Day 11 and My Secret for Amazing Hair

Good morning Day 11!!

I’m over a ¼ of the way through my W40 today and feel fantastic!

One of the things that is making me feel fantastic is my current obsession with Pork Bone Broth!  I’ve been making it for about five or six weeks now and I think I’ve officially become an addict. (and also perfected my method!)I drink 500ml of it every morning before breakfast and I’m starting to see and feel real benefits.

First off, the mental reward is very important to me.  It actually feels like a big cheat to get to drink it every day because it tastes so decadent that my mind is tricked into thinking it’s a treat.  It’s also mentally empowering to know that I’m consuming something that is so good for me and completely pure.  I use organic, pork bones from my ethical butcher, so I know I’m getting good wholesome nutrients.  When I drink it, I visualize my body’s cells celebrating and becoming stronger and healthier. That might sound stupid… but visualization is actually scientifically proven… I think… or whatever 😉

The second reward is that my hair, skin and nails are incredibly healthy right now. My nails are growing strong and like wild fire and are not splitting at the sides like they normally do.  My hair is springy and strong and also growing like wildfire and the most incredible part of all, which I am attributing to the bone broth… my hairline is changing!  I have a bit of a receding hair line shape and I’ve always hated it… Just yesterday I noticed that in the two receding parts on either side of my bangs, there’s thick new growth.  It’s about an inch long already and already thick enough to change the shape of my hairline to a more attractive (to me) shape.

Maybe my healthy hair growth can be attributed to the bone broth or maybe to my generally healthy state right now… I really want to give that point to the bones tho!

Here’s my ‘recipe’ for bone broth if you want to try it yourself!

3 pounds of high quality pork bones and one or two trotters (called ‘hoofies’ in my house)

3 carrots, roughly chopped

½ a bunch of celery, roughly chopped (I just chop the entire thing about halfway down from the top so I get the leaves and greener parts and then I compost the rest because I think celery is disgusting!)

1 med/large yellow onion, roughly chopped (skin removed)

6-8 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped or smashed

2-3 bay leaves

2 dried chili peppers

1 bunch parsley. You can either chop it or just lay it in there like a nice bed for your hoofies

1 bunch thyme

Handful of peppercorns

An amount of salt… I put a generous amount in…. it’s up to you.  You can always add more when you consume it.

2-4 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar (I don’t’ measure, I just dump some in).

Layer all your ingredients in a large crockpot and then fill with water* to cover.Put the lid on that puppy and set it to your low setting.  Mine is 10 hours.  I reset it a couple times and cook it for about 24 hours.

When it’s done (or you’ve reached your level of patience), strain it through a fine sieve and then place into canning jars.  If you want to freeze it, put it in 500ml mason jars with 1” of room left over.  Pop into the freezer and let it freeze before you put the lids on.  This makes six 500ml mason jars of broth which keep in the fridge for… you guessed it, six days!

*Now… If you’re going to make broth every week like I do, and you are a stingy old miser like me and also want to get the MOST nutrients out of your bones and broth, you can do what the French call Remouillage (which will replace the water for every subsequent bone broth endeavor you make) Basically Remouillage is a fancy word for ‘second batch’ and here’s how it works.

Strain out your amazingly flavorful broth as above and then instead of throwing out the cooked bones and veg, fill the crock back up with water and set to low again for 10-18 (or longer) hours.  When that’s done, strain through a fine mesh sieve, let it cool and then freeze it.  Next week when you’re ready to make another fresh batch of broth with a fresh batch of bones, defrost your Remouillage and use that liquid in place of the water.  Basically you’re going to make your bone broth with bone broth, which is much more nutrient dense (and flavorful) than water.

Remouillage makes me feel like I’ve eeked out every last bit of nutrient from those bones and am making sure the broth I spend valuable time making every week is going to be as healthy and nutrient rich as possible.  (and really, it’s no more work to run the crockpot the second time…

So there you have it… a recipe for Pork Bone Broth (which you can do with any other high quality bones as well) that will make you healthy, happy and with a beautifully shaped hairline!

