about SHN

Hi there, I’m Marlee!

I started this blog in January 2011, and my journey and the direction of this blog have shifted through the years. Here’s my story:

Why I started this blog:

I had just graduated journalism school and I love to write. Bearing my soul through my writing has always been therapeutic for me, and I hoped I’d be able to connect with other who were experiencing similar struggles. A few months before I started this blog, I had the worst acne breakout of my life. And when I say breakout, I don’t mean a few zits that eventually went away. I mean, my whole face was covered in inflamed, red pimples. I was literally in physical pain from the bumps on my face, which was only outweighed by my emotional pain. I struggled with this breakout for a year, and I had scars for another couple of years after that (I’m extremely fortunate that my facial scars are barely visible anymore).

Looking back, that breakout saved me. I never realized how emotional fragile I was until I had to face the world looking like, I thought, a monster. I never realized how truly low my self-esteem was until I had to set my physical appearance aside and focus on what was inside myself. I never realized how much work I needed to do on myself until I felt completely broken — I felt as though “Marlee” had shattered into a million little pieces and I didn’t know who I was anymore. And I didn’t know how to put the pieces back together, and be the “Marlee” I once knew.

Eventually I realized that I couldn’t put the pieces back together the way they were before, but that’s okay. It’s better than okay. It’s like that Japanese idiom you’ve surely seen on Pinterest: “In Japan, broken objects are often repaired with gold. The flaw is seen as a unique piece of the object’s history, which adds to its beauty. Consider this when you feel broken.” This really speaks to me! I have shattered, but I am better, wiser, stronger and more resilient than I was before.

And so I started this blog at the beginning of that journey, when I was at my lowest point. I didn’t even realize I was suffering from depression until I was in quite deep. I was focusing on fixing my exterior, while the answer lay inside myself the entire time (so cheesy, I know). Once I started focusing on growing myself, facing my traumas, feeling deep anger and sadness, did my physical issues begin to heal.

What led to my acne breakout:

In 2009, I decided to become a vegetarian. I started thinking more about what I was putting in my body, mainly because I had been suffering from chronic stomach aches my entire life. Pretty much every time I ate anything, I would feel nauseous. And I have a phobia of vomiting (which is another story entirely) so I was living my life in constant panic mode. Every time I ate, I would anticipate that I would feel sick, and then I would feel sick, and then feeling sick would make me anxious, and that anxiety would make me feel sick. It was a horrific daily cycle of stress and pain.

So I decided to start listening to my body.

I realized that when I ate meat, there was a part of me that felt uneasy about the fact that I was eating the flesh of a being that was once alive. It bothered me. Now, I’m no militant vegetarian, and I will never tell you that you should be vegetarian, but it felt right for me. I slowly started eliminating meat from my diet and as of 2017, I am still a vegetarian (though I hate labels).

I was on a mission to feel better. I started reading about natural living and I was intrigued. I learned about how hormones could have an impact on everything, and that being on the pill could be exacerbating my nausea. So in February 2010, I decided to go off the birth control pill. I had gone on it in 2004 at 16 years old to help get rid of my acne at the time, as well as regulate my period.

In the summer of 2010, I decided to stop using my topical acne medications as well. That’s when my body said “nope” and I started breaking out.

But the thing is, when I think back on that time, I remember that my breakout wasn’t originally that bad. I had some pimples, yes, but it wasn’t an extreme situation right away. But I freaked out. I remember going to see a naturopath to see if she could “fix” me (I had no interest in the fact that things take time, and there’s no quick fix). I distinctly recall her telling me that my skin wasn’t that bad, and I remember thinking “yes it is, it’s terrible”. She suggested some topical solutions to try and I did, and my skin got worse (because I didn’t listen to her directions when she advised using a tiny amount at a time).

I then started researching solutions on good ‘ol Google, and boy did she deliver. Every second day, I was trying a new concoction on my face. Because I didn’t see results IMMEDIATELY, so it must not be working.

Oh, there are so many lessons I’ve learned about life from that situation alone. I was my own worst enemy. Grasping at anything to “cure” my situation. All while I had my “cure” — the pill! And I went off it for a specific reason. But I was stubborn. I still wanted my quick fix — a natural quick fix!

Ha!

Where am I now?

I’m older, wiser, and patched up with lots of gold. I’m so much more aware of my flaws, and so much more okay with them. I still struggle with my mental health, and I’ve come to terms with the fact that it’s something I’ve silently struggled with since I was a child (I found out that I was assessed at 7 years old to have anxiety. I also underwent psychological testing this year and was diagnosed with severe anxiety, moderate depression and ADHD). I was also recently diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Sjogren’s Syndrome.

I continue to go to therapy and read a ton about mental health. I’m a bit of an information hoarder. I love to consume information (whether or not I can retain and reiterate that information is another story, but I like to think that everything I read is stored in my brain somewhere!)

I’m also now married and have a baby boy (who is actually now a toddler… when did that happen?). Becoming a new mother has brought its own set of challenges, and is now a crucial piece of my story. Motherhood brings about my highest highs and my lowest lows. It’s a journey in itself — the newest part of mine, so I’m still learning a lot as I go.

What do I want my blog to be about?

I want my blog to be about balance. I spent so much time trying to achieve optimal health and happiness, but these are no longer my goals. Sure, those things are awesome! But I have perfectionist tendencies, and if I give into them, it leads to my demise.

So, my goal is now on achieving balance in all facets of my life:

  • healthy eating // gluttony
  • exercising // relaxing
  • motherhood // independence
  • caring for others // self-care
  • working hard // playing hard
  • friendship // alone time

 

One comment on “about SHN

  1. Hey Marlee, I really enjoyed reading that. I felt I could identify, especially when you wrote that your skin got better when you stopped nitpicking and just accepted yourself.

    Why are there no updates since 2011?

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