#transparencysunday How this life long battle with weight has colored my life.

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I didn’t blog last week because I knew this was coming. The time has come where I really become vulnerable. With you and myself. I am putting everything on the table this year so that I can begin to make progress and finally be able to say that #imlivingmybestlife.

Trying to lose weight started when I was 9 or 10. My dad made me go walk around the block by myself for exercise because I was gaining too much weight. It was scary being out there alone and I also was sad because I fwlt like I was a disappointment. It didn’t help that my brother frequently called me a fat pig (I still cry about that ’til this day). Looking back, it wasn’t my fault that I was rather “healthy”. At that time my parents had the most control over what I ate but I wasn’t mature enough to understand tha it wasn’t my fault but theirs. At such a tender age, I begin to look at myself as bad. As not “good enough” because I was seemingly bigger than my classmates.

Recently, in one of my weekly sessions, I was sitting on that beige couch in my therapist’s office writing down the negative thoughts that plays on that tape over and over in my head.I was filling out a worksheet called “replacing negative thoughts” with 3 categories. Notice negative thoughts, reject (what thought is more realistic), and replace (find a positive truth with scripture to apply). We decided to go on a 21 day detox from ONE negative thought. Your brain rewires itself according to your thoughts so I was eager to begin. I wrote a few down:

  1. It’s my fault that I can’t lose weight.
  2. I don’t deserve to be with someone who treats me correctly (whatever that means).
  3. I can’t succeed with losing weight.
  4. I always mess up.
  5. I’m so stupid.

When I read these out loud to her, I could not believe what I’ve been thinking. I REALLY AM MY OWN WORST ENEMY. The thoughts that took me out i.e. made me break down were the ones about weight. This was a hard session where I probably used up the whole box of tissue. I wanted to run out of that room instead of sitting there and being present in my truth at that moment because my truth was scary. My truth was depressing. It felt as if my truth was sitting on that couch beside me finally up out of my conscious and alive.

My weight has been a roller coaster. I’ve lost 30+ lbs 3 times throughout my life (high school, college, and last year) yet here I am once again back at the starting weight of my last attempt to lose. I told myself that I am a complete failure. That if I can’t be consistent with conquering this one area of my life then I can forget about being consistent in other areas. My “failure” at weight loss had colored my life.

It has kept me from making the leap into pursuing my wildest dreams. It has kept me bound from trying new things. All my life I have saw myself as “bad” and undeserving because I have never lost weight and kept it off. I’ve been holding back because I believed that I needed to take care of myself first before doing anything. Not thinking about the fact that I’m healthy as a tick. NO HEALTH PROBLEMS granted being close to 300lbs!

Not being able to lose weight for good and always being a bit bigger than my classmates led me to the worst issues I believe there is to have. I DON’T LOVE MYSELF. I AM SELF-CONSCIOUS. I HAVE LOW SELF-ESTEEM. So there you go. That’s the real truth that I’ve hid so well. It has led me to always look for validation from other people because I didn’t see myself as they did. I hear all the time how I have a great personality and can light up a room. My smile is beautiful and I am too. I’m a great mom and I’m doing this thing very well. That I’m so mature and have some serious visions for my life. I think to myself yeah, so you say. I know that this stuff is true but it just doesn’t seep into my soul so I go back home and ruminate on my flaws, mistakes, and regrets.

Nothing that I do is good enough because I always thought that I wasn’t good enough (this statement is a whole ‘nother post in itself). I always thought that if only I can try harder, if only I can be consistent. If only I wasn’t this size then I would love myself. Ha. Those two things have nothing to do with each other. Small or big, it wouldn’t matter because either way, I still thought the same thing.

But that stops here. It’s time to do something different so that I will produce different results. I am now in the process of rewiring my brain and learning how to embrace Jelissa and her flaws and all. I stand in the mirror and tell myself that I am beautiful. That I am worthy. I try to compliment myself throughout the day while also giving myself grace when I make mistakes. I tried telling myself that I loved me but that did’t last long because I don’t believe it. I have hope that one day soon I will.

I can’t let myself down. Not only do I have to love myself for me, I have to do it for Mason too. I lift him up and compliment him but yet it’s rare that I do it myself. J. Cole said it best. “Love yourself girl or nobody will.”

 

Transparency Sunday: #livinmybestlife means taking off this cape!

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The day that I decided to go get help (go to therapy) was when I realized that I was an emotional eater. I walked into the office of this white guy that was experienced with treating patients who struggled with weight loss. I only went 4 times as we weren’t getting anywhere. I didn’t feel comfortable talking to him and I knew it was because I thought he couldn’t relate to my life. The next time that I went was in the middle of my last relationship. I sought out a black lady who specialized in Christian counseling. I went in there to figure out why I was acting the way I did in the relationship. I mean, those were reasons why  I went but it wasn’t the reasons that I needed to be there. I was suffering from the “Strong black woman/Superwoman” syndrome. I had no clue. If you didn’t know, this syndrome  can be deadly.

On the outside, my life looked relatively perfect. On the inside, I was slowly cracking under the pressure. I was breaking and it was not going to get better if I kept going at the rate that I was going. I was to the point where I was just stuck. Still to this day, I am fighting the battle to take this super woman cape off and keep it off for good.

