Date: February 22, 2015
posted by Women Enough / Comments: No Comments / Tags: child abuse, happiness, obesity, personal development
Growing up in an abusive home led me to have an unhealthy relationship with food. There were times I wasn’t sure I would eat at all. So, every time there was food available, I ate. I ate way past the ‘full’ point. In a way, food was comfort to me. Needless to say, as the result, I grew heavier and heavier.
Being overweight, I was ridiculed in school and later by grown-ups. My self-esteem was pretty much nonexistent, my body had trouble handling the excess weight, and I was miserable. I was physically and mentally falling apart. Yes, I saw the looks, the glares; heard the whispers and snide remarks under people’s breaths. Many people assume fat people must be stupid and there were many times I felt like a 3rd or 4th class citizen. At the beginning of 2004, my body and soul ached so much I wanted to end my life. I just couldn’t deal with any of it anymore.
Fortunately, I have an awesome husband and amazing kids. I couldn’t quit on them. Changes had to be made. The following day, I made an appointment with my doctor (we were stationed in Germany at the time) to explore my options. She suggested weight loss surgery. With nothing to lose and everything to gain, we started the process. In August of 2004 I was scheduled for gastric bypass surgery. That was the day I got a second lease on life. (Thanks to the surgery I have lost 180 lbs and over the years kept all but about 40 off).
The spring of 2004 I enrolled with the University of Maryland Europe and started on my associate degree. I was able to take about 1 class per semester and graduated at the top of my class in 2007. I felt so good and knew I could do anything I put my mind to. Losing all that weight and getting my degree really helped me gain self-confidence, self-worth, and most of all self-esteem. It really does wonders.
Unfortunately, the years of abuse, neglect, and the massive weight took a toll on my body. Currently, I am dealing with the after effects of it all. Strangely, I am ok with it. It all made me the person that I am today and because of it all, I am able to help others by sharing my story. It always warms my heart when somebody gives me a big hug, a smile, a thank you, because my story has helped them.
Due to my health, I am unable to have a regular job. However, I am not the type of person to sit around and wallow in self-pity. Totally not my style and really, it wouldn’t do anything anyway! Since I was not able to find a regular job, I decided to become my own boss. With all the opportunities out there to work from home, it gives me the chance to contribute to our family fund. Aside from the income, one of the aspects I like most, is the personal development that is being provided.
It wasn’t until this year though, that I really took advantage of the resources available to me. Because of it, I have learned so much about myself and I am learning more every day.
For the longest time I blamed my parents, my circumstances, or whatever I could think of for my misery. All those years I saw myself as a victim and acted accordingly. In the past few months I learned to consciously take responsibility for my feelings and actions. It is not easy and it is a lot of work. The rewards however, are immeasurable. I feel a lot more at peace with myself and the people around me. It really is hard to describe. Yes, I still catch myself falling back into the old patterns but I am catching myself a lot faster these days and then can re-direct my thoughts and feelings.
They say after every storm there is the sun and a rainbow. Well, they are right. I am so glad I never gave up and always believed that there is something good in any situation and circumstance. My husband and my two sons are what kept me going. They were always by my side, loving me and cheering me on, and kicking me in the rear when I needed it. Most of all, they never gave up on me. I love them so very much and will be forever grateful.
Beenie Mann is an entrepreneur, a mom of two incredible sons, and an Army wife. There is usually always a smile on her face because it is good to be alive. Connect with her:
Facebook - Get Well With Chocolate (Matters of Perspective)
Her website - Beenie Mann. Twitter.
Image: Gisella Klein. Find at Flickr here. License details here.