The live and acoustic version of "Happy" came out today, and it felt like the perfect time to share a little window into my personal journey and growth. I wrote this essay a few months ago after getting innumerable compliments about how much weight had lost in under 6 months. There were a few other comments in this past year though that I looked "Happy" and those are the words that I like to keep in my back pocket. My journey is no longer one of seeking a certain image, but rather a certain lifestyle. And from here on out I hope that my pursuits will always be ones of happiness and seeking to be my most genuine self.
More on the song is available at the bottom of this post. But now onto my self-indulgent rambling essay.
For anyone talking about my *sudden weight loss*, my smile is up here.
TRIGGER WARNING: This is not intentionally a body image post, it is intended as a self-worth post. But non-intentional weight loss has been a welcomed side effect on my personal journey to happiness. I condone healthy lifestyle choices and if you struggle with self-image, I am in no way an expert in psychiatry or nutrition, just a person sharing her own personal journey.
This morning my head was filled with a cacophony of wide ranging self-talk: from glorious praise to truly foul self-depreciation.
Then I stepped on the scale and had a really humbling moment. (Despite being in a phase of snacking excessively and eating more chocolate than I have in perhaps my whole lifetime) Today I weigh nearly 40lbs less than I did in March of last year and OVER 40lbs less than the heaviest I’ve ever weighed in my life. And after years of trying to lose weight, somehow when I stopped trying, weight-loss happened entirely by accident.
Now for the record, I’ve been taught my whole life that physical appearance is not a metric by which I should chose to measure my self-worth. Plus my dad used to preach that when it comes to weight, muscle is much denser than fat and he’d rather a strong daughter than one who looked like the 90’s era icons flaunting unhealthy and unrealistically undernourished figures. Weight was never supposed to be the goal. I was supposed to work for a healthy body capable of standing up to physical challenges. Being human and all, I've many times lost sight of those goals though when my pants stopped fitting correctly or I caught a photo of myself in an unflattering angle. So in the midst of my *tough years* when I gained what the Brits would call a few stone, I looked directly to weight loss as a goal, and in doing so I failed many times over.
Then I stopped trying to lose weight, and I stopped trying to be successful, and I stopped trying to reach for some unrealistic version of perfection, and I started trying to merely be happy. In doing so, I learned that pursuing weight loss will never be some golden ticket to happiness, because in my case it was actually the exact opposite. Seeking weight loss as a goal actually reinforced a negative self-image and was never effective in changing my pant size, mile time, or the scale. It was one of those misguided attempts to fix the symptom rather than the problem. And then weirdly enough, in my particular case the reverse seems to be true; happiness became my golden ticket to weight loss. I consider the dramatic change in my physical self as both an absolutely fascinating and visually accessible demonstration of what can happen in the wake of pursuing a happy life.
I want to clearly reiterate that my appearance, lifestyle, and successes are of no fair comparison to yours because our stories, bodies, and lives are all different. You, in this exact moment, are beautiful and capable and full of so much worth. Just like I was at every single weight that I have ever been - even on the days when I was unable to see that worth. A friend recently texted me that I look “happy in that photo and it brings me joy” That compliment felt remarkably more meaningful than any other recent comment I’ve received involving the word “thinner” or “skinny” or “fit”. Because at the end of the day all I want is for everyone to experience the happiness that I’ve been so fortunate to tap into over this past year. (Hey I even wrote a song about it well before I achieved it 😉)
So here’s my journey in simple terms. For 5 years leading up to spring 2022 I was processing and reprocessing several traumas while putting significant focus on a relationship that didn’t serve and often actively regressed my healing. I was giggig regularly, drinking moderately, sleeping rarely, and eating poorly and inadequately. My inner dialogue was focused deeply on what was wrong with me, my life, how I acted, and that I believed the actions of those around me were directly caused by my perceived lack of worth.
In the spring of last year certain chapters finally closed, and in the wake of saying goodbye, I was able to begin focusing on myself in a more conscious way. My body thanked me. Every single day since then I've felt closer and closer to reset. My sleep cycle has improved, my habits became less erratic, my digestive track is working again, (Hey, this is awkward but if you regularly can’t poop for a week or more at a time, something is probably, most definitely, seriously wrong. I'm learning your gut and your brain chemistry are all tied up in wacky ways. Someone more sciency can get sciency about this topic though.) But most importantly, I remembered how to smile. Like really genuinely smile and be happy.
It feels like this past year my brain has been rewriting/rewiring itself. I set aside time to do the things that brought me joy; many of them active and outside, biking, hiking, playing pick up frisbee in the park. I spent more hours with people that fueled my creativity and sense of self. I cooked and cleaned and focused on self care. I started deleting the thousands of emails on my phone and decluttering my closets. The side effects have been crazy. Not only a regularly working digestive system, but I’ve had sudden vivid happy memories pop up and flood my consciousness. It's almost like losing the cluttered negative destructive dialogue, just shook a few happy moments out of the closet of my mind.
