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Bigger Than My Body

Last week I was talking with someone about how I have been feeling recently and trying to describe where I am from an emotional standpoint. I am guilty of putting the pressure on myself that everything has to look neat, pretty and put together. But life is not always neat or pretty and there are times that things seem to fall apart faster than I can put them back together. Although I am grateful for all of the amazing blessings and good things that have come my way, I also struggle with anxiety because things have changed so much. And there are days where I have a really hard time maintaining the faith that everything works out in the end.

I was asked the question, “When do you feel at peace and get the sense that you are really okay?” My response was, “When I’m somewhere bigger than myself.”

Recently, I have had an incredible urge to be somewhere bigger than myself. Somewhere that I am just a tiny part of everything going on around me. Somewhere that my personal struggles and the everyday drama mean nothing in the big picture of everything around me.

For some reason, I’ve had a longing to be in New York City. This is odd given that I’ve only ever visited the city one time but the energy and anonymity it offers is appealing. Last weekend I holed up in my house for some quiet time. I didn’t really want to talk to anyone or do anything other than focus inward and work on feeling like I had things organized and under control. When I finally ventured out and went to a yoga class on Sunday evening, I was hit with the feeling that I can’t really go anywhere anonymously in Charlotte anymore. I always run into friends or people that know me through the gym, teaching yoga or my blog. I want to be clear that I’m not giving myself a false sense of self-importance but sometimes a girl just wants to go to a yoga class looking like shit and cry on her mat a little without worrying about small talk or acting like everything is so fabulous at that moment in time. It’s funny because on one hand I love how connected I feel in the Charlotte fitness community and never imagined that I could be a part of something so amazing but with that I did give up a little bit of my ability to be a part of the crowd and not the leader of it.

There is something very peaceful about moments when you feel 100% comfortable in your own skin and confident in the direction your life is taking. I usually find that I have to remove myself from my day-to-day routine to achieve this mindset and when I do, it’s so powerful. This is why I have to get out of Charlotte sometimes and go to the mountains, the beach or to visit family and friends. I think we all need a step back from the everyday to look at the picture as a whole.

I am not starving. I do not live in poverty. I don’t have an incurable disease. I own a house. I live in a beautiful city. I have the ability to travel, eat out and live my life freely.

Sometimes I need to be reminded of all of this by standing in the middle of a big city and being surrounded by life happening all around me.

Sometimes I need to climb up a mountain and feel small at the top to appreciate the beauty of my life and surroundings.

Sometimes I need to look at the ocean and feel the sense of calm that its enormity provides. The coming and going of the waves remind me to inhale. And exhale.

And sometimes I need to hug someone who has loved me since the moment I arrived on this earth.

Now, who wants to take a weekend trip to NYC?

{ 61 comments… add one }
  • Alaina August 14, 2012, 7:57 pm

    This is such a wonderful post Jen! I never really knew what that feeling was when you’re amongst tall buildings or mountains and you feel so insignificant. Feeling something “bigger” than yourself is such a great way to describe that. I haven’t been to NYC for 12 years now and have been meaning to plan a trip down there to visit my cousin. πŸ™‚

  • Brooke @ sweats & sweets August 14, 2012, 8:16 pm

    I love this post, I’m also going through a moment in my life where I’m questioning everything…from my fitness to my work. I can’t seem to grasp the idea that everything doesn’t have to be ok all the time. I hope whatever you find or choose helps fill up that feeling of finding something bigger.

  • Lisa August 14, 2012, 8:27 pm

    This is such a touching and great post! I have been questioning a lot of things in my life recently, but it is so tiny compared to what others have to experience daily. I love the way you describe that feeling too, its something that’s hard to put into words but you managed it perfectly!
    Not everything is going to be sunshine and rainbows all the time and that’s okay! Life is not meant to be perfect, we need to go through changes and challenges and that’s what makes life exciting.

  • Cindy August 14, 2012, 8:30 pm

    I hope you let everyone know if you decide to take a trip to NYC–I live here and would love a blogger meet up!

  • Mary-Heather August 14, 2012, 8:31 pm

    Jen, hugs to you, and props for recognizing your blessings even in the middle of what seem to be changes, frustration, and unbalance. That can be hard to do! I could really identify with this post in so many ways!! And I’m a week away from a vacation where I’ll get mountains, the ocean, AND my mama, and I can’t WAIT.