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Just let go

Last week we went to the lake in Squamish.  It was amazing… I swam and sunned and ate and laughed… really an amazing time.  And yet the one thing that has stuck out more than any of that is a moment that didn’t even happen.  There was a rope swing on the shore… way high up in the trees and I believe I declared as we were discussing the swing that there was no way on this earth I would ever partake in that activity.  No.  Nope.  Nu uh! 

I did picture myself doing it tho… I pictured climbing up to the top, grabbing on to the rope swing and in some feat of heroism, actually jumping off the platform and swinging out over the water.  And then swinging back, too frozen by fear to let go and smashing back into the platform… Once you jump, you just HAVE to let go of the rope… you have no choice… because not letting go of that rope means certain and epic injury. 

If you were holding a million dollars in your hands and someone said if you gave it up and trusted that they’d replace it with two million, would you do it?  What if you trusted the person with your life?  Would you give up the million and your control to momentarily have nothing before they provided for you and came through on their promise? 

I used to wonder what it sounded like when God spoke to you… is it a voice?  A feeling?  How do you know?  Maybe for everyone it’s different… I assume so.  I’ve realized that for me, it’s the sound of my own voice… but wise and impactful. It’s in my own head, saying the things I need to hear… I argue with it… It makes me cry… because that voice… that sounds like me but smarter and wiser and divinely blessed… that’s God.  And He’s telling me to let go…Let go of that which I know is holding me back from something better.  I need to let go of something… of someone.  

This voice in my head… this divine message from God… 

Just let go.  I promise I’ll give you something better to hold on to.

You can’t have what I want to give you while your hands are full.

Just let go… I promise it won’t hurt…

Just.  Let.  Go. 

I’m standing on the platform… arguing… saying I can’t.  Knowing I have to… It’s so obvious that what I’m holding on to is not right… not meant for me… not the plan… It’s so obvious… and yet, I’m standing on the platform, refusing to make the jump because the second you jump… the second you trust that the rope will hold you, you HAVE to let go… 

I’m moved to tears grateful that my God is patient.  Oh boy, am I ever.  I know that this is important… to let go of what I’m holding on to and trust that something better is in store for me.  My fear, keeping me on the platform… keeping me from letting go is that that better thing is still a ways off… and I’m so weary of being alone.  To be honest, I’m mostly alone now… Just to mix analogies… instead of being covered by a big thick and fluffy blanket to keep me warm… I’m holding on to a threadbare tatter of a blanket that is doing nothing for me but getting in the way of the big thick fluffy one.  I’m still as cold as if I had nothing… 

As I’m writing this… I can hear the Voice of God… in my own head… in my own voice… Stand up there for as long as you need to… hold on to that threadbare tatter for as long as you need to.  I’m patient… but you’ll eventually have to let go… you know you do.  And when you do, I promise there’s something better for you. 

I’m not a trusting person… I’ve known this about myself for a long time now… I used to be… I’d put my trust in anyone that even hinted around at it… but I’ve been burned here in this mortal world and it’s hampered my ability to trust at all… 

As I sit here… with tears in my eyes and the most giant lump of what can only be grief in my chest, these are the words repeating in my head… 

Just let go.  I promise I won’t let you fall. 

I’m going to have to find a way to trust that.  Soon.

How do you push back the fear, let go of your own control and trust?

Don’t look at me!

A long time ago, when I was unhappy… no, downright miserable, I didn’t really care what I looked like. I was standoffish and mean to say the least because my home life was a nightmare… It was hard to see the beauty in things and I certainly didn’t see any beauty in myself. Now that I’m so much happier and content and at peace, I’m a heck of a lot nicer to be around and putting makeup on and doing my hair nicely just reflects outwardly the inside that I care so greatly for. I didn’t start this lifestyle of Paleo and working out to get a nicer outside, I started it to get a nicer inside… but it’s hard to keep the ‘nice’ contained to the inside and so it’s becoming reflected in the care I take for my appearance now. It was never a lie back then that I didn’t care what I looked like… I really didn’t. I was working day by day to just get through the days without losing my mind and there was nothing left to invest in my appearance.

