My photo. Used with permission. :-)
Look at this photograph.
The other day, on Facebook, this photo popped up, reminding me of a time however many years ago, Kyla and I went to meet this pop superstar icon of music. She had been playing country music at the time, and Kyla and I were lucky enough to get some time with her before her show in DC at the time. Facebook has a way of reminding us... of things... and looking at this photo, I had sort of a moment I'll probably examine with my therapist on Friday.
So here I am, looking at me... in a photo which I've cropped... me... out of so many times in so many places. This time, I decided not to crop me out as I clicked the button to share the memory on my timeline.
"This is me ruining a photo of Kyla and Taylor," I wrote. "I wonder how much I weighed in this photo."
I'm sorry I wrote that line now.
I'm even more sorry I allowed myself to have a public moment of weakness and, to a degree, shame. And now, I'm sorry I'm working through the feelings about what I wrote on my personal Facebook page in a public forum, but I felt like I needed to go through this process, because maybe, going through it might help someone.
Maybe that someone... is you.
I owe you an apology.
The comments from friends and people I've known for a long time made after I wrote that "RUINING" remark weren't lost on me. Positive comments about how far I've come in my own journey in this life... and my continuing struggles with some demons which have caused me more issues than I've ever really revealed here or on the air. Issues I was able to hide because when behind a microphone, well, you are really shielded from the world and people don't have to see you. Issues I've been able to mask to a degree because of what I do. Issues... I internalized and didn't really address.
Looking at that photo this week, I was taken back to the memories of when, after first seeing this photo, I was ashamed of myself. Pushing the upper limits of my highest weight ever. Sweating. Looking at my face, and the way my lips were clenched, I can tell you, I was taken back to the feeling of when this photo was taken... and the feeling of knowing I hated... absolutely hated... the way I looked. I wasn't okay with me. At all. I avoided photos for that very reason. When hosting interviews back then - and I hosted a bunch - I'd deliberately hide out in the shadows of the stage at the time, handling Q&A sessions in the dark so my voice was heard, but so I... was not seen. Off camera. Ashamed.
As video became more and more a part of what we do here at iHeartRadio, I'd try even harder to suppress the feelings of inner angst and anxiety which caused my body temperature to spike... leading to the nervous - and embarrassed - sweat outbreaks you see here. It was horrible. I'll never forget how all of it... made me feel.
That same summer, do you know how much time I spent at the pool - or on the water - which, as you know, is something I love?
None. Zero time. Why? Because I hated how I looked and that hate became fear which in turn became paralysis... and so into my little closed off world I went. Eating to cope with the pain. Drinking to mask the pain. Hiding because being in public... brought about pain.
Finally, I made a decision to do something about it... and I've made substantial progress... but looking at this photo made me realize that I've got so much more... SO much more to do... as I continue on this journey and part of that journey is to continue to address the very real mental things which come along with obesity and the like. Trust me, they're real. Those feelings... they're tangible. I feel them right now even as I write this to you. As my therapist would remind me... there are different degrees of anxiety. Mental health matters aren't one-size-fits-all. And for the first time, I'm addressing mine head on.
That's part of the journey. I hated those feelings before so much so that I didn't address them. Acknowledge them. In hiding from them, I hid from myself and became this version of myself I didn't even recognize anymore. But nonetheless, that's me. That's who I was. It's part of who I am and it's part of who I'm continuing to become.
So, I'm sorry for saying I ruined this photo of a priceless life moment with my daughter and a pop superstar icon. I realize now that I didn't ruin the photo. Now, I realize that this photo - with all the feelings it brings about and everything you see in the photo in front of you - is a reminder of where I've been... and a reminder that I'm still in the act of becoming.
Just to "put it out there..." Know that I'm probably going to have more lapses... moments of weakness when I let some sort of feelings of self-angst hit me. I'd ask that you not be afraid to remind me - like you did on Facebook earlier this week - to remember that life is a journey. Not a destination. There are going to be times when I need you to say, "hey, get your head out of your feels, don't be sensitive, keep it moving." I promise I will listen... and I promise that I'll try to keep some of these moments of self-doubt and self-whatever to a minimum.
Thanks to you, I guess now I don't need to bring this up with Sandy this week. She's my therapist. You just saved me my co-pay. :-)
Good talk. Thanks for reading. And for being there for me when I needed to get my butt kicked a bit this week. I owe you.
PS: One of my friends on Facebook messaged me... and reminded me to remember perspective. So let me post a couple of photos below... for perspective. Because nothing reminds you of perspective like a side-by-side comparison.
My friend Aimee, me, Sabrina Carpenter and Kyla
Me and this guy named Ed. Really good songwriter.
Here's to living a life that is a constant work in progress... I'm gonna go take Clover for a walk... and get some cardio in. :-)