  • Nancy Lothspeich August 14, 2012, 8:33 pm

    Beautiful post, Jen!

  • Sherri August 14, 2012, 8:33 pm

    I can totally relate Jen!

    I live in Greenwich, CT (suburb of NYC) and would love to meet up with you if you do decide to make a trip here. I won’t even mind if you look like shit and I’ll cry right along with you in a yoga class.

  • Joanna August 14, 2012, 8:35 pm

    Oh girl! I was just there and it is so fantastic. There are so many people doing so many different things AT ALL HOURS of the day. The only person who knew us was “Joe” this Irish bartender (thanks to my dad frequenting). And it was awesome. You should go and… don’t take pictures of EVERYTHING you eat/do. Just be there and have fun and be yourself. Yes, we all love to see what you eat/do but we also understand if you don’t show us πŸ™‚ Such a strong post, thanks for being real!
    P.S. see Newsies if you go!

  • Jen@HealthyFoodandFamily August 14, 2012, 8:40 pm

    Beautiful, honest, very well written post, Jen!!!

    There is something about sitting on a beach watching the waves that can put a lot of things into perspective.

  • Courtney @ Fitness With A Fork August 14, 2012, 8:41 pm

    Love this post! πŸ™‚

  • Danielle August 14, 2012, 8:44 pm

    Hi Jen,
    Thank you so much for writing this post, it was incredibly timely for me and reminded me that “the grass is always greener on the other side”. I live in New York and recently I’ve been feeling very lost and insignificant in such a big city with so many people and so much going on, but it reminded me how not too long ago I was feeling claustrophobic at my last job in a smaller city where I knew everyone and everything going on. I’m sorry to hear you’ve been feeling this way recently, but thank you for sharing, it is comforting to know there are others experiencing the same type of emotions and questioning their situation, it’s something I’ve been struggling with recently.
    P.S. – would love to meet up if you do make a trip to NY!

  • Katie August 14, 2012, 8:46 pm

    I so relate to this post. I am grateful for all I have
    and try do hard to stay present, but somedays
    I’d love a crystal ball. Come to NYC! A run
    in Central Park, some Magnolia cupcakes
    and people watching can’t be beat.
    In the meantime, I heard about this website
    the other day, http://www.humansofnewyork.com
    and the photographer so captures NYC.

  • Bess @ Bess Be Fit August 14, 2012, 8:50 pm

    JEN!!! COME! I mean technically I’m in Jersey but close outside the city and you are welcome to come visit πŸ™‚ I’m serious, I’m right by the train and you are always welcome if you’re feeling a spontaneous trip!

  • Debra August 14, 2012, 8:54 pm

    It takes a lot to realize what you just wrote, Jen. Yes, you may lead a good life, but that doesn’t mean that everything is great, or even “just ok” all the time. I struggle with needing to appear competent in all areas of my life–fitness (which has fizzled due to health reasons and now a really rough second pregnancy, but I don’t want to admit it to anyone. Ridiculous.), children, work, home, husband. I have a wonderful life, but ya know what, some days I feel like pure crap emotionally and mentally and it’s ok. You know what you need to do for yourself, and that’s more than a lot of people (including myself! :). And the part where you said you need to be hugged by someone who has loved you since the moment you arrived on this earth…wonderful. Just last month I was at the end of my rope, and I said, ya know what, screw this. We’re going to my mom’s for a week. So we packed up, cleared our schedules, packed up our toddler and pooch, and hit the road. And it was wonderful! Do what you need to do for yourself, and I hope it was slightly cleansing to write it and get it out there πŸ™‚ Lots of good thoughts your way! xoxo

  • Lindsay August 14, 2012, 9:15 pm

    Thank you for such an honest post — really needed this tonight. You’ve put in to words what I’ve felt in my heart but didn’t know how to express. Hoping you find your “somewhere bigger than yourself” soon and soak it in.

