A little over a year ago I did something totally out of character by launching “Just Du Pree The Blog.” It was something that had been on my mind for years, but last year I finally got the courage to make it a reality. Launching the blog allowed me to get very candid about my struggles with an eating disorder, depression, body image, and dealing with topical steroid withdrawal. I knew I needed to launch the blog to help others who were going through the same struggles as me, but I didn't realize how many people the blog would touch. Every time someone sends me a message, comments on a post, or tells me how they relate to my struggles, it’s confirmation that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing.
Life is crazy my friends! Last year this time I was getting ready to move home with no plans for the foreseeable future, no idea why my health was failing, and no work lined up for the first time since I graduated college. Now I'm rehearsing for my third show in a row since November! Ya girl has been working non-stop and it's such as blessing. Moving home felt like I was failing in life, but now I know it was just a set up for the next step in my life.
Alright friends, so it's no secret that I've been slacking on my blogging. I forgot how demanding A Christmas Carol was last year and this year has been no different. Every week we've had 10 shows, and we just finished 14 shows in a row with no days off before Christmas Eve. My actor friends know how crazy this is, but for those of you who aren't actors, 8 shows a week is standard. Anything beyond that feels like, "why am I still singing Christmas Carols right now?" It's been demanding, but who can complain when you're doing what you love.
A lot of my posts lately have been highlighting my topical steroid withdrawal process. However, I originally started this blog revealing my complicated relationship with food and body image. Initially I thought my health and skin issues were a result of my poor diet and binging and purging habits years ago. While I'm sure they didn't help, my use of topical steroids for so many years is the real cause of the various health issues I'm dealing with now. While it's a relief to finally know why everything has happened, having positive body image is still something I battle with daily. And it doesn't help when other people feel like they have the right to comment on my body.
I am now in my 7th week of moisture withdrawal. A few weeks ago I attempted to moisturize using sesame seed oil after I bathed. That lasted for two days until I realized that my skin just felt dryer than before. About a week and a half ago I flared really badly. It was either the aftermath of trying to moisturize or the New York City pollution, but since then my skin has been struggling.
Last week I started rehearsal for A Christmas Carol. It’s kind of surreal, because one year ago I unknowingly began my Topical Steroid Withdrawal during rehearsals for the same show. I’ve truly come full circle. Even though I’m not completely healed physically, I’m much stronger mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. A year ago I was literally suppressing panic attacks on stage, crying in the bathroom during intermission, feeling lost, confused, and like I was drowning. This past year has been the hardest challenge I’ve ever had to face, and I’m still facing it daily. However, I have grown immensely and thank God for the lessons I’ve learned and will learn. This year has been a whirlwind of unexpected obstacles and blessings to say the least. It’s frustrating when things don’t go as planned, but if you learn to open yourself to the possibilities of unforeseen circumstances and find the positive in the situations you don’t plan for, it’s amazing how God can change you for the better.
Today I left the house with no hat and no hoody. Usually when my skin is flared up like this I stay inside, or I hide if I have to be out in public, but today I didn't feel like hiding. I've been in rehearsal for A Christmas Carol for the past week and almost every day I've been the hooded figure swaddled in a scarf and hat. The skin on my face has been really improving, but last week before rehearsal started I dealt with a bad flare that I'm still coming down from. I even broke out in my armpits, which has NEVER happened before. It could be that I traveled back to the east coast and my body is adjusting, or that I started eating more fruit and my body can't handle the sugar, or that I tried moisturizing with sesame seed oil and my body is not happy about it, or it's just a random flare, because I'm going through Topical Steroid Withdrawal. I don't know and I'm not going to stress over it.
Not only is it important to take care of our bodies, but we have to make sure that we're renewing our minds every day. Mind, body and spirit are all connected and have a negative impact on our health when they're not working in harmony.
Guess who's out of shape? Pick me, pick me!
So in 2014 I really started working out consistently and lifting weights. I was really starting to see a change in my body and I loved it! But when all of my health issues began, it was harder and harder to be consistent in the gym. This past summer I was even thinking about doing a fitness competition, because it's something I've wanted to do for a while. By the summer I had gained weight, which I normally do during stressful situations, so I was even more motivated to get back in shape. My body was fatigued, but I ignored it and kept going hard in the gym, biking to work, and dancing in rehearsal. I thought I just needed to push harder. I ended up stressing my body out and gaining more weight.
Hey! I'm Lauren, aka Just
Du Pree, and this is my blog about healing, health, fitness, self-love, and faith. When you're reading the blog check out the upcoming and videos pages to see what else I'm working on. Thanks for stopping by!