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Finally Loosing the Emotional Weight

I’ve sat on this for years. In fact, I’ve sat on it as long as I can remember.

Now I feel the need to express it, because let’s be frank, there are others out there having the same experience I have, and if they can glean some wisdom through mine and perhaps avoid the emotional heartache that I have endured by finding their Healthy Voice a little sooner than I did, then I have done a great service to another human being.

My Family is horrible. They are unhealthy, they are unkind and they do not understand the definition of love.

I’ve had many people in my Family tell me that I have to “Forgive and Forget.” No you are wrong, I do not have to forgive you, I damn well won’t ever forget, and honestly I never will. Additionally, I don’t have to love you just because you are related to me by blood.

As a child there are a few people who you grow up thinking you can count on. For me, my Family included my Grandparents,  (At least the ones I knew) my Parents, (who had adopted me at a very young age when my Mother’s younger sister got pregnant at 14) my Aunts and Uncles and my cousins. Because of my Father’s age (he was 50 when they adopted me) I never really got to know his side of my Family, a shame really, perhaps that’s where all the good ones were. My Father, after all, was the one person in my life that never hurt me.

You’re probably wondering what has changed. What would make me finally swallow years of silence and actually say what I am saying out loud today. I’ll tell you. I’ve spent the last 4 weeks surrounded by my “Chosen Family,” my friends, and an entire community of Weight Loss Surgery people who understand what Love and Support is and I’m finally okay standing up and saying that I will no longer subject myself to your emotional abuse and mistreatment. I’ve been doing it since I can remember and now, that little girl is finally over it.

I have triumphed over the emotional scars that you left on me. I’ve spent over a decade in therapy learning to not blame myself for the things you did to me. Learning that it wasn’t ok, and I’ve spent the last 3 years of my life shedding the pounds that I put on to hide myself from a world that I truly believed was full of people like you. For the first time in my life I look in the mirror and I see a happy emotionally and physically healthy me.

A child should never experience the things I did.

  • No child should be molested by a Step Grandparent.
  • No Family should let a child around a Man they KNOW has molested other little girls.
  • No child should have a Grandmother that marries a man she knows is a child molester.
  • No child should be yelled at to a point they feel unloved.
  • No child should be hit with closed fists, or have bruises from being punished.
  • No child be told they were unwanted.
  • No child should feel like they were passed around from “Mother” to “Mother” until some female in the Family wanted to raise them.
  • No child should emotionally scarred because they spilled milk on the floor before a ride to the airport
  • No child should be punished for leaving finger prints on a mirror they touched or scratching a counter with a cookie jar.
  • No child should sit on the porch for hours waiting for their “Real Mom/Aunt” who will never show up to take her where she promised they would go.
  • No child should be verbally abused because they put a hair brush in the wrong place.
  • No child should ever be hit with an object.

No Teenager should ever experience the things I did.

  • No teenager should be asked to sell drugs by their Aunts and Uncles.
  • No teenager should ever be left at home for months while their parents are out-of-state working
  • No teenager should be committed to a mental hospital after being brutally date raped at a party.
  • No teenager should be ignored when they are trying to kill themselves over and over and over.
  • No teenager should be criticized for their weight.
  • No teenager should have to help their druggie Uncle when he shows up at their house bloody and pistol whipped.
  • No teenager should experience Aunts and Uncles that steal syringes from diabetic Aunties that need them for insulin to shoot dope.
  • No teenager should be asked to give up money from their part-time job to pay for their little cousins food and diapers due to emotional obligations dumped on them.
  • No teenager should ever have to worry about what they keep in their room because their Family is full of thieves, drug addicts, and liars.
  • No teenager should be told that if they misbehave their Father will die.

No woman should ever have to deal with the thing I have.

  • No woman should end up living in a tent in her parents backyard while she cleans their house.
  • No woman should be afraid of living in the same state as her family.
  • No woman should have to sink her own family financially to try to save the one that never took care of her.
  • No woman should ever have to deal with her family’s psychotic episodes while she is taking care of her dying Father.
  • No woman should have to apologize for her family’s behavior to her friends and loved ones.
  • No woman should have to say “Well, they were horribly abused too.”
  • No woman should feel like she can’t build her own life or career or take care of her Family because the one she had when she was little needs too much from her.
  • No woman should feel obligated to love people who don’t love her in a healthy manner.
  • No woman should have to give up months and months of her life trying to fix the lives of the very Family that made her’s so hard.
  • No woman should be ignored by a Family that claims to love her for 6 months+ while you all decide to play your broken and damaged games.