  • Charlotte August 14, 2012, 9:45 pm

    Jen…i wish you could visit San Luis Obispo where I live. Honestly, it’s got just what you’re looking for. Tons of hikes, beaches, lush plants growing everywhere…super green and the town is small and laid-back. Not very diverse..lots of people retire here. It’s pretty much retired people and college kids since it’s where I go to school (Cal Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo). Im a fruit science major so I play with plants outside all day long in the sun….if you ever get the chance to visit, you would SO love it. Super active town…people bike everywhere. NYC is great..I started college there but I craved clean air and nature too much and SLOWING down. Anyway, fun fact..SLO (San Luis Obispo) was voted the happiest place in the country a few years ago. Consider visiting when time allows. I am from the SF bay area originally and I love that too but there is nowhere like this place. check it out!

    here’s a picture of one of our hidden beaches at sunset http://desktopart.org/var/albums/Landscape-Wallpapers/Sunset_On_Montana_De_Oro,_California.jpg. Google more images of SLO and you’ll see the views from hiking. Make it a bucket list trip! Ok I’ll stop babbling about this town.

  • Grace August 14, 2012, 9:46 pm

    Really beautiful post. You touched on a clearly important matter in your life, as well as the volatility so many of us are feeling. It’s true we are all part of a bigger picture, and we have to look past that unbalance and change. Our lives take a certain path for a reason, and we can only openly adjust and accept it.

  • April August 14, 2012, 9:55 pm

    I feel like I can completely relate. Thank you for sharing. Wishing you all the best!

  • Sarah August 14, 2012, 10:13 pm

    I also relate to this post Jen – I used to live in NYC (I moved there from Charlotte, actually) and I miss it very much. One of the things I liked a lot about living there was the crazy energy and I can definitely relate to the desire for anonymity sometimes. I hope you feel more settled soon and thank you for sharing on your blog!

  • meghan@strugglemuffins August 14, 2012, 10:18 pm

    What a poignant post! It completely resonated with me – I feel the same way about NYC and find that whenever I get that twitchy urge to be back in the chaos and constant frenetic activity, it’s because I’m getting overwhelmed by just being in my own skin, feeling trapped by my own thoughts. Rock on girl πŸ™‚

  • Melissa August 14, 2012, 10:44 pm

    i live in NYCand find myself feeling the same way sometimes…i think these feelings are just a part of all our lives at some moment whatever the reason, and the fact that you are able to look at it from a bigger perspective speaks volumes about your insightfulness. would love to meet you if you do come to visit here!!!!

  • pamela August 14, 2012, 11:11 pm

    Oh, I just love your blog for all the same reasons you love NY and the mountains. I move every 2 years and so I NEVER go anywhere where I know people. Thank you for making me feel grateful for this part of my life that is very messy right now (we are currently mid-move and have been living in a hotel room all summer until a house is ready for us).

    Anyway, I am trying to remember that we can’t compare our darkest moments to other people’s highlight reels. It’s OK to be a mess. As my yoga teacher reminded me once in class: “It’s OK to be a complete shitshow.”

    You are such an amazing young woman and you are going to be just fine. (Your blog always says something like that to me. Thank you!!!)


    • Christina August 15, 2012, 8:10 am

      I love that saying – “it’s okay to be a complete shitshow.” I think I’ll be repeating that to myself many times in the coming weeks. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  • Sierra @ Posh Meets Pavement August 14, 2012, 11:42 pm

    I totally can relate. New York city has such a buzz to it that is unexplainable. I can be all by myself for days, but I NEVER feel alone. Traveling really puts my life in perspective and I love to know where my little place in the world is, regardless of how small.

  • M.Love August 15, 2012, 12:33 am

    I love this!! I moved to New Jersey about three years ago and sometimes just miss the quiet of the mountains of home (Tennessee). I got to come home for a week and a half (2more days) and it has been such a re-charge for my soul!! Ran 8 miles in Cades Cove Sunday – and it was just what i needed!! Hope you get to find that re-charge as well!!

  • Stephanie August 15, 2012, 12:36 am

    love this post! and as always, your total honesty! also I have a really comfy couch and a spare key…you’re welcome any time!

  • Tara Deal August 15, 2012, 4:54 am

    Jen, I completely understand the feeling of needing to feel like you are apart of something bigger. I understand the anxiety feeling, and wanting to feel “anonymous.” You did a great job of writing this post, as I know it must have been hard for you to do. It is beautiful, and so are you! I hope you go to NYC soon!

