a few weekends ago i was invited to my first full moon ceremony. i had zero idea what to expect and, very true to lent-laura, jumped out of my comfort zone and headed to the party on my own to meet up with a bunch of strangers.

i looked at it this way: be open to new experiences, what’s the worst that could happen, and if nothing else, it was a friday night with a bonfire. i didn’t have to view it as anything else.

i was one of the first to arrive – thanks dad for teaching me to be punctual – and helped build the fire as i introduced myself to the other attendees. they were familiar with the whole ordeal, it seemed that i was the only newbie.

we all settled into our lawn chairs around the fire pit as the sun began to set. Alison, our host, smudged each of us with sage to cleanse us, and to remove negative energy from a space. she then lead us through a short heart opening meditation while she played her crystal singing bowls. energy is a really funny thing that not everyone feels; i’m affected by it – still not sure if that’s a gift or not. it was a really overwhelming sensation to be around the fire with like-minded souls, all open to new beginnings.33550bd9-1620-46de-a34c-8a133e87b681

we opened our eyes and were instructed to free write for a few minutes about what we felt was holding us back, where we were stuck and what we wanted to let go of. then we were to write about what we wanted, what we were hopeful for, where our desires led us.

i put hot pink pen (naturally) to paper, and scribbled out what looked like a love letter to myself. i guess it actually was.

then came the hard part: sharing. it wasn’t mandatory but it was encouraged. we went around the circle and one-by-one we read what we wrote, or a general overview of it.

my turn?

i was giving up doubt, self-limiting belief and horribly negative self talk. i was giving up hating myself. i’ve spent so much of my 30 years convincing myself and whomever else will listen just how useless i was. like i didn’t deserve to occupy space or their time.

i was opening myself up to possibility, to all types of love, most importantly self-love. i was allowing myself to see the positives and gifts in my nature and my ability. i was breaking down walls and letting people in. i was allowing myself to be vulnerable.

i folded my piece of paper and tossed it into the fire. the flames erupted in a symbolic, fiery surge. and my heart smiled. the attention-seeker in me was thrilled that it was the brightest, largest burn of the bunch….then i though i should have given up comparisons.

perhaps the next ceremony.

and that was that. i rewarded myself with a cookie and walked myself home under the glow of the big, bright moon.

i’ve felt a funny shift in the universe since then. nothing dramatic, but the opportunity for me to test my declarations. tests are fun when they include making out with cute boys. less so if they involve math.


have you ever taken part in a full moon ceremony?

 

i’ve grumbled here a few times about my health and pcos concerns, but lately it’s been getting to a point that i can no longer treat the sideline symptoms and need to focus more on the core of it all. (chrissy, i owe you an email.)

never heard of pcos? it stands for polycystic ovarian syndrome. although the cause of pcos is not known, it appears that it may be related to many different factors working together, that include insulin resistance, increased levels of androgens, and an irregular menstrual cycle.

the most fun part is the common signs and symptoms include:

  • irregular menstrual periods—menstrual bleeding may be absent, heavy, or unpredictable
  • infertility —pcos is one of the most common causes of female infertility
  • obesity—up to 80% of women with pcos are obese
  • difficulty in losing weight
  • excess hair growth on the face, chest, abdomen, or upper thighs—this condition, called hirsutism, affects more than 70% of women with pcos
  • severe acne or acne that occurs after adolescence and does not respond to usual treatments
  • oily skin
  • male-patterned baldness
  • patches of thickened, velvety, darkened skin called acanthosis nigricans
  • multiple small cysts on the ovaries
  • depression and anxiety
  • increased chance of diabetes and high cholesterol

sounds like a blast, doesn’t it?

after being formally diagnosed 2.5 years ago (and probably actually having it since puberty), i felt comforted that things started to make sense. there was a reason i was like i was. i took it semi-seriously, meeting with a nutritionist and personal trainer. but that moved slowly.

then i decided to turn to a quick fix, fad diet, meal replacement shake. and i lost a lot of weight, because that’s what i was “supposed” to do to fix this syndrome, and because i was starving myself to the tune of around 200-250 calories a meal, and often going full weekends with only consuming 400 calories of “cleanse” products.

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and i looked hot. and it worked…until it didn’t.

that relapse was one of the hardest moments of my adult life – you know, besides the melodramatic, angst-y shit i become worked up over…like boys and long lines at village ice cream.

i settled back into every negative thought and eating pattern that i have been fighting my entire life. it was a thick fog of disordered eating, negative self-talk and looking to others men for reassurance, comfort and ‘love’. for some reason i was surprised when none of these relationships lasted.

it wasn’t until about a month ago that i smartened up with getting my health in check (i smartened up about frequent dating quite a while ago – dating is the worst.) every symptom of pcos returned, and possibly stronger than ever. it started with booking more blood tests, then being scheduled for an appointment with an endocrinologist (in June – it’s the canadian healthcare system after all). i have taken out or put on order almost every book from the library and every medical study i can get my hands on.

i also found a pretty fantastic support and “diet” challenge group on facebook. it’s really comforting to read the stories of the other women going through the same thing. i say “diet” because i really don’t like that word, because its definition is so tightly bound to starvation for the purpose of losing weight and pure aesthetics. instead, i’m redefining the word to mean choosing the foods to heal from the inside and nourish my body. the group’s organizer has put together meal plans that help aid our bodies in fighting pcos. knowing that creating long-lasting habits takes many small changes, she is introducing one meal at a time. the first week? breakfast!

