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To Live and not Just Exist

Choosing life, happiness, peace and joy. Oh and weight loss too

Month

July 2012

Malachai

Once upon a time a little girl that was born 9 years too late. She was an oopsie.

She was born into an angry family.

A mother that was so insecure she was jealous of her eldest daughter’s relationship with her father. A father that was not strong enough to stand up to his wife. A physically broken brother. An emotionally shut down sister.

She grew up ignored. Alone. Isolated.

She taught herself to read and by grade 1 was arguing with her teacher about whether Little Women was appropriate reading material or not.

She taught herself to be. To be loved and wanted in a world that only existed for her.

In her mind. In her soul.

A world filled with loyalty and honour and friends and love and hugs and daring bravery.

A world filled with violent blue and black skies and creatures filled with humour and courage.

A world the complete opposite of reality.

Reality was lonely.

Alone.

Filled with fear and timidness and no voice.

No life and no soul.

Reality was blocked out – to this day, she does not remember it. She refuses to remember it. It was not physical. Nor was it sexual. It was just pure neglect. Emotional. And something more. Something there is no name for. It was… non existence.

She played with the animals on the farm. She climbed the trees. She roamed the day and the night and no one saw her.

She grew a bit wild. And her teachers didn’t care. They punished her for being smart. They punished her for being different.

She roamed the wild places, and filled it with safety. The safety of intangible. The safety of what her mind could control.

And one day, she imagined freedom. And it was powerful and dark and scary and life and soul and blue and black and purple and swirling mist and love.

It was Unicorn.

His name was Malachai.

His name is Malachai.

And he is her memory of life.

Her memory of living.

And he took her from the dark places and showed her the light in her soul.

He lived the fear with her. He lived the tears with her. And he was where she kept her sanity.

He is where she keeps her sanity.

She etched him on her body, when she was old enough.

And she keeps his name, his courage, his shadow close.

Because he is life to her.

Freedom.

Power.

Courage.

He is her.

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans

They say life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.

To me that translates as….

Life is that moment in the morning when you decide to be happy instead of sad. Even when sad is easier.

Life is that moment when you smile at a stranger instead of frowning. Even when they do something to annoy you.

Life is that moment when you stand up and take a step instead of collapsing into a puddle of tears. Even when the entire world is on your shoulders and it is hard, so very hard, to walk.

Life is this moment. This moment of being, of existing, of making small choices.

To smile. To be happy. To be free. To be strong. To face yourself. To face others. To step out of your comfort zone. To choose health. To choose exercise. To choose acceptance of self. To be.

Life is now.

Yet we spend an infinite number of moments making other plans.

One day, when I am thin, I will be happy.

One day, when I am rich, I will be content.

One day, when I am more, I will be loved.

One day, when I am famous, I will be worthy.

One day………

One day will never come.

Because being rich, famous, worthy, thin is not magically going to make you happy.

This moment now – this moment of accepting, of being, of choosing, is the one you exist in.

This moment is the one you have to live with.

This moment is the one that makes you stronger, or weaker, and prepares you for the next moment.

This moment is life.

This moment is choice.

Choose wisely.

The Fat Chick

I have always been the fat chick. Always. That is how I have defined myself forever. Fat and damaged.

This is part of my story.

When I was 13 years old I remember my family (mom, dad, me) traipsing down to weigh less and joining up. I was 13 kilograms overweight at that stage. Needless to say, weigh less did not work for me. Or my mom. Or my dad actually. And I’m not saying weigh less doesn’t work. I’m just saying that it didn’t work for me.

Somewhere along the line, it became cemented into hard and fast concrete that I was the fat chick in the most damaging and important place – my head. Sadly, weigh less was and is never going to fix that kind of being fat.

The kind of fat that makes you think you are bigger than you are / horrible / nasty / no one will ever love you / weak willed / destined to be fat / it’s in my gene’s fat (because that is easier to believe than to believe you have become conditioned – by yourself and others – to think the absolute worst of yourself).

For many years that cemented belief, that low self esteem, that thinking the worst of myself, ruled my life absolutely. It took control of every single part of it. I became a recluse. An introvert by choice. A loner. I made very bad choices in men (boys). I let myself be manipulated / used / hurt because my head told me that was all I was worth. If someone could love this damaged / fat / terrible person that I am – then I must at all costs make myself worthy. Be worthy. Well to try anyway. I walked with my head down – convincing myself that I was OCD – just so that I wouldn’t have to see people’s reactions to me (and I don’t mean their true honest reactions – I mean the reactions I thought I was getting). I worried and stressed and emotionally – quite simply, I destroyed myself. It became an extremely damaging cycle of neglect, self hatred, low self esteem, bad choices, allowing myself to be hurt or treated badly, making bad friendships etc. All the while adding layers and layers to the cemented block in my head that said you are huge / massive / the biggest person ever / totally unworthy / ugly / deformed / unloved / disgusting. Being fat did not do that to me. Being fat is a symptom. Yes I spent years not caring what I ate / comfort eating / not exercising. Ultimately though, I made me fat because I am damaged.

