A New Story

Last April I did a post called Elements of a Story in Our Lives.   It was based upon my reading of a memoir by Donald Miller called A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. In the book, Miller tells of his experiences writing a script based on his life.  Unfortunately his fellow screenwriters constantly remind him that his story is not interesting. This points him on a journey of self-discovery, answering (or at least presenting) the questions: What makes a great life?  What makes an interesting story? How can we keep from living a mundane life?  How can we tell a different story?

In my original post I mused on the new story I might tell?  It was, after all, only two months into my fitness quest.  Would losing weight change my story? I said:

“Just like the girl in the story or the prodigal son from scripture, we can come to ourselves and think upon our ways; thereby, creating a new story, a better story, or certainly a more dynamic story.  Even if it is not a redemptive change, knowing that change is possible is so wonderful.  For example, if I am able to lose weight that would change my story- it may or may not make it substantially better but the chances are it will make it a longer story.”

Well, I’m here to tell you today I am living a better story.  This evening we had book club, and I started gabbing about all I’ve learned and experienced in the last two months.  There’s plenty to tell about insulin resistance, PCOS, low GI diet, doctors, trainers, medicine etc; yet, even more impactful than the practical knowledge/relationships is with the official PCOS diagnosis, my life story makes sense.  I have so many answers for things which, I either questioned or accepted as part of who I am.  For example, I now understand why I struggle with mild anxiety, worry and stress.  It’s not because I am high-strung or difficult.  It’s because my insulin levels make my hormones go out of whack and then my ability to handle stress/anxiety is affected.  It’s a new way of understanding my story.

I finally have answers for that little 9-year-old girl who gained 50 lbs in one year and wondered what she was doing wrong especially when her parents told her she ‘weighed as much as some grown men’. I have answers for the high school girl who compensated for outward flaws by developing inner-strength, a wide-range of talents and interests, and deep relationship with God that I have never lost.   I have answers for the college girl who substituted affection from boys with a passion for education, and who learned to be a great friend. The type of friend I then sought out, and thankfully, in precious moments, found.  I have answers for the missionary who couldn’t keep up with the physical demands of the work and yet never gave up- coming home each day exhausted, feet pounding, body throbbing in pain, all the while her mind obsessing over every investigator. I have answers for the workaholic career girl who made perfection a quest and lacked the confidence to seek true happiness.  All of it makes more sense now.  All of it has more profundity.  All of it is my new story!

I wish I could be a fly on the wall on those difficult days.  I wonder what I ate? It was probably a lot of carbs- especially on my mission.  In Indiana they have a dish called ‘chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes‘.  It is a depression era dish that allowed one chicken to feed like 20 people.  It was the first thing I ate in Indiana (along with corn!).  When I think of what a meal like that must have done to my insulin levels and consequently everything else in my body, I wonder how I made it through? My poor companions!

Do you see how making it through my mission is now a different story?  It has a new, more vibrant power, than it ever had before?  I am not only living a new story now but my whole life is being told in a new way.  It’s the most exciting experience I can imagine!

I know there are many people who wish they could reinvent themselves at 30. I literally am getting that chance each day.  I am losing weight (over 10 lbs lost in the month of February alone), I’m radically changing the way I eat, and I am making changes at work, to name a few things.

Such a list of changes, however complete, does not describe what’s really happening.  I feel healthy and happy in a way I have NEVER felt.  I am telling a new story- made rich by the constantly developing stories of my past.  I am not the weak person I secretly suspected. I’m certainly strong enough to single-handedly fight for these answers and this PCOS diagnosis.

I have always loved memoirs which chronicle the tales of dramatic people, living great lives, and now I may just be one of those people?  I know I keep saying it, but I am telling a new story and that takes guts!  I know I still have a long way to go; however,  I have lived long enough to know when I’m on the right path. It’s like one of my favorite quote says,

“If at some point in your life you are not where you want to be it has no bearing on the future. You can always reinvent yourself” (Anonymous).

I did it!  I am successfully reinventing myself!  I am sure some of you are burdened with great weights- much heavier than mine.  If you can take anything from my story know that even if it takes you 22 years to figure it out- keep fighting.  Keep trying.  There are answers!  Having problems does not mean we are weak, it simply means we have a journey to take.  I’m so glad I started down mine.  I can’t wait for the rest of the story…