Imagine you had been spending years wandering through the depths of a lush, thick forest, searching for a hidden door that would lead to freedom.
And what if over the many years spent searching, you had learned to thrive in that forest?
You worked hard to become comfortable in the unknown, and built yourself a life in there while you continued to search for your door…even at times almost giving up looking for it…because the forest had become your home.
And then one day you tripped over a cluster of roots at your feet…(another obstacle, but you’re used to them now) and as you begin to pull yourself up and dust yourself off, you saw a glimmer of light outlining a doorway that you would’ve walked right past and never noticed.
You realized this was YOUR DOOR.
The obstacle you tripped over was exactly what led you to this moment that you had been waiting for all along.
You’re standing struck with shock and surprise at how, just like that…fate presented itself.
You’re faced with some choices because you realize the time is NOW.
You can only cross through the doorway into the new, undiscovered land if you were willing to leave behind all of the comforts that you had gathered and relied on to live in the forest.
You realize you can’t go back and collect all of your things to drag along with you this time, because it would be too much.
You have to make a choice to leave that all behind and step into the unknown, or risk losing it and not being able to find your way back again.
Deep down, you always knew the day would come, or at least hoped it would…but now that its here you panic for a moment.
All of the work.
All of the searching and preparing.
All of the times you were tempted to give up.
All of it has led to this moment.
You take a deep breath and grab onto the heavy latch upon the door and lean into it with all your might to PUSH.
The door begins to slowly open with surprising ease, clearing away all of the dead leaves, branches and debris at your feet.
You kick away the vines that have found a way to curl and tangle around your ankles as you step into the unknown…squinting into the sudden beams of sunlight and open air as you’re trying to let your eyes focus, so that you can take in the sprawling new world in front of you.
A new world.
The funny thing is, now that I have stepped through the door and am on the other side, I am baffled at what the freedom I had been searching for actually looks like.
At the beggining of December my doctor discovered a pretty signifigant hernia that had developed on my left side.
It had started causing me pain, especially during workouts which was VERY upsetting since that is such a huge part of my life and livelihood.
He explained that it would need to be surgically repaired asap. He added that since it was caused by a combination of my consistent and vigorous exercise lifestyle, and the loose, hanging skin (that most of you know I have lovingly reffered to as my “front butt”) leftover from losing 160lbs over the past 7 years…would now also be deemed “medically necessary” to surgically remove at the same time.
What?! This is the dream, right?
Lose enough weight to eventualy have the skin removed and dwell in the land of “normal” or even (looks both ways to whsiper) skinny?
That only happens on TV weight loss shows or to very well known social media influencers.
For me, skin removal had become something that seemed such a far off (if EVER) milestone that I doubted I’d ever reach.
I had become comfortable with stuffing all my hanging, flappy bits in the tightest compression leggings I could find and just kept showing up anyway.
Because I have existed in the fitness space for so long, I had just begun to embrace my front butt and rose to every challenge to prove that I could do more with that thing hanging on me than anyone could imagine, becuase I KNEW what I had been able to accomplish physically when it had been all FILLED IN.
The apron of skin leftover was ugly, and got in my way, but it also served as a physical trophy of sorts?
Proof of all I had accomplished.
A forever reminder of what I had and could do.
I almost personally branded it, and was determined to make peace with it as part of my identity to be able to keep going.
And I owned it.
For the most part.
Of course, despite my confidence there would always be at least one or two people (daily!) whom I would catch staring at it with disgust out in public as I walked by.
Standing in line at the grocery store was the worst. My kids would even notice and catch people doing it sometimes too.
It would sting and then I would shake it off.
“THEY DONT KNOW ME OR WHAT IVE DONE.”
I would repeat in my head almost as a mantra as I ALWAYS made a point to lock eyes with them long enought to make them uncomfortable.
Wanting them to know I had caught them staring, and then go on with my day.
Never once thinking to stop wearing leggings or find a better way to conceal or hide it to make people more comfortable.
Because, for the forst time in my life, I was PROUD of this body I had built and had learned to be confortable in my skin reguardless.
I always thought if I ever had the skin removed, avoiding THOSE kinds of run ins with people would be the ultimate freedom.
Or, the freedom of finally being able to wear jeans without a front butt.
Or, running sprints and doing my yoga without a 30lb weight barrier hanging around my middle?
Ive spent the last couple of months off the radar and social media “nesting”, and preparing myself for this major surgery and trying to envision these exact outcomes.
I am now 2 full weeks post-op and have just started to unpack everything, and the truth is, the things I am really being freed of look totally different than I was expecting.
I am looking forward to sharing more about what I’m discovering about myself as I begin to process all of this, but right now I am laser focused on letting my body recover and trying to stay out of her way.
We are still just getting acquainted.
Not fully out of the woods yet…but on our way.