As a child I remember playing this game called, “House.” Of course, I was the mama. I had two or three children and an awesome husband. I imagined my make believe home was facilitated in the confines of my bedroom, which was shared with my sisters. In this home of my mine, I would cook, clean, and await for my absolutely flawless husband to arrive from work. My imagination comprised a vivid imagery of this tall, hardworking, serious (In retrospect sexy) clean cut, cool man. My emotions channeled the love he had for his children and most importantly, his infinite love for me, no matter what. He would kiss me, stand close when he wanted to whisper something sweet in my ear, he would give me googly eyes like daddy gave mommy. After we would scream at each other, we would kiss really long and slow and be together all over again. I would love him forever. At such a young age, I had an idea of my perfect love life. The concept was so pure, innocent, and unconditional. This panning out as an adult was the rude awakening.
May 26th 2006, I was actually in a “House.”However, this was no game, this was reality. I had a hard working, educated, genius for a man. He was so clean cut and debonair. I admired his dedication to running and lifting weights- which is how he kept a very muscular and athletic physic. His confidence was like that of a lion in his jungle. He made sure I was well taken care of and in the latest trends. What can I say, this is exactly what I visualized as a child thus far. The only thing he forgot to do was kiss me and stand close when he wanted to whisper in my ear. Oh, and the only other thing he forgot, was to french kiss and make love to me like I was his lioness, after a roaring argument. That’s the only thing…….he forgot.
Not long into the marriage it was undoubtedly apparent that he never had any intentions on french kissing me. In fact, his objective was very clear after he told me, “I don’t feel anything around you.” Wait, I didn’t go over this scene in my game of “House!” How do I respond to this?! I remembered my husband loving me no matter what. My husband loved my body. He gave me googly eyes like daddy gave mommy. Perhaps this is an intruder? This is not the man I gave my virginity to on our wedding night, this is not the man who said he would love me for better or worse, this is not the man who asked my hand in marriage, and this is not the man who said I fulfilled him. To hear him say that was like a ruptured aneurism in my heart- quick, painful, and flooding. A complete demise of my essence as a wife, a friend and a lover. In my years of dating my physical appearance has never been a factor. Men often gravitated to me like a magnet to metal. I was often complimented on my body- whether I was 6 or 12 (my largest at the time). I could not figure out what was wrong with the man whom I gave my life to before God, the man who called me his rib, the man who crowned me with his last name.
My heart was very optimistic about working out our differences. I refused to give up. The more I tried the harsher he became. I understood his needs more than I ever understood my own. I worked out day in and day out to win his unconditional heart. If I wasn’t physically exerting myself, I was constantly in profound mental warfare. I wondered what else could I do to make him love me more until I lose weight? I wondered what size he preferred me to be? Will he like my body after I lose weight? What if my skin is too loose, will I be more disgusting to him? Lord, will he ever love me as unconditional as I love him? Why can’t he just see me as beautiful? All my questions led me to be more aware I needed to lose weight. The thought of not losing weight fast enough or not at all was tormenting. Life had become a burden versus a joy. Day in and day out I was reminded my body was a curse to me and the reason for my husband’s disgust. Never-the-less, I was going to endure and make the marriage work.
I noticed when I worked out and making progress, he seemed to be less abrasive with me. I felt he liked me more. The mere thought of him truly liking me was like a rich man giving a poor man a bag of silver and gold. I would try my hardest to maintain my new lifestyle. Here I am working full time, while maintaining my academics as a full time student, and dealing with the needs of a marriage. Having a day off was like heaven! I would put my hair in a messy ponytail, throw on a pair of colorful socks, and a big t-shirt and finally lounge. I quickly learned my way of lounging was not the best idea for my marriage. There wasn’t a day I didn’t greet him at the door with open arms. I loved to see him coming. Although this was a lounge day for me I decided to cook. My schedule didn’t allow me to cook regularly. Now, it’s time to tap into my Betty Crocker skills. I cooked his favorite meal; turkey necks, rice, sautéed spinach, and cornbread. When I tell you I was happier than kids at Disney World, I was happy! I met him cheerfully at the front door with open arms. He walked in the house and walked right pass me like I was Casper. His eyes where fixed and cold. The expression on his face was stern and serious. Needless to say, I was confused. I heard the bedroom door close. Like times before, when he behaved like this, I would skim through my personal checklist: weight loss-check, missed calls from him, none-check, house clean-check…….. What exactly could it be to make him act this way? WORK! He had a bad day. I remember checking on him and asking if there was anything I could do? He ignored me. After I told him I cooked his favorite meal, he gave me a very slight and partial head nod. I asked him if he wanted me to make him a plate? He practically stared into my soul and replied; “I don’t appreciate you not having your hair combed and clothes on. When you look like this it reminds me you are not the dime, you could be.”
My heart was crushed, and yet again, I understood him. From that day, I was way too insecure to ever do it again.
