Back in February, I saw Arrival with my now ex-husband. It was one of our date night movies we watched while we were attempting reconciliation. Without giving away any spoilers, I sobbed like an idiot when the plot was finally revealed. It asked a question of me I was not ready to answer:
Perhaps that’s why I cried so passionately at the first viewing: I would have done sooooo many things differently to prevent myself from being with Narc in our life-changing marital circumstance…
When I watched the movie again this week; however, I didn’t shed a single tear. And I was willing now, 9 months later, to finally ask myself the same question. It couldn’t have come at a more profound time too, actually.
The week before Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays (Easter is number 1!). Growing up, we’d get together with my mom’s side of the family for a huge dinner. There was no family drama. There were no blended family issues to deal with. We went to Nanny and Papaw’s house– we ate, we had fun. It was that simple. It was easy…
In 2008, though, my Thanksgiving was more than just a typical holiday off with my family. It, too, was life-changing.
The Sunday before, I had performed in a drama sketch at church. I wore a new purple sweater that I had just bought at Lane Bryant. I paired it with some sassy black trousers that hugged all my curves. And I was perfecting the new art of straightening my naturally wavy hair. In all honesty, I thought I looked pretty darn cute that day. So when I purchased a DVD of that service from my church for the purpose of critiquing my performance, I was nothing but excited to watch myself.
When I sat down to watch it though, I had a very different reaction…
I truly had an out-of-body experience watching this…
I got on the stage that morning thinking I looked pretty adorable. Yes, I knew I was fat. I mean, duh! Look at me. I had always been fat up until this point. It was a fact that I didn’t much like but had come to sort of accept… but, dangit, big girls are beautiful too and I thought I looked great that day!
…until I saw myself. Truly saw myself. In that video.
It was a physical, guttural, Oh my God moment.
I. Am. FAT.
I’m going to die.
I have GOT to get this under control!
I have to change…
The very next day, the Monday before Thanksgiving, I decided to change.
I weighed myself (230). I recorded every morsel of food and drink I put in my body down in a simple spiral bound notebook. I wrote out weekly goals. That week, Thanksgiving week, I wanted to lose 3lbs. I didn’t even want to think about next month or next year or 5 years from now… I just wanted to get through the week. Losing 3lbs seemed less daunting than losing 100lbs… I wasn’t going to psyche myself out by worrying about it. Just get through the week, Laura… Just one week… You can commit to anything for one. week.
My goal for that week was to only have 1 serving of my favorite dishes. I was going to have all the freaking dessert I wanted but, literally, cut them in half (half a slice of cherry pie, half a piece of a pumpkin log, half a brownie…). Those were the only goals I made.
On the Monday after Thanksgiving, I weighed myself. I lost 5lbs. I wrote down my new set of goals for that week (lose 2lbs; No fast food; No Coke; walk on the treadmill 30 minutes for just 2 days). Again, I could do anything for just a week, right? Just one week. Just get through the week…
I did that every week for 14 months.
I lost 90lbs.
On my own.
No Fad Diets. No deprivation. No gimmicks. No Reality TV show… Just me. Just smart choices, determination, and commitment.
Not only have I kept every pound off since then, I lost some more weight in 2015 and reached the 100lbs milestone!
Though I succeeded in my journey, I faced a lot of obstacles in those 14 months: I lost girl friends; I dated 2 not-so-nice guys; I experienced weight gains… This was all devastating to me.
But it was all worth it.
In the 9 years since I started my journey I’ve continued to face obstacles: I married a man who betrayed me in the most intimate of ways. I was emotionally and financially crippled by him; I endured painful recovery of weight-loss related surgeries; I had a medical emergency that altered my life and how I breathe even to this day; I survived the trauma of divorce… These things were also devastating to me.
And it was all still worth it.
Looking back at all I’ve been through in the last decade, I can honestly say I wouldn’t change a single thing.
Everything I went through had a purpose. It had a learning experience. It shaped me (no pun intended) into the person I am today; the person I was supposed to be. I am who I am because of what I’ve been through.
This Holiday Season my prayer is that the struggles will never negate the success. But that I’ll just be so much more grateful because of them.