Rubberband

I once stood on a scale in a doctors office when I was seventeen years old and had it read 402lbs. A couple weeks later after exercising and trying to decrease my food intake I watched as the scale read 406lbs. That was the day I refused to step back into a scale. 

I had always been a chubby child that stood out as the largest child in their class. I had always been the child that was consistently teased and made fun of simply because I was heavier than everyone else. It was my life, and though I cried every day from the comments and torture, I learned to deal with it. Because that’s what I had to do to keep myself going. 

When I was fifteen i spent a lot of time in chat rooms meeting strangers on the internet. It was the only place I felt safe to talk to people. They could not see me and I was under no obligation to show them what I looked like. I met a boy online one night that would later become someone I would consider a very good friend. This boy had a secret that he didn’t want to be a boy any longer. He had been born a male that should have been born a female, and like myself, used the internet as a platform to speak to people without having to show himself. He disappeared one day. I had grown so fond of talking to him that i reverse searched him on Facebook. I messaged them, “Thanks for just ignoring me. It was nice talking to you, I guess.” The person messaged back and asked who I was. They had no idea who I, a girl who had been talking to a person with this exact name, was. I’d been catfished. I began to talk to this boy more about the incident at hand, and through this we became friends who could talk freely with one another. We found we have many things in common like our anxiety and some medical issues we had overcome in our short years of living. One day he confided in me the same secret his catfish had. I made it my job to make him feel comfortable in his own skin, a job I could not do for myself. I bought him clothes, took a sixteen hour drive to see him, all to just be the girl that once again did everything for everyone with nothing in return. My emotions had been played with, and I remember one night crying for hours because he was ignoring me. And I felt alone. I had such limited friends and he made me feel so special and important. I was just a pawn. I needed someone to love me, even if it was for personal gain, because I lacked the ability to love myself. 

When I was sixteen I met a boy on the internet. He would call me every day and we would text whenever our voices were apart. He knew what I looked like from my profile pictures but because it’s so easy to fool your image on the internet he did not know what I truly looked like til the night we finally skyped. I had grown quite fond of him but had always been so afraid to speak with him on a webcam where he could see my face. The night we Skyped his image went fuzzy and he disconnected. When I tried to call back he did not answer. I texted him and asked him what happened  and he replied that he just didn’t want to speak at the moment. I knew why, and so I simply wrote “It’s because I’m too fat, isn’t it?” He replied, “Yeah.” And that was the last we ever spoke. 

When I was seventeen I met a boy through a girl from my high school that didn’t really look at my weight, my mental health, or my overall appearance. He looked at the person inside instead of the oversized baggage I was trapped inside. The first day we met we spoke of his love for the career he wished to pursue and he showed me that a pair of scissors that EMT’s work with could cut a quarter. A few days later he bought me dinner at a hibachi place, though I took most of it home because eating in front of people was such a fear that i only took one or two bites. We became an official couple three days later. He showed me how to love myself. He never ignored a chance to stop my self shaming, he never ignored a chance to call me beautiful even when I felt putrid, and he never ignored a chance to remind me that I had to learn to love the person I hated so much. He held my hand at 406lbs and he held my hand when I reached my lowest of 195lbs. He held my hand when I cried in his car about the grandparents I lost, and he held my hand when I gave birth to our son this past April. He also held my hand when I made a decision about the thing I hated most about myself: my weight. 

In December of 2014 I made the decision to have weight loss surgery. I went in on December 17th very early in the morning to have about 75% of my stomach removed, only a pouch the size of a banana remaining. I remembered thinking to myself “this is if, I’m going to finally feel beautiful.” The weight shed off my body and at my year mark I had gone from my large 406lb self to a slim, 195. And yet still when I looked into the mirror i still saw my 400+ lb person. 

I accomplished losing over 200lbs and I still hate my body. 

I’ve kept most of the weight off for almost three years and I still hate my body. 

I’ve given birth to a beautiful baby and I still hate my body. 

I look in the mirror and all I see is excess skin that my major weight loss did. I’m still reminded everyday of torture I had put my body through. I still hate my body. 

I hate my body because I still haven’t learned to love myself. 

Loving myself is the hardest thing I NEED to learn to do. 

I will learn to love myself. 

I will learn to love myself because if I have a daughter I want her to love herself. 

