Removing the Mask…
Several weeks ago I was given the opportunity to start making a change to my physical body that would in turn affect my emotional well-being. Fifteen days ago I accepted the opportunity of taking a healthier living challenge that included the product line known as Advocare. My dear friend Amee (Madame Deals herself) invited me to participate in an AdvoCare 24 day challenge that would cleanse my body, and set me on the path to a healthier lifestyle and physical body. Feeling the need to get healthy I agreed to take the challenge not really knowing what I was in for. Amee delivered the product to me on November 11; I was unprepared for day 1 and quickly decided that in order for me to achieve success I needed to read the instructions thoroughly and get to the grocery store for the appropriate supplies. I found myself struggling to bypass the potato chip and soda aisle, but I did. I filled my cart with fruits, vegetables and whole grains and set out to make day 2 a success. A friend suggested that I begin taking pictures of myself every day in the same spot so that after 100 days I could see what progress I had made. What would it hurt to snap a picture of myself every morning before I left for work? So on Day 3 I climbed in my car took a “selfie” and went on with my daily routine. Several friends commented that they could see a difference from my day to day pictures and while I wanted to believe them I was not so sure. The fact that I see my image in the mirror every day I think prohibited me from seeing an obvious change. As I stood in front of the mirror on day 12 I saw something that I had not seen before. There was something different but I couldn’t quite tell what it was. As I studied the image looking back at me; the image I had seen many times before I realized that I had changed in a pretty dramatic way. It was at this very moment that I realized something was missing from that woman in the mirror. I was looking at myself in a different light because somehow I had made a pretty obvious change and didn’t realize it. My hair was different; it wasn’t my normal 1980’s big hair filled with hairspray and fluff. It was simply styled; straighter than usual and flowed down my shoulders without the stiffness of hairspray. Staring back at me was an image wearing less make up than days before with a look of peace and dare I say radiance. At that moment in time I realized that I had removed my mask and was for the first time in a long time (possibly ever) presenting the real me to the world. Having just stepped on the scales and discovered an 8.5 pound weight loss I flew down the stairs hopped in my car snapped the day’s picture and posted it to social media. I was pretty excited!
In just twelve short days I had somehow gained the confidence to remove the mask I had hidden behind for so much of my adult life. The wind blew like crazy that morning as I sat on the playground with my preschoolers. One little girl commented “Ms. Karla, you have crazy hair today!” Yes, I did have crazy blown all over the place hair and I was okay with that. Without the mask to hide behind I realize that in the end it’s just hair and what is most important is what is on the inside. The image I have carried around inside my head of myself has never been positive. Always searching for what I believed to be beauty on the outside had clouded the true deeper image that I was able to see that morning staring back at me in the bathroom mirror.
Is there something masking the real you? Have you donned a mask to create a diversion to who you really are? Have you allowed yourself to fall behind a cloud of doubt, uncertainty, excess weight or other stumbling block? Whether you mask your physical or emotional self it is important to look within your soul and find the courage and strength to remove whatever it is that prohibits you from being your best. When I started my journey 15 days ago I had no real idea what I was getting into. The thought of dropping a few pounds and blogging about it was about as far as I thought into it. Allowing myself the opportunity to face certain challenges has allowed me to begin conquering hurts, habits and hang ups that have literally weighed me down for so long. In discussing my journey with a friend I shared that not only was the weight loss important but the search for inner peace was something that I longed for. Emotional health is equally as important as physical health. The search within ourselves can be intensely raw and often times painful but in order to heal and achieve inner peace we must address what clouds the eyes of our heart and keeps us down. For me, I hid behind my big hair, makeup and quick wit to prevent others from seeing the sadness that lived beneath the surface; the sadness of food addiction and anxiety that led to feelings of poor self-image.
I encourage you to search for and identify your mask and then remove it. Knowing that I have a long way to go and will have days of difficulty ahead I celebrate each step as a victory. Life is meant to be embraced and lived with abundant joy and peace. Tackle the tough stuff with your eyes and heart open to avoid putting on a mask of disillusion and doubt. Life is about living abundantly and filling your soul with inner peace; taking off your mask will allow you to find that peace that is within your grasp if you only focus on finding it.
Check out Karla’s Advocare 24 Day Challenge Updates
I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!