I am often asked the question, “how do you stay motivated”? There are several things that motivate me, in the beginning the Blue Slide Weight loss challenge and my baby sister’s wedding kept me going. There was/is something in the back of my mind that is a constant reminder of why I need to be healthy. When I say I am on a journey to save my life I mean that in the most drastic way, addictions are tough. I come from a family of addicts, I have watched the people I love get slowly taken from me because they could not, didn’t want to, or didn’t know how to control their addiction. For me it was the same, I starting drinking at the young age of 14 and found myself on a road that was leading me to my destiny. Growing up without my father I was more likely to use drugs or alcohol, have a teen pregnancy, be obese and there was a greater chance to be sexual and physically abused. To be honest, although it was hard not having him, I think it would have been harder and I would have turned out worse had he been in the home. I do not blame my parents for any mistakes that I have made nor blame them for the life I had, everything that happened or was said to me made me the mom, wife, sister, friend I am today. Although I was more likely to fail in life because I didn’t have my father, in the end the choices were mine.
The things we are told as children can stick with us for the rest of our lives, that saying, “sticks and stone may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is a bunch of crap. Physical wounds fade, but words stay in your mind forever, although some may be able to brush things off, others like myself are not. They stick to us, they become who we are and we take what others say about us as truth. I was often told that I was too sensitive and dramatic. But if you tell your children they are worthless and good for nothing, then there is a high chance they will feel worthless and good for nothing. And they will meet people who confirm what they were told, and they go through life trying to cover up the person they were meant to be.
So I put on layers, my food addiction started when I was 8 (my earliest memory) and when I did see my dad his first comment would be that I needed to lose weight. I was often called a “bitch,fat bitch and my favorite, Orca”. I didn’t know what orca meant but knew it wasn’t a good name. I later figured out it was a whale, so I kept putting on the layers. Abuse would come to memory and I would eat to cover it up. I didn’t want to remember anything so I buried it, at 14 I ran away from home and that is when I started drinking. I remember going to school drunk and my English teacher Mr. Ortiz pulling me out of class and telling me basically, “what the heck is wrong with you”? He was the only one that ever reached out to me, but I had so much negative that his one positive was over powered. I didn’t stand a chance and I knew I had no future, graduating from high school was my only goal in life and I sucked at that.
It was no surprise to anyone that I would end up pregnant at 17, I felt so much shame being the only pregnant girl in our small town. My friends mom was the nurse who took my pregnancy test and it was very clear that I was tainted and parents started to fear if their teenage daughters were around me they would be pregnant too. I was alone, no future, no hope!! After I had my first born I was probably around 200-220 pounds.I worked for a plus size store, starting meeting people and my confidence was higher, I was discovering a whole new world. Started working for a bank shortly after and things were finally starting to look up for me, I was seeing a little bit of sunshine and my future didn’t seem so hopeless. I started losing weight and think I was down to 180. I hit a rough patch with drinking again, met my husband who would not tolerate it and wouldn’t be with a girl who partied so I tried to change. I was pregnant again and after my son was born I was married.
After about 5 years we found ourselves at a crossroads, I filed for divorce when I was pregnant with our twins, I miscarried one at 3 months gestation. My attorney said wait until after the birth of the surviving twin to sign so we wouldn’t have to go back to court. When Isaac was born he was in the NICU because of lung infection. At 2 1/2 months he was in ICU with Pneumonia and at 3 1/2 months old he was diagnosed with stage 4 Neuroblastoma (cancer), two weeks later he was paralyzed. My husband and I decided we needed each other to get through this hard time and put the divorce on the back burner. During his treatment and hospitalizations I gained about 80 pounds, with each trauma I kept putting on the layers. I had another miscarriage in 2008, I was devastated, left with empty arms and I wasn’t sure why I had to go through so much. All my pain, hurts, disappointments, fears, failures were being covered up, I wasn’t going to let anyone see me.
When it was time for the birth of our 5th child I believe I was around 270 pounds, I suffered massive hemorrhaging after my c-section and my heart stopped 3 or 4 times. I was given several blood transfusion but I kept bleeding, my doctor decided to save my life I needed a hysterectomy. I was not expected to live and to be brutally honest there was a time when I wished I did not make it, I didn’t want to live this life anymore. I didn’t understand at the time why one person had to go through so much pain and heart ache and had to struggle so much just to survive.
So when my brother, who was the most loving, forgiving, and encouraging constant person in my life died because of obesity, I had to make the choice to save my life. As hard as my life was, it was mine. I had to take the layers off so I can fully be who God intended me to be. NOT worthless and good for nothing, but a strong woman who loves passionately and is willing to do any and everything to make sure her family is taken care of, that her friends know just how blessed she is to have them. I can’t help but think that as I was dying after giving birth to my daughter, that my brother was praying for us to trade places. He was the last face I seen before I went into a coma, and I know how much he loved me.
The layers we put on ourselves or the ones people put on us are not meant to be there, as we discover who we are and the layers shed we can fully walk in freedom. Yes I am a food addict, yes I will always be a food addict, but I don’t have to let my addiction control who or what I am. When everything else is crazy in my life, when I can’t control what the doctors say about my son, or how I am going to pay this or that. The one thing I do have control of are the things I put in my mouth and how I treat my body. So I will use this to my advantage and work hard to save my life. So when you ask me “how do you stay motivated”, my response will be I want to save my life, I want to be free!! I thank God for helping me through everything.
I hope wherever you are on your journey that you would make the choice to live in freedom, it is an amazing feeling and although I still have a lot of work I feel like I have come a long way. I have learned that dealing with my layers is the only way I can fully heal and be free. It is so hard but a necessary part of my journey, thank you for being apart of it!!