Once there was a baby girl was born to a couple that was full of love, hope, and assurance that the future would be bright. Soon after, and their perfect family was complete. Perfect in the sense that there was an abundance of tenderness and unconditional love, laughter, and joy. But as life would have it, the safe haven they called home would not, could not be the only place they inhabited.
The young girl was a shy introvert but very opinionated while the young boy was the opposite; outgoing and was endeared to everyone he met. They were more than just brother and sister. They became the very best of friends and were inseparable. “Twins is what they should have been”, many said.
Life went on as it does and then took an unexpected and devastating turn. At age 4, the young girl became acquainted with a pain, longing, and emptiness that would take years to sort through. She had the unfortunate experience of being in the constant company of two adults who disregarded her innocence, her future and her fragile nature and subjected her to sexual and verbal abuse. This went on for 7 years and then when she turned 11, the abuse ended as abruptly as it had begun.
I imagine she was relieved to not have to deal with the constant threat of abuse but now she was left to deal with the past abuses and how does one at the age of 11 begin to make sense of such torment. Well, she doesn’t. She pretends it never happened. She vows to never tell a soul. She tells herself that it was just a bad dream. This isn’t real life. She moves on, but it is with a shattered heart, a severely distorted image of self and a constant aching for an inner peace and self love that seemed forever out of reach.
She buries herself in books. Books is where she finds some solace. It is an escape from her wretched condition in life. She also finds peace in her best friend; her brother. He loves her, he understands her, he makes her laugh and every happy memory she has from what anyone could barely call a childhood is because of him. Her books and her brother were her saving grace.
To experience such trauma and then bury it, pretend it didn’t happen and not tell anyone doesn’t mean it’s over. Often times, as was the case with this young girl the pain is manifested in behaviors, decisions, and choices that stem from the trauma and the unresolved issues that it creates. The poor girl “struggled through the struggles” for years, managing to not only finish high school and college but to excel in her studies. That she attributed to her love of books. Her heart somehow remained soft. That she attributed to the love from her brother.
She faced more traumas as the years passed and her health declined and her weight increased. Food was one of the ways she began to self destruct. Eating whatever, whenever. To say she didn’t care was an understatement. She was just going through life waiting to die. The walking dead. Living, breathing, eating, working; but dead on the inside. She often wondered could life get any better. Surely, God didn’t intend for her to have such a tragic life. And she decided that she could not go on this way besides what did she have to lose?
It took years to get to some normalcy. It was layers upon layers that had been buried for years. But she was committed to not being a prisoner of the past, regardless of who created it for her. She began to focus on forgiving herself for the bad decisions she made. Forgiving herself for not loving herself.
Once she began to heal and love herself she started to pay attention to the food she ate and began to exercise more. What she discovered is that many of her bad eating habits and not caring for herself physically was a result of her indifference towards herself. A healthy lifestyle is an act of self love. The more she began to love herself, the more she became committed to a healthy lifestyle. Self love is not shoving Taco Bell down your mouth at 1am because you are depressed. Once she realized that she began to make changes. It took years. She accepted that it was a process. A challenging journey, but it was worth it. She had already been through the worse. Hell, if she survived that, then why not try giving up cookies too 😊