Do you ever think back to (one of) the person(s) you used to be, and think about them sitting in your place today, if you had chosen a different path instead of the one that got you to where you are today? I often imagine one of my past selves, sitting here, and I analyze them fondly, but also with pangs of distaste and regret like an old friend I lost touch with, wondering what my life would look like if my path hadn't altered so drastically so many different times.
The girl I almost was: a dancer, singer, performer, lover of all things on stage. A little bit more rambunctious and louder, she was fiery, extroverted, less cautious in everything she did. She had no care for fruits or vegetables, and the gym was a foreign place, instead, the dance studio was her home. She was more naïve, aloof, she lived in her happy, giggly bubble and had no care for anything that existed outside of it.
The girl I almost was: a drug addict, a hippie, with a knack for making reckless, impulsive decisions, who could not stand to be alone. Who preferred to get through life by just barely scraping by, manipulating, doing the bare minimum to succeed. My self-worth was validated solely by the way I saw myself through others' eyes.
The girl I almost was: a fitness fanatic, a gym rat, a personal trainer, whose days revolved around her protein consumption, 'clean' eating, and who slipped into mini panic attacks when she missed a day of lifting. She had learned to be strong, tough, and more mindful, and had discovered how passionate she was about helping others. I am thankful for her existence, she led me closer to myself than I had ever been before.
The girl I almost was: a vegan, a holistic but fragile person. She had good intentions, but she let herself fall into a vortex of obsession, rigidity, anxiety. She had an extreme need to control everything in her life. She rediscovered her creative side during this time, though. Food and cooking was an outlet, an escape, from these rules she had created for herself that dictated her life, her relationships, her happiness. Though her body was wasting away, her soul stayed strong, determined, to keep moving forward, to evolve.
All of these girls are so fascinating to me. The lines of transition between them are blurred, but the differences between them are so stark. I find myself thinking and talking about these past selves often. I struggle with them. Are they still a part of me?
It terrifies me to think that the person I am now may be another "past self" one day. Sure, I plan to continue to grow, evolve, and flourish in all areas of my life, but I am done running from myself. It's time to hold on to who I am so tightly, appreciate myself for all I have to offer to my relationships, my community, this world, myself. I know this post may seem a bit dark, but it's more pensive, thinking out loud I'm doing, and it's taking all I have not to press backspace until the screen is white, and tell you instead about something funny that happened today and then tack on the recipe I know you all are really reading this post for. But sometimes, vulnerability, courage, and opening up is needed, and this is something that I've been thinking about a lot this week. Sometimes I look back to the "girls" I used to be, and my stomach drops a bit.
"That girl was so weird."
"That girl was such an awful person."
"That girl was so anxious and uptight."
And so on.
By allowing these thoughts, by distancing my present self from these past versions of me, all I'm doing is bringing myself down, teaching myself that self-loathing is ok, neglecting to remember that each of these 'selves' were so beautiful, kind, and so very vital in bringing me to where I am today.
Theatre girl was hard-working, passionate, charismatic. She taught me to love the fine arts, to pursue my dreams, to accept and love anybody. Hippie girl gave me a killer taste in music, taught me what I don't want to spend my life doing and what kind of people I don't need in my life, she taught me spirituality and to not care what others thought of her. The gym rat guided me to health and fitness, she taught me self-discipline, how to help others, and HOW TO COOK.
I still love to sing, and take dance classes, my face is extremely animated when I talk, and I LOVE going to the theatre. I still listen to Sublime and Nirvana, I'm obsessed with yoga, I take tinctures and medicinal herbs, most of the skin products I use are all natural, and the thought of Western doctors still makes me cringe a bit. I feel most at peace in nature. I lift in the gym 3 days a week, it is my meditation. I feel strong and in my element there. I love talking about hypertrophy, plyometrics, and playing with new workouts and moves. At least one of my meals every day is vegan. I eat very minimal processed foods, can't bring myself to buy anything with chemicals, modified foods, or excess added sugar in the ingredients, and prefer holistic remedies before taking medicine for anything.
I am still all of these girls. I do not regret becoming any of them. I am letting go of any grudges I am holding against myself, for mistakes that I made, lies that I told to myself and others. They are not my past selves. They are just my past. Stepping stones on the path to get to where I am sitting today, happy, at peace with myself, proud of who I am. It's taken me a long time to get here. Which is why I wrote such a heavy, personal, kind of scary post, just to tell you guys how to make your own almond milk.
The number of requests I got for the recipe absolutely blew me out of the water and I honestly waited so long to post this recipe because well, frankly, I figured you'd all be underwhelmed. There's really nothing to it:
- Soak 1 c almonds in 3 c distilled, filtered water for 24 hours
- Blend soaked almonds with 3 cups fresh distilled, filtered water
- Strain through nut milk bag or cheesecloth
I know right? Were you expecting it to be that simple? You can dress up your almond milk by blending it with dates for sweetness, vanilla or cinnamon for a bit of flavor...whatever you desire1 I really love making my own almond milk--it's creamier, nuttier, richer, and so much more nutritionally dense. It's such a simple process, and is the perfect addition to your morning smoothie, cereal, coffee, or homemade matcha latte.