Let me start by saying I’ve been a lost “little girl” for 40 years.
I’ve been living my life with more “masks” than one girl should have — just so that nobody will see the “real” me. One would think it was Mardi Gras year round with the number of “masks” I have (LOL, if it were even remotely funny!)
Truth be told, I’ve always been afraid that if anybody saw the “real” me, they wouldn’t like me, so I put on whatever “mask” I thought the other person — the obviously much more perfect, “got their act together” person — would be most comfortable with.
WELL NO MORE — my masks are coming off — the walls are coming down — and my shame is being used as fertilizer in my garden!
WHY SO MANY “MASKS” YOU MAY WONDER
Lack of confidence — anxiety — awkwardness …
At that time, they didn’t have clothing made especially for tall women (or children). I felt awkward and “fat”, even though I was still very thin, I was so much taller (and heavier) than all of my friends. While my friends were wearing a size 6 — I was wearing a size 10. My pants were too short and hit me wrong — the waistline in dresses didn’t hit me where my waist was — knee highs couldn’t have found my knees with a GPS — even the “go-go boots” of the 70’s (yes, they were VERY POPULAR) hit me mid-calf — and all of this was just the beginning of my downfall.
As a very young and self-conscious girl — I was ashamed — of being so tall — as if it was my fault — or worthy of shame.
I WASN’T ORDINARY AND ALL I WANTED TO BE WAS AN ORDINARY GIRL!
THE ONLY COMFORT I HAD WAS FOOD…
…and no I don’t mean fruits and vegetables.
I would walk a mile to school, but I always stopped at the Plaid Pantry for a little something — candy, cookies, Hostess — whatever. I became a closet eater. I had food hidden in my desk at school — my locker, later on — and hidden in my bedroom at home.
AND THEN CAME SUCCESS … IF YOU WANT TO CALL IT THAT!
I finally succeeded — I turned my vision of myself into reality — I was fat — and ultimately — obese. Isn’t that a horrific word. I remember going to the doctor once when I was 16, and he referred to me as voluptuous. At first I thought that was a good thing — then I found out he meant my now size 16 frame was waaaay too large! Add another “shame quill” to my “shame porcupine”.
ALL THE WHILE I CARRIED SHAME THAT WAS NEVER MINE TO CARRY
My “shame porcupine” had a lot of “shame quills”. Like a porcupine, these quills protected me from anybody getting too close to me.
I carried so much shame for things that I didn’t deserve to have shame over — they weren’t MY shame. I said I was going to remove the masks and let everybody see the real me … well here we go:
- TOO TALL — how could anybody relate to or like me (I’m awkward…)
- FAMILY ALCOHOLISM — how could I invite anybody over to play?
- MOLESTED BY EX-STEP-FATHER — It was only for a short time, but with long term repercussions and shame
- OBESITY — who could love “this” out of control girl — living an out of control life
I TRIED TO LOSE WEIGHT — OH YES, I DID!
I tried to lose my weight quite often, with some successes and some failures — but I always gained it back + more — add another “shame quill” to the porcupine that had become — me.
- WEIGHT WATCHERS
- COUNTING CALORIES
- EATING ALL PROTEIN
- EATING ALL CARBS
- FOOD COMBINING
- EX-LAX (I mean a whole box of 60 at a time)
- JENNY CRAIG
- and finally…
GASTRIC BYPASS SURGERY
There were so many diets I just can’t remember them all, but my final act of desperation was gastric bypass surgery.
Gastric bypass surgery was also one of the biggest mistakes of my life. I did lose all the weight (200 lbs) — only to find myself a scrawny, droopy, saggy, six foot tall, size 10. It definitely didn’t look like the size 10 of my youth!
Let me just say — for any of you who are considering gastric bypass surgery — there is no way to lose so much weight, so quickly, without being left with droopy, saggy skin; near empty boobs, and a butt that could pass as a collection plate.
BUT IT GOT WORSE!
When I had the surgery I was told that I would “sugar dump”. Sugar dumping is what happens to MOST gastric bypass patients when they eat sugar.
- It feels like you’re having a heart attack. In fact, it feels so bad, you hope you’ll die quickly, just to get it over with.
- Or sometimes you just becomes exceptionally, instantly sleepy and lethargic and you absolutely MUST lie down!
Neither of those things are what happened to me. My body reacted different than most. I could eat all the sugar and junk food I wanted, but I could NOT eat the healthy foods without throwing it up — and not just in the short term — but even now — 15 years later! What that means is I can’t tolerate most meats and most veggies are out too. Things like broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, any soft leaf lettuces, etc., all cause me problems.
“WELL AT LEAST YOU GOT THIN, KAREN, SO MAYBE IT WAS WORTH IT”
Oh, I can hear you now, but not so fast my friend — fast forward 15 years …
I have gained most of the weight back and still my body can’t process enough nutrients to sustain a healthy body. The results being:
- DEGENERATIVE BODY – both knees, both hips, back (including a protruding disc in my back)
- LOW POTASSIUM AND LOW MAGNESIUM — resulting in a cardiac arrest from an otherwise completely healthy heart! Karen Carpenter died from anorexia, but it was really from being deplete of potassium and magnesium. It stopped her heart, just as it did mine!
Those are just some of the results of my gastric bypass surgery, leaving me with the overwhelming feeling that I’m too old (or to young) for this s#%t.
I NEED TO DO SOMETHING NOW!
I need to lower all my self-protecting devices and masks and live openly and honestly.
I am working on really loving myself (warts and all) — changing what I can — and embracing what I can’t.
God created ME, he gave me so many talents that I have cast aside — devalued — or outright buried. I don’t mean talents like singing (I wish), or dancing, or art — but HE gave me the talent of loving others — compassion — a servants heart — and laughter. Thank you LORD for those gifts.
THE TRUTH OF MY LIFE AND MY JOURNEY
Here’s to Peace, Love, and New Beginnings!