I am not one to give up easily. Lately though, it just seems like no matter how hard I try, things are not working out. I am stressed. I don’t feel well. I feel guilty. I came to the conclusion that I had to give up on a couple of different things in my life. Giving up is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, as I came to the conclusion that I needed to let things go, I felt better. I felt more in control of myself and my life.
The first thing I decided to give up on was my “diet”. I have been mostly gluten-free for awhile. I discovered that there is a wider selection of gluten-free foods than there used to be. I could still eat delicious cookies and snack on chips. I figured as long as it was gluten-free it was fair game. Recently though, I had slipped and was eating cheeseburgers with half the bun (I used to toss both buns), and enjoying regular brownies. My stomach was starting to bother me, but it wasn’t enough to stop me. I still ate gluten-free for the most part. And I would have continued with my so-called “diet” if not for a simple blood test at my last check up.
The lab report showed that my cholesterol level had skyrocketed! I quickly went online to research possible causes, and it came down to my gluten-free diet. I was eating a lot of processed food – yes they were gluten free – but they were also processed. Gluten acts as a binder in foods. Without gluten, other ingredients need to be added to hold it all together. I had never thought to look at the fat content of the foods I was eating. I was so focused on the gluten part of it. So I decided to give up. I gave up trying to have the best of both worlds. I gave up on the more processed foods that I love. I gave up the guilt I felt when I ate regular cookies. I gave up trying to make it all work just so that I could have a cheeseburger now and then.
I decided that I needed to take care of myself. My health was more important than a cookie. So I researched and am now putting together an eating plan. I am figuring out what foods I will actually eat that are gluten-free AND not processed AND are healthy. I also have to consider that lactose is not my friend. I feel good about this change – not in the “I’m so excited because I am going to lose weight if I can stick to this diet” way – but in the fact that I know I need to do this to be healthy, feel better, and be there for my kids in the future. I feel more focused on what I can do to better myself.
During this time of change, I decided that I also needed to give up painting. God gave me a gift in the ability to paint. I have used my gift to supplement my income as I never seem to have enough money to pay the bills AND get food. I have sold my art on etsy and on eBay, as well as in some consignment shops. And I really enjoyed it! Lately though, it has not given me joy. It has become a chore. I would sit down to paint, and draw a blank – or paint things that I don’t necessarily WANT to paint, but I do because I know I can sell it. I remember in high school, another student asked me if I wanted to do art when I grew up and I said “No. I don’t want art to become work.” And that is what has happened. It has become work.
Recently I sold a small painting I did. I spent hours on the painting and it turned out really good and so I listed it on eBay – and it sold for only $15.00. I was glad it sold, but was so disappointed and frustrated by the fact that nobody thought it was worth more than 15 bucks. Oh, I can paint a realistic snake on a rock and sell it for $100, but I have gotten SO tired of painting snakes that it does not bring me joy anymore. Instead I feel stressed and tired whenever I think of painting. So I am giving it up.
Does that mean that I will never paint again? I don’t know. I love to be creative – and there are so many different ways to be creative. I love to experiment with creativity – to see what works and what does not work (and frankly I have done a lot of things that have not worked). I enjoy the process of creating things! I have made clay sculptures, napkin rings, garden art, wreaths, home decor, etc. I especially love to use things that we would normally throw away – to make something out of “nothing”. There are so many other types of crafts or projects that I would like to try. I figure when I am ready, I will paint again – but it will be WHAT I want to paint, WHEN I want to paint, and HOW I want to paint.
Sometimes it is important to not give up – to keep trying, to keep moving forward, to work towards your dreams and goals in life. Other times, giving up releases the hold that something has had on you – things that make you stressed, unhealthy, and unhappy. It can take awhile to figure out if you should keep going, or if you should give up – and it is always a personal choice, that other people may not understand. Only YOU can decide what is best for you.