I will learn to love myself because I need to stop hating the image in the mirror. 

I will learn to love myself because that is the only way life will become truly enjoyable. 

And I will learn to love myself because I need to see myself the way others see me. 

I’m loved by so many and need to stop hating a person so many care so deeply for. 

I need to stop hating the person my son loves. 

I need to stop hating the person he smiles and giggles at. 

I need to stop hating the mom he cries for when she’s not there. 

I will stop hating myself, if not for me, for him. 

Anthony started putting my broken pieces back together when we first met, but my son was the glue that was missing to keep the pieces together. 

We need to learn to love ourselves because even if we don’t see it, and even if we don’t believe it, we are perfect just the way we are. We fight so hard to fit a societal standard of appearance, or the appearance of someone else, that we forget we are our own person. I will be the first to admit I get jealous when someone thinner than me looks good in something I would feel horrible in, but I still have to remember that I am perfect just the way I am. 

Believe in yourself and learn to love yourself. 

I will be along on this journey as well. 

Believe In Me

I remember being afraid to go to school every single day. In 8th grade I played sick so many times in the morning that it prompted my mother to ask if I, a thirteen year old girl at the time, had something I needed to tell her. I feigned sick so many times that when I actually was ill I had to go to school because they couldn’t tell the difference between real and fake sickness. I had trained my body so well to be on my side that it would give just the right amount of sick symptoms, so much so that I could no longer tell when I was truly sick and when my anxiety just wished to take over. When I was in seventh grade we went through a family situation that made an anxiety level I could handle on a daily basis (well as well as a 12 year old could) and turned it into a level that made me feel completely out of control. The thoughts that normally trailed through my mind like a freight train had turned into race cars running circles in my head on the Autobahn in Germany. I was being torn from the inside out and I had to find a way to compensate my mental state with the physical. My family felt like it was falling apart, I could no longer control the anxiety that had so long taken over my mind, and I felt that I needed to justify the feelings on the inside in a physical matter. I began to introduce myself to self inflicted pain to try and control the scramble that had taken residence in my mind.

People never understand the impact that their words have on others until that person makes a drastic decision about themselves and their life. Words were thrown in my direction for as long as I could remember. I would hear “You’re so fat” “You’re worthless.” “Please don’t eat me.” “Why are you so fat?” “You’ll never find someone to love you.” It only takes so long before these words begin to embed themselves into the DNA of your own thoughts. The letters taking part of your chromosomes and replicating until they flood your being. The words become so known that when they’re said by someone new it just becomes numb. Many would think numbness it better than feeling, but what they do not understand is once you’ve gone numb you have all but given up. You don’t want to fight anymore, you don’t want to think, feel, or be. These words had made there way into my core and made me believe that I was no longer worth anything more than to be just another body in the ground. I was no longer worthy of feelings, of love from any person in my life, and most of all of living.

Depression and Anxiety as two separate entities can make a person feel alone and ashamed. I remember viewing the commercials for antidepressants and it looked so easy to cure someone of the feelings I felt on an every day basis. It looked so simple to make someone who frowned for 2/3 of the commercial smile for the remaining 15 seconds. I wondered why the years I spent going to a doctor whose job it was to cure the illness in my head was not doing what the commercials showed the medications should have done. I wondered why I was still frowning, contemplating the point of my young life, and not smiling and enjoying the life before my like the people in these commercials. I didn’t feel myself getting better, I didn’t feel myself becoming the person I somehow still believed was harboring deep within. I could no longer be the girl that was constantly made fun of, the girl that was constantly bullied. I could no longer be the girl that was screamed at while walking across the street to “move her fat ass quicker.” So I stopped trying to be the girl I wanted so badly to get rid of.

Being alone, no matter how much you tell yourself is okay, is not a feeling one can live with easily. I craved the understanding of just one person. I had wanted to rid myself so badly of the person I’d become, the person named Bianca that I began to impersonate other personalities to the people whose attention I needed the most. I was trying so hard to no longer be the girl that everyone hated based on outside appearance that I began to push those who had gotten to know me away. I would impersonate other people, add people to my life that truly did not exist, and I made lying look like an art. It did not matter if a person had grown to appreciate me for the person I had been, I needed them to appreciate me for things I did not have, for a person that truly did not exist. Looking back I realized I ruined a lot of friendships through an illness I could not control, not that I truly wanted to admit it was there. For the truth was I was ignoring the illness that had been brewing behind the surface. I was hiding behind the idea that if I ignored it it would go away. And this only made me that much more alone.

