Love The Journey

No matter who you are, there is always going to be a part of you with an insecurity - but we have to learn to love the journey no matter what comes our way. I struggle with insecurities about my weight and always have from when I was a size 8 to now a size 22.

Some call me fat, some call me lazy, but they don't know my story. I know I eat as a coping mechanism. I know I eat socially, I know I eat when I'm bored and struggle with self-control. I used to do triathlons, I used to work out twice a day and eat the cleanest food I could. I went a year without eating any ice cream, cakes, cookies or any super sugary food and was the healthiest I had ever been.

Then I had surgery on my right foot to help me run better and ended up not healing well and developing a hematoma, then my incident happened, and I became utterly and hopelessly lost in the black hole of loss and emotional pain. I didn't care about myself, I didn't care what happened to me, but I refused to give up. I refused to let him win. I am a survivor and a fighter when people say, 'you can't do it' or 'there is no way for you to....' Today marks a turning point for me.

I was taking a shower and playing music on my phone and started singing in the shower. I know that when I'm struggling in any capacity or area, I don't sing. I stopped scrubbing the shampoo through my hair and started getting misty eyed. In that moment I realized that I was 'getting better.' After my incident, I spent an entire year in a fog and in darkness.

Never did I think I would ever be the same again. I never thought I would be joyful, playful or fun-loving again. Here I was in the shower, singing, just like I used to do and I truly felt playful, happy, and most importantly, hopeful. For anyone who has been raped, assaulted, or been victim to domestic violence, you know what a huge win this is in the journey to recovery. I feel this is the point that I truly started to love the journey.

There was a small part of me that was worried that this moment of playful happiness would be fleeting; that it would come and then pass the next day-- or even that night. I chided myself and said, "Janiel, you cannot live a full life dwelling in the 'what if's' of life --- you will drive yourself crazy." I dismissed the thought and started getting ready for dinner with a friend. Four days later, I woke up and felt energized and ready to take on the day.

I picked up Zoey, held her close, and started dancing and singing again. I had my own little Jam session in my bedroom, alone, lol. It made me stop and laugh at myself for the silliness that was so spontaneous and SO EARLY IN THE MORNING! Please note that I am not a morning person, whatsoever. I realized about an hour later that this feeling I was having was a point I had reached on my ladder of recovery that my mind was healing itself. What had I done to get to this point? I was patient with myself.

I'm removing all unrealistic expectations and just focusing on putting one foot in front of the other. I try not to dwell on the future and focus on day to day small improvements. I am contradicting self-depreciating thoughts about my body with truths instead, and I just observe what and how I am feeling instead. The most important part is that I faced the incident head on when I was ready to (don't force it). I was brave and courageous and let the emotions of that year in Texas wash over me and cried and screamed and acknowledged the loss and the pain that resulted. In being gentle with myself and letting myself 'feel' again, I was able to finally forgive the person and people who caused all of the pain.

I have not been able to totally remove what happened from my life, but I have been able to remove the intense emotion associated with those memories from my life. I am able to breathe again and realize that time truly does heal all wounds. One day, I hope that the PTSD triggers and flashback dreams will become something of a distant memory instead of a blaring and recurrent problem. I know this will happen and will continue to make it a reality. Despite my dysmorphic view of my body (take the BBD test), I am grateful I can walk. I'm grateful I can get up every day and hug my puppy, Zoey.

I'm grateful I am able to help my patients and connect with my readers on a personal basis. I am beautiful in my own way, and I'm moved to tears at my own strength of fighting through the black hole of emotional pain and PTSD. I still have PTSD, but I am able to cope with it now. I am able to be gentle with myself and say, 'today will pass and you are exactly where you are supposed to be.' Despite the naysayers and comparisons to others around me, I know I have a good heart and will be healthy again. I know getting healthy again is going to take time, and that is OK. the greatest changes don't happen overnight. Be your own kind of beautiful, be gentle with where you are at in your journey. Set realistic expectations and love the journey. Don't compare, and fight the darkness by noticing one beautiful thing each day. Much love and thank you for being a part of the Culture Trekking Community.

If you have faced a situation that has enabled you to relate to what I'm saying, come and join the Culture Trekking Community by subscribing below and let us discover together how BEAUTIFUL life can be-- even if it is through different glasses now. Much love and Light.

Welcome to Culture Trekking!

My name is Janiel, I specialize in solo female travel, cultural connections, sustainable adventures, food, and history to help make your travel experiences fun, meaningful, and delicious. My experience in travel and my personal story have allowed me to get published in Fodor's Travel, Atlas Obscura,, Trip Advisor, and multiple Podcast interviews. You can find me on pretty much every social media channel YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok.  To read more about me and my story click here. If you are a brand and would like to work with me, click here