Graduation

It takes some of us longer than others to find our feet. I really hope that I am not the only person that can relate to this but hey if I am then thats okay too. It feels like it has truthfully taken forever for me to achieve that sense of self and to feel at ease and at home in my own skin. I spent a great portion of the last 40ish years of my life not feeling that way. My younger years were distorted by abuse that happened at the hands of a non family member and I grew up with my confidence through the floor. I was such an unhappy child. I know that I was reactive to things and I felt like I was continually scrambling to avoid sinking under the crushing weight of anxiety that came from those times. 

I think that this is on my mind because I will watch another child of mine Graduate from High School in a few days and oh the relief that floods my soul that he does not have the same degree of hang ups that I had at his age.

I “acted out” in my teenage years. It was probably the first glimpse of my questioning and doubts about some of the things that I had seen growing up in a hyper faith church, and around some very dysfunctional adults. I will never forget one time, as a 14 year old, when my hollow bedroom door blew shut while some people were visiting! My door had a habit slamming and rattling and was one of those things that my parents were going to get fixed but they were really super busy and it wasn’t like a door that could slam with no help at all was really high on the list of priorities. Anyway the visitors deemed the loud door as me being deeply rude and disrespectful and the visiting adults proceeded to yell, scream and carry on about everything that I was not and how awful I was, when in fact, the wind had blown my door shut. These people had terrorised my childhood and it was always a case of “be on your best behaviour” whenever they were around or all hell quite literally broke loose. That moment was the beginning of me understanding that sometimes people were NOT right just because they were older than me, “further along in the faith” “my elders” etc etc etc. It is possible for adults to be entitled, abusive, angry people and they would go on to prove themselves to be exactly that, time and time again. 

That was the first time that I distanced myself from someone and I was right to do that! It would be years before I would personally have dealings with them again. I called it at 14 and wish with all of my heart that I had kept to what I felt back then but hey hide sight is 20 / 20! In short, after a lifetime of this and other unacceptable things happening, I was hurting and put myself into situations that were unsafe at times. Up until then I was always so keen to please, trying to gain approval and trying to feel like there was value in me. I felt like I needed to find a way to banish the self loathing that had entwined itself so fully into my heart that I struggled to find where the loathing stopped and I began. I was in a cycle, self loathing, disordered eating behaviours, placing myself at risk, giving people that did not see my worth power over me, and when I was treated poorly, then self loathing again. It was a pervasive thing that found its way into every single part of who I was.

I found some sense of belonging and feelings of self worth inside Christian teachings – but not the hyper faith movement that I grew up in. In that particular shit storm I found judgement and happy clappy, fake purveyors of a slick, shiny religion that diminished everything down to a point where everything became about being able to do things to earn love. 

It would be years and years of feeling broken and trying so hard to be good enough before I would have a moment of total clarity. I had had some horrible complications during pregnancy and someone said that if we did not come and see them immediately they would be leaving the church. In that moment I checked out. I realised how often I brought into that, how often I put my own health both mentally and physically, on the back burner for others. Now thankfully I do not do, or give, anything unless I can freely and willingly do so without the thought of it ever benefiting me in any way at all and as long as it is not going to damage my emotional or physical well being. 

I have little time for that type of thing now days. I have a couple of jobs, a busy family and I have found that found game playing, jumping through organisational hoops, being at church every single time the door is open and unrealistic expectations of week nights out on a regular basis are all things that I am just unwilling to do. I am excluded from certain things because of those choices and I am 100% good with that! I would far rather everyone know exactly where they stand with me as opposed to seeing someone on Sunday and then a different person entirely during the week. 

I also feel like this needs to be said – I am a nicer, better, kinder person since I stepped away from the pressure of the hyper faith movement. I look back over those times in my life when I was struggling to fake it till I made it and all I made was myself and others miserable!! My god I was awful at times. I was so fricken miserable and I took it out on other people and I will have to live with those consequences for the rest of my life BUT the thing is – I will live. I refuse to just stay stuck and stagnate as I was. Weight loss surgery saved me. As my fat left, so too did the loathing and bitter hatred that I courted for myself. The frustration at not being able to be the person that I wanted to be because of my weight, diminished, until I knew that I would only ever be held back by my own limiting beliefs and that was a very happy day indeed.