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if you’re following me on snapchat (laurabridgman) you’ll see the final product of a lot of the breakfast recipes i’ve been trying out this week. it’s basically lower carb, high fat, high protein with many low GI veggies. frittatas with sweet potato and sausage, and steak and eggs have been a change for me in take in in the mornings, but so far the results have been great. i’m following up each pcos-friendly breakfast with my own adaptation of approved foods for lunch and dinner. (next week we get the dinner meal plan, the week after that lunch.) it’s been a week and i’m already seeing huge improvements in my digestion. i can’t comment on energy levels yet, since i think i’ve got a strong case of carb flu.

what’s next? more blood tests (life-long now), doctors appointments and specialist appointments. thankfully, i have no concern about being fertile right now (maybe ever?) so i don’t need to worry about that.

i also need to learn this whole “lifestyle” thing because quick-fix doesn’t do it. but if you think i’m giving up village ice cream, you’re sorely mistaken – sister is coming to visit me in june after all – it’s just going to be severely limited. being social and going out for meals with friends/navigating menus could be tough. yup, i’m going to be “that girl” when ordering. thankfully i already don’t drink much, so i’ve already mastered bar nights and alcoholism peer pressure.

it’s been nice having the support of fellow “cysters”, as the group calls the ladies. i just love word play so much. i guess that’s the point of this long, drawn out post: awareness and support. while pcos is probably the most common reason for female infertility, it’s still not that talked about or understood. so ya, maybe i’m fat, anxiety-ridden and losing my hair and/or growing it in less than ideal places, but it’s only partly because i’m lazy and crazy, not fully.

so you’ll find me in the kitchen, or reading, or trying some fitness things and trying not to cry while hugging loaves of bread and rocking them like babies. feel free to join me for any of the above. i foresee a lot of healthy, alcohol-free dinner parties at my new apartment that no one will want to come to.


did you know about pcos? do you have some avocados i can eat? 

speaking of trips, my mind is caught up in vacation dreaming. the idea of jumping on a plane in a week already has my head in the clouds. and while my dreams are busy booking imaginary flights, my brain is thinking how i’m going to strike a balance between work, weekend work, finances and life’s enjoyments. like most, taking time to unwind proves to be a challenge.

in a recent survey done by TD Bank conducted with canadian millennials, almost all (95%) of albertans agree that vacation time is essential to keeping them happy (significantly higher compared to 90% of all canadians).

*raises hand* i am the 95%.
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Hellen Buttigieg, a life coach and founder of We Organize U, says that millennials often set high expectations for themselves when it comes to professional advancement, but it’s important for them to recognize that taking time off can actually benefit their work life.

be it a trip to visit the family in toronto or down south, a #sistertrip to a new city, or even just a day off to hike, when i can step away from the work grind to make time for myself and explore, i am more productive once i return to the office.

thankfully, taking time to recharge doesn’t have to be a grand endeavour like an overseas trip, TD Bank says even mini-vacations and staycations are included in that 95% statistic since they are much easier to budget for, and can offer a stronger ROI ROE (return on enjoyment). an hour drive to the rockies is all i need to refill my tank and have creativity shooting out of my eyes.
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part of me is still caught up in the idea of “if you don’t do it someone else will.” which is probably why you’ll find me working away most of the time. that being said, i still find a way to use up all of my vacation time, unlike 43% of albertans (and 36% of all canadians) surveyed.

like the rest of cash-strapped millennials, i realize life is expensive and a girl’s gotta eat. i’ve made it a recent goal of mine to be better with my money, and i’m saving for life, as well as for my activities off of work, by creating a financial plan. i’ve allotted a monthly allowed spend to rent, utilities, coffee shop visit, health and fitness, and the like, in order to put money into savings and money into fun. some months it’s difficult to stick to, but in the long run i know that my daydreams will be able to become plane tickets.

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Buttigieg says whether you want to invest in a new hobby that can be experienced time and again or plan a once-in-a-lifetime getaway, what’s essential is to take a break, refresh, and invest in some much needed time for yourself.


do you take all of your vacation time? have you started a financial plan to enjoy life?

thank you TD Bank for sponsoring s&s and making this post – and future travel plans – possible.