I haven’t named you. I haven’t said who you are. Some of you are dead. Some of you aren’t. But as of today, you are all dead to me.

The only blood relative left in my world is my Mother, who I’m still not speaking too after her recent suicide attempt. It’s been months since I have spoken to her, and until a time that she has gotten the help she needs and realizes that what she does is emotionally, verbally, and mentally abusive and discontinues that behavior it will stay that way. It’s a hard decision to make, and for my Mom, I leave a door that she can walk back through if she ever gets her own issues sorted out. But I will no longer participate in her unhealthy behavior nor will I allow it to hold me down, hold me back. I won’t allow her to guilt trip me about it, I won’t allow old feelings of obligation to creep in and change my mind. I won’t give her anymore money to the demise of my own Family, and I won’t hold her hand and help her learn to live again. I had to learn to live on my own because of her lack of parenting skills and her own mental and emotional issues, and I’m perfectly ok standing here today and saying sorry, I’m not going to be your Mother, you’re not very good at being mine.

My Grandparents have all passed away, and my useless Aunts and Uncles have all filled my life with their self inflicting vacancy signs, first by their choice, now by mine.

There is a big part of me that mourns relationships I don’t have with them, or relationships I don’t have with my cousins because of them. But it is not something that I will dote over or let myself get sad and depressed about. It’s not like my cousins and I ever REALLY had the chances to be super close, we were sort of doomed from go because of our parents.

Today I hold my own emotional funeral for the Family I didn’t choose and open the doors to the one I did. I have best friends who are like sisters to me, girlfriends whose parents treat me like I was their own. Friends with families whose children call me Auntie and who are grateful for having me as a part of their life because they see what an amazing person I am and what my Family misses out on.

So from here on out a few times a year I will take a moment to think about this and to mourn the death of my blood family. I’ll probably write a book about you someday, it would be a best seller because I won’t have to make a damn thing up, you gave me enough material to last a lifetime. But I will spend the rest of my life celebrating. Celebrating myself, my life, what I have accomplished and the people who have shared it with me, supported me and loved me.

Goodbye. My Obligation died today.


Healthy Changes in Life After Weight Loss

My Coffee Cup is almost empty and the two hours that I allow myself in the morning to wake up, browse the internet and figure out what I want to write about for the day is almost over and as usual I’ve been influenced by a few things. But the pressing thought on my mind this morning is…

The changes in my overall health after losing 250 lbs…

I spent a lot of time in hospitals in my twenties. I can recall being hospitalized for breathing problems that they labeled asthma before I was even twenty-one. Before twenty-three I was diabetic, taking insulin, Glucophage and Avandia and was hospitalized for high blood sugar several times. Then there was the bronchitis turned pneumonia that landed me in the Intensive Care Unit at twenty-four. That was fun; I ended up on oxygen for months. There were sleep studies and sleep apnea and c-pap machines. And that was all before I had even met Jason and moved to Oregon at twenty-six.

I was such a sickly person. There was always SOMETHING wrong with me. I hadn’t even lived in Oregon for an entire year when my plumbing decided to start doing me really wrong and I spent the next year finding a OBGYN that would actually check me for Endometriosis at twenty-six and NOT just tell me that I was too young to have it or to consider a hysterectomy.

After that I had a couple of years where I was relatively healthy except for a migraine here and there, Jason and I were living a pretty active and healthy life, eating a low carb (Atkins) diet, and doing a lot of hiking as we participated in an outdoor hobby called Letter-boxing  I’d lost a bunch of weight on Atkins, and when I say a bunch I’m talking over 200 lbs. I’d gone from 410 lbs to 225 lbs and then put it all right back on. But as soon as I started putting my weight back on all my health problems started right back up again.

Pretty soon I was full-blown diabetic again, taking shots three times a day and feeling like a human pin cushion. Then there were the water pills for the edema and high blood pressure medication too. I took muscle relaxers and pain killers daily for lower back pain. I was on antidepressants and anti-anxiety pills. I went from a C-Pap to a Bi-Pap because I just kept gaining more weight and exacerbating my already profound sleep apnea.

