In the last post I promised that the next post I would talk to you about My Peak Challenge.
MPC has changed my life. That is not a figure of speech; it has changed me to my core.
This piece is a wee bit long, but I am not going to apologize for that. I needed to write this piece. And it needed to be what it is.
Je suis prest, Year 35
If you have been a follower or a friend for more than…10 minutes, then you will know the unfathomable depths at which my Outlander obsession lies. Some may say it is unhealthy. I say nay. I say I have found a window to my soul.
Don’t call me crazy. Yet.
Anyone who calls themself a reader has that one or maybe two books—or series, which have changed their lives.
These works reach them at some deeper, more spiritual level. You know what I mean. For some, it changes how they look at the world. For others it may be the catalyst for some great change in their lives. I have a friend who, after re-reading the Harry Potter series walked away KNOWIING she was meant to be a teacher. She immediately went back to school, called to the world of education. And for still others, these works may help them have some deep, mind blowing, soul opening realization that changes them at their core.
If you haven’t, you need to read more.
For me, it was the Outlander series. Now you can call me crazy. But before you do, you need to read it. If you haven’t read it, then don’t judge. I say this because, I am very defensive of it because of how much it has meant to me and how much it continues to factor into my life.
I am sure we have gotten to the point in this post where you are saying to yourself “Why is she telling me all of this? Who cares?”
I am telling you this because you need to understand how I came to the decision that I needed to take hold of my life for myself. See, I have lived the first 34 years of my life in fear. Fear of disappointing my parents, my teachers, my husband, my friends. I have lived in fear of failing, of upsetting, and of hurting others. While never afraid of judgment, I greatly fear criticism. I am afraid of rejection. And that is just the surface. However, in all these fears, the one person whose opinion I never considered was my own. And as I entered into Year 35, I realized that I am really disappointed in myself. I have let myself become a slave to other’s opinions and it has left me a shell of the person I had hoped to be.
I used to pride myself in knowing who I was and being confident and comfortable in my decisions. Patrick Ness wrote “We are the choices we make,” and I have always believed that to be true. But somewhere along the way I chose to let others opinions dictate my choices and as a result I became a person who worried more about what others thought of me than what I thought of me, and as a result, I lost myself.
Then, somewhere around my 33rd birthday something in me snapped. I found myself in a dark and personally destructive place and I was slowly approaching rock bottom in the self-esteem department.
“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”
― J.K. Rowling
And then the levy broke.
I spent an unintentional, ugly, tear-stained, brunch with a friend where I poured out every bit of crazy in my head. And then I did it again with my husband. And suddenly a weight was lifted and I felt like I was starting to float again.
Around this time I started to reread the Outlander series. And it spoke to me.
I am not going to go into all the ways that the series and Diana Gabaldon have changed my life. At least not right now. But one of the key aspects of the story that really resonated with me is how well the characters know themselves. They know who they are and who they are meant to be. And as I reread the story I found myself deeply envious of them, more so because I used to consider myself that kind of person. I spent the better part of last year, through the inspiration I gleaned from this series, really trying to know myself again. I took up a part-time job to get out of the house. It is a waitressing position, a job my mother has never approved of, but I have always enjoyed. I rekindled a lost friendship with a fellow writer friend, who has been more than inspirational—she has been game changing. As a result I started writing again. She and I started co-writing a play. I went out on a limb and pitched a story to a local farm and they enthusiastically said yes. We re-launched the site. And with each move I could feel myself floating towards the surface. As my birthday approached this past December I realized that at 34-years-old, with all that I have—a loving and supportive husband, two amazing children, a home—I have been wasting my life in the ME department. I had been living my life unhappy with who I was, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritual, and productively, for so long. In order to break through the surface and breathe the fresh air I needed to make a commitment to myself.
And that’s when I discovered the My Peak Challenge.
“MY PEAK CHALLENGE IS A GLOBAL COMMUNITY ROOTED IN THE BELIEF THAT WE CAN ALL EFFECT POSITIVE CHANGE IN OUR LIVES WHILE HELPING OTHERS.”
Before you ask, yes, I discovered this program because of my Outlander obsession. But, before you judge, ask yourself, am I crazy, or was it fate? Because this program and community has changed my life for the better in a way I couldn’t have done on my own and I have to give credit where credit is due. I would not be in the best place I have been in in a long time if it wasn’t for Diana Gabaldon and her imagination.
My Peak Challenges for myself this year are to get down to 22% body fat—my fitness challenge, and to finish my cookbook—my personal challenge. A cookbook is something I have wanted to write for years, but I have always been afraid to do. But fear will conquer me no more. The Frasers of Lovat, Jamie Fraser’s clan, has a motto in French upon their crest.
Je suis prest. I am ready.
This is my motto from now on too. I am ready. No longer will I live in fear of disappointment, rejection, or criticism. No longer will I let anxiety over the thoughts of others control the choices I make for myself. I will face the world head on and slay the demons as they arise, and nothing will get in my way, especially myself. I am ready.
Je suis prest.
Aside: I want to say a heart filled thank you to Diana Gabaldon, Ronald D. Moore, Theresa Carle-Sanders, Sam Heughan, John Valbonesi and all of the folks at Starz, Outlander Kitchen, and My Peak Challenge, for all that you have done, are doing, and will continue to do. Your creativity and hard work has changed my life, and the lives of so many others. I feel blessed to get to share the same place in the universe with such inspiring people. Tapadh leat.