My name is Barbara....I am 58 years old and on December 26, 2015 I weighed in at 234.5 pounds. I could tell you all the reasons why, 5 babies, changing metabolism, menopause, inactivity, indecision, stress, worry, hopelessness and probably a bit of depression, anxiety and inertia thrown in as well. I've tried many things to change all of these circumstances and feelings...many things. And never ever quite could get past the things holding me back.... which at the end of the day was fear and the inability to care enough about myself to do better. ...I was my own problem. I have had bursts of energy for walking, dance cardio in my kitchen, really healthy eating but always always, it trickledl through my hands like water and I gave up. I've tried over the past 6 years to really do something about it all but I couldn't stick with it. I allowed cruel words and my own jungle of crippling self doubt and again FEAR put me back into the safe and easy place of wallowing.
Nights for the past 5-7 years have been spent over thinking, entertaining worries that became bigger in the dark and kept me quiet and deeply sad. Weakness and fear. LIARS....both of them..... I watched my own children turn themselves into fit and healthy people, I watched friends turn themselves into fit and healthy people, with a glow that I knew might be inside but I honestly had so many excuses rooted in those fear and weakness lies that I just didn't put myself on the list of people I wanted to see healthy. I didn't put myself on the list of people who I loved enough to believe in. I'm going to say that again because it's the thing, the only thing.. I DIDN'T PUT MYSELF ON THE LIST OF PEOPLE I LOVED ENOUGH TO BELIEVE IN.... I didn't love me enough to take care of me. Sadness, excuses and fear.... You can see how I got to that place... I just didn't see beyond the lies that happened in the dark.
I wanted to be happy, free to be my own true self, unafraid and strong.. I wanted my barefoot and messy girl to be free to breathe, laugh, cry and LIVE TRUE . I didn't want the critical voice of others or myself to count anymore. I wanted to be brave and unafraid. I wanted to be able to bend over and tie my shoes and to slip into clothes that didn't have 2 X's in the size. I wanted to shed the girl that I had become so that the girl I truly am could fly a bit, oh heck, I wanted to fly a whole lot. I wanted the life I WANTED and I wanted it now...Not sure when or how that all happened, I have to say it was a huge light bulb of an AHA moment. just like that.... But.... I didn't know where to start except with my body. I wanted to glow and feel good about me. I wanted to feel love and give it to myself. I wanted to put myself on the list of people I love enough.....so I did...honestly like that I did...And on December 26, 2016 with all 234.5 pounds of me, I joined a gym.
A few weeks ago, I experienced, a girlfriend's betrayal in a personal up close kind of way. ...My old self wanted to curl into a ball and cry. My old self almost went into victim mode, a place that feels safe and justified. But that isn't who I have worked to become. I confronted the now former friend, told her that I knew what she had said about me, violating every bit of trust and ending our friendship forever. My old self would have negotiated around the hard stuff and let her remain in my life. My new self took care of me like I would take care of someone I loved. And instead of curling into a ball and crying for days, I headed to the gym. I sweated out a furious amazing workout, I did 2 miles on the treadmill until I could not do more. And I knew that I was no longer afraid of anything. Strong felt really good that day....Strong feels really good every day.
So after 4 months of learning to do hard things, lift heavy weights, fast walk for many miles and feeling at home at the gym I should be able to show you a before and after picture. I could, but my "before" may look a bit like my "right now". I've not lost a pound. I lose a pound here and there and seem to gain it back (SERIOUSLY????). My clothes still have 2 Xs in the size label. But I can bend over and tie my shoes, I am starting to get some muscles that show,I can do what I couldn't before and I am unafraid. Because strong is more than my body, I believe you can't change one thing without changing everything about yourself. It's a ripple kind of of thing... Strong is Mind Body and Spirit. I am becoming the girl I wanted to be. Unapologetically . I am making some plans and setting some boundaries I didn't have before to have the life I WANT to have. To live free. I now sleep through the night, I eat better because it tastes better, I surround myself with people who are good for my soul, I am not afraid because I am stronger. I am at the TOP of the list of people I believe in....I am at peace about losing the weight, I know it will shake loose eventually. What I didn't expect was how much I would love all of this. Every single bit of rising up. And that is why I had to write this love letter to myself and to you.. Because it's everything.
The title of this post was inspired by this piece.....
Strong comes in many forms, it's different for everyone. But for me, it had to come from learning that I am indeed capable of doing hard things and learning that fear isn't something to run from. Fear is something to turn around, look in the eye and face down.... Fear will run from strong every single time. Because fear is a liar and only exists when you let it and strong girls are beautiful.... Even with 2 x's on their tee shirt labels.