When I was sixteen I had crossed the line. A friend I had made while hiding my interior had fallen subject to my cover up. I don’t truly understand why what happened did to this day, but when it all came to the surface I found no point in hiding any longer. I let my illness pour out like a river flowing down a mountainside. I felt like an ice cream cone melting in the heat. I was being swallowed by the immense cloud I had swallowed for so long that I could not cope with it all coming out at once. I no longer had friends, I no longer had anyone to distract myself from the dark cloud inside waiting to come out. I no longer had a barrier that kept the darkness within, and so when it came out there was no longer a point in fighting. I let it drip out, seep out, and then fully drain till the illness I had so long been fighting consumed me. I stopped going to school completely, I locked myself into a dark room, and I convinced myself that I was no longer worth the fight. My life no longer had a point and it was time to let the cloud consume me whole.

My illness caused fights amongst my parents and gave them the fear of one day walking in on their only child no longer living. With my last light I held through the cloud of darkness I told them it was time for me to get serious help, and a week later I emerged from a hospital stay with a feeling of victory for believing I had killed the cloud that had tried to take me. The belief that I had won only lasted roughly three months. It was then that I lost my grandmother and it was then that the cloud began to reemerge. My grandmother had been in the hospital at the same time I had been and had made sure to call me at least once, if not twice, a day when I felt at my lowest. She would make it her goal to make me laugh at least once so I did not feel so alone. When she died I felt as if God was betraying me. I felt like God was trying to punish me for trying to take control of my own mortality by taking someone’s whom I loved. I was alone again and everyone was the enemy.

As I went back to high school and finished my education I learned more and more that my disease was so misunderstood by those who did not have even a morsel of anxiety or depression. As I got older and further understood that my illness also contained bipolar, I began to understand how to deal with the highs and lows of my emotional spectrum. The titles of my illness did not bring any further understanding to those around me though. Teachers, principles, and even family members who did not understand did not think it necessary to try and even grasp a small part of what someone they interacted with on a daily basis was going through. Teachers and staff would say “Oh I have bad days also” and family would find it necessary to remind me that I was just too emotional. They didn’t understand that their lack of understanding, their blatant disregard, and their condescending tones did not aid in achieving their goal of rectifying the situations.

It took many years for me to understand how to cope with the illness I was dealt, and even more time to aid my mind in healing on the proper medication. It took me years for me to unweave the DNA the words I had been beaten with in my youth had given me. I still cannot eat comfortably with people around, I still cannot look at myself in the mirror with a smile, and I still, even after losing over 200lbs, do not see a body worthy of love.

The words that escape our mouths can act like knives on the skin. You never really think a critique of someone’s appearance, weight, etc could be their breaking point. We need to start thinking before we speak.

We need to begin to realize that sticks and stones may in fact break bones, but words do also hurt.

Words could be the simple thing that could bring someone to the point of taking their life.

Who are we to make comments on someone’s life? Who are we to think we are better than anyone? Who are we to call someone fat? Stupid? Ugly? A slut?

Who are we to tell someone that their invisible illness does not exist?

Who are we?

Remember at the end of the day that we are all human. We all have to remember that is is our job to make this cruel world just a bit more bearable. Do not live in hate. Do not live in fear.

Believe you are much more than the illnesses you have. You are much more even when you feel you are completely out of control.
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And lastly…

May we all learn to see ourselves as those we love most do.

hhh

I always wanted to be called Mommy. 

I cannot remember a period in my life where I didn’t want to be a mom. I remember being a child and always wanting to play house. I remember wanting to babysit constantly. I always wanted to be around children, and I swore for a very long time I’d end up in a career that would allow me to work with them. When I realized that my true passion was working with animals I began to timeline how long becoming a vet would be. I began thinking about how I could start a family and have enough energy and time to be the mother they would need me to be while still attaining the goals I set forth for myself. I wanted to be a young mother, much like my own mother was, so that I’d have a long life to be the mother I had had in my life.