I’m learning that to be selfish is not always a bad thing when you’re pursuing a lifestyle that serves you. In the past, I would force a fake smile and begrudgingly give so much of my time and energy to others out of an internalized need to show subservience and put others’ comforts worlds above my own. I’ve learned to change that by consciously assigning value to myself and my happiness and my comfort. In the process, I’ve redirected energy towards my personal goals, learned how to say no, and when to say yes. All of this psychological growth has helped me be more present and grateful in all my relationships. I find myself offering a better happier version of myself as a daughter, neighbor, sister, friend, partner, collaborator, professional, and performer the more I strike this balance. The days I say “no” make room for opportunity to in turn say “yes” with more enthusiasm when it feels right.
I’ve also learned to not only accept but encourage no’s from those around me. I don’t want the people I love or anyone to show up full of resentment out of unnecessary obligation. I want their souls to be fed and nourished and allowed selfish moments too. Then I know that when I really need my people there for me, they can be present with the same enthusiasm that I have when I show up for them.
Some mornings now I wake up at 7am and it entirely feels like every single cell of my body is thanking me. Yes I’m exercising more, and my alcohol consumption decreased immensely during the pandemic, but I'm also eating more, and I promise the intentional moments of exercise are not significant enough to merit the ways in which my body and mind are continuing to heal and grow. And I will reiterate that-with all the chocolate I’ve consumed this month- I can guarantee that my calorie intake is likely twice what it was a year ago when I lived almost entirely on self-loathing and 1 meal a day. So basically I’ve shed a lot more than weight in the past year. I’ve shed unhealthy relationships, harbored resentment, bad habits, and a dreadful internal dialogue flooded by negative self-worth. That’s what’s really made all the difference. The weight-loss has just been a welcomed side effect and the one I've received the most comments on.
While I'm not trying to be a weight-loss blog here, I have no issue sharing my story if it offers inspiration for anyone struggling with health and negative self-image to consider looking at his/her environment and reflecting on, “what--if anything--is the cause of your biggest anxieties?” and "Who or what is the biggest catalyst for you questioning your worth?"
Whatever those answers are; be it a big thing like your job, your living environment, your partner, or a small thing, maybe a change is worth considering. Because in this one life, every single one of us is worthy of happiness and the pursuit thereof.
I did introduce this yammering essay with the honest statement that I still have bad days. This morning I almost slumped into one. I’m still human. I struggle with jealousy and ego and regret and fear and loss. (See Brittle-I promise I feel this and I think exploring the full spectrum of emotion will remain a constant for the rest of my natural life) Choosing a path that suits my personal version of happiness is daily challenge. Saying "No" and conquering my fear of disappointing others will always be difficult. But I’ve finally come to understand that my life and future are worth it. So I’m gonna sign off with something that’s weird and foreign and uncomfortable. Attempting to normalize some self-praise. I look good, I feel good, and I plan to spend the rest of my days doing good.
I wish every single one of you both peace and happiness. Whether you’re my mom, a long lost friend, a longtime fan, a daily confidant, or some stranger who stumbled upon this post because the google algorithm wanted to serve you up some motivational ramblings today: I’m sending love to each and every one of you. Be happy <3
***Reminder for those tracking my daily happenings. This was written in January before I did any significant training for the Hermes 10 - Miler (which I honestly didn't really train significantly for because Cleveland is cold). And not surprisingly due to muscle gains and chocolate I actually weigh more today than when I wrote this Essay. But if we're focusing on weight, we're missing the whole point, right?***
More on the Song:
"Happy" is the second live video release & third song off the "Ten Years: Live & Acoustic" project.
It was previously recorded live as a duo and with Taylor's project "GROUP" in 2016.
Take a chance not one second glance
And don't you think about the things that came before
Just go and love yourself and everybody else
And don't let no one tell you who you're supposed to be
And you wanna be happy you should be happy
You and me and he and she wanna be yeah happy
And your daddy he taught you life is worth more than just what he's bought you
It's a gift that you're given go on and live it right
And your mama she loves you just like all these stars above you
And she'll feel that way every day and every night
Go on and chase your dreams
We're all kings and queens in our own worlds own mind
Time your destiny sing with me
We all wanna be happy
Wanna be happy
You and me he and she we all just wanna be
Wanna be happy
Wanna be happy
Oh we all just wanna be Ha-a-a-ppy
So why don't we just let eachother be
Go on and take that chance
Not one second glance
And don't let no one tell you
Who you're supposed to be
Performed by Taylor Lamborn
Song written and released by GROUP Dec 2, 2016
Taylor Lamborn, Joe Botta, Luke Pernici, Dom Williams
All lyrics by Taylor Lamborn
Tuck Mindrum - Mix & Recording
Bobby Daggett - Video & Editing
Sun Room Audio - Mastering
Heather Hays - Wardrobe, Hair, & Makeup
Cat Richards - Set Design
Shelby Sangdahl - Logistics Coordinator
Photography - Amber Patrick (@aterrormusical)
Design - Taylor Lamborn
Thank you to all who attended and supported this event and production.
Copyright Lamborn LLC 2022