– Clara Lew-Levy, Montreal
A year ago my boyfriend and I decided to part ways after having grown up together for the past 7 years. I guess we could call it the “seven year itch” but unfortunately this “itch” could not be simply cured with antihistamines, this itch was so painful it dug deep beneath my skin, affected all my organs and especially my heart. The only cure available was time. Since then, time has definitively passed. In a year my life has turned 180 degrees into a life I never expected to have. This past year has been a year of intense self-reflection, discovering oneself, discovering solitude and enjoying it, travelling, making new friendships, strengthening family relationships, moving to a new city and country, going back to school and opening myself up to the world, one filled with such amazing opportunities.
It was definitely not an easy year, I felt emotions that I did not even know existed. Not being with someone that I had been with from such a young age all the way to my mid-twenties made me feel confused, lost and empty. I felt as though I was having an out of body experience, this could not be real. Losing my best friend and never seeing or talking to him again was the most difficult thing I ever went through. In the first few weeks, my life consisted of eating gluten-free quinoa cookies and drinking (too) many bottles of red wine, I was sleep deprived or cried myself to sleep and bought all the klennex boxes Montreal had to offer . With my ex boyfriend I had a routine, was working, was eating only organic and local food and exercising daily. And suddenly, I let all of that go. I became somewhat “homeless” and proclaimed myself a “gypsie” moving from city to city, bed to bed, carrying a backpack filled with my essentials. I could not bare staying in my apartment alone, the one I had once shared with someone I once loved. Throughout the year I left to Paris (twice), to New York (every month until I decided to move there), Israel, Amsterdam and London. I guess we can say that I was trying to flee the scene of the crime.
I want to forgive myself and hope that my body can forgive me as well. Taking life changing decisions takes time, not only in our relationships, but also with the relationships we have with our bodies…
Although I was trying to take care of my sanity throughout all of this, I forgot my most important tool, my body. After the first month of my break up where I was barely weighing 120 pounds, my body suddenly started to creep on me and giving very clear signs that I was not taking care of myself. My favourite jeans no longer fit, my face starting becoming chubby, stretch marks started forming and I just didn’t listen to myself. I continued eating out (even in disgusting NYC delis), drinking, and barely exercised, when my body was used to moving at least on hour a day. I hated looking at myself in the mirror and was in complete denial of what was going on with my body. By the time I started to realize the damage, it was already too late. I had gained 30 pounds. 30 pounds!!! In one year!!! How was that possible? “It must be a thyroid problem”, I told myself and others, “My whole family has it, it must be that, don’t you know its genetic?”. So I took an appointment with my doctor and was extremely disappointed when she gave me the news that it was not that. I then decided to blame it on the quality of the food I was eating while living in New York: “It must be the hormones and the antibiotics they feed there animals with”, “It must be the GMO’s, don’t you know that’s what they do to all their food here?”. When I got back to Montreal my body still wasn’t changing so no, it could not have been the food. Nope, it was just me and the way I was eating and my lack of self-care. Was it because I felt as though I I didn’t deserve to take care of myself? Was I that lost and confused? I did not feel good in my own skin and I still don’t. I don’t feel as though this is me. But today I made the decision to change, change my habits, acknowledge the work that will come with it, to accept myself and most importantly, taking care of myself first. I want to forgive myself and hope that my body can forgive me as well. Taking life changing decisions takes time, not only in our relationships, but also with the relationships we have with our bodies and its important to tell ourselves that sometimes life doesn’t happen the way we had hoped but I am happy to say that today I want to finish this chapter of my life even with stretch marks on my body or stitches in my heart. From now on I’m only looking straight ahead but most importantly I’m thanking my body for giving me another chance.