Beautiful Girl

She was a beautiful girl, but she didn’t realize it until she was much older; when it was too late to savor the moment and hold onto it as long as possible.

To some, her complete denial of her own beauty must have made her even more attractive in many ways.

She was very thin at 17; so thin that she felt weak at times. A sinus infection would have her almost passing out as soon as she left her bed in the morning. Her primary care doctor insisted she gain at least 10 pounds and take Iron pills in order to give her the strength that a normal teenager should have.

She had black hair, brown eyes, and mocha-colored skin that was free from blemishes. She barely needed to wear makeup, so she refused – only putting on Avon’s Burgundy Brew shade of lipstick before heading out.

She was picked on growing up which forced her to hang her head low when walking down the hallways at school. Years later she would realize that hanging her head so low for so long in unjustified shame would cause her severe neck pain in the future.

Her family had wanted her to be more feminine; wear dresses, skirts and makeup to show off her lean, feminine frame. They wondered why she wasn’t more like her mother. Her mother carried herself with uncommon grace and poise regardless of where she was going. Her mother always dressed in flattering styles and colors. Her mother never left the house without carefully styled hair, makeup, and intoxicating perfume.

Her aunts and uncles always noted her appearance and wondered why she didn’t try harder to present herself better. They had daughters that “kept themselves up.” Why couldn’t she?

The images of this young woman were so deeply etched in their brains that any subtle change in her appearance disoriented them.

She had stopped wearing glasses when she was 12, but no one seemed to remember that fact even into her 30s. What they did remember was her enviable figure.

In college, she filled out more, but she was still wearing a size 6 when she graduated.

Years later, after getting married and having children as well as living life, her body began to change. Those changes were minor at first, but after the stresses of a divorce and changes in work environment, the pounds began to pile onto her tiny frame.

After 20 years, she gradually gained over 100 pounds without even realizing what it was doing to her body. Her blood pressure was increasing, as was her cholesterol, but these were silent enemies. They didn’t announce themselves nearly as loudly as the clothes she was no longer fitting into.

Slowly but surely, she could no longer deny it. She was getting fat. Not curvy. Not voluptuous. FAT. Some women can gain weight and carry it well. Their beauty shines through despite the extra pounds.

This girl was not so lucky.

The buttons on the pants she wore were making impressions in her stomach. She had to inhale just to get her size 8 pants on, so she moved to size 10, then size 12, then size 14, but she still was in denial. She didn’t look that bad; at least to herself.

Then came size 16, and the loss of the flat stomach that use to produce 100 sit-ups with very little effort. Gone were the Daisy Duke shorts…replaced by slacks and jeans with elastic waistbands. She dared not show her widening legs in a skirt or dress now.

Her back began to hurt. Her doctors became worried and soon, the medication followed.

Then some in her family began to look at her very differently. Rather than pride in her beauty, they instead expressed disappointment in how much she had let herself go. Their brows lowered, their lips pursed, and their heads shook.

In her mind, she was the same person. She continued to be smart, sweet, loving, and compassionate – but she was fat, so nothing else seemed to matter. Her aunt expressed concern regarding her health, and not her appearance. Her aunt had been diagnosed with type II Diabetes, and she didn’t want her niece to share the same fate.

I was that beautiful girl. I look at pictures of myself from when I was in high school and college and wonder what happened to her. That girl weighed 110 pounds. This woman weighs 248.

I have lived my life and while there are many things I would change, the only real regret is that I never appreciated myself then, but I need to appreciate myself now.  Losing weight is hard for just about everyone, but it is especially hard for me. I am my own worst enemy. I can find any way in the world to justify my lack of exercise and my aversion to consistently stay on a healthy diet. I will tell myself whatever lie works best that day, but the truth is, I’m hurting myself and my children by continuing on this path – a path I put myself on and one that only I can remove myself from.

The mind is a powerful tool and until now I have only used it to con myself into and out of things, rather than use it to strengthen my resolve.

This is the beginning of my journey. Will I get back to 110 again? Probably not, and honestly I don’t want to be 110 pounds again. My ideal weight is probably 125 -135, and I will get there. I have to get there. I have two children to care for and it is my duty to be around for them; to watch over them, guide them, protect them, and love them. God blessed me with them and I have to fight for them by fighting for myself.

I also have a husband that loves me and wants me healthy and happy. I’ve made promises to him too that go beyond the vows of the altar.

It is for my family that I do this. It is for their future, and mine, that I start this journey.

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