my children play and start to pensively stare into space thinking….
…about the past, and the decisions me or my husband took when we didn’t bid higher on our current home, how my book sales performed last week or my regret for not spending more time with my family dog that recently passed.
I’d think about the future, and about the changes we will endure moving out of our rental, how I would proceed in building the No Excuse movement and what activities I planned for the boys later that day.
A range of emotions would filter through me daily – sometimes I struggled and lacked motivation to workout, feel disappointed in my projects, guilt for letting the boys watch TV or out-of-control in my professional, personal or physical efforts. Other times I’d feel elated by an email, happiness from a hug and appreciation for supportive friends and an unconditional life partner.
I was so engrained in my past and my future that I didn’t give glory to the present moment. I didn’t completely see the beauty of the blooming flowers in our backyard or feel the sun’s warm radiation beating down our backs. I didn’t truly taste the sweet fruit on my son’s homemade birthday cake or hear the excitement in their voices as they jumped on their new trampoline.
I was always so busy and so occupied in my fears, failures and regrets. I thought about the past, sought into the future, without wholly existing in the present moment. I wasn’t here. So I removed distractions and stopped ‘following’ social media superstars not only because I felt insecure in my own lot, but more truthfully because I stopped resonating with their seemingly one-dimensional lives.
Fitness is not my life. My children are not my life. My husband is not my life. My career is not my life.
My life is a colorful landscape of ambition, responsibility, passion, pain, weakness and courage. We are multi-faceted, evolving, emotional creatures. The idea that we are more than the eye’s vision is why I’m never shocked when I see different sides of a person who only shows one face – another challenge I’ve admittedly faced recently.
In the end, it’s not you. It is me.
I take accountability for what I see and how I interpret the world around me. While I don’t mind bubbly posts and beautiful babes in bikinis, today I’m choosing to follow people who post past their perfection. While my mind is hard to contain, today I’m striving to experience life in the present moment. While I will forever set goals, plan and take action in a life I hope to control, today I know more fully that my destiny is determined by God alone.
As I experience this miraculous minute – a moment in time that will never arrive again – I know that nothing has changed. My attitude has changed. My view has change and with new perspective, I’m starting to realize the bigger picture.
This was the last moment I saw my family dog, Tiger, alive. He was at the Vet where we discovered he had a malignant tumor. Later that day he passed away with my sister by his side. He was 17.5 years old and lived an incredible life.
My middle guy turned 5! He requested i make him a strawberry cake!
My local NEM (no excuse mom) group is growing! We have over 350 locations! Find your free meet up HERE.
My little guy was so happy to see mommy on the shelf at Target!
You can also order via ebook or online on Amazon!
Beautifully said Maria. Like I said to you yesterday…We have a plan, but God always has a far better one. Thanks for being you. Love you mama!
Thank you for sharing.
FB is a double edge sword, one side it’s comforting to know there are people out there that are just like ourselves, however, on the other side there’s much negative emotions that comes from FB.
It is so true in what Bruce Lee said in his book Artist of life, “Many people dedicate their lives to actualizing a concept of what they should be like, rather than actualizing themselves. This difference between self-actualizing and self-image actualizing is very important. Most people only live for their image”.
You are a great example for us all. Stay strong..
That is a great quote. Thank you for sharing! Bruce Lee was such a wise man.
That you for sharing what is in your heart. I believe so many of us struggle with the very same emotions. We are so busy “being” everything, that we lose sight of what is right in front of us. I have found courage in you words to make changes and work on “living” in the moment.
Blessings to you,
Thanks Brady. I really thought about ‘being present’ a lot today. It all begins with recognition when initiating change!
Thankyou, I too often live in the past and future. All I strive to be is a good mother/wife/business owner. Not being ‘perfect’ is so very hard.
Fb is a very useful tool to show the outside world that your coping and that everything is amazing even if reality is very different. I try to remember this when looking at all the perfect images out there.
We are so alike!
You say it like it is, so many people post or discuss what we want to hear and not what is actually happening. I have struggled my whole life with feeling less than and not feeling truly comfortable in my own skin. So many of us wear masks. With your no excuse mom movement I am busting through my excuses and finding me again! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and struggles with us. You are truly an amazing person and you are having such an impact on mothers everywhere!
Yes. Thank you Laurinda for your testimony.
I read this and teared up.. I feel the same thing, the only thing I didn’t do is unfollow those babes in bikinis. I thought about it, maybe I should.
