Dear Friend,

I’m ALIVE! I know, it’s surprising given the complete absence of writing on my part in literally months. So what’s upwith me? I don’t know… but I”m in PHOENIX!!! This wasn’t in my original plans for the summer. I thought I’d spend my summer working my butt off at Chick-Fil-A, and I have been doing that, but I also got the unexpected opportunity to steal Lydia’s spot with the MYF at convention! I really need this right now. For the best, and most accurate explanation you’ll have to wait just a bit though because it’s time for a CHECK -IN! After all… I’ve been gone too long not to do so.

Physically-

Stuck. As you may know, I have struggled with body image for a long time, and I wanted to make a change, but felt held back by some negative thoughts. I didn’t want to lose weight and at the end say, “Yup I’m skinnier!” I wanted to feel as though I was healthier, both physically and mentally (regarding image). This year, I’ve done a lot to try and become more comfortable in my own skin. I bought a bunch of t-shirts in bright colors so I wasn’t hiding all the time (worst idea ever… I LIKE dark colors!). I tried to stop wearing a hoodie all the time (Hard to do, because they’re just so comfy!). I even cut off all my hair, which was one of the largest security blankets I had. After all, my hair had become my identifier, on those bad days when I believed the mirror to be mocking me, I would say well at least I have my hair. But I didn’t want to just love my hair, or my eyes… I wanted to love ALL of me. It has been amazing to me how by cutting off my hair, my confidence improved. I don’t think there is any great way to explain why, except to say that I had to be confident in myself because there weren’t any curtains (both literally and metaphorically) to hide behind. That being said, I have lost weight… about 20 pounds out of a 70 pound goal. So where does this “stuck” come in? After all, when I say all that, it sounds like I’m moving forward… but lately I’ve felt stuck as far as moving forward. Starting out felt like such an accomplish that sometimes I feel like I don’t know where to go from here.

Emotionally-

Uhh… drained, exhilarated, nervous… honestly the past week has been like some crazy rollercoaster of emotions. I don’t even know where to begin, so I’m not going to. Half the time I think I’ve been having those dreams that seem real, but aren’t… I might just be going crazy.

Spiritually-

Worn Out. That’s why I jumped on the chance to come to convention. I needed a spiritual pick-me up. I’ve been struggling to go to church… to feel passionate about my faith. I don’t want my faith to be something that drains me, but rather something that gives new life and rejuvenation… I”m hoping that by the end of this week, some of the passion I’ve lost comes back.

Lots of Love, Mandi Jo