This whole year has hands down been one of the most amazing years of my life. Thanks to Sport Changes Life, I have had so many memories between getting to play basketball in Ireland, working with kids, and getting to travel the world. It has been something I surely will never forget. As my journey here in Ireland is coming to an end in a little over a month, I can say I have learned so much about myself throughout the year.
While my year has been amazing, this has also been one of the most difficult years of my life emotionally and mentally. A side that I never show on the outside, because I am GENUINELY happy here. However, as I wrote about in my blog entitled “Scars,” this year more than any other year I have struggled with confidence and body image issues. There have been so many days where I hate how I look, get on the scale 3 times a day, and get depressed to leave the house and see people. I had moments of an unhealthy relationship with myself and with food. This has never been me, but something that I struggled with once my skin got bad. Seeing myself going down this path of an unhealthy obsession with my body, I decided I need to make some changes this spring.
I didn’t write this blog to bore you all with my problems and issues I promise!
The reason I wrote this blog, is this year I have come to terms with so many things. I have come to terms I will never be perfect and that is okay! I have truly found my inner peace here in Ireland. Some might say I sound like a hippie, but I love hippies and their whole energy, so I’ll take it! Through all my struggles mentally and emotionally, I decided the only way to get through them was to find things that brought me peace and cleared my mind. I needed to find things that made me happy and stop obsessing about my appearance. The two things I have found that have given me peace (besides basketball): going to the beach and running.
Going to the beach is a no brainer, I grew up going to the beach every summer and was in the water from a really young age. I love the beach and the ocean, nothing makes me happier. However, being in Ireland, there aren’t many ideal sunny beach days! Donegal, where I live, has some of the most amazing beaches in the world, so I decided this spring I am going to go whenever I get the opportunity. I am actually writing this blog after spending the afternoon at Ballymastocker Beach, voted the second best beach in the world. It is hands down my favorite place on Earth. There is never anyone at the beach, just me, the sand and the ocean. Jumping in the freezing cold water and walking the beach made me think about everything and how lucky I am to be where I am. I can’t even explain what it is, but I was just so happy in that moment at the beach. I feel at peace with the world and most importantly myself.
Running is another activity that I have gotten back into this past month. I started running when I was a young girl, my mom put me in running club and I would even run triathlons! I have always enjoyed running, but now running is my all-time favorite therapy. I ran a half marathon last year and it was one of the biggest achievements of my life, so I decided this spring I would get back into some of that training. The other day I ran 8 miles, and it was the best feeling. Although I ran rather slow, it was extremely therapeutic. Going for long distance runs gives me an hour to an hour and a half of pure time with myself to think everything through. I put on my favorite songs (usually country) and think about all I have going on in my life. It is essentially my own therapy session with myself. When, I finish a run I am so relaxed and once again at peace with myself.
I encourage you all to find your peace. Find what makes you happy and forget all your problems, whatever that may be. No matter what you are going through, you can always find ways to help yourself through it. I am excited to continue doing the things that give me peace this spring. I am incredibly thankful for this year, and all that it has taught me. In a weird way, maybe I am also thankful for my skin getting so bad. It has taught me more about myself than I ever imagined and showed me that I am stronger than I even knew. And maybe, just maybe, even slowly, it is teaching me to stop hating myself, and start loving myself once again.