At first, I felt guilty and embarrassed to tell this story. But I did it anyway, telling myself I have a right to self-care. Setting firm boundaries takes practice and determination. I had to learn to stop allowing anxiety and low self-esteem stop me from taking care of myself.
Sometimes the strongest people are the ones who smile and love beyond all faults, cry behind closed doors and fight battles nobody knows about. That person was me. I was battling lupus and low self-esteem from years of heartbreak and depression.
From lupus medications to stress from life. I often looked in the mirror and wasn’t pleased with who I saw. I gained 80 pounds in two years. I found myself dreading shopping because I hated the way I looked in clothes. After my painful divorce, I met a great guy but I refused to get nude in front of him in fear he wouldn’t like the way I looked. Despite everyone telling me I was beautiful, I didn’t feel that way. While I wanted to lose weight, I found myself waiting for the right time to start a lifestyle change but quickly learned waiting for the right time is a prime example of wasting your time. Never wait to be a certain size to start enjoying clothes, also never reject anything thinking it won’t flatter your shape until you try it on.
I was diagnosed with discoid and SLE lupus in 2003 and fibromyalgia in 2017; with medication, my weight fluctuates, my hair falls out, my skin flares, I’m always tired and in pain. Instead of talking about my burdens, I re-channeled my focus to talking more about my blessings in efforts to inspire someone to do the same. I committed to a lifestyle change and as a result, I naturally dropped four dress sizes in less than 6 months. It didn’t take much; it took being committed to inner peace, expansion, gratitude, and self-love. While I am not the size 6/8 I used to be, I learned all bodies are good bodies and the minute you become comfortable in your skin, it’ll become easier to make positive changes for yourself and not society’s perception of what you should look like. Remember, whatever someone thinks is wrong with you is where your superpower lies.
I had to ignore the comments about my weight gain and hair loss by reminding myself that hurt people, hurt people. That’s how pain patterns got passed from generation to generation, so I must break this chain today. I must meet anger with sympathy, contempt with compassion, cruelty with kindness. Greet grimaces with smiles but most importantly, forgive and forget without finding fault. Once all of that was gone, the weight was released literally and life became better. I can’t say I changed much about my diet, but I am committed now to eating better and exercising more.