I've been waiting and waiting to write this blog and I'm so excited the day has come. A little disclaimer; I really wanted to be wearing something 'Knockout' for these pics but to be honest, I'm waiting for the last possible moment to buy new clothes for next semester. Right now I'm squeezing in to a 16, but I think I can be wearing them comfortably in a few weeks, so no new clothes until then! Also, I really do identify as an athlete these days, so posing in my workout clothes seems appropriate for this particular blog.
So here we go! Let me introduce you to the me of yesteryear.
These photos were taken on Christmas day 2006. I was about 320 pounds, I think, but I never stepped on a scale back then. I had recently clawed and scratched and fought my way out of an abusive, disastrous marriage and to say my self-esteem was low would be a gross understatement. I was wrecked. I was scared and fragile. I had just met the most wonderful man I had ever met and had no idea he would become my husband someday, because let me tell you, I did not believe I deserved him and was trying very hard to convince him of the same. I'm grateful for his stubbornness.
This picture was taken a few weeks after Christmas. My husband, then boyfriend, was telling me I needed to smile more in pictures so I obliged and let him take this one. He still says this is his favorite picture of me. It was taken in the infancy of our love and will always represent that special time. The woman in these pictures though, sheesh, I hardly recognize her. I was binge eating daily. I never exersized and got winded and tired very easily. I knew I wanted a better life for myself and my young daughter. I obviously knew somewhere inside of me that I was worth fighting for and capable of healthy change, but when it came to my health an fitness I was stuck. I was afraid of losing the emotional crutch of eating and it was because I was not prepared to look at, really look at, the reasons I was eating. I was not prepared to make the commitment that is required once you open that Pandora's Box.
If I could have a conversation with the woman in these pictures (I'm feeling overcome with emotion just thinking about it) the first thing I would do is embrace her. I would hold her face in my hands and look her right in the eye and say, " I love you. I love you because you are lovable. You are a warrior. You are exactly the kind of woman this world needs. If you never lose a pound, if you never remarry, if you never graduate college, I will love you. But, you will lose a pound, you will marry the man of your dreams, you will find success in your career, you will be able move through this pain and heartache with grace and on the other side you will meet the woman you were born to be." If I could have heard those words back then, if I could have had a glimpse into my future...but it takes what it takes. We don't have a crystal ball to show us our path, we only have the ability to look back at the path we have walked, and the ability to arm ourselves with love and knowledge so that we can create a better path before us.
There are few picture of me at Christmas time between then and now. I was pregnant a couple times. I held the camera to avoid being captured by it. I regret that, there will be more pictures of me from now on. Starting with the ones I took this morning.
I was 218.5 this morning and rocking a body that I worked hard for. I'm not saying it's perfect, but it's perfectly me! I'm proud of the work I've done, I've worked really hard. I've confronted demons I've avoided for decades. I've challenged my body to do things I once thought impossible. I feel strong and healthy and that's a gift. We give gifts to people in our lives because we love them, we care about them and we want some way to make that tangible. I gave this gift to myself back in May when I started this process, when I started moving more and eating with better intentions. I didn't know that I deserved it, I had to take others words for it for a while. But today I know I deserve it. And I know that you deserve it.
Have a merry Christmas. This year, try to give yourself the gift of unconditional love, however that may exhibit itself. For me it will be moving my body, eating delicious food with good intentions and showing love to every one who crosses my path. Starting with you.
If I could take your face in my hands I would, this blog will have to do instead.