Painless as the Truth can be

Lateefah Fleming, owner of empowerFit wellness on a hike while on a wellness retreat

I’m going to make this intro as quick and painless as possible.  Or as painless as the truth can be.

Let’s get all the juicy stuff out of the way so we don’t need to have some huge Oprah-type reveal later: Some days I look in the mirror and I see a goddess, an African queen whose curves and muscles can carry the weight of a nation and simultaneously make you turn your head as I walk down the street, mesmerized by the sway of my hips and the confidence in my step.  You become intoxicated by the trail of pixie dust of loveliness and stupendous beauty I leave behind as I pass you by.  And other days, I feel like shit; the real funky, stink up your whole house (and your neighbor’s) type of shit.

You see, I suffer from dysmorphia, meaning what I see in the mirror is not a true representation of what really is. Or to put it another way, my brain refuses to see the beautiful, healthy and strong being in the reflection.  When my mind was in full on toddler-tantrum, refusal-to-see-my-worth mode, it became such a problem that I became bulimic.  I am in recovery. Honestly, I probably always will be.  I will always be on the verge of that next purge, trying to regain control where I just lost control.  I know I am recovering because more often than not I am feeling like I am on the verge of greatness…. But always on the verge: on the verge of finally looking good, being pretty, being beautiful, being acceptable; being acceptable to me.

AM I still teetering on the edge?  I don’t know.  Hey, don’t push me ‘cause I’m close to. The. Edge…… I’m trying, not to lose my head….. Anyway, I do know my approach to myself is incredibly different.  I walk into the gym, get on my yoga mat or go for a brisk walk because I love myself enough now to treat it with kindness whenever possible. I’m learning to love what my body looks like when I treat it the best way possible with the proper attention, fuel, activity and, honestly, good wine. Not to be cliché but I really am finding my control – power – through exercise; yoga and dance, especially.  Prayer and my faith feeds my soul, lightens the load and helps to take the blinders off my eyes and fall in love with this beautiful being God has created.  Yoga and dance feeds my spirit, makes it sing, gives my body a power I never thought possible.  When I am active, I feel beautiful, sexy, strong, unstoppable – no matter how I felt when I looked in the mirror this morning.

Know that I do not claim to be a fitness expert or wellness professional simply because I go to the gym a lot and “look good”.  I am so good at what I do not just because I have tons of education in this field and 15 years of experience, but because I am able to live truthfully and survive in my imperfections and shortcomings.  I am able to relate to others who have my struggle – or don’t have my struggle.  I am here for people who feel the truth really will set them free and lead them toward their goal of loving themselves FIRST then working toward the rewards of what your body looks like when it is treated right. (Quick Note:  I stressed that again because I really believe when we get stuck on working out or eating to “look” a certain way, it doesn’t always have the best effect.  It can be as devastating as an eating disorder or just working out and training so hard that you wind up with an injury or under-nourishing yourself.  In the long run, it’s not good for you. Your health is a journey. Know your body is already beautiful.  Really.  Love you first, treat yourselves correctly – it’s okay if you don’t know how; that’s what professionals like me are for – and enjoy what your body looks like from there)

I figured I would be open and honest, upfront, about myself so you truly know to expect any and all entries from here; everything that follows is unfiltered truth, peppered with knowledge and seasoned with a ton of humor.  Much love, y’all.

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