Years of rhetoric and every piece of advice that could be shared was given me when I came home from the convent, a broken, barely living human being. I buried myself in school, trying to get through the pain I could not avoid and burying the pain I could in being active in university classes and the WCWA. Suicidal thoughts and wishes gripped me in my weakest moments as an unholy demon tried to take possession of me. It has been a long, very hard, and sometimes horrible journey of recovery, these past seven years. I couldn't be what I thought I could have been - what I did want to be...and after university when the recession hit, I didn't have anything to bury myself in. No schoolwork, no history papers, not even the WCWA after a visit to Gettysburg so traumatized me and then my asthma flared up something awful that I couldn't be around black gun powder smoke. There was no more hiding. I had come home noticeably thin - what doctors and experts say would be my 'ideal weight' - but that weight was a result of weight loss through extreme emotional, mental, and psychological duress. I pretty much maintained a size 8-10 for my 5'2" large bone frame - until university finished, and my goal to work in the National Park Service as an Historical Interpreter was lost in the recession. All I could get was sporadic seasonal and part-time jobs no matter how hard I tried. And over the course of 4 years struggling with major depression, PTSD, and Panic Disorder, having no self-confidence and no sure goal of 'where I wanted to be in five years,' I went from a size 10 to 12 to 14 to 16....to size 22W. Yeah, it runs in the family, but genes were not the problem.
America has an obesity problem, but think about this the next time you see one of us obese women: there is more than meets the eye as to why we are in the shape we are. And until this past holiday weekend of Thanksgiving, nothing was going to change because I didn't care anymore. If I had clothes that fit and a warm home and reassured God was taking care of me, it didn't matter how fat I was, even if I was pre-diabetic and my physical health continued to deteriorate. But something did happen to change all of that - something that can only be described as a "God thing." A "God thing" is a miraculous light-bulb that comes on when there is inadequate 'electrical wiring' to have a light bulb there in the first place. During the weekend, I saw an online special - a snippet from a talk show on health called "Your Unhappiest Age." An intriguing title, I clicked on it to watch what the 'experts' had to say. Apparently due to kids, family commitments, work obligations, etc., a poll taken showed that women reported their unhappiest age at 37 and men at 42. (And I'm only 30.) Then the psychologist went on and said the one thing that broke through the fog that has clouded my process of thinking all these years. She said that exercise was just as effective as anti-depressants in treating depression. Yes, I had known I needed to increase the exercise in my weekly and daily routine to help lose weight, manage my cholesterol and blood sugar...but until she said it, I was not the person to listen to just any one's 2-cents worth on health perspectives. But God's Hand reached down and created a light in the darkness I was in, a darkness no one else had been able to penetrate. Why not be happy for me? Why continue to be unhappy for the misery caused by the convent, the life I lead after leaving the convent (which was a choice I didn't want to make, but saw no other alternative to saving what was left of me)? Why not be happy for my own sake? Not someone else's - not happy for someone else's being. If I was to be healthy, I had to work on being happy. I never looked at it like that before. Why not be happy for happiness' sake because when God created everything, He created it beautiful and good?
Sound a bit off, a bit self-centered? Am I off on a tangent, perhaps headed into a wrong direction of thought? For a long time, I believed I could never be happy if I wasn't healthy. Truth was, I wasn't healthy because I was unhappy. I made up my mind - I was going to work on it. Yes, 3 - 4 days later, life is still chaotic with two weeks of the 2nd quarter left to go for my Medical Receptionist certification. But courage is not a loud roar - well, not always. It is that voice at the end of the day, when all is said and done, saying with firm belief: "I will try again tomorrow." So what if out of the past few days when I have decided to incorporate using my exercise bike while praying my rosary I have only been able to do it once for 15 minutes? It's a start! And I am not going to give up. For every breath I breath, may I enjoy it because God gave it to me because He loves me. When I lose weight, for every pound may God be praised, for I am taking care of that which He entrusted to me to care for; and should I reach my goal of finally fitting back into a size 8/10 or just being able to wear beautiful dresses like those traditional Chinese wrap dresses or a ballgown for the WCWA ball, let the glory go to Him for the beauty He gave me to share with the world. A symbol of His love for all to see who wish to see it. Let laughter come back into my life everyday, and with every laugh a smile to share with those around me - not just a beautiful girl, but a woman of God.