You would think after 33 years of being laughed at and whispered about, that I would be used to it. That it would no longer sting. That I'd be strong enough to make it through without tears. That I'd be able to look at the progress I've made and stare naysayers in the face with pride. I thought so too, until it happened.
My family made a little 5th birthday celebration trip to Edgewater Hotel & Waterpark in Duluth, MN. We traveled up on Friday, checked in early and spent the evening in the waterpark. Even though I'm still not proud of or happy with the appearance of my body, I confidently wore my bathing suit as I played with my kiddos. I enjoyed everything the waterpark had to offer, I climbed all the stairs to the tall slides and screamed and giggled my way down them. Saturday morning, I woke up bright and early, rolled out of bed at 6:30 and threw on my running gear and headed out the door for an early morning run along Lake Superior. I wasn't planning on more than 3 miles, but it was beautiful and I was enjoying myself, so I did 5.3 miles. It wasn't fast, but I loved running again, and I haven't been able to say that for the last two months.
When I got back to the hotel, I joined my family in the waterpark to have some morning fun before checkout. We had fun, came back to the room, packed up and headed out to do some exploring.
We enjoyed lunch at Betty's Pies, a frozen Gooseberry Falls, Bentleyville and beautiful lights at Bentleyville. We ended our time in Duluth with a quick dinner before heading home and that is when a little conversation with my son quickly turned an excellent day into a super emotional moment, it went something like this:
Me: What's up buddy? (to my 4, now 5 year old son who was looking quite pensive)
Ray: When you were going down the green slide today some kids were laughing at your butt and that made me sad.
Me: I'm sorry that they made you sad buddy, but I hope you still had fun (fighting as hard as I could to hold back tears)
I was sorry. Sorry that he had to hear it. Sorry that he had spent the last 8 hours thinking about it. Sorry that he had a mom who's butt was the butt of a joke. Sorry that my life's choices had caused him pain.
I know that a couple of kids laughing at my butt is trivial. I know that kids are jerks. I know that I am making progress, but it still really hurt to see how much it hurt my son.
I wanted to go back and find them and tell them that I ran a marathon a couple of months ago, that my butt used to be a whole lot bigger, that I just ran 5 miles that morning....but they weren't the ones that needed to hear it, I was.
I needed the reminder that even though my butt is still big, it is filled with muscles that powered this 247 pound body through 26.2 miles. I needed the reminder that even though it is big, it is much smaller than it used to be. I needed the reminder that I need to keep fighting, I can't give up on this fight even though I don't have much fight left in me. I needed to remind my kids that it is never ok to make fun of the way that someone looks, talks, walks, learns....it is just never ok to make fun of someone, period. (If you haven't reminded your kids of this lately, please do.)
So I reminded myself that even though it hurt, it does not define me. It gave me the motivation I needed to continue this journey with more than half of an ass, which is about all I have given it lately.
I unfroze my gym membership tonight and started weight training again. I looked back at my weight progress and realized that when I had gotten down to my lowest weight so far in all of this, 225, I was lifting weights at least 3 days a week, so I'm hoping that it will help me get back on track again. But this is such a small piece of the battle for me.
The battle comes every time I find myself starting into the fridge, cupboard or drive thru menu. I've been trying to figure out why I am so prone to turning to food rather than God when I feel any emotion. What is it that I think I'm getting from food that I can't seem to get from God. It is absolutely an instant gratification/relief thing for me. I turn to food because getting answers from God always takes a lot more time than I want to wait. The satisfaction from food always turns into guilt, so I know in the long run that it isn't going to give me what I'm looking for, but when it seems like I'm on the verge of completely falling apart, food gets me through, and I need to break this cycle.
So that is that. This journey is hard, I keep hoping it will get easier, that some day everything will just click and I won't have to keep fighting, but I don't think that day will ever come. I pray that I'll always have the strength to keep fighting.