I broke down and cried to my boyfriend 2 days ago. I said I am dead tired to prep my meal every Sunday, losing my relax time, cuddle time with my preschool girl. I became obsessed with numbers on the scale. I work full time and a single mom so weekend is chores, errands, and meal prep. I know my boyfriend loves me as I am. It’s not him, it’s me…..
It’s me being pressured with these sexy muscular fit women, it’s not for my boyfriend I realized. It is for other women out there. It is for my family who used to bully me growing up. It is for my friends so I could feel better in front of them.
I feel I can’t even consume a cup of startch a day. I’ve been eating crazy low carbs. Potatoes and bread are off limits for me. Not even Jasmine rice which was my staple food growing up.
All my friends make fun of me because I don’t eat their food. some of my friends don’t invite me anymore with the excuse, “she won’t eat these food.” Most of my friends knows I would order salad whenever I go out with them. though I know I am healthier and stronger than them, but am I happier?
The grass is greener on the other side, but I wonder they think my life is as easy as them?
Do you think I need some sort of help? Do you think I have to relax a bit and live a little?
Elaine, speaking from experience I think it may be worth it to find a therapist to talk with. He/she could help you figure out the REAL reasons for your struggles, and help you find techniques to get better.
Carbs are not the devil! The biggest thing I;ve learned with “dieting” is that if something is restricted then that’s all I want. All things in moderation.
I pray you find peace and, hopefully, help!
I get you. I do! I was you ten years ago. I think you should live a balanced life and enjoy it! Don’t be extreme (in either direction) and love your body however it manifests. During those challenging times, I admittedly stopped reading fitness magazines. There was no social media at the time – but I would suggest to retrain your brain a little bit and consider prayer as well.
Maria…thanks for your post and welcome to life as a human being on this earth. I think we all struggle with this at some time in out life. Some of us are just more willing to admit it. We have a child with a severe mental illness which leaves most days a struggle in our home. It requires concious effort on both mine and my husband’s part not to get drug down with her. Each day can quickly move from joy to despair. There are times I feel utterly helpless and a complete parental failure. She will be laughing with you one moment and telling you she no.longer wants to be living the next. I have learned to love those few laughing moments. And at some point had to make the decision to try to live the best most positive life I can and not let myself sink into despair. But that remains a daily struggle and requires effort. I greatly appreciate your posts that let me know even mentors have atruggles. Thanks for being my inspiration. We all know those perfect people are just lie in to us and maybe themselves.
Wow Lanan. I can’t imagine your challenge…breaks my heart. When I undergo pain I have to believe there is a purpose – so I say the same to you and pray that you are strengthened by your struggle. God Bless you!
YOU Maria, you are amazing. Thank you for sharing the truth that a lot of these “fit” people on social media do not. I completely understand what you mean. I was following a ton of instagram pages of fit moms posting nothing but their perfect bodies in little bikinis. I was beating my self up about it. Especially seeing moms who are older than me but in better shape. It got so bad my whole life was about fitness and everything has to be worked around that and I was stressing so much no matter how hard I worked I saw no progress because of all the stress I was causing my self. My mind was constantly racing I even got in a car wreck driving through a red light. Luckily no one was hurt. It had to stop. My husband stopped me thank God and after a long talk I figured how to balance everything in life and enjoy it for what it is now. Thank you for being so truthful and inspiring.
Thanks Maya. I hope you now see that even those fitness models probably can’t stand following other fitness models sometimes (lol!) There’s nothing wrong with it, I just have to guard myself a little more when I’m insecure.
Thank you for sharing your experiences with us, Maria! You appear so strong, confident, and happy. I think being a strong woman is very important but so is being vulnerable. When you share your struggles people relate to them and that’s how you bond. My firstborn son has special needs. It was very hard to bond with other moms when he was young because it actually hurt to talk, hang out, and watch how their kids were reaching milestones while mine was regressing. I found it much easier to relate to a friend I had who also had a child similar to mine. But through the pain we can always learn something. I think social media is a two-edged sword and I often want to unfollow people too. I don’t know the root of what you are going through – other than what sounds like a very hectic schedule and pressure/stress from every facet of life. But I know you pray and I would suggest to pray for peace – peace of mind, a peaceful heart. Most people are fighting a battle that we don’t know about. So find people that you can relate to that can share their experiences and perspective. Read books that both encourage and teach. I just read “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman and another book called :Getting Together and Staying Together” by Dr. Glasser. I have to say these two books have changed my whole perspective on love and marriage. I keep them by my bed, in my pocketbook, and write little notes to myself to encourage me through the day. Wishing you all the best:)
Thank you. I appreciate your testimony and I will pray for peace! I have read Gary Chapman’s book (love it) and will look into Dr. Glasser!