Now that things have changed on the inside, my outside is becoming pretty nice… some days I look in the mirror and see how far I’ve come… and sometimes I look in the mirror and I see how much work I have ahead of me and how long it will really take to wash the pain of those years away… an interesting dilemma has surfaced.

I have a huge secret that I have carried around with me, starting in 2005… and then it doubled itself in 2011… I talk the talk of not carrying shame in something you have no control over… I am an armchair advocate for women’s rights and mental health care for those that need it. I would tell someone till I’m blue in the face that rape and abuse and sex assault is not their fault and that mental health should not carry a stigma with it. Because I, from the seat of my being, believe this to be true.

I was sexually assaulted twice in the last 8 years. Once by someone I barely knew and once by my ex 22 days before we finally ended it. I am in general, not traumatized by it. I made decisions at the time to prevent myself from being harmed more than necessary and while it’s incredibly painful to think about what people with no conscience will do… and I know it will be heartbreaking for people who know me… I’m honestly fine. The thing is tho… that kind of thing… it changes you. It changes parts of you that you wouldn’t think or know it changes until something in your life comes up to show you how you’re different.

The experience has made me quite shy… I’m not usually one to be labelled as shy… in a group of people I know, where I feel safe, I’m not shy… but in any situation where I feel even a little bit vulnerable or out of my element, my personality shuts down and I become painfully shy. It’s taken a very special person in the last little while to see me through my shy protective barrier and pull me out. That same person, who I’ve mentioned here before as a dear friend of mine has also showed me that trust is not always misplaced.

The other thing that my experiences have made me is incredibly self conscious. I’m absolutely terrible at taking compliments… It borders on rude how terrible I react actually. It’s something I am trying to work on… it all goes back to trust then right? Trust the person… trust what they say… trust that there is no ulterior motive. For the last ‘can’t even count that high’ years, I didn’t care what I looked like. Truth was, that was a safe place to be for me. Not that I knew it at the time, because the reason I was wearing so much extra weight was due to other life factors and an emotionally abusive situation. But when the outside started to become affected by the dramatic changes on the inside, that’s when it hit me. People are going to look at me. And I am not comfortable with that. I’m comfortable sharing an anonymous photo of my bikini clad before and after on the internet… I’m comfortable posting pictures of myself online… that’s all anonymous… I’m not comfortable wearing a nice shirt that shows my… ahem…‘assets’ …in a complimentary light and then having people look at me. I rationally don’t think anyone is out to get me and I rationally actually don’t think that anyone would be too interested in me for looks alone. However… the damaged and irrational side of me… that voice in my head tells me to walk faster, keep my head down and go eat some ice cream to get a bit of protective fat back because it’s a dangerous, dangerous world out there. Now the rub… I’m also not comfortable wearing baggy clothes that hide all the work I’ve put into myself. I’m not comfortable wearing too many layers for how hot it is outside and I’m not comfortable pretending that I don’t care about how I look. And there is the situation at hand. I don’t want people to look at me but I’m not going to dress or care for myself in a way that prevents it. I honestly don’t know where to go with that. I wish I could say that the last paragraph of this post was going to be some enlightenment over my dilemma… that I’d made some dramatic association and solved my own problem. I haven’t. The only thing I can give myself is another day and another day loving me from the inside and allowing that to show on the outside. I can only be stronger from my experience and while it would be impossible to say it will never happen again (but God I hope it never EVER happens again), I have to know that my instincts both times were right… and be stronger in trusting them. Because what a shame to be taught a lesson like that… twice… and not to take it to heart and get every ounce of experience and knowledge out of it that I possibly can!

 

NB: It was only recently that I was able to recall all the details from the first assault in a linear fashion. I don’t know if it’s because I was mentally strong enough, because it had been buried long enough or what… (altho no amount of burying it resolved the acute pain of the ‘in the moment’ emotions). I do believe that rape, sexual assault and physical abuse should not be kept in the dark. I believe that the more that people who have experienced it talk about it, the more that we can use our own experience to help teach eachother. That my experience might pave the way for someone else to recognize the signs and help themselves. And to help heal our sisters and mothers and daughters who have experienced it. Every time you find out you’re not alone with your experience is another moment of strength. That takes the dark off the shame and pours daylight on it.