The “strong black woman” persona was created as a way to overcome all of the stereotypes about us as black women and because throughout history that is who we had to be. Everyone needed us and depended on us. This came with consequences though.

Underneath my cape, I was broken, bruised, and barely able to breathe. I wasn’t moving back home because I saw that as a sign of failure. I wasn’t going to seem as if I needed help with raising Mason and I was definitely not asking anyone for money. I made my bed and I was going to lie in it.  I didn’t see that I was not alone because my pride told me that I didn’t need help and I didn’t need anyone. Here I was, in this city alone, hoping for a job in a field that is dominated by white males (where I am considered a unicorn – as told my by first boss -___-) and parenting solo. I was so determined to keep it together, to make it look easy, to show everyone that I was capable of playing the hand that I’d been dealt in life.  My life on social media was true but it was just a highlight reel. You didn’t see the ugly parts.

What makes up the strong black woman syndrome?

  1. You feel as if there is an obligation to look strong, to come off as having it all together.
  2. You suppress your emotions. Even if the world is falling apart around you, no one will see you fold.
  3. You feel as if you can’t get help and being vulnerable is something that you’re not.
  4. You have a motivation to succeed against all odds. You let nothing stand in your way and you’re gonna move forward at all costs. You don’t mind paying the price.
  5. You feel as if it’s your responsibility to put yourself last because there are people who need you.
  6. You take on everyone’s problems and their stress becomes yours too.

I had all of the symptoms. Somewhere along the way the Holy Spirit told me, “Baby girl, you can’t pour from an empty cup. You gotta get some help.”  It just wasn’t anymore left to give and as a result, I was not taking care of myself,  not eating right, not sleeping enough. I JUST DIDN’T HAVE THE TIME because I was too busy being everything to everyone and nothing to myself. Self-care was non-existent. I just keep going and going and going.

Sounds familiar?

Enough is enough! Sis, it’s time that we take our capes off. We weren’t built to move in this world all by ourselves. Here’s some tips to help you remove it for good.

  1. Learn to notice the early signs of stress. For me, it’s tension in my neck or I become very snappy. I stop and think about what’s going on to cause my reactions.
  2. Begin to manage your stress. Delegate tasks to someone else, don’t pretend to be just fine when someone asks how you are (I AM TALKING TO MYSELF!). Accept help when someone offers it. It really takes the weight off of your shoulders and no you will not be a burden.
  3. You gotta find the time to exercise, eat more veggies and fruits, and get more hours of sleep!
  4. Set boundaries. NO is a complete sentence. Tell your family no, your boss no, and tell yourself no. YOU DON’T HAVE TO SAVE THE WORLD.
  5. Create a plan for when it’s too much. For me, that’s taking more time for myself, sending Mason to his dad’s, and heck, skipping out on some obligations during the week. The world will keep going without you.

It won’t be easy. You will first have to get used to being vulnerable but I know that we got this. We made it this far, we still have our right mind, a great future ahead of us. Inbox me if you want to talk. Otherwise feel free to leave a comment saying me too if you relate. Talk soon 🙂

Transparency Sunday: I love Mason but sometimes I don’t like Motherhood.

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In the last 6 months, I’ve grown to enjoy being a parent. Before then, I looked at it as a burden & a job that I didn’t want to do. I even thought of giving up my parental rights bc I absolutely loathed it.Yeah, I know that I hid it so well.
Between dealing with so much regret and blaming myself over and over again for getting pregnant. I didn’t want kids EVER. I believe that I had post-partum depression but I denied it at every check up. As time went by, I had to do most parenting alone and I ran into money problems. I mean just having enough to pay the bills. Those issues sent me into an even darker place.
I just wanted to be alone. I didn’t want to talk or be bothered yet here was this kid that I had to care for. It was aggravating to say the least.
I decided to seek help because I knew that crying every day and wanting to be alone was not normal. It took 2 years for me to finally see progress from therapy. I did’t want to take meds because that meant that something was really wrong with me.
Then I decided to embrace it bc enough was enough. The mood swings, irritability, anger, and crying all day everyday became unbearable. Since taking meds, my mood has elevated to where I am motivated to do the work that my therapist needed for me to begin the journey to healing.
After putting in some work, I begin to change my mindset and try to see the best in situations. I went from seeing Mason as a burden to seeing him as a blessing. He brings so much joy to others and now I am not as lonely as before. He’s like my little best friend and I like to be around him and teach him what life is all about.
I never talked to anyone about how I felt. I thought that they’d think I was some evil ungrateful person. It took me so long to actually tell my therapist how I felt about parenting. I thought that even she would judge me.
If you’ve can relate to my past feeling or situation then know that you’re not alone and it’s ok to have those feelings.Have hope that it gets better.
My inbox is open to anyone who’d like to talk without being judged!
Here’s a quote from an article: “…So few mothers admit to having these feelings, but that doesn’t make them go away. Parenting is difficult, and of course it makes sense that not everyone is equally suited to it temperamentally. But the stigma of admitting that one doesn’t really enjoy being a parent is enormous, and the necessity of hiding those feelings can be a huge burden—which in itself is a contributor to depression and anxiety..”
Read full post here: Motherhood