Lockdown Talks

We have some very interesting conversations in lockdown and one of the kids recently asked me what happened in my heart to cause me to change. (he was referring to my weight loss, new career, business etc) And I had to think about it for a while but you know what – I think it was the fact that I spent so many years of my life ignoring things that had happened to me and I gave away pieces of me until I lost the sense of who I actually was. I spent years of my life entombing myself in my very own prison! I spent years hoping that someone would see me, would help me, would rescue me but the truth was I didn’t need some other saviour, I needed to get up and realise that no one else could save me from myself except me! I had to find value in myself, I had to get up and do it myself! I didn’t get to be the weight that I was because of neglect, I got there through systematically abusing my body and treating myself so poorly because the truth of it is that that is all I felt that I deserved. I cannot even begin to explain how many times I withdrew from situations and from people, even from some of you because I was afraid of rejection, or afraid that I would be seen the way that I saw myself. Then one day in 2017, as I tried to walk across a stage in a graduation robe that wouldn’t fit me, I realised that no one else was coming to save me. I was going to have to do something different if I wanted things in my life to change. It has been the hardest, most confronting thing in the world to look myself in the eye and see myself how I was and then start to imagine myself how I could be. I now believe that process will be life long and I also believe that I am not where I used to be and I am so profoundly thankful for that but I also have a whole lot more mountains to climb!! I am so thankful for hope and for the fact that the knight in shining armour that I was waiting for was actually a brave brave big lady who could see in her mind what she wanted for her life and for her health so she got up and did something about it for herself! #beyourownhero

When days are long!

Sucking the marrow out of life has never been more enjoyable, or more fun than it has been over these past few days. I am exhausted but time has been well spent. Any investment into family is time that has been invested in the very best way. We have eaten out, laughed, played, been to an escape room, spent a day at the beach, licked ice creams, caffeinated ourselves, shopped and enjoyed each others company. Summer 2020/2021 has truly had some wonderful moments.

We have loved on family, we have celebrated, the boys have discovered their nordic heritage, they have procured drinking horns and were gifted life size, replica viking swords. If you ever get the chance to ask my son Dazz “do you want to battle” you will unleash his inner viking – because he is, after all, of the Faroe Islands. So much fun has been had but we all know that blue skies are more precious because they come with rain too.

So this past summer has also had some heartbreaking things – some of these things have changed me forever. I won’t be the same person that I once was, and thats okay. Actually it is to be expected because change is part of life. I am so much better at letting go of things now. Some bridges have been burned and I am grieved, yet resigned to it. The people who were at the other end of the burned bridges, I truly wish nothing but love as they live their lives in their way. If people and their situations take from our peace then I have learned I cannot hold on to this type of situation. My health cannot do it and I finally value myself enough to be comforted in the knowledge that our paths will not cross again. Thankfully we get to chose the kind of person that we want to be and how we will chose to treat others.

Today was filled with choices. I got to decide if I was going to hide away or if I would engage with people that I had not spoken with in years. When you are literally 100 kilos lighter than the last time that they saw you – it is EXTREMELY easy to hide. People that have known me and not seen me for a few years do not recognise me. And hey – Lets be real here for a minute – I can admit that I have enjoyed hiding in plain sight. I have done it for a few years now, but those days are over and I am, once again willing to get back to living life. It takes time to find yourself when your body morphs. It would be a lie to say that I haven’t changed because I really have. It takes time to find out who you are again. It is not always easy and it has been a process but I am finally at peace with it all.

When the warrior takes a knee

This week was a strange, strange week. I am thinking about all that has happened and trying to come to terms with how I feel. 2020 frequently brings out the warrior in me. The part of my personality that is determined to fight with EVERYTHING that I am for my family and for those that I love is fierce, but she is also, thankfully, older and wiser now. As the second wave of covid-19 sweeps through Victoria, we have not been untouched. Gosh, I wish I could go into all of the ways that we have been impacted by this thing – but I won’t. I won’t because there is no point, others have it far worse than we do, but the point is that we have been impacted. When my heart decided to misbehave in March we knew that change was necessary. When 2 of our kids ended up needing trauma counselling and Steve had surgery……well, we knew that things were going to have to change and change they have.