With that said, I do have my experience written down. I understand it now in a way that I didn’t understand it then. Having uncovered it and poured my own daylight on it, I now understand why in some circumstances, I am the way I am. There is nothing gory or perverse in my account. There is no content that you couldn’t read on a computer screen at work. And yet, I go back and forth on whether to post it. Not because I’m ashamed, or scared, or even care that it’s on the internet. More because I am terrified that it will hurt people I care about to the depths of my soul. Do I know that these same people are statistically likely to have had a same/similar experience? Of course. Does that make it easier? No.

I think it would be cathartic to share it. Even tho the majority of the readers here are strangers. Because that’s another ounce of daylight shed on my experience from each person who reads it. I’m still debating. Your thoughts would be so appreciated as to the route I should take. But even if I get 0 or 100 comments on it… the decision still rests with me.

Before and During

The best way to do a ‘Before’ and ‘After’ is to post a picture… which I will spend the entire time I write this post contemplating whether or not I will post one… I have it… it’s just a matter of whether I want some people I know in real life to see it…

But there are some less visual indicators of change. And I would argue heartily that they are the most important ones and the physical changes in a person are merely the side effect of this. I retweeted the following yesterday…

Don’t expect external changes if you’re not committed to internal change.

My sister once said that the extra weight I was carrying was my pain on the outside. At the time it seemed reasonable but I filed it away, as I’m wont to do and only now has it come back to me, in a more processed and understandable state.

Only once you are no longer in the painful situation is it possible to understand the magnitude of that pain. My mind never processed it as a whole… bits and pieces were given to me in dribs and drabs… I do believe that God doesn’t give you more than you can handle and part of the way that manifests is that for someone like me, who is an uber processor… I didn’t process it all… it would have killed me… the sheer volume of pain would have done me in.

So slowly, as things came up they were either put on a shelf for a later time or processed… thought about, ruminated on. I don’t think it was a conscious effort… I didn’t sit down and pick a moment in time or an experience and intentionally… the thoughts and feelings just happened…

And then, one day I found myself feeling something I hadn’t felt in years… I felt happy and calm. I didn’t recognize it at first… it was a somewhat foreign feeling… I didn’t feel like yelling at people when I was driving… I was kinder to people around me and I handed out more benefit of the doubt than you could shake a stick at. I smiled at people. And the incredible thing was that as I explored this new feeling of calm and happy and let it lead the way for me, the response I got from the world changed… the world became more calm and happy around me. People smiled back. I laughed with strangers. I felt centered in my body…

The part about the internal change creating external change that creates the most problems is that it looks easy. People only see the physical changes. They only see that it looks like you just decided to be happy one day. They only see the results of fitting into smaller clothes and none of the immensely hard work that you’ve undertaken to get to that place. Which means that when you make these internal changes of which the side effect is physical change, the resistance from your friends and family can be overwhelming and they can sometimes really work at you to get you to ‘change back’. It’s understandable really… if you think about it. I was a comfortable place to land…I was consistently available to be used and mistreated because I was already in a vulnerable place… I was easy to control… I wasn’t a viable threat…

I’m not a super competitive person… at all. I’m a live and let live, do your own thing and let me do mine, kind of person. I’ve always been that way and a change in my mental status or my physical status isn’t going to change that. However, I do know that people will, without me knowing it, engage in competition with me. And now that I’m changing… becoming the next chapter of my life, there are no longer ‘easy wins’ for those that choose to secretly compete with me. I’m okay with that. I understand it and I understand that it can be so uncomfortable for those close to me that they react in a less than graceful way…

I often want to say ‘I’m the same person I’ve always been’. That’s easy to say for me because I’m here, in me… I know that the way I am has always been here… deep inside. But the way I present myself to other people now… that IS different. I’m not the same anymore and I wouldn’t want to be.

I’ve decided through the writing of this that I’m not ready to show the before and after picture. The external changes in me are not as important to me as the internal changes. And the only way to stand by that statement is to leave the visuals out of it for now. (note I said for now…)

May Days

I’m darn well exhausted. 

