A Balanced Plate
When I started blogging fifteen years ago I saw it as a way to journal and connect with others. I found a site called Xanga that was super popular at the time. I wrote about a lot of things but mostly, my depression which completely consumed my life. It prevented me from being able to see the potential of blogging and even though I was there right at the forefront before Instagram and Pinterest were even a thing, I have yet to make a single dollar from any of it. The only thing I ever really wanted to create was a website where I could write about healthy living and share recipes. I wanted to talk about weight loss and how to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
When I was a kid I struggled with my weight. I was chubby until my mid teens when I finally realized that I could be in control of my body, that it wasn’t just some predetermined shape. That it was actually my fault. I was overeating. I wasn’t active. I was the cause of it. I had always been bigger than all the other girls, I started going through puberty first, had to wear a bra first, started needed deodorant. I felt like it wasn’t fair, why did I have to be different from everyone else? I can’t say this was the cause for the depression that came in my twenties, but I’m sure it didn’t help.
When I finally started to take control of my body I lost a lot of weight, fast. I became obsessed. I went running every day and counted calories like it was my job. It was over the top and I lost control of the one thing I thought I had finally gained control of. It was too much. The bad place that I was in with my health triggered a deep depression that I fell in and out of for years. Coupled with the fact that I hated my job and my house, I just could never stay happy for long enough to break free. Then I had children. I can’t say I really felt postpartum after the birth of my first child but my second was a completely different story. I again lost control. I was a mess.
After my son was born I didn’t feel like myself and I thought it was just another regular round of depression. But this was so much more than that. It made my darkest days feel like sunshine in comparison. I felt numb to the world. But every time a doctor would make me fill out a worthless questionnaire or someone would ask if I was ok, how are you feeling? How’s the baby? I would say, fine. Everything is fine. But I wasn’t fine. I was so far from being fine. He was a terrible baby. He cried non stop every second he was awake and it made me literally feel like I was going insane.
Then, right before I was due to go back to work, my boss called and told me that he was cutting my hours and gave my supervisor position to someone else in my absence. His business was going under and cuts were being made left and right. My subordinate made less money than me, so it seemed like a good move for them. This caused a whirlwind of emotions for me that ended in me contacting a lawyer and filing for unemployment. I won the fight, collected, and then found myself lost and confused at the end of the six additional months I was home alone with the baby of satan.
I didn’t know what to do with my life but I knew that I was miserable and I needed to do something. I was a year away from graduating from nursing school. I should back up and explain that… I worked full time for the same company from 19 until 30 while I was going to school super part time, like so part time that I took one or two classes every semester because it was the only way I could manage a full time job, the house, married life and kids. I was right at the cusp of the end when my work life blew up. So it seemed to be perfect timing just enter the nursing program full time, get a sitter for my son while my daughter was already in school and bam, new career, new life.
But it wasn’t that simple. I wasn’t the same person that I was before. I could barely drag myself out of bed in the mornings let alone go to nursing school 30+ hours a week with an externship and suddenly be away from my new baby who was so attached to me that he would cry hysterically any time I tried to even take a shower. Like we’re talking I could not leave his side. He controlled my life.
So I thought long and hard about the things that the mattered most in life. What was going to actually make me happy? Because I was given this opportunity to actually find happiness. Not just a job that was guaranteed good income and a fancy name tag. REAL HAPPINESS. So instead I chose myself. I chose to dream. I went back to school for art. >I know, insane right?<. My family thought so. Everyone in my life was like what the hell is wrong with you. I think that’s when they realized I had completely lost my mind. But I finally felt this huge sense of clarity. It was a risk but it was one that I was willing to fight for.
And fight I did.