My relationship with my mother was so unlike those of my friends in childhood. I could talk to my mother, confide in my mother, and feel a sense of kinship that made me feel like she would keep me safe forever. Many of my friends lacked a relationship with their mother, or if one was present it was strictly just a regular structured parent type. My mother and I grew together, and though we had many rough patches, I glowed in the envy of my friends for our relationship. She was understanding, kind, and made me the strong mother I know I will be. I vow to be much like my mother in raising my son and his future siblings. 

When I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in June of 2016 I felt that my envision of being the mother I wanted to be had burned. One day I was feeling tingles in my legs and arms, weakness taking over my fingertips, and the next day I was being told I had a progressive disease that I knew so little about. I sat on the couch of a friends and listened to the message over and over. “Hi this is Dr., I just wanted to review the results of _⁠_⁠_ CSS studies um if you’ll be kind enough to come to the office uh at some point during this week will make room for you um just call my office & inform whoever picks up that I have asked them to make room for you OK so _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ see you _⁠_⁠_ follow up whatever my schedule _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ certainly when you’re able to come in thank you bye-bye…” An hour later I walked into his office to be told my diagnosis. I cried. I cried because I was being told that my immune system was attacking my nerves, that my own body in all sense was attaching itself. I thought of what MS had be portrayed as: wheelchair bound. I cried even more. The picture of being the a parent, being a vet were all crumbling before me. I didn’t know how I would go on living with the pain I’d already been feeling, knowing that eventually it would get worse. 

About a month later after I’d began my shots I didn’t feel right. I was nauseous all the time, I was exceptionally tired, and I felt very off. I had already decided at this point that I would fight as hard as I could to continue to become not only a vet, but eventually the parent i set forth to be. I had arranged to finish college a year ahead of schedule, and my fiancé and I were set to marry in July of 2017. But when you mix alcohol, a bit of self-pity, and some other fixings you get my little miracle baby. My life changed the moment I got two lines on the at home pregnancy test, and even more when I found out my little peanut would be a little boy. 

My dream of becoming a mommy had come true, and when I held my little boy in my arms for the first time I felt nothing but shock and amazement that something of his size had been living inside me only moments before. I was elated by my little miracle, and I thought that feeling would last forever. But you know what they don’t tell you when you have a baby? Yes, when you’re pregnant you get pamphlet after pamphlet about postpartum depression. They say if the blues lasts for longer than two weeks call. But does anyone talk about how hard it is to be a new parent to a baby that screams for six hours straight, to a baby whose gas makes them screech like they’re being ripped from the inside out at times, to a baby who fights when eating, can’t be consoled, and who looks at you like you’re their entire world but you can’t fix what’s going on. 

I never thought I’d question why I wanted to become a mother. 
I love my son. I cry because I love my son. Because it breaks my heart when he cries in such obvious pain from his reflux, and whatever other issue he seems to have going on currently. I cry because I don’t know how to fix it. I cry because I never thought I’d question why I wanted this, why I wanted to be responsible for someone when I’m such a mess myself. But I cry most of all because I know I’m strong and I’m angry with myself for not believing so. I made it through bullying, self-harming, medical conditions, hospitalizations, extreme weight loss, confidence loss, and giving birth to my gorgeous child. Why can’t I believe in myself? I made it through people doubting my ability to be a parent, staying in school while pregnant and mainting a 4.0 GPA, and yet still I feel like such a failure at times. 

No one talks about this. No one talks about the self-doubt you’ll have as a mother. No one will tell you to believe in yourself. Everyone has an opinion on parenting, and when you’re young you get attacked even more. The baby is cold. The baby is hungry. The baby only cries when he’s hungry. Burp him. Rock him. You’re not producing enough milk. Maybe he’s starving. 

Give a mom a break. 

We are all doing the best we can and we need to acknowledge this. We also need to acknowledge that this isn’t always easy. This isn’t always an easy adventure. It’s beautiful and magical, but it is also painful and heartbreaking at times. I look at my son and cry from how lucky I am to be his mother, but when he’s in pain and I can’t fix it I look at him and cry because i don’t know what to do and I am shamed to be his mother. 

We need to give ourselves a break. 

We need to start talking about how hard this can be. 

We need to be reminded that we are only human. 

And we need to be reminded we are doing the best that we can. 

My son will get better and will hopefully grow out of this painful phase, but I need to grow out of this self doubt phase and remember that I’m doing the best I can. 

I never thought I’d question why I wanted to become a mother. I just wanted someone to call me mommy.