By Christopher Confero
My usual words for you revolve around entertaining, celebrations, or other ways to enjoy life in style. A couple of times each year I take a different path and share with you more personal experiences that I hope will touch you and provide advice and encouragement. In this issue, you will find an article on the “New Year, New You” event that I contribute to, which benefits the Weight Loss Clinic in Children’s Hospital of Alabama. Last year I shared with you the story of my personal struggle with being overweight as a child and through my teen years. Being overweight during such a critical time in your life shapes who you become as an early adult. I struggled with eating disorders, depression, and not feeling accepted, all of which haunted me for many years and at times still do.
It’s such a mental battle to love yourself and there always has to be a trigger for change. Two years ago, I started working out and weight training with Matt Crane, who owns Life Fitness here in Birmingham. That was my trigger. Matt started the “New Year, New You” program to not only raise money for Children’s Hospital, but to change the life of someone in a way they never would have imagined. I didn’t go through the program with Matt as the winners of the contest do, but while training over the past two years, so much about me has changed. Yes, my body is healthier and better than it’s ever been, but it was more than that. Over the past few years, I’ve finally accepted myself for who I am on the inside and out.
When I turned 30 last October, something inside of me changed. Not for the superficial reasons you would imagine—unwanted hair loss or unwanted hair growth—but rather, I took a look inside. I surveyed all the things I’d accomplished in my life so far and more so, the things that I hadn’t. It was time for me to reflect on who I was as an adult and what I wanted for myself in the years to come, and the answer was simple: love and happiness. Not so simple you may say, but it all starts from within.
As I’m writing this article, I’m sitting on the balcony of my suite in Cabo watching the waves roll in off of the ocean, listening to the water crash onto the sand, and even now reflecting on life and happiness. We as humans place so much value and validation on outward beauty that it warps our inner happiness and how we feel about ourselves. To quote the legendary RuPaul, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else? Can I get an amen?” Every time I hear that phrase, I always reply with a firm “Amen!” I’ve learned to find value in my life as a whole, not just what my body looks like. To be happy mentally, physically, and emotionally is not a small task. Living life from day to day is a rollercoaster of crazy! But if you slow down and give yourself the opportunity to identify the things that are holding you back, the only thing to do is take action.
I’ve recently stumbled across a prayer/meditation that I felt I wanted to share. Again, usually my monthly columns are centered around entertaining and celebrating, but I feel that if you are a happier person inside and out, you are going to celebrate life in a whole new way. My choice to find love and happiness is ongoing, and I’m sure it’s a lifetime journey, but the words below remind me everyday of what I’m looking for. I hope by sharing my story, it will push you to be a happier and healthier person.