I’m a complete zombie and the only thing keeping the secret of my exhaustion is that my skin care ritual is so fantastic that I haven’t developed a puffy face or bags under my eyes yet.

In the last three weeks I’ve gotten MAYBE 4-5 hours of sleep a night, I’ve been still going to the gym and working out as hard as I can and then working a full day, coming home and keeping a clean house and trying to keep the cat from chewing his way out of the house… all the while spending precious time commuting back into downtown Vancouver in the evenings to hang with a friend.

The exhaustion comes not only from not getting my very much required 8 hours of sleep a night but also from processing a lot of mental and emotional data.  I’ve been in one of those learning phases for a few weeks… Self-discovery is actually a really hard job and can be really tiring… the outcome has been great tho and besides being completely exhausted, I’m very happy!

Many many good things have come out of this last three weeks, one of which was a really meaningful experience in my Faith. I have a whole entry I’m writing about it but until I get it all finished up… you’ll just have to wait.

Last night I went out for dinner after work… I met my friend downtown and we decided that we needed to walk for a while to decompress from the day so we headed out toward English Bay.  We first walked along some pretty busy streets but the sun brought every single person in Vancouver out to downtown so we quickly retreated to the side streets and found ourselves strolling along some very lovely neighborhoods. We finally made it down to the beach (where I neglected to take even one single picture of how beautiful it was) and found ourselves an empty bench to sit on… The heat drove us off the bench eventually and we went to a small hole in the wall Greek restaurant for dinner.  It was SO GOOD! The place was packed and they also do huge take out business so everything was super fresh!  After dinner we decided to walk a ways and when I finally got back to my bus stop and my friend to his office, we’d walked a total of 5miles.  I sincerely wish (for both of us) that had we known we were going to walk that far that we had worn appropriate footwear… neither of us did altho with such good conversation and a relaxed pace it was hardly noticeable how far we went.

I have no dinner plans again until next week so hopefully I can catch up a bit on my sleep and spend a little time decompressing… My plan is to gym tonight after work (and by tonight I mean I’ll be home early today so gym at 3ish) and tomorrow after work (again, since I’ve adopted early work hours to accommodate gym in the am, it actually accommodates gym after work if I don’t make it in the am). I have no projects on the horizon for the weekend except maybe making another skirt or two and buying some face cleanser.

I hope everyone is planning on having a great weekend… I heard it’s supposed to be sunny here again so I might find a patch of grass for a mid day sunshine nap.

darcy May 9

I know it looks like I have huge bags under my eyes but I took this pic under flourescent lights in a bathroom stall so… it’s the lighting…

Ssshh! Don’t Tell!

I’m generally an open book… there are not a lot of things that I keep to myself and sure as heck one of the things I find almost impossible to keep is a secret… Well, my own secrets, not ones people share with me.

See I find a secret… something so good that you want to keep it a secret SO EXCITING that I can’t help myself and I just HAVE to tell… and then I tell and tell until all the shiny and exciting bits have been rubbed and worn off and then I wish I’d never spilled the beans.

Keeping a secret is actually an art… one I’m getting much better at.  You see, the rubbing off of the shiny and exciting bits is the part that I don’t like about being a terrible secret keeper and the only way to keep the corners shiny and intact is to keep it to myself.

I have some good secrets going right now… the only problem is that because people expect me to be this open book of gabbery, generic and vague answers are very hard to sell.  I’ve been trying to change the conversation about me and my secrets back to the people who are asking because WITHOUT FAIL, people want to talk about themselves more than they care about the secret.  Try it sometime… when someone asks you a question about something that is unique to you, turn it around and ask them something and they’ll forget they were ever interested in what you were saying…

My secrets lately are of the fun and exciting variety… not to mention that it’s fun and exciting to keep secrets from certain people because it drives. them. crazy!  Yep… crazy!  I don’t think my life is really that exciting and certainly neither do a lot of people but this whole secret keeping craze I’m in right now is really messing with people’s minds!  It’s so fun!