Food is Love

As a lover of food, foodie travel and of course, Food Network, being a lactose-intolerant, gluten-intolerant vegetarian keeps me on my toes when it comes to grocery shopping, cooking for myself and my family and ordering at restaurants. I am constantly wanting to share with people about the food I am making or the food I am eating, and since I am sure my family and boyfriend are tired of nodding their heads and smiling, I am bringing to the blog! I want to begin sharing my vegetarian, healthy (and guilty pleasures) and attempts at vegan recipes, my foodie travel experiences and solely just the appreciation I have for culinary.

However, health also refers to the wellness of the heart, mind, body and soul, so this branch will also provide inspiration, encouragement and the more personal things that may not be covered within my usual blog posts. With that said, I want to share with you all the firsthand reason as to why I believe that this expansion will be beneficial for me and as to why I believe so strongly that personal health is something that I need to continue to share others for me to accept it myself.

Since the day I decided to hang the number 16 up for good, put the knee-pads away and say goodbye to any potential volleyball career, I have changed drastically as a person. This milestone of giving up the only lifestyle I had ever known was terrifying, it was freeing and it was eye-opening. Although there were positives to ending my career such as a great amount of free time, saving my parents from an eighth year of travel club funds and ultimately, making the decision to attend Indiana University which has been such a positive impact in my life, quitting this game came with deeper negative factors than I could have ever imagined.

It was October when my final, senior season of Warsaw volleyball ended, and I stood in the Tiger Den parking lot and hugged my fellow senior teammates, and who I thought were friends, goodbye and went home. What I did not know was that when I said goodbye in that parking lot, we would go our separate ways for the rest of our senior year. It was three months later when I sat my parents down and made the decision to not continue my collegiate volleyball career, and it was three days after that when I looked at myself in the mirror, wearing nothing but sleep shorts and a sports bra, and I was absolutely disgusted with what I saw. Somehow, the five-eleven, 160 pound of muscle athlete was no longer that, but rather a tall, uncomfortably thick high school girl. It was in February, when I realized just how lonely and sad I was.

Fast forward to June, I graduated from Warsaw Community High School, I had my graduation open house and I had my freshman orientation down in Bloomington. During this time, I was building an unbreakable bond with my mom, I was forming actual friendships with my siblings and I was two months away from moving away from Warsaw, Indiana and never having to look back. Also during this time, I began hearing statements like, “Wow! You look so good!” and “Have you lost weight?” I also heard a lot of, “What are you doing tonight? Oh, you’re staying home again?” and “Why don’t you go hang out with your friends?” And let me tell you, it is much easier to just smile and say thank you and to pretend like you just want to have a chill night at home than to explain your unmeasurable self-consciousness and the fact that, actually I cannot go hang out with my friends, because I apparently do not have any.

The summer between my senior year of high school and freshman year of college consisted of packing boxes, watching Snapchat stories and liking Instagram posts of numerous parties and lake days that I must have missed an invitation to (for two months in a row) and counting down the days until I left for school. After a summer of a good amount of alone time, I finally got to pack up my car and move to Bloomington for the next nine months of my life.

As everyone who has had a conversation with me from the second I moved into Bordner 300, attending Indiana University is the best thing that has ever happened to me. It was incredible that within the first three weeks I had met the most genuine, lifelong best friends that cared more about me than the so-called friends I had surrounded myself with the past eighteen years. I began to fall in love with life for the first time, I realized that my family was my absolute number one priority and I forgot all about how people had treated me for the past few years. However, in all of this, I also got to the point where the “you got skinny” comments became worried, pressing questions, and I realized that in the past three months, I had managed to lose thirty pounds. My first year of college may have made me feel less lonely and may have been the most incredible experience, but my first year of college also taught me more about myself than I would have ever thought, including shining a light on the eating disorder I had developed over the past year of my life.

So, instead of going about this acceptance in a negative, pessimistic way, I thought that I would open a place up for the happy days, the positive thoughts and the good vibes, but also the not so happy days, ways to get through the negative thoughts and encouragement to support not just me, but everyone else who struggles with issues they do not want to address, admit or confront.

It is time for the person who preaches self-love to stop accepting hypocrisy, and began to love herself again.

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