In case you do not know, I live in Wisconsin. Yes, I am absolutely a Green Bay Packer fan. Yes, we are genuinely nice people here in the midwest— we really do hold doors for ridiculously long times for others and randomly do odd jobs for and/or with our neighbors.
I love beer, brats, brandy old fashioned cocktails, and… cheese.
My grandparents owned and operated a dairy farm for my entire young life. I have vivid memories of bottle feeding calfs, going out to the pasture to call the cows in for milking, and watching my grandma skim the cream off the top of the milk before pouring it on my cereal.
They worked hard. And through witnessing their hard work, and the efforts of many other local farmers, respecting them was woven into my psyche. I have always felt that part of this respect is the underlying assumption that we need to supporting their business by eating dairy products.
And then recently I finally came to the honest realization that I cannot tolerate eating (more than a little) dairy.
I call this an “honest realization” because I know that I have truly known it for a long time. But my longtime relationship with the origins of dairy products; the trickiness that comes with eating a gluten and dairy free diet; honoring another midwestern value of being low maintenance, and of course the fact that cheese and ice cream are so damn good, have kept me in denial.
Thankfully, I know that my intolerance is dose dependent, so I don’t have to give it up entirely. By eliminating it for periods of time and then carefully reintroducing it back into my diet with my amazing nutritionist, I know about how much I can have without too many uncomfortable side affects…. But I still loosen those boundaries way too often.
Stay with me here. (I am very aware that you do not read weekly for in depth looks at my digestive needs.) There is a point to this all, I promise.
Some of you look to me for inspiration, and possibly in some ways as a role model. And hopefully through reading this blog and getting to know me you are 100% aware that I have many flaws and make many (often repetitive) mistakes. Just like all of you, I do things that I know are bad for me, yet I justify my decision in the moment. I avoid things that I know are good for me, and justify my decision in the moment.
Even while knowing how much dairy bothers my internal systems, I still eat it—almost daily.
My goal is to be a human who shows you that you can make these “bad” decisions and still be 100% worthy. I use my recognition of my many of my flaws, the knowledge that I have a lot of blindspots, and my resistance to making decisions that I know are best for me to practice empathy for others. When my kids make mistakes I try to remember that I have been extended much grace and forgiveness for my young (and older) choices. When friends and loved ones apologize, I try to forgive them. When my athletes miss training, I first try to see their reasons through their lens and then I decide how to hold them accountable, nudge them out of their comfort zone, or express compassion and move on.
When I want to lean in toward feeling self righteous I humbly remember the last time I laid on the couch in pain from eating too much cheese. We all make mistakes and justify our words, feelings, and actions. And although my decision to have one more scoop of ice cream does not directly harm others, when neglecting my truth becomes habitual it can have a cascading effect. These micro quits on my overall goal of living as the most authentic me can cause me to not be able to show up fully for myself or for others— in any role in my life.
We are all human, and making poor choices is part of a real, big life. But we need to own them first in order to learn from them. And if you don’t want to tell me, at least tell yourself. A couple small steps toward changing harmful habits can have a really big impact on your self confidence and trust, which is vital to becoming the most vibrant version of yourself. Then please practice empathy for others— most of us truly are out here doing the best we can.
So, how are you neglecting your truth today? It doesn’t have to be big to have an impact on your goals. It can be as micro as two slices of the sharpest cheddar cut from grandpa’s big block of cheese.