What's with the Name?

So, why did I choose the name A Kinder Path for my website?

I can't really say "long story short" here because it's hard to sum up my reasons in a nice, neat paragraph or two. Perhaps I can say "long story medium" instead.

Like many people, I have been on a tough path much of my life.
  • The first 30+ years was a pretty constant wreckage of abuse and devastating losses that resulted in PTSD, with rage and anger issues being the most destructive manifestation.
  • I have Asperger's Syndrome, a mild form of autism, in addition to PTSD. I received EMDR treatment for the PTSD, but because of my Asperger's, I did not experience the benefits without difficulty, and at that, it did not resolve all of my symptoms, the biggest one being rage and anger issues.
  • One of my coping mechanisms for the PTSD has been compulsive eating since childhood. Where many might turn to alcohol or drugs, I turned to food. With our society's obsession with body image and a portion of the abuse I suffered centering on body shaming, my eating and weight became an all-consuming thing in my mind, 24/7.

I'd tried many things over the years to confront my problems and failed. In retrospect, I can see why: My efforts drew me back to a harsh and unkind path, because I kept going back to the familiar, even when it seemed different. It was no wonder nothing worked.

I grew tired of spending so much time and money getting to know and trust therapist after therapist with little progress in between, and I was burned by more than one counselor and support group. I was tired of feeling ashamed of my problems. Most of all, I was tired of how my behavior continued to hurt my family and how I alienated myself from making friends and forming better relationships with my coworkers, because I plain didn't trust anyone anymore.

Now, I believe in God, have since I was little. I've also learned that God often leads me outside the theological fence I've built around myself, based on my understanding of my faith's teachings... and usually kicking and screaming. My biggest issue was learning to trust God and see that He means it when He says in that still, small voice, "Don't worry. I've got this."

Especially when it comes to the unconventional.

For some reason, I finally decided to trust God again with something that I would normally blow off or find uncomfortable, and it happened in the privacy of my own home while watching a YouTube video of a different technique on my tablet.

The impact was not only real but tremendous. I hadn't felt anything like what I did afterward since I had a breakthrough after EMDR... except I didn't have to struggle to get to that point like I did with EMDR.

It was still hard to believe it was real or that easy, though. So I didn't take it too seriously... and yet I found myself going back to it, because this time it was different.

Other changes also started to happen. I had a transformative spiritual experience at a women's retreat that renewed my relationship with God and drew me back into doing ministry work through my church. I started losing weight and my compulsive eating demons began loosening their grip. I started exercising again - and enjoying it.

While I still struggle with my anger, I can say the intensity level I feel on a regular basis has come way, way down. The same goes with anxiety and depression that has plagued me on and off throughout my life. In place, I'm starting to experience more calm, including during times of crisis, and joy. I've also found myself forgiving people and wrongs that I swore would never, ever happen.

So how is what I'm doing now so different? I would say the biggest commonality of everything I do now to work on myself is that I'm easier on myself, and so are those I turn to for support. I don't know if it's being older or being fed up, but I simply don't have room in my life anymore for people and things that are harsh, judgmental, shaming, etc.

Borne out of that is a desire - no, a need - to follow a path where I seek out people and methods that are gentler on me - mind, body, and soul. In turn, it's slowly teaching me to be gentler and more loving with others.

It's a kinder path... hence the name.

Well, okay, in addition to that, the domain name was up for grabs and Google searches didn't lead to results for book titles or other products that could have confused people, so voila, a website was born.

I Shouldn't Be Here

If we were to use the standards imposed by popular health gurus and the media, I shouldn't be offering advice on how to live better. I have autoimmune issues, food allergies, and neurological disabilities. I have also been obese and struggle with compulsive eating.

I don't make a buttload of money as a fitness celebrity, grinning ear to ear or looking tough or sexy on a DVD cover. In fact, I'm in my 40s with sagging skin, wrinkles, cellulite, stretch marks, and much, much more.

I suppose I'm flying in the face of convention. I'm also at a point in my life where I'm all right with that.

I'm not going to pretend I have all the answers; not even close. I'm a writer, not a doctor.

I'm also not going to tell you that working through physical, mental, or emotional struggles is easy. Wesley from The Princess Bride nailed it when he said, "Life is pain... anyone who says differently is selling something." We live in this world, which is imperfect, flawed, sinful, and, yes, painful.

It sucks and sometimes the best we can do when that pain is unbearable is find our way through it. Then, we can use what we learn to help others up so they, too, can move forward again.

That is what I want to offer here. I want to share what I know and have learned, to help you move forward. I want to give hope. I think I would be ignoring God's call to all of us to love and minister to others with a spirit of compassion if I kept what i've learned and experienced so far under a bushel basket.

I know what it's like to:
  • Feel stuck - even despair - because of health issues, and not know where to find support.
  • Try - and fail - over and over again in attempts to eat right and stick to a fitness plan... not just once, not twice. Try so many times I've lost count, and for decades.
  • Wake up and instantly bombard yourself with shame the minute you look in the mirror.
  • Carry around rage because of past wounds by others... and even against yourself.
  • Wonder if you'll ever know what it's like to feel peace, or joy, or plain old relief from your suffering.
I also know what it's like to wake up one morning and finally feel like you got your life back. That's when the real change can begin within you.

Are you ready for that change? Then let's begin.