It’s hard to believe. 8 years ago hurricane Katrina had just ravaged my city, my home, New Orleans; and I was watching it all unfold on tv at my friend’s house in Alexandria. Unreal. Surreal.
My mom and I left the Sunday before it hit but my stepfather stayed behind. He was determined to stay and watch over home and property. When we left that morning I honestly believed that we would be back in 2 weeks at most. That was 8 years ago.
The house survived the actual hurricane. There was some roof damage and some broken windows. Then the levees broke and the waters rose. My stepfather has some horrible stories to tell about what he saw and experienced those days. We did not hear from him for 5 days. We had no idea where he was for over a week. He had to be rescued off the roof. He was eventually taken to San Antonio by the red cross, and me and momma made our way to Houston where my god brother lived. We all reunited in Houston. And we’re still here.
The past 8 years have been filled with many ups and downs, which is life. Evacuating my home of 25 years, living in a new city, finding a job, quitting a job, finding a new job I love, being fired for no reason, having to move back in with parents, falling madly deeply in love, having my heart broken and devastated, losing 20 pounds, gaining 45, dealing with depression, being pissed off angry and bitter for years every single day… those are just some of the highlights.
I think that first month after I gained at least 20 lbs. All I did was eat. Thinking about it now I can still feel the pain, shock, anger. I wish I could blame katirna for my weight gain and emotional eating, but that’s not the truth. I have always been an emotional eater. Food has been my go to numbing tool for as long as I can remember. I finally started the slow honest process of making peace with that 2 years ago july 2011 when I was at 257, my highest weight ever and I was so out of touch I didn’t even realize how fat I really was. My body was trying to tell me was I just wasn’t listening. My knees hurt all the time and I was always tired.
I should have been happy. I had just finished studying at Aveda Institute and I was officially a licensed Esthetician, but I was miserable. When I did finally get on the scale I was horrified. In the previous 4 years I had gained the 25 I had lost plus 20. I felt like crap. I knew I was in trouble so I started to pray. Something in me knew that this was more than a weight problem… this was a spiritual problem. Breakdown spiritual awakening… that’s how Brene Brown called it and that’s about what it felt like. Then throw in a little old fashioned midlife crisis and that’s where I was; I just didn’t realize it.
In July 2011 I finally realized that all the excess physical weight on my body was a reflection of all the emotional weight I was carrying in my soul. I wanted to feel lighter in my spirit so I could be lighter in my body. So the real work began. One book really helped me start this process, A Course in Weight Loss by Marianne Williamson, also Women Food and God by Geneen Roth.
Both books really helped me begin to deal with all the stuff I was trying not to feel by stuffing my face. Feeling me feelings and not feeding was really hard at first. It was the last thing I wanted to do; and turning to food was my comfort, my home, my safe place. When you are caught up in the storm it’s hard to imagine that actually feeling your emotions is the best thing to do but it is. It’s kinda like riding a wave. You don’t deny it suppress it avoid it strangle it. You feel it and let it go. Emotions are meant to move through you. I had been holding onto anger, fear, shame, unforgiveness, judgment, heartbreak for years; and I was wearing them all on my body.
So for me the past 2 years have been more about lessening the emotional load I was carrying. I had to surrender to the process and to a higher power. I can’t lie; it has been challenging. But here, in this moment, if I am absolutely honest with myself and speak my truth I know that I really am in a much better place, much better space even better than before Katrina. 8 years ago I could not have ever imagined saying that. The pounds are not being released as quickly as my ego would like, but the weight on my heart is lighter than it has been in a very long time. As I continue to surrender to this process I know that my body will catch up and release the heaviness it didn’t want to carry in the first place.