I looked deep inside myself and said, what do you love more than anything? What can you do as an artist that could give back to the world? …. Photography … That was it. I dug and dug and searched and dug. I found and took every opportunity I could get my hands on to get myself from college art student to professional. I spent two years second shooting weddings and then got a job as an in hospital newborn photographer. AND!! In the midst of all that I found the most awesome space for a studio in my town and started renovating it. EEEK did I make it? This year I have TWENTY weddings lined up and one for my own business. WHAT?!! Am I a real live professional photographer?!!! People trust and respect me for my talent and pay me, ME for it!! I mean, that’s really the ultimate gesture right?
I was starting to feel like everything was falling into place, like this insane path I chose wasn’t a big giant mistake when… COVID -19. Thank you rare and crazy virus who has turned all our lives upside down. It’s going to sound crazy but for the last month that I have been home it hasn’t felt like anything yet. Not really bored or cranky or tired of being home. I have been thankful that my family is healthy and I get to spend time with them again. The past two years have been a whirlwind of school and work and work and driving and kids at school and rushed dinners and, life. The way it is for most of us. So to be home again, relaxing and no responsibilities. I’m not gonna lie, it’s been nice.
My husband’s job has even reduced the amount of days they are working so he’s been home too. It’s been so nice. I haven’t seen so much of my husband since we were teenagers! We’ve all been getting along, for the most part. Until yesterday. We got into an argument and all of a sudden it hit me. All of this hit me. Like a cycle. I am home again. I am temporarily unemployed. I can’t open my business. I can’t even go to the store. I am just here, in this house, until further notice. I hadn’t felt trapped or depressed or even sad about it. And I’m not saying that I do now but, this fight did get me thinking about all of these things and how I got here.
I just wanted to share my path. I wanted to talk it out so I figured, what better way than this? …. I have never consistently kept one blog long enough for it to ever become anything. I have never shared enough or tried hard enough to grow it. It has always just been my once in a while diary of thoughts that I usually end up becoming so afraid of that I delete them and move on, until I find myself needing it again. But, but but but! I started this domain when my son was born, I had a blog under this domain for two years and then let it go. All the content was deleted by the site and I took a break. And now I am back. That is the most that I can ever say about a site. The fact that I came back and I am still writing under this name four years later means something to me.
I think I am turning over a new leaf with this whole blogging thing. And now that I am finding myself “stuck” at home I think I would like to explore the possibilities it can have for me. I would love to grow it to something more than just a journal. I would love to produce content that actually helps others. Right now in. my personal life, I am trying to shift my mindset from desserts to tight abs and I wrote about that here —->. http://littlebluehazel.com/the-covid-19-lbs/ <—- and I thought it might be helpful to start sharing all the pictures that I take of my food and recipes on a more consistent basis.
Every meal I have a goal: to eat a fruit or vegetable, a carb and a protein. A balanced meal. So a lot of my “recipes” aren’t really recipes they are more like, put this thing with that thing and you can get yourself a balanced plate. I was unsure about sharing these plates but now that I have decided to focus this blog on healthy living I think there could be a lot of value in it. I put together a recipe card this morning that can be used as a low cal breakfast. I made a meal master list awhile back that I would like to start making clickable so that every option can be clicked which will bring you to a recipe card that you can print, share or pin. I am thinking these plates will become part of these master lists and I am adding the addition of calories and nutritional facts. This way you can choose a breakfast, lunch and dinner that will balance out your daily needs.
Today I am sharing with you the balanced plate card I put together this morning! It has fruit, eggs and toast. If you’ve ever seen a child’s plate that is split into 3 sections then you’ve seen a balanced plate. The large section (50% of the plate) should contain fruit or vegetables. The other two sections (the quarters) should contain protein and carbohydrates. I found some really nice white plates made for adults that would be great for this on Amazon, I linked them here —- https://amzn.to/2VAIfKC
This is what the plate looks like!
So any who, I am going to share today’s balanced plate and get going on some major house cleaning today before the daylight passes me by! I hope everyone is staying home, staying safe and staying sane!! At least this time around for me, it is nice to know that I am not alone in this.