“Nothing Will Work Unless You Do” -Maya Angelou
In sharing this image/quote, I can honestly say that it has taken me a very long time to come to terms with it. Being genetically prone to carry fat, and taking several medications, some of them causing weight gain, I have struggled with my weight since around age 7. At that age my Asthma medications caused me to be unable to shed pounds and I was not active much as exerting myself brought about an episode or symptoms. A few years later I began to stand out in my class at school. I wasn’t severely obese but I was one of the heavier kids. We all know with weight, at times comes the of cruelty of children…adults too. I even dealt with fellow youngsters in my family name calling. It didn’t help that I was born Bipolar.
Looking back on my childhood now as an adult, I can see clearly that I was depressed a lot in the years of elementary school. I remember snow days in particular. Back in the early 90’s when the snow was thriving far more than today in eastern Kentucky, I spent snow days in my pajamas and would watch TV with my mom while dad was at work. Mom did nothing less than the best to make my childhood wonderful, and as great as it could be, but that’s another blog post. I recall she and I would take pearler beads and place them on these little plastic utensils with thin, raised pegs all on them, arranging them in a design and color scheme, then iron wax or some type of paper covering over them to harden them into place, making pretty magnets. There were happy times such as these. However, there were also a lot of sad times. I recall playing video games on my Super Nintendo alone in my room, staying in and drawing pictures while other kids would be out building snow men, which I couldn’t because it exacerbated my asthma. Art became therapeutic and I developed somewhat of a talent. This talent I used to express emotions from that point on, many of them as resulting in my difficulty to communicate, fear of rejection, and negative experiences.
I will never forget when I was a little chubby girl with glasses (because my left eye tended to draw inward) when my grandparents moved out of the house next door to ours and in moved an elderly couple, Chalmer and Mary. Mary was a sweetheart, always walking Benji their pet Pekinese dog. Chalmer, however, not so much. When he would be out in his yard doing lawn work or just hanging around smoking his pipe, seeing me out playing in our yard he would call to me, and tell me I needed to “quit eating cakes and candies or cookies” as they were making me heavy or “fat”. I don’t think I told my parents the whole thing or severity of the matter. Children don’t forget things like that. In fact, it sort of scarred me for life…Seeds of insecurity were being planted in my little heart. Chalmer and Mary are both dead and gone and I am now 28, so I cannot go back and let him know just how he damaged my young mind and developing self esteem.
In my early adolescence I was able to wear contact lenses, and was quite thrilled as I felt this did wonders for me! I began to notice boys, naturally like the other heterosexual girls my age. We were all maturing and many of us self-conscious about our changing bodies. Rejection began here as I had a few crushes, and the boys I liked had no interest in me, but always fell for my best friend who was naturally long-legged and thin. I began to question myself. What was so wrong with me that no boy noticed me or wanted to invite me to a movie like the others? I wore a women’s size 16/18 I think in 7th grade. There was a major need for weight-loss or as I saw it, “room for improvement.” Sometimes guys would even use me to get to my best friend or friends and make their way into their lives, past mine. I recall buying my very first self help book at 14. It was buy famous author Iyanla Vanzant. I do not recall the name now…but inside I knew there was something wrong. Just like every other young teen I just wanted to be accepted entirely. I kept questioning “What is so wrong with me?” The seeds of the eating disorder that I developed at 16 had most definitely taken root, and I was headed down a road of self destruction.
I remained a plus size teen until age 16 when I began taking Health as a class in high school. I was pretty unfamiliar with eating disorders and just how dangerous they were. One day as a class we began studying eating disorders in a chapter in the text book, and watched a video. This video changed my life. The video was about recovering Anorexics and Bulimics and the painful, self destructive paths they had taken to get to where they were, with such a toll that it took on their young bodies. This taught me everything I needed to know about Bulimia. It became my new ‘friend’ and I learned all I needed to know right there in my chair at school. The Health video had an adverse effect. You know, I don’t think I have ever told anyone that before? Not even a therapist, and its been 12 years now since it began.
