As I was taking my youngest son, Franklin, to his job at the pool this last week a conversation happened that made me chuckle. And ponder. Tank, as we call him, truthfully, has always found a way to make us laugh. Sometimes, because his laugh is just that contagious, I laugh for no other reason than because he is laughing. Anyway, we had to go by the City of Brush, his employer, so he could let them copy his birth certificate and driver’s permit. On the way, he was looking at his birth certificate and announced, “So, you were 26 when I was born . . . and Dad was 28.” I nodded my agreement. Then I said, half jokingly, that we were planning big things in three years when he graduates, because I will only be 44 and Wade will only be 46. I said, “We are young enough to still do some things and get into some trouble after you guys are gone!” He laughed. Then he said, “Wait. Do you mean like sky-diving and other craziness or like world travel and ‘older people’ stuff?” We both laughed. I may or may not have snorted. I said, “Well, maybe all those things.” And I started thinking about what that might look like and what our past has looked like and what has been put off or not ventured into because I was in such a huge body for so long and 1) I didn’t want to expend the energy I knew it was going to take to accomplish “that hike to the lake” or walk close to a mile to get in to a professional sporting event or 2) I just knew physically I couldn’t do whatever “it” was. And since that conversation, I have been dealing with regret on a scale like none other. I feel like I failed my family in a lot of ways. 

For far too long I made excuses about why I didn’t want to do whatever it was that was being proposed. Looking back, the list seems almost endless. How many times have we been asked to join someone in something and I said no because I COULDN’T or was ashamed of the accommodations that would have needed to be made for me if I DID decide to go along? Or how many times did I say no because I was afraid of what people might have thought about the “big girl” doing this or that? You know, I had SO many fears. So many! And, honestly, looking back at them now, they all seem so stupid and unfounded. I’ll list off just a few so you have an idea of what I’m talking about and can appreciate what I am saying. I used to fear a house fire starting and destroying everything in our house. But it wasn’t our possessions I was most worried about losing. Of course, at the top of the list of things I feared I could lose to a fire was my family. I knew/know if they are okay in the event this should happen, that’s really all that matters. But, I was most concerned about my clothes. No, not because I’m some fashionista or have spent tons of money on my wardrobe. Believe me, I’m not even close! Haha! It’s truly the opposite of that. I feared losing all my clothes in a fire because I couldn’t shop in a regular store and find a size large enough to fit my enormous frame. I’ve ordered my clothes from magazines for YEARS because I couldn’t find anything in a store that fit me. Not even in the plus-sized section. That sucked all the fun out of shopping and added to my fear. As preposterous as it was, it was there. I also feared choking on something. My midsection, again, for years, has been too large for ANYone to wrap their arms around to allow them to perform the Heimlich on me in the event that something does become lodged in my throat. I mean, maybe some professional NBA players’ lengthy wingspan could help me out, but I don’t personally know any professional NBA players with lengthy wingspans. So, I knew I would be SOL. And speaking to that end, dying, because I choked on something that couldn’t be removed from my too-large midsection, while wearing clothes that couldn’t be found in any store, I knew meant I would need to be buried. And that comes with a coffin. And HOW BIG WOULD MINE HAVE TO BE? Oh, the embarrassment of that thought! Who would even be able to carry that heavy thing with my big body in it? Better call those professional NBA players for some help. 

Now, I know these fears sound stupid. I do. But, for me, for many years, they were all too real. At this moment though, after the conversation with Tank, I’m looking at the things that I held them back from experiencing. And I’m filled with regret. And lots of it. In fact, with all the blogs I’ve written I have had some moments when I’ve teared up thinking about certain things. But, I had to take a break just now to cry a little. My heart hurts because I, in my unproven fear to live through some fun and even educational experiences, kept my children and husband from living fully also. I think back on times Wade said we should take the boys to Water World. And I remember telling him no . . . that I couldn’t take the heat and I didn’t want to ruin the day if I got sick. While that’s partly true, I was mostly thinking that people would see the fat girl who wasn’t in a swimming suit because of the shame she felt about her own body and then they would question why I would even bother coming! And then there are professional baseball, football and basketball games! Or hockey games! Or anything that would have required me to sit in a seat I knew I COULD NOT POSSIBLY squeeze my butt into. I remember going once to a Rockies game. I knew I would have a hard time getting my butt in the seat. I squirmed and shifted and eventually, very painfully, did fit. But it left large bruises on my hips and thighs that took a couple weeks to go away. I swore that I wouldn’t ever go back again until I COULD fit properly and without discomfort. 

In all the regret I am feeling comes a self-disgust or self-hate. Whatever you want to call it, I am left feeling ashamed of the body I once had. I am embarrassed to tell you that we don’t even have a professional family portrait that includes both boys in it together. We had photos taken when Ben celebrated his first birthday. And that was the last time I could stand the thought of my body being photographed. I don’t want to stay there. Ashamed and disgusted at what I was. I read something . . . on facebook and that makes it real (haha) . . . that talked about a butterfly and it’s former caterpillar self. I saved the picture in my photos because I want to remember it. And I want to be able to remind myself of it from time to time. It quotes Anthony Gucciardi by saying, “The butterfly does not look back at the caterpillar in shame, just as you should not look back at your past in shame. Your past was part of your own transformation.” I have been thinking about that as I write this and what that looks like in my own life and the lives of others. I think that as I walk through my journey to best health, I cannot shame myself for what I once was. Physically or mentally. Nor should anyone else. Friend, you need to be proud of where you are right now and excited for where you are headed. Be proud even if the only change that has happened so far has been in your mind when you decided you needed to be better than you are. Growth. Embrace it. It should ALWAYS be a part of your journey. And stop letting F.E.A.R. own the day. False. Evidence. Appearing. Real. That is what some of the things I let stop me were. Exactly that. False evidence that looked real or threatened to become real if given the opportunity. Stop for a minute and remember that the people in your life don’t care about what you can or cannot do. They only care that you do what you can, when you can. Take those photos. Let your image be captured. The people who love you, the only ones who count, will always cherish the smile on your face and the memory of that day. They won’t care about your gray hair, fat rolls or wrinkles. Not even a little bit. 

#loveyourjourney #youreworthit #bettermewithNewYouCBD #Endo30 #itsuptoyou

2 thoughts on “F.E.A.R.

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