I had strep again, my brain was convinced. I walked into the campus doctors office and was going to tell the doctor to write me another prescription for some antibiotics and take it easy for a few days.

I had already had strep two weeks before and just figured that somehow I hadn’t cleaned well enough or it was just going around and I re-caught it.

I was so aware of my mouth that the thought of just normal mouth functions took a lot of concentration. The end of my junior year in college was approaching and finals were just a few weeks away.

So when the doctor came in, reviewed my file, gave me a quick exam and told me she wanted to test me for mono I about laughed in her face, mouth functions being difficult and all.

I told her it was strep and she should just check for that. She really thought it wasn’t. We compromised and tested for both. And you know what sometimes doctors do really know best.

I had mono. How in the @#$! did that happen?

I was still feeling okay despite the doctor telling me it was about to get worse. I texted my peoples and told them what was up and I was quite surprised that everyone was treating me like a pariah. I soon came to find out why.

For those of you do not know what mono or infectious mononucleosis is then pay attention because you never ever if you can help it want to get mono.

In all honesty, having my wisdom teeth pulled wasn’t nearly as bad.

With only a few classes left before finals, I somehow made it to all of them, that really should have earned me a letter grade bump ;).

For all of you still in school take this a lesson to never procrastinate.

Mono  is a highly contagious virus that takes everything out of you. Accompanied with my extreme fatigue I would get very nauseous. Which means I was only able to sleep for about three hours before waking up with hunger pains I could feel rolling up and down my spine. And because of the nausea I was only able to eat about an ounce of tomato soup before passing back out again. I was like that for over a week before I could move on to eating about 3 oz of mac and cheese.

On the positive side, I lost seven pounds in five days. But I would recommend just sticking to the treadmill at the gym.

The other thing about mono is that it is highly contagious. And is spread by saliva. That is where it gets its nickname the kissing disease. We could sit here and debate if that is how I got it and honestly I did some mental digging to try and figure out everyone’s mouth that mouth could have come in contact with but the pool got very wide.

You can’t just add the people who you’ve locked lips with, you also have to add in all the people they have kissed in the last 4-6 weeks (incubation time). Everyone they have shared a drink or bite of food with. Everyone who drank out of the same public water fountains as you. Everyone who served or cooked you food at a restaurant. Everyone in your class you sneezed or coughed near you. Everyone at the gym that could have sweated on the equipment or mats that you used.

Is your inner germaphobe having a field day with this?

The worst part was that people wouldn’t touch me. I would go days and at one time a week without physical contact. Humans are social creatures and we need, no crave, physical connection.

One day when I had started to feel better, after my weird three days of finals where I somehow cured myself of mono just long enough to study and take all my tests before feeling like death, my BFF invited me to come watch tv with her on the couch. I was still having extreme fatigue and walking from my bed to the couch was enough to take the wind out of me.

We sat there on opposite ends of the couch when her hand grazed my foot. Tears started free flowing down my checks and I probably looked insane. You know what she did next? She held my sock covered feet and let me cry.

Mono sucked really bad. But what it showed me was that I really did have a best friend. I had someone who would drive me to the mall and sit down with me every few minutes so I could catch my breath so I wouldn’t be cramped in my room. Who would take me to Kroger so I could survive on mac and cheese. The fatigue, for me, lasted about eight months. But  I had someone who was kind and generous. A true friend that stuck by my side. Find yourself a friend like that, you never know when mono could strike.



My 2nd 30 Days

Adriene, you are my hero. Adriene, you have saved me from the dread of felling that I could never change my body. Adriene, you have given me a new kind of confidence.

Being a hero is no small task, your ability to inspire so many women to roll out a mat each day and take time for themselves is inspiring. I am so inspired that I have shared with my family and friends all about the amazing youtube yoga guru I have found. Simply because I want them to have the chance to feel what I have felt each time I accomplished one of your 30 day challenge’s.

I could feel my spine becoming healthier as each day passed, my upper body was sore. In a good way. I could feel the strength being built. Going through my chaturanga flow at the beginning was me starting in plank position and flopping to the ground. And then all of a sudden one day I could lower with complete control touching chest before belly on the mat. And right as I thought I had mastered the pose you introduced something new. Doing it only on one leg. But I worked on it, now its a breeze. I had a lot of small victories throughout this challenge. With each, I gained a new layer of confidence in myself.

And with each mantra of the day, I gained not only confidence but touched something deeper inside of me. So, Adriene, you gave us 30 mantras, and now I am going to tell you and everyone else what they mean to me.

Day 1: I accept. I accept that things won’t always fall into place. It’s been hard for me post-college not feeling all the success of the weight of having a degree holds.

Day 2: I create. I create who I want to be. I have the ability to mold myself into who I want to be. I want to be a writer, I want to be successful. I can create time and space into my life to do better than yesterday.