I binged and purged my way throughout the remainder of high school and into college. I had shrunk down to a very small single digit size in juniors clothing and didn’t feel as bad about myself as before. The Bulimia act, I just knew helped me get there. I was not only purging tons of junk food, i was pouring out my emotions, as I had no clue how to deal with them in any other way. In the mean time, at 16 I fell in love. My first boyfriend! I am not even taking it there. All I need to share about this guy is that he was a very horny toad, a developing sociopath with narcissistic tendencies, and he found me to be a very intriguing challenge. The challenge? To get in my pants. He didn’t. He never will now. Haha… Needless to say, he broke my heart when I didn’t give him what he wanted as he had never, ever been rejected in that way in his entire youth (He was very experienced for his age). I had just become a Christian 2 years prior and to me it was wrong, so I stuck to my guns, and after our relationship began to get a little intense physically, I told him I couldn’t and he told me goodbye. This was devistating to say the least. I really and truly believed I was going to ‘die of a broken heart’ that night! I mean, as a young girl, like the rest of them, I grew up being taught in fairy tales that some prince would come and sweep me off my feet, we would grow madly in love, and be together forever! That, my friends, is where society has failed! That fact about society is something I loathe and could be an entirely different blog post as well… So…Rejection. Even though the breakup was about my lack of putting out, still yet in the back of my mind I felt it was weight-related.
Following my breakup with Mr. Cocky-Sociopath, I went up a few sizes. Senior year I was out of the single digits, and mad as hell. Now, a lot of this had to do with the ticking bomb of my Bipolar disorder, but that’s not what this is about. I did not take a single picture at my High school graduation. I ran to the car, I was the first one out of the building! Yep. I went out with a bang that day.
I could go on and on, but here I am now 10 years later at 28. I have learned more than I could have ever expected in this decade. About five years ago as I have mentioned before in previous posts, my dad lost both of his legs to Diabetes. This triggered a major weight gain. I did not go back to the Bulimia or eating disorder behaviors as I found recovery at 22-I just let myself go. I got married, dad fell very ill, and I stopped exercising completely. I’ve just now begun exercising on a regular basis, and am taking my health and fitness quite seriously, but not in an unhealthy or extreme manner. I do not hate myself anymore as I did in my youth. In fact, I have finally reached optimum mental health! Declared by both my therapist, myself and my Psychiatrist a couple months ago, I have come so far! I love myself. I learned through years of therapy that our human bodies do NOT respond to hate and negativity. The body only responds to LOVE. So if you want to lose weight and KEEP it off, loving yourself completely is the way to go, my friends!
I’ve been in therapy since age 16. So much has went in that 12 years. I am far more alive than I have ever been. This blog was supposed to just be a little bit of commentary on the above quote by Dr. Maya Angelou, whom I am growing more and more fascinated with every day. I’m glad I wound up here though! Writing this post was truly a nice catharsis.
Yes. We have to do the work if we want to get there! Nothing comes free, and we must bring our own dreams about! I am just now getting back to work in taking care of myself after being married 5 years and coming to terms with my father’s illness. I think I finally realize what Dr. Angelou says. My attempts to lose weight will fail unless I do my part: taking care of myself as a whole, mind, body, and spirit! Putting in positive affirmations, words, informations, readings, people, music etc.. into my mind, and filtering out the negative. I’m tending to my own personal spiritual needs as a Christian with God, and walking regularly. Someday I will run on that treadmill!
If you have read all of this, I thank you, truly! I hope that in some way you may find some inspiration from my story; my realization that my worth is on the inside, it cannot be taken from me, and I do not have to prove it to anyone. I am who I am. God made me the way I am supposed to be, and its up to me to optimize all areas of my health! 🙂
God bless each and every one of you today! Know that you are more than a number on a scale, a tag in a pair of jeans, who your boyfriend/girlfriend is, and all that jazz. You were made to rock!
*image courtesy of Google images.