it’s not just the pounds, it’s the baggage. the years of emotional trauma that have been heaped upon your soul and weighed you down in ways you were never aware. how your shoulders used to lean forward to protect your heart, how you dressed to be ignored rather than noticed.
it began before the separation. you stopped drinking coffee over a year and a half ago and never looked back. you became a vegetarin for two weeks in the spring of 2016 and never stopped (although you consider yourself pescetarian now). it laid the foundation, the groundwork, for the bigger health choices to come. it made starting a fitness routine easier, having given your body a break from stimulants and heavy protein.
the past six months have been challenging, but you have stared them down. you channeled energy into building muscle, releasing old wounds and tension, into reshaping yourself into the goddess you always knew lie dormant. it was a gradual process, like the taking the stairs at work, and arriving at the top floor so winded you had stop and take a moment to catch your breath. then you began to exercise, for real, cashing in some personal training sessions you won at an auction, and which have been your salvation and accountability. now you run up those stairs, hands full, and just keep going.
the scale says you’re down 55 pounds, but you’ve gained strength, and muscle, and you’re 6 sizes smaller than when you began. as quickly as you buy new clothes, they seem to swim on you, all the anger and frustration melting away the harder you train. you don’t miss a day of working out, and you feel the difference if you do. it keeps you balanced and whole, and allows you to burn off all the fury from the other aspects of your life that are less than ideal.
you’ve formed a love affair with kale, and eat more whole foods than ever before. you stopped eating sugar 6 months ago, and that alone has lent you more focus, stamina, stability. your skin looks radiant from all the water you inhale, and you feel younger than you probably did at 25. more confident, more self-assured, a woman who knows what she wants, and more importantly, can communicate it.
you would like to think this might have eventually been your path if you had been able to salvage your marriage, but in your heart of hearts you recognize that dishonesty. the marriage, its dysfunction, left you no room to truly feel good. the weight was the protective suit you weaved to buffer the chaos, and sometimes abuse, that you weathered over and over. the marriage was nothing more than the rock that the tethers the balloon that wants to fly.
sometimes you need to lose it all to gain even more, allowing yourself the courage and space to let the aspects of your life that are no longer serving you to dismantle and break. you need to watch things crumble and burn, feeling the heat of the blaze as the inferno wipes away all the things you thought were important but that were superficial. a house. a car. a status. an extra ‘r’ between the ‘m’ and ‘s’ before your name. these are all replaceable, but you are not.
in the wake of such destruction, you know that there is beauty, life and grace. you know that you are still fortunate to wake every morning and sleep every night. you know that your heart still beats with passion, and the drumbeat of your soul now has an audience that will listen because the previous confusion has been wiped clean. you know that you are strong, not just in your body, but in your conviction and soul. you know that amidst the ash that has been scattered, you are the phoenix, rising with majesty, ready to soar.
Reflections of a woman spawned in a cement cocoon...