I was constantly getting sick. Sore throats, stuffy noses, runny noses, colds, flu, if you were sick and came around me I got sick. Next I started getting photo-sensitivity rashes on my face if I was in the sun for too long. Discoid Lupus, Lupus on the skin is what they called it. Strangely enough it too has improved greatly with my weight loss.

And then there were the rashes and bumps and boils that we never want to admit to having when we are overweight. It’s so embarrassing, and if you are really big, like I was, it gets even worse because it gets to a point you can’t take care of them on your own and you have to ask someone else to do it for you or go to the doctor. Heck I ended up in the operating room once because a small little infected hair follicle turned into an abscess the size of cantaloupe on my labia. Yeah I told myself when that happened that it could have happened to anyone, had nothing to do with the fact that I weighed nearly four hundred pounds. Strangely enough, post weight loss and skin removal I’ve had no such skin problems.

I could go on all day long about much healthier I am. I’m no longer diabetic; I don’t take medication for anything anymore. The only pills I take on a regular basis now are vitamins and Tylenol for sore muscles after a workout. But the biggest health change I see in me is in my mental health. I’m not depressed and sad anymore. I don’t turn to food for comfort. I don’t settle for unhealthy relationships. I don’t depend on someone else to motivate me. I don’t dislike myself and most importantly I don’t feel like a victim anymore and as such I don’t allow myself to be victimized anymore.

That is an amazing statement coming from someone who has battled a life of Mental Illness and Obesity.

People ask me what motivates me a lot. This motivates me. Looking in the mirror seeing a healthy and happy woman motivates me. I finally feel like I can say that I took my life back.

It’s sort of ironic as Halloween approaches, but I think when I was morbidly obese it was like I was wearing a costume every day. Most people who knew me then wouldn’t even recognize me today. I don’t even recognize myself in the mirror sometimes. It’s like I was a zombie, just so emotionally decayed by things that had traumatized me that I shuffled along with only one purpose… to eat.  That’s all changed for me now though, and really that change hit me very hard after my last skin removal surgery. Once I really started to see the girl underneath the sagging skin that made me feel like an obese eighty-year-old my whole world shifted. Suddenly I’m more confident, and suddenly I’m ready to put myself out there in front of the world and LIVE the life I always dreamed of instead of walking through it like a zombie because some people hurt me when I was growing up.

I finally feel like I took back control and like I’m no longer letting the horrible things other people did define who I am or limit who I can be.

When I look in the mirror I see a strong woman determined to make sure that others can benefit from her experiences as much as she has instead of a scared little girl crying for help.

When I look in the mirror I see a healthy, active, fit woman who continues to try to strive to take care of and improve herself instead of a morbidly obese woman hiding her emotions and pain behind walls of fat cells.

When I look in the mirror I see a Bariatric Beauty Queen, I see the product of my hard work and though my body is not perfect and will likely never be perfect, I am happy with it and feel that it justly represents me instead of seeing the aftermath of my abuse. ( OH! I think I just gave a clue as to what my Halloween Costume  for the OAC Convention is! If you catch it and post your guess on my Surgiversary Giveaway page in the next three days I’ll give you an extra +1 entry! )

I look in the mirror a lot eh? It’s how I justify all those mirror shots that we take post Gastric Bypass 🙂

And that is really what it all comes down to for me. For me, my journey needed to bring me to a point that I no longer looked in the mirror and saw something different from who I wanted to be because as long as I did, I felt like a product of my abuse rather than myself.

This is what motivates me. It’s what has driven me to do the excess skin removal surgeries. It’s what I feel has driven me to want to become a Personal Trainer and Weight Loss Life Coach, the empowerment that I feel having accomplished this, truly feeling like I am ME, and LIVING for the first time in my life. It’s just amazing.

Incidentally, I just paused to answer my cell phone when I saw my plastic surgeons office was calling and got the news that the insurance approval has come through and we are all clear to go on the next skin removal surgery. I’ll be discussing my skin removal surgeries on the next episode of Desperately Seeking Slender which should be out sometime this week! Right now I’ve got to go celebrate. Seriously my insurance has now approved EVERY SINGLE ONE of my skin removal surgeries.

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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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