Digging Deep and Letting Go


By Alex McGillivray

I'm human. I'm genuine. I keeps it real. I have my highs and my lows, but, I am ALWAYS hard on myself, and chances are, many of you are too. So, over the past few months I have been diggin' deep in an attempt to cut myself some slack.

Digging deep isn’t easy. You are forced to face the parts of you that you don’t really like to keep company with, like your demons. You know, that asshole voice that likes to berate you and keep you wallowing in self doubt. I have definitely danced a few tangos with that voice and only recently, after digging a little deeper, did I realize that the song has always been the same. All of my insecurities stem from how I feel about my weight, and while I’ve gingerly danced around that topic before, I’m taking it a step further and sharing the treasures I’ve found during the dig.

For as long as I can remember, my weight and how to lose it has always been a hot topic with those closest to me. Friends and family alike have all chimed in with their opinions and recommendations. I have never believed their comments were malicious in intent, but their concerns, along with the help of my demons, created a wall of insecurities that I have been working tirelessly to dear down ever since. It’s a voice that I am constantly trying to quiet, and while I receive an abundance of compliments, it just isn’t the same as believing it yourself from within the fire of your core. You can’t authentically be yourself if you don’t truly believe in every drop of the beauty you possess. You also can’t reach this state of happiness without letting go, putting your demons in check, and forgiving everyone including yourself for holding onto those feelings of guilt for so long.

So here goes as I turn my vulnerability and share the things I need to let go of:

1. In grade 4, I took a dare to trip one of the nerdy kids on the stairs after recess because the other kids said I didn’t have the guts to do it. I never did like people telling me I couldn’t do things, but I have regretted this decision ever since. What’s worse is I apologized by saying I didn’t meant to do it and that it was an accident. Note to grade 4 Alex, it doesn’t take guts to take the dare. It takes guts to tell your friends to take a hike for asking you to do something mean to another kid. It also takes guts to admit this 20 years later in an effort to apologize to that kid who will probably never read this, but whatever, the universe knows and will find a way to balance it out.

2. All the lies and gossip I said while growing up. Yes, we are all guilty of this, but I am especially sorry for the things I said and did that broke the hearts of friends. I’m still growing but I’m sorry for not being brave enough to tell the truth at the time. We are all allowed to be young and stupid. What really counts is knowing you have become a better person as a result of those experiences. I’m at peace with this.

3. The judgment I have passed onto other larger women, and in particular, the judgment I passed onto a complete stranger during a trip to Mexico. I saw you in a bikini and thought it was okay to say that you could look so much better in a different swimsuit. Instead of celebrating you and the love you have for your body, I struck at you like a snake in the grass. Deep down, I was envious of your ability to be happy in your own skin because I was miserable in mine. If I knew you, and saw you today, I would tell you that you’re a rock-star who inspires me because let’s face it, we need more confident people like you in the world.

4. I’m sorry for the friendship that never developed with a fellow woman. Looking back I feel like this was a case of meeting at the wrong place and at the wrong time. I’m sorry that we never figured out how to be friends, but mostly, I’m sorry that I said so many bad things about you like a childish school girl. I turned into someone far uglier than I could ever be. I was angry with you for the things you would say to me, but most of all, I was really angry at the way I let you treat me. I let you make me feel the worst I have ever felt about myself. I’m sorry I didn’t realize this sooner, but I am so thankful at the same time because it has taught me the importance of self worth.

Letting go and learning to accept responsibility for one’s actions are two of the hardest challenges in life. Clearly I am no champion at either of these things, but I can now say in my heart of hearts that I feel relieved to have let go of all that guilt I was harbouring.

I recently read a wise quote that has stuck with me ever since reading it:

"There is a battle of two wolves inside us all. One is evil: anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, lies, inferiority and ego. The other one is good: joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy and truth. The wolf that wins? The one that you feed." - Cherokee Proverb

These words dig up a different story for me about my own insecurities. Yes, people will unintentionally hurt you with the things they say and do, but the insecurities you feel are because YOU continue to feed them and the demons that haunt you. YOU are the captain of your ship. YOU can set sail in any direction and more importantly, YOU can weather the storms that come your way.

I’m still fighting my demons every dang day, but I’m getting closer and closer to quieting their voices. In fact, I can say with pride that I managed to silence it recently while away on vacation in the Dominican by facing my fears and doing this:

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And I’ll be the first to admit, I have NEVER felt more liberated. So step aside demons. I’m making room for cooler friends.

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Alex McGillivray

Alex works for charity by day, but is actually a writer, runner, swimmer, and lover of a little bit of everything. Inspired by her adventures in running, she's started coaching family, friends, and wanderers she meets along the way. She's quirky, nerdy, and a little bit sporty. She also digs shelling out smiles and good vibes, and believes the universe conspires to help the dreamer.