I have learned that fighting is less necessary if you trust. There is something about the conviction of a person who knows exactly where they are heading and is fully convinced that they are going to reach their destination. I find myself spending less time fighting and more time being profoundly thankful in each moment. I used to believe that all the trials that we face in life are bad. I was of the opinion that if it is a trial then it is evil but I have truly dismissed that type of value system – I think perhaps Jane Austen had it right “misfortunes, we are told, are sent to test our fortitude and may often reveal themselves as blessings in disguise”. I am not just thankful in my situation, I am thankful for the opportunities that come BECAUSE of my situation. Yes it may be a shituation that you find yourself in. Some things suck balls and there is no two ways around that kinda saltiness but the wonderful thing about shituations is that if we got ourselves into it, then there is also a way out of it. If I had not found myself in the most uncomfortable and troubling place that I have ever been in emotionally, I would never have been willing to make the changes that I NEEDED TO MAKE. Sometimes we bring things on ourselves because we are stubborn, sometimes we just have to let things go, sometimes we bring things on ourselves out of ignorance and sometimes shit just happens because it does. Thankfully we have the opportunity to decide if we will suck the lemon that life tossed our way. We can take that bitter pill and let it skew our thinking, or we can decide that we are gonna mix the bitter with some good stuff and turn that crap into something that will quench our thirst. Make lemonade out of the lemons that life tossed your way.

For me, well I needed to change. I know that now. I have stopped fighting and started trusting. I needed a different job, I needed more time with my boys and they needed things too and everything has been taken care of. Did any of that happen how I thought it would – ummmmm nope it didn’t. And that is the thing – we do not have to have total control over each step of the process, we simply have to trust that the right doors will open. The ones that are meant for us, and that they will be there at the right time. That is my current lesson – waiting for doors 🙂

A Sparkly Unicorn

When a was a child I had a favourite toy. It was the cutest My Little Pony and to me – well that toy was just the beginning and the end of all things. I loved it with all of my heart. In fact, I am fairly sure that I still have it somewhere in my garage. I think what I loved the most about it was that it stood out. Who doesn’t want a blue horse with a pink mane and tail right! I can remember taking it to school and no one else had the blue one! I thought “oh no! I should have got one that was like all the others!” and there began a lifetime of wanting to be like everyone else and never quite embracing my me-ishness!

Over the years I have been drawn to many sparkly unicorns 🦄 but eventually I put my me-ishness away in a box and decided that it was going to be better for everyone if I just stopped trying to be me. I shouldn’t want to grow my own food, and I shouldn’t enjoy making everything for my family from scratch. I should put away my long floral skirts and pretty mobiles that used to hang around my house. Apparently, so I was reliably informed – they were going to summon demons to my door 🤦🏼‍♀️ (Just quietly, I have always had one in our bedroom, given to me as a gift by someone that I absolutely ADORED when I was 15 annnnnnnnd no demons 🤷🏼‍♀️😂) Sewing was old fashioned and embroidery was worse. Why would I want to make preserves and why would I mix my own washing powder and why would I dream of a self sufficient life, on land – (with a mote and crocodiles to bite intruders – okay, okay perhaps that part was taking my introvert sensibilities a bit too far 😂😂😂😂) but seriously I spent so long trying to be someone that I wasn’t and I never quite managed to do it. It was not an authentic way to live and it was exhausting.

Then, one day I realised how stupid it all was. I realised that I was making myself miserable for other people. Those people didn’t expect it! I placed unrealistic expectations on myself and made myself miserable by trying to be something that I wasn’t. I wanted to be something other than me. I wanted to be a little less sparkly unicorn-ish and a lot more mainstream. I had fallen, hook, line and sinker for a story that brought me so much pain, misery and hopelessness. Comparison is a heartless bitch and I had been deceived by her narrative for decades. The day that I realised that, was the day that I decided to be me again. It was the day that I started allowing my dreams to bubble up in my heart again.

My biggest concern was, “would I be able to find her!” She whispered and sung and felt free among wide open spaces and lived right where quirky and mainstream collide! Thankfully my fears around not being able to find the real me were, for the most part, unfounded. After all, I think that in our heart of hearts, we do know who we truly are even if it worries us and even when we are afraid to dust off our inner unicorn and just be our own kind of weird and wonderful.

It took a while, but eventually I managed to locate the real me, she was buried under a huge pile of self loathing and pain, but she was still there, right where I left her. Still in love with the whimsical things, still a dreamer and still joyfully content with the simple life. It has been a revelation to find myself again. To find so many parts of me that I had lost along the way. To find the joy in being authentic has changed my life. This change happened because of an inner knowing that I am a better, kinder and more joyful soul now than I ever have been before and that I am responsible only for my own responses. There is a confidence that comes from knowing that I am loved as I am, imperfect, a bit broken and totally aware of my own failings but I am also wake to my own value.