  • Pam August 15, 2012, 8:12 am

    Strength, beauty, love, self acceptance,
    Beautifully written and expressed,
    Transparent and thought provoking.
    thank you…

    • jennyv August 15, 2012, 3:08 pm

      Well said ^^

  • Lee August 15, 2012, 8:28 am

    I don’t know if this is true for you, but I think sometimes in the blogging world, there is a big pressure to be positive all the time because the life you lead, and portray on the blog, seems really good. (I just mean in general, not you specifically.) But it’s okay to have times when things aren’t okay and even if, in the grand scheme of things, things look good to outsiders. I’m not making much sense, but I feel like there is this pressure to constantly be like, “I have this great life and I am so grateful for it.” and when we show any negative emotions, it’s taken as not being grateful.

    This was possibly the most non-sensical comment I’ve ever left. And I don’t even know if non-sensical is a word!

  • Emily Zimmerman August 15, 2012, 8:39 am

    Jen, I admire your honesty and openness in your posts. Hang in there. This is just one stumbling block that you will soon overcome. Everything happens for a reason, whether it be good or bad. Go with your instinct. You’ve made wise choices so far.

    btw, I would LOVE to go to NYC! πŸ˜‰


  • Evan August 15, 2012, 8:55 am

    It’s funny, because after 6 years in New York City, anonymity can be hard sometimes, too. I run into college friends/colleagues/guys i’ve dated (yikes)…it’s a village!

    But I know what you mean. There’s no place quite like the city to make you feel like there’s so much about yourself and the world that’s still uncharted. Come visit! If you’re looking for restaurant recommendations (and a dining/blogger buddy), I’m here for you πŸ™‚

  • rachael August 15, 2012, 9:02 am

    Thanks for being so real! Love your beauty & your heart!

  • Caroline August 15, 2012, 9:20 am

    This is a really great and honest post! I hope that everything works out for you, and I don’t doubt that it will.

  • Sarah August 15, 2012, 9:35 am

    I love this post in its entirety, but I must say that my favorite part is the picture of you and your mom. That picture is the epitomy of absolute love and it is so powerful.

  • Blakely @ The Husky Life August 15, 2012, 9:37 am

    Thanks for always being so honest in your posts!

  • Novella August 15, 2012, 10:06 am

    I loved this post – so spot on. I would totally be up for a NYC trip – I’ve never been!

  • Erica { EricaDHouse.com } August 15, 2012, 10:16 am

    I’ve also only been in NYC once but it left an indelible impression upon my heart. I can empathize with your needing to be anonymous for a while…I’ve found since I’ve started blogging I’ve hit times where I’m missing my ‘private’ life since I share so much online and with my students. Being alone outside always helps to center me!

  • Emily B. August 15, 2012, 10:32 am

    I think we can all relate to this post, especially in the Type A world we live in.

    NYC would be great, but I would also recommend planning an excursion out West. I’m a huge National Parks nerd, and always feel peaceful and humble whenever I return from a week hiking and absorbing the awesome scenery there. I’m an East Coast girl, but if you want to feel small and anonymous I think there’s nothing more inspiring than just how BIG nature is out there. My husband is living proof of this. He’s in a profession that he loves but a job that isn’t that fullfilling anymore and can be very stressful. He used to come home all the time in a bad mood and fed up about something. In April, we finally took one of my bucket list trips to some of the National Parks of the Southwest- Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches and Grand Canyon. I of course loved it, but I never anticipated the connection my husband felt with the place. He said it helped him put his job into perspective and just let go of the small stuff. And I’ve definitely noticed a difference, he’s generally much less irritated and exhausted when he comes home. And if he does have a stressful day, he’ll often look at the pictures of these great places that we hung on our walls and just let the serenity of it all work its magic. It really is humbling and beautiful to watch. Anyway, I know that’s not a spur of the moment trip, but something to think about for future travels! Good luck finding your serenity.

  • kat August 15, 2012, 10:42 am

    So interesting. I am right in the middle of what you are craving and I am really struggling with it. I know no one, I don’t know my way around, am not currently working, and am in general as about as anonymous as it gets. If there’s anything that makes me question how things are going to turn out, it’s this. If there’s anything that makes me feel truly at peace, it’s being surrounded by familiarity – friends, loved ones, mountains, quiet. This city is so huge and loud and concrete. I can’t wrap my head around how anyone could want/need that to feel peaceful – but that’s the beauty of humanity and all of our differences. We all need different things. I’d trade places with you in a heartbeat. πŸ™‚ And if you want to come to a giant, big city, we’ve got a second bedroom and bath with your name on it. Oh, and a pool. πŸ™‚ Take care, Jen.

