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What it Means to be Healthy

There’s always a mad dash to get in shape. All the pounds we pack on during the holidays are issued warrants, where the only judge is morphed into two things: a swimsuit and a mirror. So, with summer approaching and wild motivational stickies becoming my new wallpaper, I felt it was time to get back to the healthy me.

After hearing my sister friends talk about nutrition marketing company Herbalife and realizing that was not for me,  I decided to go for a walk at Kenneth Hahn Park. I got to the park, surveyed the  landscape of trees, grass and rocks, and became instantly motivated. After stretching and warming up my muscles, I stood and began walking. And as I started moving, within moments each step somehow morphed into a personal life challenge. I saw the forward movements of my body come into direct combat with the personal things that had been weighing on my mind. And suddenly, my leisure walk turned into a full out sprint. 

And, I ran.

I kept running. I could hear the beat of my heart, the inhale and exhale of oxygen take over the natural noises of the park and the distant traffic from La Cienega Blvd.  My calves screamed, my head throbbed away; the sting of sweat in my eyes bothered me, yet I kept running. I ran up graveled slopes and up the back of a trail that I thought would never end. I heard the encouraging words, “Go girl” each time I passed another runner. I wanted to say thank you, but I was stuck–a prisoner at war with my own body. I ran so hard that when I finally got to a small resting spot, my body literally gave out and I collapsed. I laid on the grass and stared up at the sky, listening to my heart creating its own rhythm, no headphones needed. I laid there shocked at what I had just done. Almost an hour of complete torture…and then I cried.

I cried for my family.  I cried for my little brother in juvenile hall. I cried for the health of my grandmother. I cried for the spiritual strength of my mother. I cried for the bills that seemed to mount higher and higher. I cried, hiccuped, and cried again. Every issue that I had compartmentalized or pushed to the side broke free. I felt the eyes of strangers on me, some were concerned, some scared.  This man asked  if I was okay but because I could not let a word out, I just nodded.

And all of a sudden, like how the world stands still for the passing of an ambulance, I was at peace. Through my sobs I heard birds chirping, felt a small breeze from the wings of a butterfly and heard, “get up.” I rolled over onto my stomach and sat up. I wiped my face with the back of my sleeve and sat there. Stunned by the mechanics of my body, and my emotional outcry, I whispered, “thank you.” I hadn’t realized that I kept so many things bottled in, tucked away. Tucked away not because I wasn’t strong enough to face them, but because I felt the needs of someone else took  precedence over mine.

Healthy? No. But the irony in this post is that while I was focused on being physically healthy–eating right and working out–emotionally, I was unhealthy.

I stood up, stretched for a little bit and thanked God for this revelation. To be a better me means confronting things, addressing problems. A healthier me starts internally. I promised from then on, I would create a checklist.  If I do not agree with something, I will talk about it right then and there.  If something negative is said about me, I will go to the source and discuss it. If my family is weak and at the time I am the only one strong, I will thank the Father for His favor and carry the load.

“Lord, you could have just said, ‘let’s talk,’ instead of allowing me to almost kill myself running and scare these poor joggers,” I said to myself jokingly. But nothing is learned without sacrifice. Without a test, there is no testimony.

As I limped away to my car, with sweat pouring down my body, I felt at peace with a better and clearer understanding of what it truly means to be healthy.