I don’t expect anyone else to take care of me emotionally anymore. I know that I am responsible for the welfare of my own heart and soul and I do take responsibility for it these days. What a different life it is. My life is slower, more intentional and I listen to myself much more than I used to in the past AND I trust myself. I care for my body, I am kind to it in the most nurturing way possible. I have a small, tight circle of people that not only love me but see me. They are true friends, not people that stick around on our socials for the juicy goss! They are the flesh and blood people with hearts full of love for me and mine and purpose filled vision in their sights. They are the bringers of chocolate, gifters of meals, speakers of wisdom, value and purpose and offer a good slap of reality if I am in need of that too. When I stopped feeling like I needed to apologise for my very existence I learned how to live. Weight loss surgery gave me the confidence to deal with so much more than physical weight. It made me believe that I could deal with the emotional weight also.

Love always

Tash xx

The Cost

Let’s talk for a minute about the Cost of Bariatric Surgery. Many of us pay quite a sum just to have our surgery in the first place. But the costs that are ongoing are something that we don’t really talk about a lot. That’s not to say that WLS isn’t one of the best descisions I have ever made because it is!! But these are things I didn’t think of beforehand. Some of the things that I have replaced because of weight loss surgery include the following.

  1. My mattress – I was in pain from lying in my “big me” sized mattress hole.
  2. All my shoes – I am now 2 sizes smaller
  3. All of my underwear 4 times over as I found out the hard way one can’t wear undies that are too big and not risk them falling off in public – yep it really happened 🤦🏻‍♀️
  4. My car seat – this is a weird one and I upgraded my car because it needed an upgrade anyway BUT the drivers seat was broken because of my bum and my weight.
  5. My lounge suite because I broke it 😔
  6. My dining chair – I am going to have to replace the set but am making do for now.
  7. My entire wardrobe because going from a size 24/26 to a size 4/6 means that nothing from bigger me fits me anymore.
  8. My supplements and vitamins ongoing but for me the cost of my weekly food and vitamins and supplements is still less than what I used to spend per week on my food (I ate a lot).
  9. Skin removal surgery – this shot of me there with the excess skin is current. That is after my radical tummy tuck – obviously I require revision surgery because my surgeon thought that a radical tummy tuck would be enough but it wasn’t. When you have as much excess skin as me it is unpredictable how it will respond.
  10. New glasses coz the old ones fall off my face 😳
This is me now

As for the plastics, I don’t disclose how much my surgery cost, but the following is a rough guide per area of the body and what you might expect to pay (after private health insurance and Medicare covers the hospital costs and a small payment to the surgeon and the gas doctor) THESE ARE AUSTRALIAN PRICES
$1k-$7k is considered low cost.
$7k-$11k is mid range.
$12k and over is high range.
That is the gap payment as plastic surgeons will charge you a gap fee even if skin removal is deemed medically necessary. The gaps vary from surgeon to surgeon. My recommendation is ONLY USE a PLASTIC SURGEON. If you have private health insurance are in NSW or don’t mind traveling, google ‘The Access Program’ if you want a lower cost option.

Would I do it again? Heck yes! Over and over!! I have a life now and I am so grateful for it.

Me yesterday and me a lifetime ago
My dangly skin before I had it chopped off

ET and I are mates 😉

A Pig

Sitting on the main oval of her conservative Christian high school, she could feel the prickle of the browning turf under her thighs, It’s spikey texture poked uncomfortably into her arse, as the sun tried it’s best to beat down on her from above. Streaks of blistering light were fighting a continual battle with the foliage lining the perimeter of the oval. The goal of said blistering light was for the right to blaze down upon and burn anyone, or anything that wasn’t shaded. Through the dappled light of her vantage point she could keep an eye on everyone, and was unfortunate enough to see all the goings on in the zoo. It was always the same, the popular girls and the popular boys, jostling for position and deciding who liked who this week.

She was under no illusions of any kind about who she was, and also, who she was not and where she fitted in! She wasn’t like the “cool” girls, trying to tan their legs in the hot Queensland sun. She secretly rolled her eyes at them and tore her gaze away before they saw her looking, but not before she saw what they were doing. All sitting in a row looking down at the way that their knees touched and then their legs just seemed to gently curve out and up and they didn’t touch at all anywhere in the middle. Glancing down at her own, she felt the familiar stab of comparison and envy as she surveyed her own pasty white, pork sausage legs. There was no sugar coating it, she knew full well that there was no graceful arc between them. Her BMI was over the normal range and she knew it was! She also knew that her legs touched all the way up, with no gaps in between. What was worse was that they rubbed badly at the top and she often felt sweat trickle down the back of her thighs on hot summer days, especially when they were hot summer, sports days. It didn’t have a “name” except “the gap” and the fact that she didn’t have one put her at odds with the beautiful people.

