I have lived a decade of my life online.
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.
Maria, I love this post so much. Blogging is my struggle at the moment as I find it hard to express the hard times without feeling like a failure. Seeing you bare your soul and share your journey so honestly is so refreshing to my currently tired eyes.
Peace and Blessings
Thanks Fay, blogging is not easy – especially when judgement is part of the process. Don’t be hard on yourself, keep writing and keep resonating with others – it really is a gift!
Very true words about learning humility at the top and gratitude at the bottom. Words you only learn the meaning of when life has thrown you around a bit…
You have done well and your children are extremely cute – enjoy the fruits of your labour!
Thank you Susie!
I’ve been following your blog since 2013 when the world took note of your ignorance and I’m saddened to see you’ve learned nothing. Before you accuse me of “resonating hate”, I’m 5’5″, 125 lbs, and an aerobic instructor, but the difference between me and you is I don’t make assumptions about the lives of others, I understand I’m where I am today because I’ve had help and privileges not afforded to many, so it wouldn’t be fair for me to say to my cousin who has PCOS, weighs 275 lbs to get off her ass and exercise when she has 3 kids, 1 special needs, no assistance from their father or the government, works 2 jobs, and still finds time to help out at her churches homeless shelter. She doesn’t need an excuse. Also, your bullying of plus size model Tess Holiday was uncalled for. What really bothers you about her magazine cover, her weight and “promoting obesity” or the fact she HAS a magazine cover, over 10x the followers you have and growing, and a blossoming career while your still desperately clinging to your 15 mins of shame?
Hi Beth, It seems you are still very ignorant of the importance of health and prioritizing it regardless of challenge.
I have four children- 7,5,3 and a 6 month old. Eldest is a boy, rest are girls. My husband works is in the military and is able to come home only once in a while. I have plenty of worthwhile excuses. People said after four deliveries, it is impossible to get back into shape, learn to love yourself, your children are your reward and now the top priority….and all that nonsense.
I ‘loved’ your notorious no excuse pic! It was highly motivating. Yes I can get back into shape. Maybe not as perfect as you are, but still close enough for my satisfaction. Those who cling to their excuses don’t realize that this is not about selfish self image…this is about my health, my stamina, my endurance…
How do I put it across? My body has been battered by four pregnancies, I need to take care of it, heal it, strengthen it. This will in turn make me a better mother as I will be stronger mentally and physically. I will have more stamina and I will be a much happier person. If you make yourself a priority, then there are no excuses that can’t be overcome.
All these people who claim to be happy with their bulging bodies are lying to themselves. They are only hurting their own health further with their self denial.
Maria Kang…you rock