The last time I wrote a blog post (a poem entitled “Reining it in”), I was headed down a familiar road. A comfortable cave of self-loathing was beckoning me to come back inside and stay for awhile.
I had just returned from serving teenagers and kids for two weeks at church camp with my husband and children. I was feeling amazing! I was feeling accomplished and good about myself. Like I was being useful and productive in the world again. It was hard, long days and hiking all over camp killed my feet but, I dared to get a little confident and bounce back in my step.
That is, until I got home and pictures of me starting popping up on Facebook. Well meaning friends and kids who had been at camp were tagging me in photos that represented all the fun we had had together, and instead of “liking” all of them I froze in horror. They meant no harm, but with every notification my fuzzy feelings of self love and contentment fizzled into nothingness.
Looking at the pictures and seeing what I HAD ACTUALLY looked like on stage while leading games and activities was devastating. I was disgusted with how far I had let myself go and even more disgusted with how helpless I felt.
You know the scene in Braveheart…where the camera pans from the side of the field where the archers have just let loose arrows, ablaze with fire, and it slowly follows them as they soar through the air to the other side, where they start pelting dudes and setting them on fire? Well, that’s how it felt watching the pictures of camp roll across my news feed. Fiery arrows strait to my heart. It was pathetic. It didn’t matter that I had spent a lovely time with my family or had held meaningful conversations about life and faith with kids. I threw all that out the window.
I wrote that poem in an attempt to stay focused and positive, but the negative force I was allowing was as strong as an undercurrent and I let myself get swept away.
I stayed that way for a few weeks.
The summer raced by. We had all sorts of good times and mini family dramas. Family fun nights, financial stresses, birthday celebrations, and even one really great neighborhood block party. Our summer was full and by the end when we started planning for all the back-to-school action, I had successfully stuffed away and had been ignoring my blog, and my self-concept right along with it. I had surrendered to the fact that it was all over. This is who I was meant to be. I took down the Realology fb page and even attempted to delete the blog itself. The only reason why I didn’t was because there are some poems on here that I haven’t properly saved and didn’t want to lose. But as far as blogging? Boo. There are a million people blogging about losing weight, even right this minute. It’s cliche. It’s boring. Who cares? I thought,” maybe I’ll just keep this as a place to post poems and that’s it.”
And that was that.
Or so I thought.
At the end of August my kids started school. My son was going into third grade and my daughter was starting her journey in Kindergarten. She absolutely could NOT WAIT to be a big girl in school. It was an exciting day in our household when the morning came and it was finally time to get dressed, pack lunches and head off to school. My husband left work to join me in taking her to her first day of school, just like we had done together with our son. As we walked over and helped her find her spot in line, I found myself overcome with emotion (which is NOT how I felt when we had taken our son). I was fighting tears and the wave of emotion that was inside my mind demanding more time with her, my baby! I wasn’t ready to hand her over!
I held it together but my daughter was still able to pick up on the energy of me and all the other emotional mothers. She saw that some kids were NOT as stoked as she was to be at school. As we waited for the bell to ring she became more and more nervous and shy despite our hugs, kisses and reassurances. When the bell rang and it was time, I was stunned to watch my baby girl stand up strait, suck in her quivering bottom lip and stick her chest out to walk triumphantly and confidently into her classroom.
I lost it.
Guys, so many feelings!
How could I dare continue living in such FEAR? She inspired me. Her courage was genuine and I will never ever forget that look of determination on her face (even though I KNOW she really wanted us to carry her back home). I needed to be WORTHY of being this little creatures mother. I needed to lay down my excuses and
be the brave woman that she NEEDS in her life to look up to…so that she can keep walking through unknown doors.
That same day, after some coaxing from a good friend who I had shared the experience with, I walked through my own unknown door.
The doors of the Anytime Fitness by my house.
I was warmly welcomed (to my surprise) and quite literally have not looked back.
I have been overwhelmed by the support, love and encouragement I have received. I will share details of my new adventures as someone who works out at the gym in posts to come, but for now I will leave you with this, since that day in August I have lost 31 pounds and have WORKED for every one of them.
But honestly, it not just about losing weight and getting healthy. It’s about being fully alive and not surrendering to being miserable. I want to be someone my husband and kids can be proud of, and mostly someone I can be proud of.
This is just the beginning of this new chapter.