  • Meaghan August 15, 2012, 12:13 pm

    I live in NYC, come visit!

    Great post, Jen. Seriously. I, and I imagine most people, can totally relate. When your sad, unhappy, or stressed out (whatever the case may be), it’s only more wearying and more stressful to have to pretend to have all your shit together. You can’t always and you simply don’t… Sometimes you just need a good cry or sometimes you just need your mom. πŸ™‚ Hang in there!

    PS, I’m planning a weekend to Charlotte next month to visit one of my best girlfriends from college. I’m so excited to check out some of the places you’ve mentioned on your blog.

  • Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers August 15, 2012, 12:35 pm

    Awwww… hugs! It’s good to get away sometimes… or a lot of times. πŸ˜‰ To be honest, I am a little surprised I haven’t run into you in CLT yet… haha

  • erin August 15, 2012, 12:58 pm

    The hardest part about picking yourself up is remembering that you are, in fact, blessed in many ways. Sometimes life sucks, you need a good cry or ten, and you lose sight of the good things. Stepping away from routine and the notion that life should be perfectly packaged is a good way to regain your footing. Your life is a blessing, and so is your journey–no matter how winding it may be.

    Your honesty is refreshing and appreciated.

  • Jessica August 15, 2012, 1:06 pm

    Hey Jen- In a way, I can relate to how you are feeling right now. It is so hard to experience so much change and feel like you are without control. I sometimes feel like I am on the life treadmill and it is going at a fast pace and I can’t turn it off or slow it down. You can go through the movements and routines of life, but still feel like there is a missing piece. It is hard when we can list and count all the great things in our life, yet feel a sense of sadness and lack of meaning. I get caught up in life and feel like I am going-going, but really didn’t move forward towards anything more substantial. One way that really brings me back is doing something good for someone else and sometimes even a stranger! A random act of kindness or volunteering always reminds me that there is more to life than crossing off my to do list or some drama in my life.

    On the other hand, sometimes the hardest person to love and give attention to is ourselves. Sometimes you just have to ride the waves of emotions as opposed to controlling them. Your feelings are yours and they are justifiable! Take time to process your feelings and it may feel crappy for some time, but you know what keeps us going…knowing that there is some good stuff waiting for us once we get through this! Some really, really good stuff! We have to power through this and we will be in a better place. For now, flow with the emotions. Take it one step at a time. You don’t have to be the rock star champion today because let’s face it, we all already know you are! So do YOU and don’t worry about being the leader. Listen to what you need and want right now and go! Go to NYC and find that peace you crave! You deserve it so treat yourself.

  • rachael August 15, 2012, 1:41 pm

    I”m in. I might even have a free place to stay.

  • Jacqueline August 15, 2012, 1:52 pm

    Posts like these are your best! Your honesty is really beautiful, Jen.

  • Katie August 15, 2012, 2:38 pm

    I love this post. I hear you on needing to just get away for a bit. I have the urge to get out to the mountains though. I would love to do a crossfit anywhere trip, but not sure I’m up for something quite that intense and would like to find something this fall. If you have any ideas of great outdoor, active, adventure trips let me know!

  • Amanda @flecksofgreen August 15, 2012, 3:16 pm

    Me! I do! I love this post, I think we all put some form of pressure on ourselves and most of it is probably not necessary. I’ve learned that there are such things as a beautiful disaster or something being so beautiful because it is very raw and natural. One of my biggest goals for myself this year was the let go and loosen up– to appreciate my surroundings and what’s good in my life. I have made such great changes and am finding happiness I didn’t know existed πŸ™‚

  • Miriam@Bellaspire August 15, 2012, 3:46 pm

    I hate anxiety!! It’s like, you know you have it SO GREAT but you still can’t ignore that occasional uncomfortable feeling/pit in your stomach. I have longed to live in NYC myself. To wear wunder unders under my studio pants and to meander through SOHO aimlessly. I have also wanted to move to London and have a totally different life. I can totally relate! Thanks for your honesty <3

  • Meaghan August 15, 2012, 4:12 pm

    Also, did you write this? http://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/i-hate-everything-right-now/ Just kidding.

