Growing up in a small wooded country area was tough. I was the fat awkward kid. My family didn’t understand me. As I got into my adolescence I was still the fat one. When the family would get together I felt like an outcast. My cousins all lived much closer to one-another making my brother and I feel kind of left out of the loop. We only saw them a few times a year. I look at this now and know everyone has a party they go to like this. Whether its family or parents friends, where you really don’t know the people there but you have to go anyway.
So I spent a lot of time clinging close to my Mom, and trying to be part of the discussions going on with my Aunts. There were only 2 girls, and my cousin was usually busy with something else when we were younger and as I got older she had her son to tend to (she was a young mom) So I grew to admire my aunts. Each one of them has had a struggle in their life and come through the other side with courage and grace and they are AMAZING.
These women also never made me feel inferior because of my weight problems. My mom hates to shop. I have a very specific memory of a christmas when Paulette volunteered to let me sleep over and take me to the mall and let me spend my christmas money shopping. I had a great time! I tried on all kinds of clothes it was nice. I was a chunky girl doing… normal things! Yes, okay I was shopping at Lane Bryant, not the trendy in hip fashion for the like 6th grade or whatever I was in at the time but SO WHAT! After I spent all my money I got to play fashion show and show off all the stuff I bought. It rocked!
So last night was a family got together, that is actually the entire reason I am in PA this week. A visit with my family that isn’t a funeral, or a wedding. It was so nice to be amongst family to hear a house full of laughter and love. Smiles and reminiscing for no reason other than the fact that it had been too long. When my grandfather passed it again brought to light the fact that our family had really been slack in spending time as a unit. (Previously it was a Christmas card in which there were suddenly 4 children instead of 3, and the newest was NOT a baby that made everyone realise that there was a serious lack of communication) Everyone had been taking turns taking care of him, it was an overwhelming task. So in his passing he gave us all a gift, the gift of family. Not everyone made it, but a lot of us did.
One of the things I got out of this visit, that I don’t know how I feel about, or know how to process really is that I keep being told I am such an inspiration or I am someones hero. I do not feel that I should be anyones Hero. I have not done anything special. As for being an inspiration, I don’t know that I deserve that title either. I had to get to over 425 pounds before something snapped to get me to change my life. I am always gracious when someone tells me these things, but I also tell whomever it is that they have the power (the power of the voodoo… sorry Labyrinth moment there). They have the power to change their lives. It is NOT easy.
Robb thinks that I am over estimating when I say to do what I do feels like a full-time job but in all honesty, until my journey nears its finish line, I don’t think I will be able to ease off the reins. I constantly think about all sorts of things pertaining to my journey, whether it is the food or exercise or even just stupid stuff like trying to remember my childhood. (I have this HUGE mental block over so much of my childhood it really is sad, but I am sure it is there to protect me until I am ready to deal with it)
So when people tell me I am inspiring them I always offer a hand to hold, and the keys to my success. My aunts whom I look up to so much are all in awe of my progress and tell me they are so proud and inspired. I am just doing what I need to do for me. Everyone can do it just takes work, and commitment to change.