A lot of people don’t understand severely obese people. Personally, I think there are three kinds of fat;

  1. Society in general is breeding a culture of laziness and overeating. America and the UK are good examples – and we are not far behind. I have no sympathy with those genuinely lazy greedy souls who just eat because they can.
  2. People like my brother who has a genuine hormonal imbalance and whose body cannot metabolize fat. People with genuine medical reasons for being overweight. My heart goes out to them. To my brother who has the soul of a saint, but a body the entire world judges him for.
  3. And people like me. People for whom being fat is a symptom of a larger, underlying problem. People like anorexics and bulimics and yes, even some of us fatties.

Sometime in the last 2 years or so, the best 2 things in the world happened to me. My ex boyfriend dumped me. I ran out of worth / things he needed / money. And I got sick. Very sick. For the first time in my life I was truly faced with mortality, the idea of dying. And for the umpteenth time in my life I was faced with being rejected. However, this time was different. Perhaps it was the circumstances. Maybe it was age or just plain exhaustion or a tiny bit of wisdom. Maybe it was God. I don’t know. I like to think it was a combination of all of that along with a bit of me, and a very large part of my nephew Mookie Man (obviously not his real name), my family and having reached rock bottom with nowhere else to go but up.

For the first time ever in my life – I chose not to be floored. I chose not to fall apart. I chose to live. And most importantly – I chose to be happy. I started going for therapy. I started to put myself first. I joined a gym and I actually went (and found myself enjoying it after a while). I did things I was afraid of – I walked with my head up even when I felt small, I smiled at strangers and greeted everyone I saw, I talked to random people instead of huddling in a corner, I smiled when I felt like crying, I danced instead of lying on my bed crying hysterically, I went for belly dancing lessons, I did Pilates. I forced myself to live, go out, be me, laugh and enjoy things. I forcefully distracted myself from being miserable, crying, obsessing. And eventually I didn’t have to force anything anymore and I didn’t have to stop myself from being miserable. I woke up one morning and realized that being happy wasn’t a choice anymore, it was a reality.

Through all of that, I started losing weight. Not because I was on a diet, but because I wanted to live a long and happy life. And quite simply, being fat and all that comes along with that is not conducive to a healthy long life. I started reading the labels on food packaging. I cut out what I can honestly say I can live without – butter, most oil, and takeaways, full cream anything. I ate chocolate in moderation. I had a handful of chips instead of a packet. I found a dietician. At that time, I don’t actually know what I weighed. Scales don’t go up that far. So I took a random number and worked from there. I lost 16.77% of my body weight. About 28 kilograms. Yes I was still too big and yes I was still fat and obese (or as my ‘friend’ puts it – you are still obese but at least you look more normal now’…).

But – what started out as a choice to live, a choice to be, a choice to find myself and fix what was so very obviously broken had snowballed beyond my wildest dreams. In the best way possible. The right way. The way it should be. I didn’t need anyone to tell me I am worthy. I didn’t need anyone to love me. Because I knew I was worthy and I loved me. I am amazing. Quite simply – because I am.

And then I sick. Again. I spent an entire month in a hospital so that the pulmonologist could try and figure out what the hell.  It took a long time, filled with large doses of cortisone and medicine and being careful. And my weight started to climb. It was a perfect storm of circumstances. Illness, inactivity, cortisone and just plain bad luck. I stopped weighing myself because I just knew. At my largest – I weighed 170kg. The most I had ever weighed in my life. Everything hurt. Everything was swollen. Just walking was a bitch.

BUT – I never lost the joy that I had found. Yes my circumstances sucked – but so the hell what – I am still amazing. I am breathing. I am funny. I am smart. I am me.

For years I struggled to be thin, conform, be loved and liked, be worthy. No one ever told me that being fat wasn’t my problem. My head was my problem. My head never thought I was good enough. My head was wrong. Don’t get me wrong. It was hard. It is hard.

I am healthier now and after much soul searching, much discussion with people who know about these things, after much advice – I chose to have a Gastric Bypass. On 7 June 2012, I took a very large step off a very well worn path and started my new journey to another facet of awesome.

Through all of this – I have on occasion failed. Sometimes I have let what others think of me interfere. Sometimes I put the ideas and opinions of others ahead of me. Sometimes I feel that concrete block like an actual weight on my shoulders trying to press me into oblivion.

But always, I smile. My family or the people who truly matter say wow you are doing awesome. I take my lead from Khan in the Parlortones – and I dance like nobody is watching me.

And the concrete gets weaker every time.

And my soul sings every time.

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