Day 3: I embrace. I embrace that not every day will be a success. Most days recently have felt like failures, and once you get the idea in your head that things are going to fail, then you are dooming yourself. The picking up process becomes harder and harder each day. I am embracing that I will have the courage to continue, even what feels like the worst of days. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill.

Day 4: I awaken. I awaken the girl I used to be. The one that was nearly three and watched Jurassic Park with wonder over fear. I awaken Katy Perry’s Lion from deep inside to roar out of me. I awaken the girl who was never afraid to be herself. I am awakening.

Day 5: I am alive. Sometimes being alive means you cry into a pint of Bluebell, other times it means you dance with your best friends till the lights come on. I am alive, not staying in bed all day, I am alive. I am alive trying new things, there are a few coffee shops I want to visit.

Day 6: I am supported. I am supported by my parents, my siblings, my aunt, my grandparents, my best friend, my friends, my parent’s friends, my sibling’s friends, my grandparent’s friends. I have so many people around that are reaching down to support me back up. I just recently started reaching back for those supporting hands, pulling myself out of the blanket of sand I was under.

Day 7: I am capable. I am capable to write a kick-ass novel and some bad ass scripts. I am capable to find a job that peaks my interests. I am capable to get my body to where I want it to be. I am capable to grab my dreams and build new ones off of them.

Day 8: I choose. I choose what each day can be. I can choose whether it will be spent doing nothing, or if it will be spent taking each step towards my dreams. I choose happiness. I choose to move forward even if that means another failure on the way to success.

Day 9: I am bold. I am bold enough to write a book even if I think my family may not like every word that is written about the past. I am bold enough to take all the things I have been working on in high school, college, the stories from my dreams and write them down. I am becoming bold. 

Day 10: I am present. I will live in the present moment. I will stop spending hours laying in bed staring at my ceiling daydreaming about what it would be like if…

Day 11: I release. I release all the pain I felt from moving to Florida and feeling like my family didn’t have my back. I release all the pain I felt from my high school friends turning their backs on me our senior year. I release the pain from the boys who made me feel like other girls were worth their time and I wasn’t.

Day 12: I trust. I trust that my life has a plan. I trust, even though I cannot see, that God does have a plan for me to do something. I trust that one day I will look back with a better understanding and know how much this time in my life helped push me towards my dreams.

Day 13: I deserve. I deserve to take time for myself every day. I want to deserve the right to call myself a writer. I deserve to push my body to its breaking point and then keep going. I want to deserve the ability to change someone’s life with words on paper like many writers did for me. Stephen King’s The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, Martha Stewart’s Cupcake cookbooks, John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax.

Day 14: Go with the flow. Going with the flow is something I struggle with. I like control, I like some structure, I like knowing what will come. I am learning to take a step back, view the world around me, live in the moment, and be open to the diversion of plans.

Day 15: I am open. I am open to new experiences, I want to do more humanitarian work. I am open to meeting people, I want to meet strangers from all walks of life. I am open to discovering who I am. I am open to feeling afraid, loved, alone, surrounded, small, big, careful, daring.

Day 16: I enjoy. I enjoy being surrounded by those I love. I enjoy the beach, the ocean. I enjoy seeing all different corners of the world. I enjoy trying new things like hockey, scuba, and yoga. I want to keep enjoying more.

Day 17: I am focused. I am focused on moving forward. Focused on each day holding something new that will change me in a way I didn’t expect. I am focused on writing my book. I am focused on not laying in bed all day dreaming about standing up. I am focused on loving and being me.

Day 18: I surrender. I surrender that I cannot control tomorrow. I find it hard to surrender that in five minutes from now my whole life could change. I am working on surrendering the unrealistic expectations I have placed on myself.

Day 19: I respect. I respect all those writers who came before me. I respect how nonfiction writers put their lives out in the open for everyone to read. I respect my own body, even on the days it is hard to look at it.

Day 20: I am worthy. I am worthy to wake up each day and live. I am worthy to see the beauty in the world around me. I am worthy to empower myself.

Day 21: I believe. I believe that everything has a purpose. I believe that things have a way of working themselves out. I believe that sometimes we aren’t meant to understand right away but just wait.

Day 22: I surround myself with. I surround myself with good intentions, family, friends, healthy food, work ethic, ambition. I surround myself with things that will help me reach my goals. I surround myself with things that will make me happy. I surround myself with people who have good souls.

Day 23: I am secure. I am secure even on the days I feel insecure. I am secure in the love my mom has for me. I am secure in the confidence my dad sees in me. I am secure in the passion my aunt gave me for movies. I am secure in the yoga mat I roll out.

Day 24: I am in control. I am in control of this moment. I am in control of pushing myself forward. I am in control of how I act. I am in control of how I proceed.

Day 25: I am strong. I am strong, both physically and mentally. I am working on telling myself I am strong. Strength is waking up each day and moving forward, no matter what the past has thrown at us. Strength is taking each thing life throws at us and learning from it. I am working on living strong.

