This weekend, I had the awesome opportunity to celebrate my alma mater’s (Tennessee State University) Centennial celebration. This is major for me because I am not much of a “joiner” and, in my every day life, I am an introvert so I tend to stay away from large crowds and parties (and that’s coming from a person who has taught classes over a hundred people). I kept my fourteen year old son out of school and took the drive to Nashville (after I trained clients, of course) and submerged him in the world of who I used to be.
It was harder than I thought.
I am now divorced from my son’s dad (my college sweetheart that everyone remembers) and I was about seventy pounds heavier than I am now when I got my undergraduate degree and at least forty five pounds heavier when I got my graduate degree. There were people I recognized that “looked” at me like they knew me. There were a lot of references to how my son looked JUST LIKE his father, some questions but the major discussion, of course, was my weight. What happened to the REST of me?
It didn’t really hit me until the best man from my first wedding had to look at me twice before he knew who I was.
College was surely a place where I thought I’d lose my mind while trying to gain some education. It’s where my eating habits went from bad to worse. It’s where my dance career ceased. It’s where I lost my son. It’s where I made A LOT of mistakes seeking validation and approval and love. But I built a foundation that I could lean on when I had forgotten how strong I really am and how much of a conqueror I have proven to be. This weekend was one of those moments.
As I hugged my college roommates and friends and their children and we laughed and reminisced, I stood outside of myself and said, “I DID IT!” When I started college in 1993, I came with a lot of hurt and frustration and the need to define myself, away from the life I had lived. I wanted to go against the odds. I wanted to make my family proud. And I wanted to stand on my own two feet. As I listened to the stories and the memories came flooding back and I saw my son standing there, I realized how I had conquered the things I never saw coming and even though there were times I wanted to give up and, honestly, kill myself to get away from the pain, I was standing RIGHT THERE in the middle of people who knew how I had struggled, with only memories of the pain, not the grief of being in it.
What does this have to do with weight loss?
How many times have you stood on the scale thinking you’d NEVER get beneath the 200 pound mark? (I am raising my hand.) How many times have you thought you’d never be able to surrender your daily McDonald’s habit? How many times have you wanted to scream because you had done a month’s worth of work and hadn’t lost a pound?
And then one day, it clicked. And then you look back and remember what it was like and wonder how in the hell you did it. You did it because you NEVER GAVE UP. It was a step by step process, a slow walk up the mountain. You never think about looking back until you get to the top. Today, I feel like I am at the top of THIS mountain. I have others to climb. But today, TODAY……I can look back and say, “I DID IT.”
Keep climbing. Keep climbing.