Joy of Living

You guys, I try to stay away from the “woo-woo” things too much. You know, the things that are so! excitable! and! are! full! of! crazy! exclamation! points!?

That’s a little bit how I feel right now though. I’m back from my trip to New York City. Thinking about this trip caused major anxiety for me as the fear of not fitting in and not being able to experience things due to my size made me want to hyperventilate. I wish I were exaggerating, but you’re talking to someone with depression and anxiety, so I’m not. It reached nearly full-on panic attack mode.

I made it to the airport after waking up around 3am so I could get to Louisville to take a direct flight (leaving from Lexington would have cost nearly triple – get with it, LEX!). I stumbled on the small plane and realized I wasn’t going to have another amazing seatbelt-extender-free flight like I had recently. While trying to get comfortable, someone asked me if I was Emmie. Turns out, the wonderful person (whose name I now know is Mindy) read my blog and for some reason it was comforting. People giving a damn about what I write and then being nice enough to say so in person? Overwhelming doesn’t describe it.

I could write thousands of words about the awesome people from this New York City trip, but instead for now am just going to share the joy. While I was in the city, I didn’t get winded going up subway steps or down city blocks. I actually went by myself to roam around the Museum of Modern Art while I had a few hours to kill. By.Myself. This is nuts you guys! In the past, my insecurity would have kept me confined in a group of people traveling in a pre-determined route. The experience was extremely liberating and it gave me some great meditation time while staring at art like this:

it never fails to impress in person

I made a wish

These guys kept me company while I cleared my mind in the MOMA Sculpture Garden

I stared at the sky for a bit.

I interacted with people, saw old friends, met new ones, and spent all day outside between the Hudson River Park, The Highline, and on a sailboat on the Hudson River. I wasn’t super fast when having to walk places as my bad ankle was bothering me, but I wasn’t winded or sweaty and my legs didn’t swell. I even felt cute in my clothes – like I fit in. Having felt like an outsider in my own life for so long, this epiphany is nothing short of tear-inducing (in a great way.) I’m verklempt just writing about it. Where are the damn Kleenex?

view of St. Patricks Cathedral

The Highline

A MAC store and the Empire State Building. 2 beautiful things, LOL

Financial district view from the sailboat

with Radio City Music Hall in the background (during the NFL draft)

Prior to my trip last week, someone mentioned that I should take a similar photo to the one I had posted from my last trip in 2003 when I was exhausted and feeling awful. While on the sailboat, I took a photo. I think the difference is visible – not only in appearance, but in joy:

left: 2003; right: 2012

I wish I could bottle up this feeling and give it to anyone who feels like they don’t fit in, or that the struggle to move towards a healthier life is just too much to handle. I know this feeling won’t last forever in my mind, but it will last forever here on the interwebz, and that’s about the best I can do right now.

Choose yourself. Choose joy.

Thank you for letting me experience this with you. xoxo

PS: I am going to discuss more about these feelings plus others in my new email newsletter. If you’re interested, please subscribe! The first one is coming out by the end of the week. No spam, promise! 

  • LHA

    Emmie, I am so happy for you!!  I am glad that you found joy on your trip and had amazing experiences.  I understand about the  pre-trip anxiety since I suffer from depression and anxiety too and know how it can sometimes overtake everything in your life, especially when faced with a new experience coupled with uncertainty.  This post should be an inspiration to all of us who sometimes put off new adventures and worry constantly about fitting in a being part of a “normal” crowd.  Once you have been on the other side of “normal” and known that misery and insecurity, just going somewhere and having a good time and finding the job in the experience is pretty special.  Bravo to you, and thanks for the great blog!

    • Emily Sandford

      Thank you x 100. I so appreciate your perspective.

  • Tiffany Jorgensen

    Yay, I’m so happy you had such a wonderful time and were willing to venture out and experience some things by yourself! You really are glowing in that last picture of you on the boat. :)

    • Emily Sandford

      Thank you so much. You always offer such kind words!

  • Michelle H.

    So amazing!!  hehe – i’ll put in the exclamation points!!!!  The pictures are fantastic and those feelings are even better.  Mindy was meant to be on that plane to change the tone of how the trip was starting.  You look so beautiful in that green top and your skin is amazing.

