by Paul L. Grace-Neal
Oxon, Hill, MD–Ever since I earned my midway curves in puberty my doctors have pleaded with me to lose weight. As an unwelcoming incentive, some doctors even highlighted the benefits of losing weight vs. the risks of remaining overweight. It never failed. With each doctor’s appointment I received my friendly reminders. You need to loose some weight. When are you going to lose weight? Even when I changed doctors the script remained the same. LOSE MORE AND MORE AND MORE WEIGHT!!!
When I told my doctor that I had recently lost 70 pounds, she was ecstatic but… I still had not reached my ideal weight. I was predisposed to illnesses. I was unable to move around comfortably. At one point, I even struggled to tie my shoe laces. I still needed to LOSE MORE AND MORE AND MORE WEIGHT!!!
With each admonishment, I quickly became more discouraged and the weight piled on. I rebelliously and emotionally ate a lot of food. I always ate out and I didn’t have much food at home because I went broke eating out. My menu consisted of McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King and occasionally, a nice sit down restaurant.
Reflecting on the significance of my defiance, I think about the metaphorical unnecessary baggage I have held onto and carried around for years: Negativity, rebellion, sabatoge, break-ups, rejection, and low self esteem, and the biggest one of all, people pleasing. Because of my extreme level of low self esteem, I wanted people to like me. I didn’t feel worthy so I tried to earn it. I thrived off of compliments and accolades.
In recent years, I have re-thought my need to make others happy and proud of me at the expense of my peace and happiness. From the time of my childhood until a few years ago, I tried to please others. No matter what I did, I just couldn’t do enough. I didn’t do well in grade school. I didn’t date the right people. I didn’t learn to drive until I was 18. I was constantly fired from jobs. At 25 , I identified as a lesbian. At 44, I identified as a Trans* man. I was ousted for wearing ties. I just couldn’t get my $#!+ together in others’ eyes.
BUT THIS IS MY LIFE! I can’t continue to live for anyone else but me!
When I began taking care of myself instead of nursing everyone else’s feelings, I began the journey to wholeness for me. I began taking care of me–physically, emotionally, Spiritually, mentally, and financially.
Recently, I even cut ties with people who were weighing me down. Some weren’t accepting of me identifying as a Trans* man. Well, with the HELL I experienced to become content with me, I was not about to have someone else bring the dis-chord and dis-contentment for me to regress and digress for one moment. I am moving forward and refuse to look back.
Some friendships had simply run their course and we were no longer compatible. I became drained as I poured my all into us and they expected me to be their all. I took on their baggage and became more depressed and discombobulated. There were times that I literally didn’t know whether or where I was going or coming.
But today is a new day and a new year. I don’t like making New Year’s resolutions to break by Jan 1 at 12:05 am. I make life time resolutions to loose weight, physically, Spiritually, emotionally, and mentally.
From this day forth, I will release myself from the bonds of my past. I forgive myself and I forgive “you”.
From this day forth, I will use my resources wisely (as I learned in Girl Scouts). I will budget my time, mind, finances, and priorities to be all and do all I can be.
From this day forth, I will seek direction from God instead of designing my own plan. I will keep an open mind when I don’t see how it will work and trust God.
From this day forth, I will not become so angry that I lash out at others but will prayerfully and assertively communicate my concerns to effect positive changes in my life.
From this day forth, I will live for today. I will stop procrastinating and do it TODAY! I will release any self-sabotaging behaviors and thoughts and do all that God has called me to do.
From this day forth, I will let go of any unnecessary baggage weighing me down and holding me back.
From this day forth… I will lose weight.
This will be a time for me to thrive as I let go of those things that hold me back. I will stay focused on my dreams, determination, and destiny.
Welcome to my new day!
Welcome to my new year!