Day 26: I attract. I attract positivity in my writing. I attract joyfulness in the people I surround myself with. I attract thankfulness for the wonderful things I have in my life.

Day 27: I am grateful. I am grateful that my parents have shown me the world. I am grateful that my parents helped pay for my schooling. I am grateful that I have a grandmother who takes me to the movies. I am grateful that I have aunts who spend quality time with me. I am grateful that I have gained new uncles and that I have started to get to know one of them.

Day 28: I celebrate. I celebrate that life is messy. I celebrate that things sometimes spin out of control. I celebrate that sometimes trying is the best I can do. I celebrate small victories. I celebrate all the wonderful people in my life.

Day 29: I love. I love dancing. I love cookies and creme. I love Sperrys. I love sun bum chapstick. I love scuba diving. I love hockey. I love the color green. I love yoga.

Day 30: It’s all you. Today it is all me. Today is as good as any to stand up and do the thing you have been telling yourself you’ll do tomorrow.

My 30 days

My best friend started doing yoga in our college apartment in the final semester before we graduated. After doing one of the videos with her, I decided that I would try the whole challenge. I started it back at the beginning of April and just finished it today near the end of July.

It took me almost 4 months to complete the 30 days. But I completed it.

I started out doing 30 days of Yoga with Adriene. And it kicked my butt. I have been trying to get into good shape for almost two years now.

Two summers ago I started out a size 8, and honestly tights and yoga pants where the only things that felt good on my body. I felt horrible about myself. I decided I needed to make a few changes.  My mom let me use her personal trainer, which kick started my core workout. I took all the advice she gave me and started applying it to my workouts.

I cut sugar out of my diet for 30 days, I lost almost two inches off my stomach. I was by no means ‘fat’, just a little pudgy. I went through my pantry and threw away all the processed foods. I spent hours online learning the difference between cane sugar, refined, brown sugar, etc. I sat around and learned the difference between monounsaturated, unsaturated, and saturated fats until I understood what I was putting into my body. I amped up my water drinking and cut out powerades (I was never much of a soda drinker). And started eating less fast food, cooking more, and paying attention to what I was ordering.

I did all of this and started to see my body changing. I still wasn’t ready to wear a bathing suit around anyone yet, but I started getting comfortable with myself again.

And then as life goes I fell off. I got a boyfriend. I got lazy. I started eating more like he did. I stopped going to the gym every other day. I got complacent and got heavier again. Then I got dumped. Then I got mono. One year had gone by.

What I haven’t actually been able to say to people about that time that I was sick and dropped down to weighing almost 130 lbs, (currently I weigh about 150 lbs, but you’d never guess it) was that I actually felt okay to be in a bikini again, I was happy that I was thin and weighed as much as all the other girls. I finally wasn’t a tall heavy freak that weighed over 120 lbs.

I was basically just skin and bones. honestly it made me feel pretty and good enough for the first time since I became aware of body image. I started buying new clothes, only a few still fit now, and started going to the pool with my friends.

And then I stopped being sick. I started to gain back the healthy weight. And again I started to feel horrible about my body. But this time I was trying, trying not to feel so sad and down that I wasn’t the image of perfection I had in my mind.

I kept working out over the winter and into the spring. I went on a sailing trip with my family to the BVI over my final spring break. Neither my mom or my sister are stick thin, they are both healthy. They both have a butt, something the gene pool missed me on. Neither are Victoria Secret model impossible to achieve with out photoshop thin. But they are comfortable with their bodies, and beautiful.

I tried to imitate them and be confident with myself. I felt fine changing in front of my mom and sister. I even felt okay wearing a bathing suit in front of my dad, mom, sister, and brother. But I struggled around other people, am still struggling.

In some twisted way I think that people who don’t know me very well will only like me if I am thin. And not just thin, what I imagine other people must think thin on me looks like. Kinda fucked up right?

I find it hard to be confident, something that people tell me I radiate, when I think too much about my body size.

I can look down and see the city of stretch marks on my thighs and the random ones that pop up on my hips and arms. I can physically see the difference I have made in my body in the past two years.

I can feel the difference in my body after completing the 30 day challenge. I can feel how my muscles aren’t so tight. I can feel how much better my breathing feels.

On the final day of the challenge Adriene tells you that she will be taking off her mic and doing her own thing. She invites you to either do your own thing or follow her.

I started off following her. But after about a minute in, I started doing my own practice. All the things she had taught me I applied to my practice. I didn’t need a coach to tell me what to do anymore. I felt empowered enough to take it into my own hands.

Right after the music stopped playing and that little heart on the screen stared up at me I started to cry happy tears. For the first time since I was kid standing in my grandparents house in Corpus Christi being told by one of their friends that I looked chunkier than the last time he saw me, I felt good about where I am at.

I’m not ready to stop here. I want to keep pushing my body, I want to get in better shape. I’m by no means accepting where I am at today. But I am not resentful of myself or body today.