  • Brooke August 15, 2012, 5:30 pm

    Thank you for posts like this.

    My heart goes out to you. I don’t pretend to know what’s going on in your life, but I went through a divorce a couple of years ago and had to move twelve hours away from where we’d lived just so I had the space I needed to heal. It’s hard to run in to an old friend and have to pretend that everything is great when you feel like you’re barely holding things together.

    I took most healthy living blogs out of my reader a while back, but I’ve never been able to let go of yours, and this post is a great reason why. Thank you for your honesty.

  • Nicole August 15, 2012, 7:36 pm

    I live here in NYC and must tell you I have been dreaming of going to a lovely place like Charlotte! I have had such similar thoughts as you posted so its nice I can relate to someone. Sounds like you definitely need a break and the city can certainly reenergize you. September has a great buzz and energy especially with fashion week, its a great time to be here. There are also lots of incredible yoga instructors who have really changed my life so if you need any suggestions feel free to email me!

  • Katy August 15, 2012, 10:23 pm

    Come on up! I think no matter where you live you can always use a change of pace or an adventure to put things in perspective. I live up here in Hoboken just outside of NYC. Every summer I take a trip to Lebanon, OH near where I was born and spend some time with the greatest people riding horses and having campfires. To me there is nothing better than those few days. I had a chance to go to London this year and I still looked forward to Ohio just a little bit more…..find your happy place and allow yourself that escape. I’d tell you to tell me when you are here but I think you are better off exploring by yourself or with a few close friends. A bunch of blog readers probably isn’t the solace you are looking for. Keep your head up…as my mom always says, “this too shall pass”


  • jaclyn @ justjac August 15, 2012, 11:25 pm

    I loved this post and I hope you feel nothing but immense support and hugs from your readers (me), family and friends. I think it was really courageous to post, as you said, but also makes you extremely relatable with “the rest of us” Things are not always sunshine and butterflies…. and that’s okay, it’s life. <3

    • Jen August 16, 2012, 3:50 pm

      thank you so much for the encouraging words. when i do get brave and post things like this, i am always overwhelmed by the kindness of my readers and friends!

  • anne August 16, 2012, 7:16 am

    I’m a day late on this! I know what you mean so much that I did in fact MOVE to New York. The funny thing is that, even in my short time here, this place can feel pretty crazy small too. However, I was walking around yesterday, headphones in ear, just watching everyone. There are so many people here, and they are all so different, and I think that’s really the beauty in it. And, it’s true,there are TONS of yoga studios, so hopefully you’d find one to go and have that peace. It is certainly a bit more of a task when you work in the community and focus on getting to know fellow yogis. Bottom line, I totally know what you mean and love your honesty with this post. Let me know if you come visit!

  • Emily August 16, 2012, 9:46 am

    Wonderful post… I can really relate. Funnily enough, I think that the anonymity in NYC has been getting me down lately. I’m really craving some type of community, which can be hard to find here. But I also understand how constantly being “on” could get exhausting.

    But that said, another NYC reader here! Take a trip up and we can all have a drink together!

  • Beth August 16, 2012, 9:53 am

    Thanks for this post and it’s honesty.

  • code August 16, 2012, 7:49 pm

    I live in NYC, and it’s okay for awhile, but the busyness of it all is draining. I’m moving to Europe this fall. Can’t wait!

  • Susie August 16, 2012, 8:57 pm

    I can relate- I’m 24 and have a masters degree from an ivy (Columbia in fact-and yes, I will say that I miss NYC), I live in Charlottesville va with my amazing fiancΓ©, I have supportive and loving parents, am financially stable (thanks to their support), am currently (knock on wood) healthy (I have Crohn’s), insurance covers the majority of my big meda and the rest we can cover…. But I’m unemployed. And I feel useless and purposeless.
    Sometimes we need to feel discomfort to remember what is important to us, but in terms of our own personal drive as well as why we are driven to do what we do. And the fact that those are not mutually exclusive. I hope that makes sense.
    But I could use a trip to NYC as well.

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