When I was 8 years old, I got pneumonia and landed in the hospital for about a month. Back in the day when they used to treat pneumonia and much of everything with glucose IVs…I was hooked up to one for the duration of my stay. I drank a lot of pop because the doctor’s said I had to drink a lot of fluids, and pop was recommended. I put on some weight while I was in hospital and when I came out…it was like…something was wrong. I could tell my parents were looking at me differently. My mom was having conversations I couldn’t ever remember her having.
One in particular I remember is when I walked into the room and she was on the phone with my aunt and she was talking about how difficult it would be to marry me off if I didn’t lose the weight. I was 9. All I wanted was some cheese slices for my snack…and I heard her say that. In hindsight, I know my mom was worried about me. She wanted me to have the fullest life. I get that now. But man…at 8,9,10,11 years old. I SO did not get that.
Of course, it got much worse…Weight Watchers at 14/15yo. Diuretics that my mom ordered for me from a magazine that she saw. I didn’t take them like I was supposed to. I used to hide them. I’m not sure where. Or why, but I never took them. Remember those silver, plastic, space suit looking heavy duty sauna work out suits you could buy in the 80s? My mom and dad bought me one when I was in my teens. They’d make me wear it at night while we’d watch TV and I’d have to sit in front of the wood stove…y’know…to sweat it all off. Then on the commercial breaks, I would have to run up and down the stairs while everyone else sat and ate their snacks…I was going up and down the stairs in my noisy, uncomfortable, heavy duty plastic suit. Or I’d have to put the suit on and run around a track in the middle of town, while my dad sat in the truck listening to the news. I hated that chip trail. I hated that track suit. I hated that my dad would check to make sure I was sweating when I got back in the truck. Don’t worry, I got smart. I used to splash myself with water before going back…Kinda like my big f**k you to the whole thing.
These were my parents. They were just doing what they thought was best for me. So that I could live the fullest life. And because it looked bad for me to look this way. And they cared a lot about that. Especially my mom. She still does, but she can’t help it. It’s cultural. She was born into it. She loved me. She wanted me to be great in my life. And she didn’t think extra weight would provide me with that. She also worried that men wouldn’t love me if I was big. Parents don’t come with a manual. They do the best they can, and they f**k up all the time. And fingers crossed, they raise some pretty good kids.
I am the best kind of human being. I grew up to be a good person. AND…through all of those horrible and humiliating things that used to happen, I have lived a damn fine life thus far, despite what I looked like. I’m well traveled, and I have great friends, a good job, a home i love, friends all over the world, a good job, etc. etc. etc. I’m thriving. I’m living. I’m loving. And I’ve done all that on top of, my mom only loves me 85%. She’ll love me 100% when…
Imagine, going through life thinking your mom only loves you 85%. How horrible is that? My mom never said that to me. She only did what she thought was best for me, 100% of the time. I kept telling myself that my mom didn’t love me because I was overweight and i was embarrassing her. I stated telling myself that at 9 years old. I’m 47 years old now. And about 2 weeks ago, I realized that conversation I’ve had in the back of my mind, always and forever, always there. Forever impacting my life. In the work I’ve been doing with my health coach and two of my besties, not only have I dropped some weight effortlessly and easily, I have also been digging really deep into some of this crap that keeps me here. Holds me in this place. Keeps me from having 100% relationships with the people in my life.
If you’ve never struggled with your weight, you may not get this…but the truth is, we all struggle somewhere in life. We all have some story we made up about some area in our life, and we have stayed committed to that story. I have spent my ENTIRE life looking for ways to lose the weight. To get healthy. To make my mom proud. Etc. Every thing I’ve tried…and believe me, I’ve tried them all, (with the exception of Atkins which is not a vegetarian friendly diet), to no avail. I’ll lose some weight only to gain it all back. Why? Because in the background of my life…I have this soundtrack playing that I am going to live the greatest life no matter what my mom says and I’m going to prove to her that she’s wrong. All the while, convinced that there’s something wrong with my body the way it is.
Ironically, i’m the only one suffering. I’m the one who puts on more weight and feels unhappier when I look at myself. Sure. I have a level of confidence that maybe not everyone has. Sure, I have traveled the world unafraid of the seat belt extenders and the judgments. Although that’s not entirely true. I’m afraid of the judgments…but my desire to see the world is far greater than what people think of me wandering around the world. I have seen and done SO much and I have contributed a great deal. I have opened my heart, I have made a difference, I have reached out. I have loved. I have lost. I have done all of it.
Except for the one thing that matters the most to me…I have not allowed the world to see the me that is 100% me. The me that isn’t living life with a niggling buzzing in the back of my mind that has me wonder what people are thinking about me, or discounting myself as a love interest for someone simply because I would rather head that rejection off at the pass. Better for me to take myself out of the running before they tell me they aren’t interested because they don’t date big girls. I know there’s more. I know I’m meant for something bigger in life…and yet…I have let the weight hold me back. From living the fullest life. I know I could say that I AM living the fullest life. Sure. It even looks like I am. But if you look closely…peer in through the door, turn on the lights, and shine some flashlights in the corners…you’d see that all I’m doing is living my life on top of “my mom only loves me 85% and there’s something wrong with me.”
There has always been something wrong with me. And recently…I realized that my mom is not to blame. My dad isn’t either. They just did what they did. I made up the rest. Cause that’s what we do. Someone says something and we make it mean…xyz. We can’t help it. My parents had a problem with my weight. I didn’t. They did. But it slowly became my problem. And it’s been a problem for me ever since.
So why now am I sharing all this? Well. To be honest…I only got this for myself about 2 weeks ago. Like a giant light bulb going on over my head. Suddenly, my life flashes before my eyes and I remember all that stuff. And then I remember why I used to cry at boot-camp every time we had an outdoor workout. I didn’t know it at the time. But I do now. I used to cry at outdoor boot-camp because of the stupid chip trail behind the rec centre in the middle of town and that stupid space suit. I called my mom and I shared all this with her. The impact on me, I cried and shared and told her all the stuff I remembered. She filled in some blanks. She apologized. She told me that she loved me 100%. I took responsibility for all the stuff I’d made up. I apologized to her for saying she only loved me 85%. She forgave me. I forgave her.
So now what? Now that I can’t blame my mom for my life going the way it did, and I’m doing some great work with my health coach and having some amazing results (as seen in the photo above)…now what do I do? Now WHO AM I? That pit in my stomach…that’s the pit of uncertainty. That’s the pit of what kind of life do I want now that I’m making myself a new mixed tape for the new soundtrack of my life?
Now what indeed…
We all have stories that hold us back from living the fullest possible life. I’m grateful, to have finally seen mine. Realistically, I don’t know how much time I have left on this world. None of us do. Do I really want to waste it believing that my mom and the people in my life don’t love me? Hell no. You know what “they” say don’t you? Allowing the experience of love is the elixir to life. (I totally just made that up, but I do believe it’s true).
I think I’d like to try that. Starting right now…