The pursuit of this transformation I’m longing for has led me to sift through lots of heart storage. Bear with me during this slightly longer post, as I give a little history as to how I even decided to start this journey.
( Which, by the way, I really hate that word…journey. It sounds….ugh. I don’t know? Cliche? )
I’ve always been the big girl. I was the kid who had to wear the “6x” pants when no one else did. I was the kid who thought it was normal to have a red, itchy, painfully pressed skin ring around my waist when I took my pants off at night. The girl who could never swap or borrow my friends clothes because they didn’t fit. In junior high and high school I took my place as the bystander, heckler and jester amongst the crowd at events like school dances. Putting my party face on and pretending not to want to cry watching couples sway to the slow and tender ballads of Boyz to Men. My own personal reel of “wonder years” moments…except I was the short, round, redhead girl with the mole on her forehead, not an awkwardly cute Fred Savage who gets Winnie Cooper in the end. My soundtrack would have been AWESOME though. At least I have THAT.
I have famously and publicly grieved the longing to have been asked to “couple skate” in my King Skate days ( now known as Roller Kingdom, but I’ll be keeping it old school, thanks). Again, serving my post as reliable and steady sidekick. Providing perfectly timed comic relief, loyal and goofy like Kimmy Gibbler ( another 90’s sitcom reference…).
I can remember being at certain slumber parties and watching in awe as the cool girls pulled out toiletry bags or caboodles (!) and crowded the bathroom to “get ready” for bed. The face washing and lotioning. The primping and combing. Products from the mall, delicious smells from “The Body Shop” bottles. It seemed so grown up, almost regal and definitely out of my league.
I was like, ” hey…I gotta brush my teeth…” with my ziplock baggie, toothbrush toothpaste combo pack.
I confessed in a previous post about the survival skills I had learned to make my formative years bearable. Learned the arts of sarcasm and making fun of myself first so that no one else could. I was able to carve out a place for myself where I stayed mostly safe. Coping privately with my “cross to bear” of being the fat girl. Now, looking back I’m sure lots of kids do not make it through as easy as I did then. I had friends and a lot of fun. Sadly, I wasn’t even that big then. If I could swap my body now for my 16 year old body…
My survival skills carried over into my adulthood.
I had a few jobs but my favorite was being on staff at our church directing the youth group. I spent some of the best summers of my life running around at youth camps being loud and crazy. My confidence soared as I was a master at winning over crowds of teenagers by poking fun at myself to show ” I didn’t take myself too seriously.”
By no less than a holy miracle from heaven, my husband (whom I met at our church) decided he kinda liked me and asked me out on a date. At this point in my life I had been a decorated veteran in the field of bridesmaidom and had surrendered happily to being a single gal. The surprise of real, true love was unexpected, welcomed and treasured. Still is.
I always find myself telling younger, single girls hoping to meet that special someone, “you’ll still feel the same on the inside. It doesn’t change you and make you finally breathe and accept yourself like you think it will. Take time to sort that all out!” Ha! How many times had I heard the same sorta thing? The dreaded, “you can’t love anyone until you love yourself.” (Single people hate hearing that crap, especially from people who are coupled off and snugged up with someone. So stop it!) However, we let it roll through one ear and out the other only to find out later just how true it is.
So, we got married and had babies. He, making me always feel loved, beautiful and comfortable. Even in the lowest moments of self loathing somehow my Hubs has been able to make me feel lovely. He is amazing.
When the time came, I thought I would be the greatest pregnant gal who was ever with child because I was already fat! I felt like I’d enjoy having a reason to be large. I kinda did. Well, now my babies are 7 and 4 and my post baby body
( LOL) is out of control.
