[PROLOGUE: As I look forward to my new journey in a new year, I can't help but look back on not only the last year, but all the things that brought me to this point. I think one's past plays an important role in one's future -- not in the dwelling on it and letting it consume kind of way, but learning from it. Growing from it.
How did I get here? A point in my life, which seemed so out of control that I needed to take the drastic measure of surgery to regain my life? The story is long, so I'll give you the Reader's Digest abridged version. The story has many chapters, housed in about 3 volumes: Volume One -- Body Image Issues. Volume Two - Health Issues. Volume Three -- When Volumes One and Two Collide.
to keep you coming back not to overwhelm you, my gracious reader, I'll share Volume One -- The Body Image Issues in this post.]
THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD.
I'm not sure if there's one woman who, despite her mother constantly telling her how wonderful and beautiful she is, hasn't experienced body image issues at some point in her life. I know I wasn't immune. I'm sure mine started somewhere along first grade when I experienced a growth spurt, forever rocketing me to back row status, so the smaller daintier gals could be seen in class photos and have the best views of the chalkboard. (I'm not bitter.)
I think I was in the third or fourth grade when I first started dieting. I don't remember exactly where or how it started, but somewhere along the way, with an older sister in high school and the miseries that come with anyone trying to fit in, our house switched its membership from The Clean Your Plate The Rapture Might Come Tonight Club to The Hilton Head Metabolism Diet Society. With three girls, I think a lot of times, mom thought it would be better to have all three of us go through the solution at the same time despite whether or not we had developed the problem yet. (She's always believed in being prepared -- guess that's why she always sent us to church camp with a suitcase full of every possible bandage and medication to treat every possible injury and ailment we might acquire during the week . . . don't think ever used a single thing. lol) But trust me, I'm NOT blaming my mother -- she's an amazing woman, who did the best she could or knew to do. I'm sure she'll make a few modifications with the next three girls she raises.
The yo-yo dieting continued all the way through high school all the while growing taller and trying to figure out where I belonged. I mean, it was like a episode straight out of Freaks and Geeks (One of the GREATEST t.v. shows every created -- way ahead of its time! It was The William McKinley High School series handling the awkwardness of high school before Glee was even a twinkle in Ryan Murphy's eye. Yes, in case Jeopardy! ever asks, same high school name . . . but I digress.)
Fast forward a few years through a couple million,"so how tall are you's" and do "you play basketball's" to starving myself and over exercising in college in order try to look more like my more petite peers. While others were earning their freshman fifteen, I was convincing myself and everyone else around me that eating only made me feel sick. Yeah, I know -- years later -- just how absurd that logic was, but back then I was certain, that with enough sacrifice, eventually, a giraffe could look like a Shetland pony.
At some point, I don't remember when, I realized my absurdity and started backing away from the ledge. I remember being on a mission trip and finding a workbook on eating disorders. I figured I'd buy it and if anyone ask just say it was for some research for my major studies in psychology -- I've always said it was a self-help degree. (I still have the workbook, but couldn't find it tonight to share the title. If you are interested, let me know, and I'll send you the info when I finally track it down.)
I guess I found the book at the right time in my life -- when I was emotionally ready. Going through the workbook, having loving understanding people who I could talk to and help me through the emotional muck and mire, and maturing in age helped me to start realizing, (in Stuart Smalley voice) "I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And doggone it, people like me." That's not to say it I was magically cured and never doubted myself again, but I started moving forward, seeing myself for ME and not comparing myself so much to the 5'3" size 0 standing next to me.
And then, I got sick. . .