I was hurting. Mentally and Physically. My body weight made life difficult at 420lbs. I didnt have many real friends. The people that claimed to be my friends just wanted to use me. They found me pleasent enough laughed at my jokes but they only showed up when they wanted something. The rest of society wasnt much better. Due to my size I was stared at or ignored.
Walking around day to day pretty much unseen or unacknowledged. In high school I was known. I was seen. But I wouldnt say I was popular or had alot of friends. I just kinda stood out because I was a girl on the football team.
In college I had friends from the rugby team and a small social circle. But then things changed.
For years I didnt really have to many friends that kept in close contact. I said ehhh it happens thats what adults do. They grow apart only have their significant others and thats all you need.
Then I became a single mom. I felt the glaring emptiness in my social circle hard. I used what I could to draw in who I could so I didnt have to be alone so much. But I knew. They werent real friends. They were a patch work of lost souls like me. They werent happy with themselves and they liked being around me because I made them feel good about themselves by shaming myself in the form of humor.
Then something changed again. My sister helped get me started on a better health journey. A journey that made me want better for myself. A journey that helped me see I wanted to love myself the way a person should be loved. I wanted self forgiveness. I wanted a positive spirit. I wanted more from life.
But wanting and getting are 2 very different things if you dont have a plan or at least some sort of support. Luckily I found it where I least expected.
One of my online friends agreed to be an accountability buddy with me. She only lasted 2 weeks but in that 2 weeks she convienced me to try yoga. It was crazy but since I choose the 1st weeks workout it seemed fair to let her choose the 2nd week.
The first day I didnt like it. I didnt feel like it was a workout it was more stretching. It felt to easy to fun to nice. I had lived so long wanting to hurt myself: from shoving pin needles under my nails as a kid to sporting ginormous bruises from being a lineman with low iron as a teen to the much more senister perverse and cruiel punishments I put myself through as an adult. Workouts were supposed to hurt. And while driving to work was painful enough to make me pull over and have a mental break down and cry before I could continued on when I finished that yoga session my back felt pretty good actually.
Then the second day the yogi said something that brought me to tears. Its ok to take up space. Who the fuck says that? It wasnt ok to take up space. No one in the society I lived in believed it was ok for me to take up space. I took up to much space I had to shove myself into my car and worry about breaking the steering column and rarely fit into restaurant booths.
Someone giving me permission to take up space on my own living room floor was too much. I bawled. I realized the world I built around myself didnt have to be the world I choose to continue to live in. That woman didnt know me she’d never seen me. She was just some yogi on youtube with a bunch of yoga videos for beginners. I did another video and she said…10 min of yoga a day is better then 1 hr in a single day.
She wasnt doing crazy acrobatics and making me feel worthless because I was barely mobile. She was guiding me through a series of stretches that felt amazing and offering me modifications and telling me if you cant keep up just go with the flow and focus on your breathing. She gave such amazing advice. Advice that seemed realistic enough for me to follow.
Her voice soon became something I looked forward to each morning. No longer did I dread getting out of my fancy adjustable bed that was supposed to take some of the hurt off my back so I could fall asleep and help keep me alive from my sleep apnea so my young daughter didnt wake to find her mother deceased one morning. No when I woke up I was excited I didnt just want to do 10 min. No I wanted to do 30 min everyday in the morning. Then in the evenings if I had a rough day it wasnt food I wanted to turn to anymore it was her calm voice instructing me how to move my body to make it stronger healthier and less stiff.
For a long time this woman didnt even know I existed but she truly was one of my most trusted friends and at times my make shift therapist. Yeah her videos were on youtube as a freebie to entice me to buy her paid app but I trusted her advice. Because it was sound. Yeah she never knew what I was going through but everyday I tried a new video she said at least 1 thing that literally reached out and touched my soul in a new very raw way. Like on the days that were tough somehow I’d pick a video and hear “you will never recieve more then you can handle.” Or “its ok to take up space”
She wasnt telling me I wasnt good enough. She wasnt telling me I needed to lose weight. She wasnt telling me what to do. She was telling me I was going to be ok. She was sharing words with me that I needed to hear at that specific moment and time. She still does to this day. Yesterday the video I choose randomly she shared “let go of what you dont need” In that moment I realized I was holding onto anger and aggression I didnt need to be holding onto. Her last video that I just finished when I started writing this she shared “feel yourself on your mat with your body with your breath…trust your intuition you are exactly where you need to be”
I’ve been on this crazy journey losing weight and loving myself but its taken me 3 years to realize I have a giant crack in my facade that continues to grow as I kept trying to help others on their own journey. I’m angry with society. Im furious that now that I look differently I’m more valued more accepted. Its not fair to my former self. Everytime I build a new friendship there is a piece of me that feels betrayed and hurt. I didnt recognize it for so long. I called it fustration and burn out but its deeper. Theres a part of me deep inside that doesnt want to help others because they werent there to help me.
But laying there on that mat I realized its not fair to be angry at myself for moving forward. I cant expect myself to continue to live my life in solitude because I choose to accept less then favorable friends in my past that didnt value me. I can’t assume everyone that I meet going forward is exactly the way my old friends were. Looking to use me when they want.
I’ve never changed only my choices did. No not everyone who now calls themselves my friend would stick with me if I regained my weight. Yes there are those that only want to associate with me because of a piece of my story. But there will always be those types of friends out there and for every 10 “fake” friends I know there are good ones who do value not just my story and knowledge but also my friendship.
I cant deny that I continue to want to help someone with my story. I KNOW theres someone just like me out there who needs a “friend”. Even if its someone that I never meet or speak too. But at the very least I want to be there one day when they finally have the courage to reach out and tell the story of how this crazy woman with a big heart that just wanted to help people ended up completely changing her life just like Sarah Beth did for me.
My family thinks I’m crazy because I still cry and hurt everytime I relive the past and write about it and share about it but I also continue to heal a little bit more too. People ask me how long it took and while my weightloss journey only took 17 months (this time) the truth is I’m still going. I’m still learning. I’m still mending the cracks in my heart that I helped put there for so many years.
God willing my journey is just getting started.