there's a meaning to it all

Two weeks ago, I dressed in grey pants and a white cardigan. I merged onto I-235N and then made my way to Tulsa, OK for a day of training. The sky was a dark grey when I left Oklahoma City, and the sun broke through the darkened clouds as I drove the Turner Turnpike. And thus started a new season of my life with a new job.

I thought it would be easy. The transition from one full-time job to a new full-time job. But it hasn't been. I knew not to expect the job to be easy. And it hasn't been. It's been challenging and different and exciting and overwhelming and any other words that mean the opposite of easy.

But the transition? That was something I expected to be easy. After two years of a nearly forty minute commute, I thought I would find it easy to wake up just a bit earlier and head to the gym before going into the office. But I haven't done that once in two weeks. After several months of watching what I ate at lunch (on most days), I expected to continue to eat healthy. But I haven't eaten healthy in two weeks.

It's no one's fault but mine. I've wanted the transition to happen as quickly as possible, but it's taking time. I spent the first week soaking everything in and then the second week running after the job and responsibilities. I'm hoping to make my third week a mixture of soaking everything in and also pushing myself to take on responsibilities.

Starting the third week, I'm frustrated with myself and how I've let so much slide. It's been two weeks of transition and also two weeks without stepping foot in the gym. It's also been two weeks of drinking soda instead of water, of eating hamburgers instead of chicken, and of ordering at the drive-through more than anyone else.

I'm busy now. But I'm not so busy that I can't take care of myself. And I'm exhausted all of the time. But I'm exhausted because I haven't take the best care of myself. I recognize this and claim it as truth - knowing that as I enter the third week of my new life I will need to do so with the understanding that now is the time for me to put myself first and not cast off my needs for the sake of ease.

There are some things I've fallen into more easily than others. Some things that have been a much needed and welcome change like spending the time to straighten my hair and put on make-up in the morning. Other things include selecting my outfits for comfort and fashion. The combination of it all provides me with the opportunity to seek out beauty and care for myself in a way I haven't for over a year.

A part of me wonders if I should put the time and effort into straightening my hair and lining my eyes with shadow and eyeliner. But there is also a part of me that feels so much more like myself now that I'm taking the time to care about how I look as well as the time to present myself in the best way possible.

[from left to right: grey pants, white and black striped shirt, and white cardigan (JC Penney) & blue bead necklace (vintage from my grandmother) - Monday 2/20; black cardigan and grey lace shirt (Kohl's), jeggings (Lane Bryant), coral jewelry (Kohl's) and Fossil watch - Monday 2/27; grey cardigan and jean trousers (Lane Bryant), tan and nave striped shirt (JC Penney), and grey beaded bracelets (Target)]

Our Community Group (the women at least) recently started a Beth Moore study on the book of Esther, and the words have done a wonder on my soul. There's a constant reminder that it's fine to spend time on yourself so long as beauty does not become what you idolize.

At one point in time, I did idolize it. There are times now I think when I idolize it. Times when the most important thing is how I look. Times when I worry about every little thing. And also times when I feel as far from beautiful as possible.

I'm doing my best to hold onto the feeling of beauty. I'm doing my best to use how I feel to my advantage and then serving others because of the strength I find in beauty. It may make absolutely no sense to anyone else, but for me, I recognize the importance of taking the extra time to style my hair and  dust blush on my cheek bones.

There's still such a long ways to go. More pounds to lose. Hair to grow out longer. Outfits to plan. Days to live and work. People to meet and touch. Sometimes it is overwhelming and terrifying to think of how much farther I have to go and just how many more changes there will be in the future. But life is meant to be lived - not hidden from. And giving into that fear would make me hide from life instead of live it out in the best way I know.

I am going into my third week of work with the understanding of how difficult the transition is but also with the understanding of how worthwhile the difficulty is and will continue to be.

(title from "vice verses" by switchfoot)

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