    • Emily Sandford

      thank you Michelle!! Yes, Mindy was meant to be on that plane – totally flipped my perspective in an instant.

  • Diet Schmiet

    Great post and I’m glad you had a great time!

    • Emily Sandford

      Thanks so much :)

  • Costie

    You are such an inspiration. Thanks, Emmie. :D

    • Emily Sandford

      thank you Costie!

  • lora kathleen

    Emily – I am SO glad I got to meet you this weekend! You are so inspiring and I know there are many wonderful things in store for you! I can’t wait to see what you do next :)

    • Emily Sandford

      I’m so glad I got to meet you as well, Lora! I can’t wait to see what YOU do next!

  • Lisa G

    Thank you so much for sharing your time in NYC!! You are so inspiring to me!

    • Emily Sandford

      Thank YOU Lisa. 

  • Cassie

    Oh Emmie! I was verklempt reading the whole thing and wanted to cry tears of joy with you and for you! I am so happy you were able to “take back” New York for yourself under amazing and positive circumstances. You are a tremendous inspiration and voice of reason, and I love reading about your journey!

    • Emily Sandford

      Thank you so much Cassie for getting verklempt with me! Ha!

  • Jill

    It wasn’t until I was reading this post that I remembered my own last trip to New York. I could write this whole big comment but I think I’ll just write a blog post instead of hogging your comments, haha :)

    • Emily Sandford

      I can’t wait to read it, Jill!

  • Jackie W

    Girl you deserve to Woo Woo all you want!  Its the little things that non-obese people take for granted that are a big deal to us.  You look beautiful!

    • Emily Sandford

      thank you Jackie – I really appreciate it! The little things shouldn’t ever be overlooked.

  • Patty Aizaga

    Such an empowering trip! I am so happy for you and even happier I got to see you! {{{HUGS}}}

    • Emily Sandford

      love you patty!

  • Lisa M.

    You are seriously inspiring me SO much right now! 
    How ironic that I was talking to my hubby about going to New York City this winter… You deserve so much credit for #1 – not being afraid to express your true feelings, and #2 – for recognizing where you were before and how it’s changed you. 

    You are awesome. I’m so glad I read this today :)

    • Emily Sandford

      Thank you Lisa. I hope you get to go to NYC this winter!

  • Jonathon’s Fitness

    One word…beautiful!

    • Emily Sandford

      Thank you Jonathon!

  • Laurie

    What a great trip! I’m glad that you enjoyed yourself :)

    • Emily Sandford

      thank you – I can’t wait to go back someday!

  • Julie W

    I LOVE this post! You are amazing!! I hope I can meet you one day! 

    • Emily Sandford

      Likewise, Julie!

  • Jody – Fit at 54

    Love the feeling coming thru AND the pics! That last pic says it! :-)

    • Emily Sandford

      Thank you Jody!

  • Roz@weightingfor50

    Oh wow…I LOVE these pics and this post.  Thank you for sharing the photos, your trip and your feelings with us.  I’m so glad I found your blog.  Have a great Wednesday. 

  • Sean Diedel

    Emmie, I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety in my life too so I know just how you feel. Most days it can be all you have just to get up and try to fake a half smile. I’m so glad that you were able to experience the freedom you did from your depression and anxiety. I know that felt wonderful! This world actually is full of loving and caring people, they’re just hard to spot. I think you’re one such person Emmie, and I haven’t even been reading your blog very long. Keep up the very inspirational posts and thank you for being who you are and not trying to be someone you’re not. Continue to be genuine. This world needs that!

    P.S. – In case you haven’t noticed, I tend to get! very! excitable! too! with! my! writing! WOO! WOO! What else can I say :)

  • Megan Cassidy

    You said multiple times this weekend you felt like a boss. I have news for you, ma’am: you ARE a boss. In your attitude, passion and dedication to success and happiness. It was incredible to have met you and I can’t wait to keep watching your progress towards whatever amazingness you have in the works.

  • KCLAnderson (Karen)

    This is the best post EVER!! And on so many different levels. You stepped into your power. I’ve come to understand that we can never stay there though…we’re constantly stepping in and out and it’s when we step out that we need to understand that it’s okay too, knowing that we can step back in again.

    Great photos, by the way. I miss NYC!