Have you ever taken a trip down memory lane via pictures? We went to Easter at my Mom’s house yesterday. Took a lot of family pictures because, we’ve figured out just how important they are to us now. This was our first Easter without Papa (grandpa). That man used to host an Easter that was talked about until…well the next Easter at his house. A bbq hauled in by a tractor filled with Portuguese linguica, tri-tips, chicken, ribs, and anything else he decided to grill! He’d be hosting the comedy show around the bbq pit with his cigar in one hand and a beer in the other. Tell a few old lies and maybe make up a few new ones until everyone was laughing and slapping each other on the back. When it was time to eat Papa was already full from his “tasting” duties at the grill and it was just an all around great time. I will never forget those moments watching him shine and this year was difficult without him, even though dementia took “that Papa” away 7 years ago. He lives on in my memories. It’s a day that will always bring a smile to my face and a memory of the man who shaped my life. However I can’t fail to recognize the truest meaning of the day as we celebrate the Risen Savior!
The point is we went, laughed, gathered with family and enjoyed a day of celebration. When the cameras came out everyone was a little more willing to get in front of them. There was jostling of the children, threats to get my son to stand still and not attack his sisters for the 25 seconds the few pictures would take and shooing of dogs out of the shots. After the photos were taken I grabbed the camera and scrolled through the pictures on the memory card in my Mom’s camera.
The first few pictures made my heart catch because, they were from 4 years ago and I saw all the changes in my kids faces and how fast they are growing up. Then it happened, I stumbled on my oldest daughter’s 8th grade promotion pictures. There I was next to her in all my glory…300 + pounds of disheveled mess. First instinct…DELETE IT…next one was shame and fear that anyone else was seeing it. That’s the point where I took the memory card out and slipped it into my pocket to make my own copy. (It’s not stealing if you fully intend to give it back! Right?) Came home and scrolled through all the pictures and realized something. Why am I feeling shame? Why is my first reaction to that picture negativity? I have come so far. I have worked so hard. I am not that fearful, person, hiding behind fat anymore. I am confronting my issues, working through them and becoming a stronger more confident person. I should be proud when I see those pictures. Proud, because, that is NOT who I am anymore. I am not sure I could have come to that conclusion 3 months ago. It hit me last night that I am working my butt off to leave that behind me and yet I keep lashing myself to it and pulling it around behind me so that it’s still part of me, still right there with me every moment. I need to distance myself from those feelings and thoughts. I can’t let them drag me back to that life and that unhealthy version of myself.
What started out as tears of shame became tears of triumph! I am NOT her anymore. We share a lot, we grew up together, we had our kids together but, you know what? She’s stuck there. She wasn’t strong enough to get out but, you know what? I DID! I let comments about “taking the easy way out”, “not having to work at weight loss” etc. take away my sense of accomplishment and my joy in what the Lord has blessed me with His strength to do. You know what…that’s OVER. There are always going to be people who don’t see that I get up at an unholy hour to workout, that I sweat my butt off and walk around with sore muscles from pushing myself. If they don’t buy it, let them come work out with me for a few days. There are always going to be people who think I don’t still struggle with eating and overindulging because, of my weight loss surgery. That isn’t what is important and that isn’t what has held me back….I DID…I let those things tell me I was a cheater. I let those people take something away from me because, part of me wanted to allow them to do that. Part of me doesn’t feel deserving or capable of living the life I’m living now. Part of me fears what is around every corner and wants to run back to “her” and hide in her fat and insecurity. I need to kick that part’s booty and prove to it that I am strong, capable and pretty dang amazing! I am not that push over little girl begging for attention and being taken advantage of because, of it. I am not the woman who puts herself last every time anymore. So I need to stop playing the victim and play the role I have landed…STEPHANIE, Christian, mother, wife, friend, role model to my children, partner to my husband and supporter of my friends, embracer of my family and most importantly…I need to recognize STEPHANIE and her gifts, abilities and great qualities.
Those of you who know me, know how incredibly mind blowing that last paragraph was for me to write. I never pictured myself saying anything like that, much less believing it! Change is good…no, change is GREAT and I am embracing every little bit of it! Step by step I am picking up my pace and moving toward who I was destined to be. I think I like her! 🙂
This morning brought another first. I don’t care what other people think or see, I went out and jogged with my daughter this morning in public. Not on the treadmill in my garage. We are doing C25K and it’s pretty empowering for the girl who is full of “I can’t” excuses, to just pick up and DO IT.
To new beginnings and a new and stronger “us” our struggles are not all the same but, they have bound us together as a family.