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     I’ve spent a lot of my life hiding the imperfect parts of my personal history.  I let few people know who I really am, and where I came from.  It’s not from arrogance, but rather from fear.  It is frightening for me to remember some of the events in my life, and difficult to put them into words that others will hear in a positive light.  This post is about secrets, sharing and losing weight (or extra baggage).

     It’s hard to know where to start.  Ah, I know.  One year ago, I topped 180 lbs, and looked like a sausage in clothing.  I stopped looking at the scale at 180, thinking that if I didn’t see it. . .well, maybe it didn’t exist.  I think I probably got up to 190 to 200 lbs.  I was in pain all the time, and had difficulty walking for any distance.  I have injuries from childhood and my days as an athlete that flared up due to the excessive weight on my small boned frame.

     My lower back has a compacted disc, and my right knee has never been right even with surgery.  Between the two, I was unable to excercise, and keep the extra pounds off.  It all came together when my son took a photo of me on a photo shoot, and showed me the picture.  I was in shock.  It was hard for me to see myself as others were seeing me.  It looked like I didn’t care about myself and well-being.  Unfortunately, it was probably true.

     Today, the scale read 157 lbs.  I’ve worked very hard to reduce my body mass.  I look at it as down-sizing myself to a healthy weight and fitness level.  I wake up in the morning without pain, and I am able to walk again.  It’s only after I push myself beyond the 5 mile mark that the pain surfaces again.  Before, I could barely make a mile without pain.  It’s an incredible feeling to fit into my clothing again.  I can fit into my “small” jeans, and it feels incredible.  I truly thought that I would never see these days again.  I struggled for five years trying to take the extra off, without any success.  The weight represented “something.”

     Now to the secrets, which I have been slowly acknowledging and remembering. . .

     It’s an anniversary of sorts at this time of the year.  It’s been 12 years to be exact.  It was a hard time, and is difficult to write about.  To put it simply, I was homeless.  I lived in a tent in a campground for 4 weeks, house sat for a friend for a week or two, then ended up living with a friend of my partner’s in Medford, Oregon.  Through this entire time, my mom was fighting for her life in a battle with cancer.  My dad blamed me for her illness (not really logical). . .at least he was very angry with me (as usual).

     The impact of this secret was that I could not lose weight to below 160 lbs.  I had held onto this secret so tightly, that I added pounds to my body.  In my family, it’s not talked about.  It was consider one of the worst deeds that one could do, because it meant that you were lazy and irresponsible.  I was just devastated by the events.  I was in shock for the longest time, and am just beginning to thaw out emotionally. . .hence the scale reading  157 lbs.

     Denial. . .my family of origin is filled with denial.  My reactions to being homeless was to withdraw and be in denial.  What added to the impact of the entire incident was that my mom died that December.  She called me in October, around my birthday, to tell me she had 3 – 12 months to live.  When I got off the phone, I knew that she was going to die December 15th.  She died December 20th.  Around the 15th, she developed an infection, and refused to go to the doctor.  I was on the phone with my sister, when my dad called to tell her mom died.  Mom had finally agreed to go to the hospital the previous day.

     I went to visit her on Thanksgiving, and we got stranded up here.  My father made a point to scream at me in the hospital lobby a few inches from my face about how I would never have a moment alone with my mother again.  Even now, this brings tears to my eyes.  It cut very deeply.  I did get to speak with my mom alone for a few minutes, when my dad wasn’t at the hospital.  We finally found some common ground, and made peace with each other.  This is another secret I’ve carried around for almost 12 years, afraid that I would get the person who allowed that to happen into trouble with my father.

     I’m finally letting it go.  I’m tired of carrying it around in my mind, body and spirit.  As I let it go, the pounds melt off my body, and I feel more alive.  I feel my energy rising, and my ability to focus on tasks increasing.  I even smile and laugh more.  The more I smile and laugh, I find myself more into life.  I am able to speak with people easier.  I feel better about myself.  I am able to keep up with my son (who’s 10 years old).

     One of the contributing factors to weight loss is accepting ourselves for who we are.  It is important not to live in denial or be ashamed of happenings in our past.  A friend told me once that we do not own the past or the future.  All we have is the present, and what we make of it.  The past needs to be released and given to the Creator, and our focus should be on today.  These are wise words, from a friend that has gone her own way.

     Today, my life is about being thankful.  I am thankful for being able to pay the rent.  I am thankful that my important relationships survived this ordeal.  I am thankful that I still can make “things” work, even though I have not held a job since last October.  I am very grateful for my friends, and those who I call family.  It is nice when everything comes full circle, and the pieces of one’s life come together.  And, being thankful has helped me accept my “secrets,” allowed me to share them, and ultimately lose the extra pounds on my body. . .

     Love & Light to all. . .Karen