Here’s a story that surely resonates with a lot of women throughout all ages: weight gain. Specifically, how it could affect someone’s mental health.
We all need a wake up call sometime in our lives, but the best ones come from ourselves. You feel me?
I’ve always been a big girl, and with being ‘different’ comes the lifetime of taunts and unwarranted opinions. Even when nothing was wrong with me health wise, people wanted to play doctor; even when I was heavily into sports and working out, even getting a certification as a fitness instructor at some point; I was questioned about my qualifications by some newbie gym goers who didn’t associate my figure with healthy.
I’ve weathered through much of that head held high, and after marrying the man who loved every inch, every roll, and every personality mode; I thought I was living the perfect life.
That was until a car crash that rendered me wheel chair bound for a good part of my life when I turned 35.
I won’t get into detail anymore about the therapy, the emotional toll it took on my family and work, and of course the lifestyle I was used to.
Where before I could do jumps, squats, and burpees like no one’s business, imagine suddenly needing two people to help you get out of bed in the morning, to feed you, and to help you do the most miniscule tasks we often take for granted.
With the medication and the sudden stagnant lifestyle, my weight and my figure ballooned.
Of course at first people looked on with pity, but when I was slowly starting to get back on my feet, suddenly the look of ‘Aw, poor her,’ turned into ‘Look at that disgusting fat lady on the fat scooter,’ because I needed the scooter sometimes especially if I wanted to go somewhere independently.
At the time, I could not have felt sorrier for myself: I was jobless, my movements limited, and my resolve to prove people wrong at an all time low.
It wasn’t until a conversation with my teenage daughter that something clicked.
She was telling me about the new girl on the cheer team; someone slowly gaining popularity.
“I mean, she isn’t the prettiest Mom, but damn can she do a cartwheel and a running jump like it was her life,” she said, clearly in awe of this girl. “She even flipped the bird at one of the girls when she tried to say some dumb thing about her looks. She threw the cheer handbook at her! It was so badass. I looked it up, and it said nothing about looks for the cheerleaders. Just that they have to know how to do the routines, physically able and all that,” she said, massaging my arm.
“Kinda like you when you were younger, Mom,” then off she went to grab something out the room.
I sat and thought long and hard about that conversation: my daughter is looking up to someone her age she associates with me, and she used ‘badass’ in that thought. I couldn’t let those kids down; more importantly, I couldn’t let myself down.
I woke up and immediately started looking up physical therapy givers in my area, and believe me, it was the gateway decision that led me up out of the wheelchair and opening up my world again.
I’m 38 now, and while it’s highly unlikely I will be doing high intensity workouts again, I can at least tell myself that I’ve done more, hell, I’ve literally survived more, than people will ever know.
And isn’t that something?