I recently looked at a photo of myself from two years ago and remembered how I was feeling then. Then, I was feeling like I didn’t like my body. I didn’t look like the girl I felt most comfortable being. Then I began to laugh. I laughed because I would trade places with that body in a minute. Looking at myself now, I don’t recognize this person. I am not happy in this body and with what I look like, so instead of complaining about it, I am doing something about it. My husband has been a trooper through it all. Never once has he made me feel like I was less attractive in my heavier state; in fact, he has made it a point to make me feel beautiful and sexy, even with me being so heavy. Without being pregnant, at my heaviest, I was 145. When I started this journey I was 168lbs. While that might not seem like a big deal, I am only 5’2″, so 168lbs is a lot of weight on me.
How did I get like this? This story began during the summer of 2017. On that night, I had trouble sleeping. I tossed and turned and couldn’t get my friend off of my mind. I’d wake and think “it’s late, she’s probably up, but I have to workout in the morning. I’ll check in with her tomorrow on the way to work.” This continued throughout the night. I would repeat the cycle until 5:30 when it was time to wake up to work out. When I woke up I again thought to call her and decided against it again in an effort to maintain my schedule. I completed my workout. Feeling accomplished, I showered, got myself all dressed up and pretty for work, and left out of my home.
True to my word, I reached for my phone to call my friend while I was on my way to work. But first, I had to check Facebook quickly … or so I thought. The first thing I saw was an article that I thought was of no consequence to me. I continued scrolling and saw a RIP post that tagged her. I thought, this is a sick joke. This is not real. I talked to her on Tuesday. This can’t be. I immediately called my other best friend. Hands shaking. Voice trembling. Doubt, fear, hope all in my mind while I made this call. I asked “have you talked to [Friend] today?” I was crying, more like screaming, trying to get it out. I scared her. I didn’t mean to blurt it out, but I did. Her daughter was standing in front of her and her reaction caused her daughter to worry and for that I will always feel bad.
The post was true. My friend had died. I learned later in the day that while I was tossing and turning, she was fighting for her life. In the moments where I couldn’t sleep and only thought of her, my friend was slowly running out of time. While I was working out and trying to maintain my figure, my friend lost her life. She died, and I was working out. I put working out before calling her. While I understand that my phone call during that time wouldn’t have changed anything because she was already in surgery, the reason I didn’t call earlier was because I had to workout. I could have called. I could have kept her on the phone with me. She could be alive, if only I had called and talked to her. If I interrupted the plans. But, I didn’t. I had to workout.
Since that day, I have steadily gained weight with each passing month. I would try to put the fork down, but I couldn’t. Food was so comforting. It made me feel better to eat because while I was eating I wasn’t thinking of her. I wasn’t thinking about the what ifs. I would recognize that I was getting fat and would try to do something about it. I would start to workout and then I would think – “You’re working out again? Friend could have been alive if you weren’t so concerned with working out. She was comfortable being fat anyway, so why are you doing this?” With each workout, more and more guilt would set in. I couldn’t workout without thinking of her. So I ate instead.
I ate and ate so much until I ballooned up to a size 12 at 168 pounds on my 5’2″ frame. It was too much. I told my husband to just give me a month to eat my feelings and then reel me in. He gave me a month and let me eat without a single word about my weight. When the month was over, he nudged me to get back to me, but I couldn’t. What was me without her? She was my best friend for the last 15 years. The one I went to for everything. The one I called when I needed to laugh. The one I called when I had a question. The one I called just to call. There is no normal without her; so I would eat.
I had not shared these thoughts with anyone, including my husband, until just about a month ago. I told my other best friend that I was fat, had let myself go, and couldn’t get it together. She told me to change my mindset. She told me to remember all the times Friend and I would laugh and say our bodies would be bought and not built. She told me to do this in honor of her. Look good for my friend. Show Friend that we can have built bodies too. She released me from the guilt. Since then, I have embarked on a journey to peace with my physical appearance that starts with peace from the guilt of working out. Best Friend #2 gave me that. Best Friend #2 encouraged me.
So, I document this journey to peace for you all because I am doing this for Friend. Friend was open with her life. She shared nearly everything. I mean everything. She was an open book. So I share in honor of her. I share to continue her legacy. I journey to peace because she did. I am journeying on in the name of Friend.
Until next time, journey on!