This should have been one of my first posts to go up. But truthfully, this blog has gone through quite the evolution since I first started a year and a half ago. Ever since I became more disciplined about posting to The Southern Sooner over the last few months, I am frequently asked “what made you want to start a blog,” which sometimes feels like a loaded question.
For any of you that have been following me for a bit might remember when the blog used to be titled Texas Fierce Health. The blog initially started as just a health blog as a way to utilize what I had learned in classes and my personal health journey to try and help others, which has always been my ultimate goal for anything I do – especially with my career. I first posted about a year and a half ago. However, I still had a year of school left and the blog quickly got shoved onto the back burner as I didn’t have much time to focus on it. I would post here and there, but it was not a hobby I was able to indulge in often.
When I first started school at The University of Oklahoma in August 2015, I weighed approximately 165 lbs and was over 42% body fat – through high school and most of college, I weighed 145 lbs. I was constantly struggling with my body image and could start to feel the physical burden I had managed to inflict on myself. Seeing where I had ended up health-wise was discouraging, especially as someone who was going to be claiming health as a profession. I made a series of lifestyle changes and lost 10-15 lbs during my first semester alone – I still had a ways to go, but watching the practices I was learning about in classes in action only made me that much more passionate about my studies and wanting to reach out to others. By graduation, I was at 145 lbs once more and was around 28-29% body fat. It’s incredible for me to look back on how I started out here as a student versus how I finished.
Furthermore, most of you know that I’ve struggled with anxiety since my freshman year of college in 2012. Over the summer, my anxiety became so overwhelming it started to lead to depression. In July, I felt God call me to rewrite and re-share a post I titled The Anxious Truth to try and reach out to others that are going through the same thing to let them know that they’re not alone, as well as to their loved ones who might not completely understand what’s going on in their child’s/friend’s/significant other’s mind. Something you might not know is that I was terrified to share this post. I heard the Enemy try and speak to me in the form of anxiety saying “everyone’s just going to think you’re trying to get attention,” “they’re going to think you’re being dramatic,” “no one’s going to relate to this post,” etc, which only confirmed it was something I had to do. I wrote that post on my bathroom floor, crying with every line I wrote – I was filled with so much compassion and heartbreak for every other person who felt the same way I was feeling in those moments. I felt broken, I felt lost, I felt alone – which is exactly why I have become so passionate to see the stigma surrounding mental health end. If that’s the only post that ever becomes something of this blog and allows others feel like they can find the strength to talk about their own experience or the strength to reach out for help, then I’ll be happy.
After re-sharing my anxiety post, my passion and hopes for the blog were rekindled, but I wanted to be able to write about topics that weren’t strictly related to the science of health. I personally love the science behind health, but I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. And after graduating this past spring, it’s been drilled into me that health is not just how many times you can force yourself into the gym or how many servings of vegetables you eat in a week. Don’t get me wrong – it’s super important. But wellness as a whole is physical, emotional, spiritual, social, cultural, intellectual, environmental, financial, and occupational. Everything we do impacts our health, whether we realize it or not.
For example, you’ll see me post about beauty products – I try and focus on natural/organic beauty products as to stay away from the chemicals that can cause potential harm to our bodies (environmental) and because sometimes finding products that make you feel better about yourself and how you look can go a long way when it comes to building self-esteem and self-confidence (emotional), which I have personally seen lead to wanting to take better care of myself overall (physical). Maybe it sounds like a stretch, but this is how I view health; that it is not simply lifting weights and broccoli, but rather a chain of events, ideas, and thoughts.
But I knew that if I was going to focus on more than just the stereotypical idea of health, I needed a new name. At this point, The Southern Sooner was created by my beautiful, creative friend Kate (aka, my amazing graphic designer) based off a list of potential words/ideas I wanted the title to portray – “southern” to reflect my southern, Texas roots I love so much, and “Sooner” to reflect the school I adore and that gave me such a wonderful education, foundation, and passion for the subject I already loved.
So, with all that being said, I hope that this gives you all a better understanding of my hopes and passions about this blog. My goal is to help each and every reader that comes across my page – but furthermore, it’s to glorify the One who has gifted me with a passion for health + granted me the opportunity to study a subject I love so much. I believe that God laid this blog on my heart for a reason and intend to follow through with it. Blogs have become so influential and my prayer is to reach people – people who don’t know Him, people who do but feel as if they need restoration, people who know Him but need encouragement – whatever the case may be.
As always, I hope you all know you can reach out to me, whether you have questions, need to talk to someone about what’s going on in your life, or simply want to provide feedback or have suggestions for a future post. I love to hear from you and always encourage communication (-:
Lastly, thank you all for making The Southern Sooner so worth it. I love having the outlet, but YOUR support is what makes writing and sharing so much fun. I couldn’t do it without my amazing readers. My heart is full!
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MEGAN ROSS