I recently decided to take a before and after picture that people often take when they embark on a weight loss journey and begin to see a difference in their appearance. For a while, I avoided comparing the 2017 (top) picture to the 2020 (bottom) picture. A part of me believed that it might be too painful to come face to face with the earlier version of myself because I felt I had failed her. During that time, I had resigned myself to a mediocre existence and viewed it as my lot in life. I had no way of knowing that within the next two years I would not only shed 40lbs but would also shed the emotional, mental, and financial weight that held me captive in a state of hopelessness.
In 2017 I was trying desperately to hold on to a 20+ year marriage that no longer served me or my husband. I fervently prayed to God to save my marriage and asked that He create a new wife in me for my husband and a new husband in the man I was married to. I wanted us to become who the other needed them to be and I truly believed this would solve our problems. I eventually came to the realization that my prayer was all wrong. Asking God to change us would mean no longer being the individuals we were divinely and authentically created to be. So, I made a simple change to my prayers and whispered four words to God, “Your will be done.”
I totally surrendered the situation and trusted that whatever had to be done and no matter how painful the journey might be, in the end, it would be for the greater good. That change in my prayer led to a string of painful events – the end of my marriage, a physical assault on my son, significant changes in my professional life, and the death of my 14-year old fur baby; however, each of those events played a key role in jolting me out of a catatonic state and catapulting me into a place of resiliency. Those hard lessons resulted in me becoming the best possible version of myself I was always meant to be.
I also utilized resources such as a strong support system comprised of family members, close friends, and an amazing therapist to help me along my journey of healing. I reacclimated myself with some lost loves – my love of cooking and of good music. I also discovered some new loves such as kickboxing, meditation, and investing – hence the shedding of the emotional, mental, and financial weight. I had finally created a place in my life that was filled with people and activities that helped feed my soul and I began to flourish. Now when family members and close friends tell me how amazing I look, I undoubtedly know that it’s not just because of the physical weight loss but it’s equally due to the light that shines within. I have a peace and a joy that is beyond my own understanding and I recognize and cherish how important they are and I protect this space fiercely.
Each of us has this light and for some, your light may be so bright that it’s blinding to the point that others can’t see or fully appreciate its beauty. For others, your light may be reflective and reveal to them flaws and trauma that they aren’t yet ready to face and heal from. Others may be drawn to the warmth of the light for their own self-fulfillment, taking from the light but never adding to it. And then some see and value the beauty of your light and you see and value theirs. The joining of these lights is powerful to behold. I pray that the vow I have made to only engage with people and in activities that can add to my light will serve as a beacon to someone else who may need reigniting theirs.