I’m loving my new home and all the new people I’m meeting and building relationships with in my new city. I’ve loved this fresh start- a clean slate- a brand new chance to be who I’ve always wanted to be. One of my recent encounters was with a lady named Jennifer Gray, who works at a wellness/holistic clinic nearby. I’ve been seeing her for a weekly massage, but it’s turned into a wonderful therapy session that I look forward to so much. She’s in her mid-40s, has 2 children of her own, has been married twice before, has battled and survived bone cancer, awful breakups, and has dropped and kept off 125 pounds. You know those moments when you’re meeting someone new but can see so much light in them that you feel as if you’ve known them forever? Yeah, that’s Jennifer to me. From moment one, she’s been another mother and friend figure in my life and someone I can share things from my past and in my heart without any fear of judgement or condemnation. She is quick with advice and support and she’s never short on warm smiles.
When Jennifer found out about my own weight loss, she congratulated me at first for the tremendous accomplishment, eagerly wanting to know how I’d done it (slow and steady), and how it’s affected my life as a whole. I told her about old friends who have left my life, family members turning their backs, and also the amazing out pour of support from those who are true blue. Major change happens to make the true colors show, you know. A lot of people couldn’t rock to this new beat.
She then asked me to start talking about and thinking about my weight “loss” in terms of “letting go” instead. Her logic: you want to change for good? You’ve let the pounds go for good. You’ve removed them. You don’t lose them to simply find them again later on. After a tragic experience of an ex-husband breaking her bonds of trust, Jennifer was devastated. She told me that she was so emotionally empty, she began to inhale anything and everything edible like air. Naturally, she ballooned in weight, all the way to 250 pounds. She couldn’t recognize herself in the mirror any longer and hated who she saw looking back. She decided to make an overhaul: she picked up the pieces from her broken marriage, her broken spirit, and began to piece them back together. The weight began to drop off and she was getting healthier. Years later on, she is diagnosed with bone cancer. With another 50 to lose still, she was very tempted (with all the stress) to just let it all fall to bits again… but she didn’t. Jennifer is a fighter. You can see it in her eyes. Many tears, clenched fists, and treatments later, she is set into remission and the cancer hasn’t reared its ugly head since.
Back on her feet again, Jennifer continued her quest to drop the final 50 and settled into a healthy, slim silhouette for her height. She looks amazing and you can barely tell she’d ever been heavy before! But for further evidence, she showed me an album of her “before” pictures. She’s come a long way.
It’s so nice to connect with someone who’s been in similar shoes as you. Our stories are still very different, but many of the feelings are the same. We’ve faced the fight and come out on the other side, sweaty, bleeding, but smiling. We are victorious. Massages aside, I’m so thankful to have crossed paths with her. I know we’ll be in touch for many, many years to come.
So, all of this leads me back to her point of “letting go” of the pounds that someone carries. These pounds become a wall to protect ourselves from the outside world, from possible hurt and rejection, from facing the truth, from facing the hard stuff. When you decide that the bricks weigh heavily on your tired body, it’s time to take them off, and slowly. With each brick that falls, you begin to see the world in new eyes, with a brand new perspective about everything. I had to let go of so many things from my past in order to keep these pounds off for good. I started to contemplate what I’d let go of and these things and emotions came to mind: fear of rejection, pride from not facing a few awful growing up years with my father, embarrassment in front of guys, shame from not taking chances in life, not telling people around me how much I cared about them before it was too late, grudges from people who have done me wrong, pain from breakups, self-inflicted hurt. I released these as time went on and was better able to handle the uncomfortable stuff. I no longer stuffed my face in hopes to “get it done later.” I stood alone, shaking, and took on my problems. It’s still a battle everyday and there are many days that I’d like to stay on my couch all day, eating every junk food imaginable and become a hermit. But when I stepped out of my door, put on a smile, I’ve met some incredible people and had some experiences to last me a lifetime. I wake up and walk out, shield and smile in tow.