I’ve tried at least a dozen different times to lose weight, a dozen different ways. I’ve had well-meaning friend after well-meaning friend offer help, expertise and accountability. Family members sharing concern. Most have been genuine, some have been insensitive. It’s a weird thing being the big friend in a group, people feel like it’s perfectly appropriate to discuss it, like a hot topic. I sort of got in the habit of offering details and reporting my wins and fails…the ups and downs. Priding myself on being “confident” enough to talk about it. Time after time setting myself up for disappointment and having to face the peeps rooting for me. With each attempt and fail, I actually seemed to gain more weight than before. With each failure, feeling more useless, and less funny. Shame affecting my faith in God. If my faith were just stronger maybe? If I just had the discipline to resist temptation?! If I really prayed more?!
Out of the darkest days ( refer to my first blog post where I describe my cave) I decided to simply change my mind about the way I was thinking and carrying on. I was encouraged to start writing again. Poetry came first and then my nerve to start a blog. Mostly just to vent.
In the sharing of details of my heart on this blog, I am not trying to do anything besides simply spread all of my “stuff” out and take a good look at it.
Honestly look at it.
If it seems to help someone along the way…that is a huge blessing and I am honored. I know that some who are reading have been able to identify with me and I am truly humbled. These issues are NOT mine alone! This whole process is about way more than launching another full-scale attempt to lose weight and change my life. More than arriving at a healthy weight. It’s about more than learning how to wear make up or dress for my body type.
Is it about being free to go ahead and just start to say out loud all of the things I’ve been feeling? I wonder if part of why I am so heavy is because I have carried around years of things unsaid. I had someone suggest that I have in fact “built a living monument” to my pain.
This body that I lug around has been a monument I’ve built. Built out of guilt and fear of losing control and the desire to numb my feelings with compulsive eating habits. Pretty classic disordered eating. Slavery.
It doesn’t get more honest than that. The good news is that God isn’t leaving me here to be set in stone. I believe He wants to tear down and demolish.
I’ve been purchased for a staggering price, and am valued and fruitful reality.
Life is meant to be lived.
But I have to surrender.
Best entry so far.
“The surprise of real, true love was unexpected, welcomed and treasured. Still is.”
“It’s a weird thing being the big friend in a group, people feel like it’s perfectly appropriate to discuss it, like a hot topic.” (not sure this is the experience of many heavy people, but it was yours…and it was a painful line to read, even for me).
“In the sharing of details of my heart on this blog, I am not trying to do anything besides simply spread all of my “stuff” out and take a good look at it.” (Great visual for me)
“This body that I lug around has been a monument I’ve built. Built out of guilt and fear of losing control and the desire to numb my feelings with compulsive eating habits. Pretty classic disordered eating. Slavery.” (Fearless self-assessment is always inspiring)
Some wonderful lines for me, of course, but more importantly an increasingly larger portal to your heart and soul by which I (we) can see the real you. I liked the you that I have known from the outside. I am loving the you that is being revealed here. Thank you for letting us in.
Randy, I really appreciate the encouragement 🙂
I gotta quit reading this at work! You’re gonna hear that alot! Thanks Mandi, this is a good one! That’s all I can say or I’m gonna bawl like a baby.
Hahahaha sorry Brenda! Love you! Thanks for reading:))))
I’m totally crying and eating a brownie. I’m in a spot where I’ve hit an emotional plateau…actually I’m at the edge of a cliff. You’re amazing. I’m so proud of your “journey”!
:)))) love you sis
This is crazy, I don’t mean to discredit what you are going through Mandi but as I am reading this it reminds me of a video that me and my wife watched last night about the BODY protecting itself by building fat and depositing it so that you are protected. It was a very educational film titled “Hungry for change” Very eye opening! It’s like sitting through one of those sermons when the pastor is talking about you. No one else in the room type deals. If you haven’t seen it the education alone will encourage a different view on food.
Thank you for sharing and being so transparent. It’s inspiring.
Paul!!! Thanks! Just added it to the the ol Netflix…I’ll let you know when I watch it and we can debrief.
Your writing is absolutely astounding. How blessed I am knowing you (and the hubs). My heart breaks for you in your past tense. I’m proud of you in the present tense. I absolutely excited to see what God is doing and continuing to do through you and excitedly anticipate watching you in the future tense. Proud to be one of your groupies!
Thanks for letting me be me Dean. I love ya 🙂