I appreciate your vulnerability, Maria. As an older woman who has raised 6 sons and walked through many miles of “Todays,” I see my younger self in so many of the things you have shared on your Facebook page, etc. Just want to encourage you that the present truly is a gift!. “If I want to choose a Best Yes, it’s crucial I make room for it first. Otherwise, a Best Yes can quickly become a stressed yes. And a stressed yes is like snow on a tree that refuses to release its leaves. It cracks and breaks at our core.” – Lisa TerKeurst in “The Best Yes”
Wow. Thank you Judi.
Thank you for sharing. It’s nice to know you also get in a funk. Your post was perfect timing.
You have no idea Martha! I get ‘in a funk’ all the time! I just exercise that bad energy out 🙂
I admire many people, including you. I don’t set you upon a pedestal though. You are smart, active and trying to do what’s right. But you have the same problem the rest of us do……..you’re human. We humans go through many trials and tribulations as we flounder through life. Sometimes we are happiest when we should be sad and saddest when we should be happy. Shrinks go crazy just trying to figure us out. 😉
In my 61 years I have went through so very much and as a substitute teacher I do my best to spread as much knowledge about life as I do about math. I am witness to so many folks that are struggling to figure things out in life(and I don’t mean about math), but I can’t fix them. I can only do my best to help them become strong enough to handle the crap that is coming there way.
I won’t even bore you or the others here about my past or even present issues that weigh heavily on me. But I will tell you that you are just in the beginning of so much more coming your way and you need to really dig deep to stay on track. It’s not easy, but it just has to be done to continue going forward. Focus on counting your blessing and not on any perceived or real problems that cause you to worry or stumble. My prayers are with you and your little family.
Thank you for your wisdom. Wow, 61 years! I appreciate not putting me on a pedestal 🙂 You’re right. Despite our external titles and physical barriers that divide us, we are all truly the same – just trying to exist and understand why we were brought to form.
Thank you so much for sharing this! I feel like this sometimes too. I wish I had what other people had and miss out on the present moment. You are one of my mommy/author idols. I hope you feel better & can remember to focus on the here and now. You have done so much for others and the world. The future will work out and the past is gone. ❤️❤️❤️
It seems that so often when women in the media are fit and thin, they have a persona of “my life in perfect”. I am so, so, so happy to see a person who is honest. I am going through personal struggles, and planning on getting back into working out again. I’ll be jobless after tomorrow, so between sending out my resume, writing cover letters, and cleaning, there won’t be much else for me to do! I figure this would be the perfect time for me to restart. Believe it or not, this journal entry made it seem more attainable. I’m not sure why, or what psychological reasoning there is to it…but I guess you show that being fit and thin doesn’t mean instant happiness. You have shown you are relatable…and I thank you for that.
Thank you for sharing, Maria, even if it did make me tear up at my desk.
This year is proving the hardest of my adult life. My husband and I (high school sweethearts, together for nearly 15 years) began having serious problems in November. I started this year’s first 12 week challenge and then, 2 weeks later, we separated. Part of me shut down around that time. Though I still worked out somewhat, I found excuses to not be at home. I wasn’t always eating well and went through some long and frequent insomnia jags (which cause me to gain weight even if I’m following everything else to a T.) My house was a mess and, though the separation brought a much needed ability to breathe, with it came almost constant single parenting, making meetings and parts of my job rather difficult. I let my duties as chair to my local Relay For Life slide and didn’t take as much initiative with school activities for my little girls as I normally would have.
Having grown up in a not great way, I knew better than to hide myself and allow life to drag me back to the hell where I once lived, so I reached out and have worked to find happiness and worth in other parts of my life. Shortly before the new challenge was issued, the insomnia let up. I shook myself off so to speak and began pulling crap back together. I attacked my house, began eating better, and re-amped my fitness efforts. I’ve had some frank talks with my girls about working together to do better and took as much control over my situation as I can. I cannot do the work my husband needs to do for him. I can only focus on me. I can only change my mindset and the way I handle life.
