Welcome to another Freedom Friday Interview! To read more about Freedom Friday Interviews, please click here.
Today we’re welcoming a good friend of mine, Christina Sciarrillo, to share her story of freedom. This girl has overcome sports injuries, disordered relationships with food, and poor body image. I can’t wait for you to read her inspiring story!
1. I am so happy to have you on as a Freedom Friday guest! Give us a little background about yourself before we dive into the juiciness of freedom and how it applies to you and your life!
The brains and owner of my business Primitive Paleo, I’m a personal chef and health specialist by day, cancer researcher, senior pre-med student, and metabolic clinic director by night (or day too). I have been an athlete my entire life and raced as a collegiate triathlete for 2 years- movement is my medicine… I love sports and doing anything active! I am an incessant learner and would much prefer a good book or podcast to a movie, knowledge is power! I have a really strong affinity to laughter and humor, but sometimes I’m too sarcastic for my own good. I am a self-experimented bio-hacker and thoroughly enjoy being a health entrepreneur and having my hands in a ton of different projects.
- What does “freedom” mean to you?
Freedom is that moment in time when you become unattached from externalities, when your entire being is encompassed by the present moment and only that moment. There is only one thing that you are and feel the need to be, and that’s you; that’s home. You feel no identification with any thing, any moment, any person, or object. Your happiness and wholeness is inquired from within, and your peace is prevalent even during the busiest physical and mental distractions.
- Share about the time in your life when you lacked freedom. What was your struggle?
I first realized that I lacked freedom around the age of 21; I was unsure of how long before that but it became apparent to me around that period. In my efforts to become the healthiest and happiest version of myself, my challenges along the way began to show impulsive and obsessive behaviors. Healthy eating turned into a fear of unhealthy food, which then alienated me from social settings and my loved ones; I quickly plummeted into disordered eating as a young college student. My challenges as an athlete were extremely beneficial and had a positive affect on my personal development. I learned discipline, dedication, ambition, and what it meant to work hard for something that I was passionate about. The obsessive nature of an eating disorder quickly distorted my passion and quality of life by manipulating my food habits and relationships. I woke up everyday with a painful amount of anxiety, frustration, and confusion. From the outside looking in everyone seemed to believe I had it all, there was no way anything in my life was less than perfect and my actions reflected that. It turns out that I was highly identified with school, my grades, my athleticism, and most importantly… my eating disorder. Regardless of how successful I was in all of these areas in my life, I felt so lost during this period.
- What was your turning point? When did you realize that you needed to embrace freedom?
It wasn’t until my expectations failed to align with my reality that I realized I needed a change. My greatest passions and desires slowly became completely distorted by this fallacy I made myself believe. I realized that I lost sight of why nutrition and health caught my attention in the first place; it was more about some competition with perfection than it was about my passions anymore. Every little thing in my life was working for me- I had a 4.0, I was leading several organizations on campus, developing my own business, racing collegiately, interning, and had the best of friends and loved ones, but for some reason… I STILL wasn’t happy. In this moment I realized it was no longer an eating disorder, it was a perfection disorder, and the only way to move past that was to embrace every little one of my imperfections.
- How do you allow freedom into your life on a daily basis?
I welcome freedom into my life on a daily basis by allowing myself full presence, humility, and intrinsic reward. When I say intrinsic reward I mean finding myself, being that, and doing what ever it is that makes that part of me happy without feeling bad about it. Allowing freedom into my life on a daily basis includes non-judgment and the ability to welcome adequate self-love, compassion, and relationships. I allow myself time away from this “grind” mentality now and an ability to see the need for tender love and care; and this unexpectedly has greatly benefitted my work, relationships, and ambitions.
- I believe our journey towards freedom never truly ends, it just continues to progress to more and more freedom. How have you challenged yourself recently to embrace more freedom into your life?
This. Is. So. True.
In November of 2015, I was sidelined with a sports injury and diagnosed with a severely bulged and herniated disc at L5S1 and ischiofemoral impingement (the wearing of your connective tissue between your hip and your femur). I have seen a total of 8 doctors, 2 chiropractors, and 3 physical therapists so far; I am currently still searching for answers. This injury has challenged me far more than anything I’ve ever been through, maybe even more so than my eating disorder. Being in chronic pain daily decreases your quality of life rapidly overtime and thus forced me to reflect inward. Feeling exhausted and defeated, I woke up one day and realized that this was my greatest blessing in disguise and I wasn’t ever going to let this defeat me! It was a chance for me to apply the discipline, strength, patience, and resilience that all of life’s lessons have taught me; a chance for me to implement the ways in which I learned freedom once before, and check in daily with those. Freedom with my injury came when I realized I am not an athlete, I am Christina, and this applied to all areas of my life. I ENJOY being an athlete, it is a hobby and passion of mine, but it is not definitive of who I am or my character. It does not make me any better or worse as a person, and it is not attached to my being or identification. I embrace freedom by realizing that the present moment is all that I can focus on with my injury. I’m hopeful and positive for the future, but if I can never be an athlete again, I can always still be Christina.
- What is one golden nugget of wisdom you can provide to those who are currently struggling with embracing freedom today?
Find yourself, and be that- align your desires with who you are, and realize that sometimes that doesn’t always align with everyone else or what you expected, but that’s okay. Never apologize for being you, which is the most precious gift you can give yourself. The moment that you remove yourself from this distortion of what should or shouldn’t, can or cant, and will or wont, is when you become unattached from self criticism, doubt, and fear and experience freedom. Never fear how powerful you are. Be relentless, and never stop pursuing your goals, your passions, and the life you dreamt for yourself! Realize though that sometimes you’re thrown a few kinks in the chain and you have to challenge yourself to overcome obstacles, you evolve and grow, but you adapt and expand. Strive for progress and presence, not perfection!
- And before we say good bye, how can we stay connect with you over social media?
I am currently developing my brand, logo, website, and BLOG with a team!! Super excited about this and to share this with all of you, that should be up within the next month and I will post about that on my instagram. For now, my instagram @primitivepaleo (where my email is also) is the best way to connect with me daily!