My insecurities were beginning to take a toll on my person. I wasn’t the happy jolly person in my home like I was outside my home. I started to distance myself by staying out of his way. Every time I looked at him, I feared a new judgement. I wasn’t sure if I could take anymore and remain sane. All the requests, demands, and stipulations were killing my confidence, slowly. I don’t know which one had the worst effect on me; Maybe it was when he expressed seeing me naked wasn’t appealing, perhaps it was when he put me on several different schedules to ask him for sex- which he denied me 98 percent of the time, or what about that time when he told me, “I would love to pick you out a dress to wear for me on Valentine’s Day, but I refuse to buy a size 16/18. Instead Ill give you the money to go get you a purse or something.” This was my battle as a married woman. I never got my childhood “House” experience. I was broken more than anyone could imagine. My insecurities obstructed my vision of myself. I knew if he didn’t want me, no one else would. The longer I stayed the worse it got.
After countless times of begging him to pray and attend counseling with me to no avail, I gave up. I realized I was fighting a losing battle. He was accustomed to tearing me down over my weight. He lacked the desire to love me unconditionally. My threats to leave him didn’t encourage anything beyond an apology and good behavior for two weeks. My weight had reached a max 275lbs and I was no good. The world didn’t know it, but I knew. In 2010 my husband got orders to deploy, before he left we had the biggest blow up argument. He said some of the most evil things to me regarding our marriage. He told me; “Had I known you would be overweight and it wasn’t a quick fix, I would have never married you.” I asked him why was he so mean? He replied; “Why are you so fat?”
For the very first time, I was glad to see him going. I became numb to the pain. I couldn’t cry if I wanted to and there were times I needed to. This life of marriage had become way too familiar. It was all I knew as a married woman. I never experienced unconditional love from him and he destroyed the unconditional love I had for myself . Henceforth, before he left to fulfill the duties of this nation, I told him one day he’ll return and Ill be gone. I meant it. As we departed, I knew I had my own battlefield to conquer; this time without distraction.
Finding myself all over again was one of the hardest things I could have done. I was programmed for five years to believe I wasn’t enough as long as I was overweight. I found myself with feelings of disgust regarding my body. It was so contrary to my personality. I’m a very free spirited person, who was known for being naked or partially dressed. I was never afraid to show my body, why should I, it’s mine, no matter what size it is or was? Unfortunately, that person no longer existed and I had to figure out how to get her back. So I prayed and asked the Lord to make me a believer again. I want to believe when he made me personally, he spoke the words “It is good.” Knowing that I was created perfect in the sight of God helped me develop the seven step system of loving myself unapologetically.
Step 1) Acknowledge Your Flaws
I stood in the mirror and called out those things I truly wanted to change about myself. I had to realize I am the only one with authority to call them out. The flaws I could change, I vowed to never complain about them, but rather use the power I posse to change them in order to become the best me. Flaws I could not change, I vowed to embrace them, love them, and accept them from my heart. This helped me understand I should never associate my physical appearance as the place to find my flaws. I am so much more than surface beauty and it only accounts for the smallest portion of my worth.
Step 2) Apologize to yourself
Protect who you are! Never allow another person to determine how you should be treated. I had to literally apologize to myself and forgive myself for speaking and believing I was less than amazing! I decided at 275lbs, that I was going to be the first person to stamp myself with the beautiful seal. My weight does not determine my beauty.
Step 3) Get to know who you really are
The best thing I could have done was write down the things I love about my core. Who I am as a person and what people love about me. This was completely absent of my physical appearance and my expensive garments. I gave my spirit man the responsibility to display my beauty. In this step I learned what I had to offer -not only to myself, but to others. This step reminded me I was a pro at exuding beauty from within and most importantly, it’s contagious. It’s something about having the Midas effect. Making people golden with every touch is the key to changing lives, including my own.
Step 4) Love yourself unconditionally
When I followed steps 1 through 3 before I ever started making any physical change, I started to love myself unconditionally again. Despite anything I could ever dislike about myself, I found no room for self-ridicule and condemnation. I am once again content with who I am as a plus size woman.
Step 5) After you accept the worst of you( spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and financially-your core), work on being the best of you.
I’ve learned it’s always easy to love what is not necessarily flawed. This is why I waited to make my changes. I wanted to love me no matter how discouraged or uninspired I was. My biggest desire was to never neglect any portion of my being. After I mastered this concept, I began to work on those flaws because God spoke it into existence that I had the authority to change what I dont like. At times this step was very difficult, because it put me to work- I had to dig and extract past abuse. I had to train my thinking and force myself to become the person I saw in my future. On a daily basis I spoke positivity to myself. I also used prayer and scrpture to bind and release those things about me that were not of God. I exhausted every muscle to become my best me. I went from 275 to 210lbs. I also started to trust God again. I believed there was a promised attached to my future. I was so proud of myself. I had a different level of joy.
Step 6) Be Fearless
Years had passed and I was exactly who I wanted to become. I conquered some goals but had one more I was very nervous about. I always imagined having a boudoir photoshoot. Feeling that groove of being liberated in my nakedness. The challenge was to take these pictures in front of a man,OMG! But I had to do it, it was a must. I needed to know that I mastered not feeling oppressed by the opposite sex because of my body. I walked into the studio and gave it my all. I didn’t care what he thought, I was fearless.
Step 7) Always Remember
Because I’ve followed these divine steps, it doesn’t mean I don’t come up short sometimes. Every now and again I can find myself feeling inferior and unsure. I refuse to dwell in such darkness for long. At this point in my life, such thinking is beneath my amplitude radar. I share with you one of my most adored quotes. I will always remember, “I am to love who I am, while being in love with who I am becoming.”
“Trust my unconvincing voice.”- God