It’s a shame that it’s taken me so long to get around to posting my ‘In the Buff’ entries. I didn’t realize how hard it’d be to fully explain, in detail, the things that I don’t usually tell people, to the world. But I’m determined to get past all this insecurity nonsense and the wall that I’ve put up because of it. So here it is, simply, in the buff.
My biggest, ugliest problem that I have is being self-conscious about my weight. From the age of thirteen, I had always been 5’5” and no more than 115 pounds. That was it. I was always comfortable eating what I wanted to, never counting calories or worrying about bloating. I was so comfortable wearing a bikini, showing off my tiny little navel piercing lying atop my tiny little belly. I was always comfortable shopping, being able to feel sexy, in anything I wore. I was comfortable in my own skin, with who I was on the inside and out. Point is though, I was COMFORTABLE. Never once did I think that I’d be one who’d feel like the “fat chick” in a group.
When I got pregnant with Punky, my hormones turned on me. I went from being free-spirited to worrying constantly. I went from optimistic life-of-the-party to pessimistic Debbie Downer. I ruined all my friendships. I pushed everyone away. At one point, I even got so mad that Papa hadn’t cooked my dinner fast enough, that I chucked a half-frozen chicken nugget across the room! At times, I even hated being pregnant, because I spent so much time hating myself and how I was acting. When in reality, I couldn’t help the way I was feeling; no matter how much I tried. On top of that, Papa had just enlisted in the Army, about a month after we found out we were expecting. She wasn’t the reason he decided to join, but the money looked pretty handsome at that point. Within a month of signing, we found out he’d be heading out to Fort Jackson, South Carolina for basic training, for eight weeks. Two whole months. Sixty days. It was right around that time that we had just moved into our first place together, and being that neither of us were close to our families, the thought of him leaving me alone, pregnant, was the scariest thing imaginable. And on top of that, not even babysitting or growing up with three younger siblings could prepare me enough for the emotional ups and downs and terrifying “not-knowings” of being pregnant. I was all alone and freaked out. So I began to spiral out of control. I ate very unhealthy foods, I hardly ever cooked and didn’t take care of my body AT ALL. I spent most of my time bored out of my mind, sleeping or watching ‘Meet the Fockers’ and ‘Nine Months’, over and over, crying because I had never felt more abandoned in my entire life.
When Bop finally came home, I was a hot mess. No, better yet, I was the product after the mess had cooled. Like a dried up candle, solid wax everywhere. Just a shell of my former self, I didn’t know what to do at that point. Things were hard, Papa couldn’t find a job, we ended up forfeiting our place, moved back in with his mother (and all of her alcoholic nonsense) and my parents wanted nothing to do with me or my pregnancy. Everything seemed to be falling apart and I stopped having faith in things. Because of my wild hormonal changes, Papa lost his motivation he worked hard for at Basic and we both began to change. Our diets were terrible, we didn’t have a lot of money and I was nearing the end of my pregnancy, feeling humungous and quite a bit lost. To top it all off, I was just about to break the two-hundred pound mark with my weight. I was mortified! With all the craziness over those last couple of months, I never really realized how bad my weight was getting and the fact that my obstetrician had been warning me about my blood pressure and stress level being so high. Nevertheless, I was determined to try my best to make it work—with all things associated with life.
After I delivered, I lost thirty-five pounds. Barely 160, I was happy to be (somewhat) close to a normal post-partum weight range. My hormones were still a little bit whacky, but things finally seemed to be getting back on track. That is, except for my MIL’s drinking problem and the relationship I had with my family. Being so new at parenting and not really having anybody to turn to, I made a lot of mistakes as a new-mom. Breastfeeding didn’t last long, I didn’t choose to not vaccinate like I wanted to, I didn’t do anything in my own way. I had so many questions about things, but nobody was there to give me an answer, just their own one-sided opinions. Because of that, I slowly slipped back into depression mode and began to lose myself---once again. Like with pregnancy, I felt alone, except for this time, people were only around when they wanted to shove their point of view down my throat. With that, my diet started to plunge again. My portions got bigger and I began to lose my problems in the bottom of an ice cream carton, just like I had when I was with child.
By January of 2009, I found myself back to tipping the scale at 200; this time, without a baby belly. I couldn’t believe I had gained almost fifty pounds---in two months. It’s like I had blown up overnight and not even noticed it! That July, Papa was set to ship out for Army AIT, so we decided to go ahead and tie the knot the day before he left. I told everyone I had chosen not to have a big, lavish wedding because of the time-constraint; when in all actuality, I was terrified of slipping into a white dress because of my size. Still though, I had to purchase a “formal dress” for the courthouse ceremony, which I wasn’t too thrilled about. Size 10’s didn’t fit. Size 12’s were out of the question. Size 14’s were tight. The only thing that’d button up were 15’s! My heart sank. I was so embarrassed and ashamed at who I’d become, that I had an emotional breakdown in the dressing room at Ross.
I was tired of looking in the mirror and seeing myself so unhappy. When in the world did I ever find it okay to miserable? Where did all this laziness come from?! That wasn’t me. Somehow, I managed to collect myself and got the hell out of there; promising myself that I wouldn’t buy another thing until I did something about it. We got married on June 30, 2009 and had a small reception (slash ‘Farewell Party’) at our house, with only close friends and family present. You won’t find many pictures of the event, because I didn’t take that many. I was so embarrassed of what I looked like, I BANISHED CAMERAS FROM MY BIG DAY. What a shame, really. The happiest day in my life and I have ONE photo of it. But that was how truly how bad it got for me. The next day, after Papa got on his plane, I asked my parents if they’d let me stay with them while he was gone for nine weeks. I had hoped it would help fix our relationship and help motivate me to be healthier and happier. Though it worked for a while, things didn’t last long enough to see any big changes. By that time, Papa’s mother had moved to Saint Petersburg to live with her fiancé, so Punky and I moved back into her house. We spent the rest of the summer running around outside, power cleaning the house and sweating my toosh off! I made the decision to cut out everything from my diet, except for veggie burgers, fruit and salads (sans dressing) and I lost 16 pounds in two weeks. Alarming, I know, but armed with all this healthy food, Wii Fit (which definitely helped me!) and a determined-to-lose-weight mindset, nothing was gonna get in my way. After Papa got home, we worked hard, together and lost even more weight; plummeting down to 152 pounds---quite an accomplishment for me, to say the least.
Now, here we are, close to two years later, and I’m still in the same spot; flip-flopping from 155 to 160--back and forth. But truth be told, I have waivered: bad habits have snuck their way into my life, busy schedules keep me from working out as much and because of it, yoga has made its way to the bottom of my “to-do” list and Wii Fit has collected dust atop my mantle. I’m not as centered and focused as I used to be and it’s quite disheartening. I want, so badly, to be back to where I was pre-pregnancy but just can’t seem to motivate myself to push past my weight loss plateau.
Despite the fact that I’ve come a long way both physically and emotionally since my pregnancy, I still can’t seem to shake the thought that I could still use improvement. Maybe it’s just the fact that I’ve always set such HIGH standards for myself or that I know in my heart that I CAN get there---whatever it is, I have to let go of it. I need to spend more time reveling in my accomplishments and less worried about what the scale says this week. I just miss being emotionally healthy and happy. And, with a little more work, I know I can get there. And then maybe the scale will follow suit.