God, how she hated sport days! She hated them nearly as much as she loathed the the sport lord (AKA the PE teacher – there may have even been a song penned in his honour) It felt like sport day was yet another opportunity for those athletically inclined, and, by virtue of that inclination, superior individuals, to assert their dominance, as if they needed a special day for that! Obviously it also served a duel purpose as it was also an opportunity for the beautiful to wear smaller clothes. In short, it was depressing.

The aforementioned sport lord was her least favourite person and to be perfectly frank, he seemed to loathe her also, not that she could blame him. She did have an attitude when it came to this particular subject, and she used the term “subject” loosely! The sport lord made his grand entrance, jogging down the dirt track towards her prime location. Jogging, why was he jogging? Was this an attempt to inspire? Was this because he liked running so much or was it just to prove that he could? All she knew was that he ran in such an upright fashion that she smirked to herself and wondered how he could be that stiff. She hated the fact that even his hair seemed to just understand how to go straight up and down, flying up and around his face. His shorts were just that little bit too short and his whistle, she was sure, belonged up his arse, instead of in his mouth. “Just run a few laps to warm up” she groaned and thought to herself “what is his problem, can he not tell that it is currently a stifling 33 degrees out here – we ARE warm” and hated him all the more.

She set off around the oval, her boobs bounced painfully and her thighs slapped together with each step she took as she tried to comply with his request. Within minutes the burning began and it wasn’t long after that she could feel the chaffing start. Her thighs felt like they were on fire and she knew that by the end of the day, her thighs would be red raw and bleeding again. This was a weekly ritual – they would heal from the week before, only to be torn to pieces again – but she fought her way through the warm up and pretended that she was fine. It wasn’t until she got home from school in the afternoon and she was able to survey the damage to her torn skin that she decided that she wasn’t going to put herself through his exercises in pain and humiliation anymore. From then on she always skipped PE and she didn’t care what anyone thought about it.

Last night my usual nocturnal meanderings through various news and social sites brought me to a rather tragic place! I wasted 10 minutes of my life reading and then re-reading a really disturbing article that prompted much reminiscing, and consequently, my little trip down memory lane. The article was penned by a self proclaimed dating expert 🤦🏼‍♀️. Said “expert” touts the wonders of the feminine Thigh Gap and the Pussy Gap. These two things are, according to Pig Man, the pinnacle of feminine beauty and attractiveness. Please forgive me while I pause to vomit and also while I try to reassure myself, once again, that the voice of reason and balance will be louder in the ears of my sons than trash like Pig Man wrote.

As I read that article I was taken back to being my teen self, staring at my pork sausages on the oval that day and I felt a sense of rage at the the information that I was processing. I am so thankful that I married a respectful man. I am so thankful that my sons are respectful young men. However, I am so angered that anyone thinks it is okay write an essay defining feminine beauty and include absolutely not ONE word about her heart, her soul, her passions, her interests and the innate things about her that are so intrinsically “her” that you would know them anywhere. That Pig Man felt compelled to justify his dangerous obsession with a thigh gap and tried to normalise that type of thinking …… well, it just makes me furious.

Women, you gorgeous, amazing humans, do not buy into any kind of bullshit that would try to tell you that you must be a certain way to be beautiful. I raise my middle finger to arsewipes everywhere that would seek to put beauty into a tiny box and say that is the only type of beautiful! Thick thighs, thin thighs, and everything in between, perhaps especially the in-between (see what I did there 🤣) we are all beautiful!

Beauty is NOT a size

I am 43 years old and in my 43rd year I attained a thigh gap. It’s actually a full leg gap and I seriously don’t care about it!! It really wasn’t worth getting excited over and I hate that it has such an influence over generations of women. What I am more excited over is the broken road that I have walked along and what I have learned on this shadowy path. We never really know strong we are until we have to be and I have had to be. The most valuable lesson that I wish I could magically bestow upon every person that I meet is that you do not have to be a certain anything, size, shape, weight, be able to list certain qualifications, or achievements to be seen as valuable. You are valuable just as you are! If no one else is cheering for you, please know that I am and honestly, learn to clap for yourself!