So that’s what I’m doing! I committed to the new challenge. I’ve been checking in with my local NEMs. I randomly peruse the main page and celebrate the successes of others because I’m choosing to find happiness and hope wherever I can. I’ve also had some frank talks with my husband telling him all this. Letting him know that I can do me but he has to do him. We’re both hoping that we can find each other again. The love is still there. It will always be there for both of us. Right now, we cannot handle the like part much less the in love part. I miss the him that I fell for so bad that it still pulls me down at random times but if my childhood taught me nothing else, it taught me that I can survive and adapt in any situation and can always find smiles eventually.
Thank you, Maria. My process has been made much easier through your NEM movement. Again, sharing and boosting others and getting that boost myself has made a world of difference. It gives me the strength to move forward and to keep striving to achieve a balance in my life, however it may turn out. I hope that such knowledge helps keep you from falling too far when you inevitably go down. This life has brilliant potential for all of its horror and strife. May you find more of the former than the latter <3
(sorry for the novel 😛 )
Thank you for always being beautifully honest and vulnerable. In the times I am most critical of myself my best friend says to me “be nice to my friend, she is going through a lot.” So I will say the same to you “Be nice to my friend Maria, she has a lot going on.” Sometimes we need permission to give ourselves an emotional and mental break from everything going on around us. I also come from an Asian background and I think culturally we tend to be a little harder on ourselves to perform to a certain level. I wish you the best and having had pets pass in my life, I know how hard this is as well. ❤️ So much love and peace to you, Steph
Keep being real – it gives everyone else permission to also be real. We are all, at one point or another, fighting battles.
Put the masks down and let the beautiful mess called life shine through!
Thank you very much for sharing your true feelings with us. Sometimes I feel like I am the only one having all the negative thoughts (while other people’s life always look so shining and happy on FB or Instagram. I think apart from being active to keep our body healthy, we also need to practice meditation to keep out mind balanced and healthy (inner peace), as without it, we can easily fall into a negative circle we created by ourselves
More of your narsasiatic super ego self that just can’t get over yourself! Your an obvious clinical diagnosis of an a typical sociopath! Life fortunately has ways of dealing with people like you.
Really? TROLL. Get a life.
I am glad I found your website, and read this post. I just found out that I am pregnant with my 3rd, and it’s a huge surprise. With the first two pregnancies I was excited, but with this one I haven’t found myself quite as giddy. I have so many concerns: financial, emotional, marital, physical… For example, I worked hard to build a nice physique after my second was born. I am very proud of myself for the hard work I did and honestly I am concerned about whether I’ll be able to get my body back after the third baby. (OK, there are hundreds of other concerns too – but because this seems to be a page about fitness, I’m just laying that out there.) Will I have the time and energy with 3 kids? It was so challenging with 2! Anyway, thank you for being an inspiration, and a real human being.
Yes you can! It’s amazing how much more strength you have when undergoing struggle. If I Can do it, so can you!! Congratulations!
I love your posting! You are inspiring. My mother recently moved in with me and shook up my weekend bike riding routine because I love riding in the morning. Now it’s just annoying, so I increased my riding during the week now just to get away and not talk to anyone because I talk to upwards of about 300 people per day, I just needed the quiet. I’ve always followed your advice to keep up the great work and never let things get you down, the “you can do it” attitude and it’s helped me get over all this. I look forward to more.
I saw you on the internet and came here to look. So glad I am seeing someone who has real life issues and not the “perfect life”. I am a designated daughter. I am one of nine children but the only one taking care of my 82 year old mother. I have been her caregiver for the last 10 years and have let myself go. I came here hoping to find some hope but afraid I was going to find the other “perfect” mother with sunshine & rainbows. Glad I found someone who is keeping things real.
I so relate to this post. I am going to be 42, the mom of three young boys – 6, 3 and 11 months and most of the time I worry about how I’m doing in my life. Our pug of 11 years was put down today and I feel guilty I didn’t spend enough time with him and certainly wasn’t a good mom to him once my boys came. I’m considering going back to work but I don’t know how I will juggle everything. I am plagued with Asian guilt over everything and I constantly wonder if I am living up to my potential. I am trying so hard to get my body back, but anything short of what I want is deemed a failure. And I look pretty good 5’3″ 117 lbs, and I work out 4 days a week. But bc my abs are still not cut, and my arms still jiggle, I focus on that. I need to just breathe, realize life is grand and be thankful for the good and just be present. Praying I can do that.
Brandi, breathe! Once you have abs and your arms are cut I guarantee you, you will have something else that will frustrate you. Always be thankful, that’s how I’ve overcome many things.