Birthday cake and the day I said No to my arch nemesis
Yesterday marked the celebration of my cousin’s birthday. I was there to celebrate with my whole family. Because I tend to make different dietary choices than the rest of my family, it was amazing to actually participate in the meal prep with my mom. When you have food made for you, similar to eating out at most restaurants, you don’t know always know exactly what goes into the food. When you prep it yourself, you do. And it becomes easier to rest on your choices, knowing full well what was prepared.
Our meal was beautiful. Fresh organic veggies and fish – all the things I’m happy to eat. The birthday cake however? Well, I didn’t have much of a say. My aunt brought three very beautiful, brightly colored, sugar-filled cakes.
I went straight to my head. Thoughts like, “Can I even eat this?”… “I don’t eat refined sugar. It’s a non-negotiable” and “It’s ok to have a little cake sometimes. Why do you need to be such an extremist, Natalie?”
That and everything in between swirled through my head.
When it came time to cut the cake, something in me said, “STOP.”
So, I did what I struggled to do for years and years to do. I stopped thinking and I allowed myself to feel. I let the voices of anxiety and fear quiet down. And I listened to the voice of my truest desires to speak louder. Everything changed.
This voice was clear. It had feeling. It had impact. The other voices were just noise. Mere distractions to what I actually wanted to choose.
So, I didn’t take a piece and instead I walked into the house, found my secret stash of goodies, and grabbed a organic coconut macaroon, sweetened with maple syrup. Yum. No sickness. No headache. No stomachache. No sugar crash. Nothing.
Just a refined sense of trust in myself. A feeling sugar has never given me.
Stepping back, I saw the change I’d made. I didn’t say No because I live by some funky set of rules. I didn’t say No because “NO REFINED SUGAR EVER!” or because some magazine and blog post told me to.
I said No because when I imagined how I would feel after – the stomachache, headache, sugar crash – it wasn’t worth the moment of sugar on my lips.
My INSTINCT said No.
In each moment of indecision, we have a choice to make. Which voice are we going to listen to? The rules we have swirling around in our head? Or the feeling we intuitively know is telling us the truth of what we actually want.
In doing what I really wanted, I didn’t feel the need to make a big deal about my choice. I didn’t bother telling my family about the downsides of refined sugars and food dyes, nor did I feel the need and validation of anyone else to notice and acknowledge the fact that I wasn’t having any. I just needed to do what felt right for me and to allow others to do the same.
Of course I would love for my family to make choices that are healthier and more supportive options. And I also know that the best way to support them is leading by example and allowing them to do what I do: trust that they know best for themselves.
No matter the circumstances we are presented with, we always have the ability to make choices. These choices are neither positive nor negative, so long as we are trusting ourselves. Your choice is always available to you. Even when your tendency is to think it’s not.
P.S. – I’m considering hosting a 6-week program for a small group of women who find themselves stuck in all of the expectations they feel from other people and themselves to be someone they don’t actually want to be. If this sounds like you and you can relate, send me a quick email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be honored to find out if or how I can help you.