The wah wah wah of my broken heart

2020 has been a pivotal point for me. It has, in ways I didn’t know were possible, affected change in the way that I envisioned my life panning out. I’m so many ways, that have been totally wonderful, I am a better person for the pain and for the struggles. I am thankful in all that has happened. I am thankful because it has revealed to me so much about myself! Sometimes when we are unmasked it is a wonderful thing and sometimes it is a terrible thing and sometimes it’s both. I have been able to see the things that needed to change.

Recently I took a drive and sat, staring at ocean. I grew up on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, ocean is in my blood and has always been my place of solace. When we moved from paradise to the other end of the country, there were two things that struck me. The first was how different the seasons are in this beautiful little part of the world. The second thing was, the way that ocean looks here. Sitting at the start of The Great Ocean Road it is impossible to keep ones eyes from staring off into the horizon. It is majestic how gnarled rocks jut proudly out of the swirling, rhythmic depths of aqua blue beneath them. The windswept coral vistas still so untouched in so many ways, make me long for a slower pace of life. I am always mesmerised by the way that the vast Australian sky and her ever rolling sea can blur and meld into a mauve haze where it looks as though they meet. It makes me wish that I could walk to the horizon and wrap myself in its mysterious beauty but it doesn’t work that way.

What I have learned from the many times I have admired that particular vista is this, it always changes. I have come to love that about it. I have come to accept that change is the thing upon which I must depend when visit my favourite spot. And this has become the metaphor that most strongly represents 2020 to me. Some things are constant but change is as inevitable as the sun rising tomorrow and we must be resilient.

In 2020 my health was impacted, my husband had surgery, happily, our boys have been home for months and we have all loved that. But for months I have been really open about the fact that I have struggled. I have been super honest about the level of brokenness I felt and also about the feelings of not coping that have threatened to pull me under, over and over again. The thing is – I may have been down but I refuse to stay there. Nothing has changed except me, I have changed and I refuse to bask in a place of sorrow. Stormy days and angry seas do not last.

The wah wah wah of my broken heart is a tiresome sound, even to my own ears! So it is onward from here. The isolation of 2020 has given me something most precious – and that something is time. That time has enabled me to once again take hold of the wispy threads of dreams that I have had, gather them together and begin to weave a tapestry that looks different but is still beautiful and so much more is coming 💞

Photo Roulette

If you have never played this little gem of a game, you are missing out. We now have a change to the Covid-19 restrictions that we are living with and we are allowed to have 5 people visit our homes. Last night we played this with two close friends – the game is essentially this “guess whose camera roll a picture comes from” and you have a limited time to make your choice. Would you do it? Expose your camera roll to the rest of the room? My camera roll is full of my kids, my family, myself in various stages of transformation, my dog and work related photos. As we were sitting there playing, a photo popped up that I didn’t recognise at all but it was a picture of a large person and photos like that are regularly sent to me by folks asking for advice, so I assumed it was my picture, as did everyone else playing. When that round finished, everyone had that picture wrong – it was from Steve’s phone and it was me! I was totally shaken. How is it possible to not recognise myself??

I sat looking at that picture and it really got to me. If I had known all of the things would happen over the next three years I would have so wanted to find a way to pause or stop time. I would have chosen different outcomes for my family but I wouldn’t have chosen a different outcome for myself. Can you see it in my eyes? The absolute anxiety at being in front of people, feeling horrible about myself and wishing that I didn’t take up so much space in the world? I can see it, it is written all over my face.

This was me – Three years ago to the day. It was two years ago that I had weight loss surgery. That night WAS my defining moment. Not so much because of the double diplomas, but because of the decision I made. I hated how I felt that night. It should have been a celebration but instead I wanted to run and hide. It was the very next day that we increased our health insurance to cover weight loss surgery. I made a life altering decision that night, as I looked out on the hundreds of people assembled, that I never wanted to feel like that again.

I had worked sooooooo hard to stand there, full time mother, working full time, studying as best as I could and fighting through some really crippling anxiety to complete my double diploma. However on the night that I should have felt like I could celebrate my achievements, all I felt was self conscious. My graduation gown wasn’t big enough. It was the largest size that they had. I remember my total embarrassment as tears burned in my eyes. While the gown wouldn’t fit, my humiliation was all encompassing and it wrapped itself around me, cloaking me in feelings of shame and inferiority. I was so conflicted that night. So proud of myself on the one hand and so embarrassed and ashamed in the other. I decided while I was standing in that fitting room, surrounded by strangers, that I NEVER wanted to feel like that again.

Those feelings were the tipping point, the shove that I needed to make the decision to have weight loss surgery.

This is the photo I didn’t recognise

Me Yesterday