I’m not alone 

The thing that comes with hiding everything is loneliness. No one ever knows the truth. No one knows anything. I’ve always been surrounded by people. I grew up in a big beautiful family. How did I manage to make myself feel so lonely? I did that by hiding everything. I did that by telling anyone what they wanted to hear or not saying anything. Then, I went back to hiding in my horrible dark world. Alone. That was my norm. Sometimes it still is my norm. It became a habit. A hard habit to break. 

It started out as fear. Sometimes it was embarrassment. Most of the time I didn’t want to take anyone down with me. I didn’t want to share the pain. It was bad enough I had to carry it. I remember actually thinking that as a child. Most of the times I would just shut down. I wouldn’t say a word. You could sit there and ask me questions or talk to me and I would be mute. I remember wanting so bad to talk. I remember telling myself in my head, “Open your mouth! Say something!” I just couldn’t get anything to come out. Sometimes it was probably out of stubbornness. Most times  it was deeper than that. To be honest, sometimes I still shut down like this. Not often, but it does happen.  Old habits… 

It seems as I grew older and older my secrets grew to be  bigger and bigger. From not liking oatmeal and having nightmares, to sexual and drug abuse.  I never stopped hiding. I kept it inside of myself where only I could be hurt by it. I alienated myself. I was surrounded by people and completely alone. It started off as unintentional and then became the only way I knew how to be. Alone in my misery.  I know, misery usually loves company, but I guess I must be a decent person. I only feel that way about dieting, exercise, sad movies, etc. Then, I believe everyone should suffer with me. 

I’ve had to work hard at being honest with myself and with others. I have to work hard to say things out loud and put them into other people’s worlds. I have to work hard at not wanting to be alone. Whether it’s alone in my misery, hopes, goals, fears,etc., I’ve had to learn how to let people know and see that. I still want to be alone most days. However, now I can’t shut up it seems. Perhaps I’m making up for lost time. As I heal and discover, I find myself being able to share more of my life and myself that I worked so hard to keep hidden. There’s also times where I’m still not ready to talk or share things. Some days I wonder if I’ll ever be able to lay it all out on the line. If I let my depression take the wheel, it would and has convinced me before that I’ll always be alone in this. It’s easy for me to run away and convince myself I won’t ever find peace. That I will forever be in pain by myself. That no one will ever know these things I carry inside of me. My head will turn on me with the quickness. I need my reality checks. I need my list of what my life is now. I need my husband asking me questions that annoy me. I need to keep sharing. I need to keep being honest and not just try to shut people up or shut myself down. It’s taking me time and I know more time than most, but that’s how I roll. I’m healing and learning. It’s great being able to tell people I don’t really care for Adele’s music, I can’t ride a bike, I tried to kill myself more than once, I still believe in  and pray to God, I suffer from anxiety attacks, Beyoncé doesn’t empower me, driving still scares me, I’m a woman whose body rejects pregnancy, I’m an addict, I’ve never seen Star Wars, I’ve been losing weight for 1.5 years and I’m still overweight,  I’m Pro-Life, I feel all alone in a room full of people, I met my husband in rehab, I believe America is the best country in the world, I once stole 9 barglasses from applebees, etc. I told you guys. I can’t seem to shut up now. I know, I’m not for everyone. I’m not even for myself most of the time, but I’m as real and honest as I know how to be. It’s really taken me a lot to be able to say anything honest about myself. I don’t think I’ve ever been more genuine or true to myself. I wish I wouldn’t have wasted so much time alienating myself. I wish I could go back and let people into my world. I can’t do that, but I can let them in now. I can come out from hiding and be honest with them now. I’m lucky that I’ve had this long to come clean and try to welcome my loved ones into my secret world. I can only hope I’m blessed with more time. I want my mom and loved ones to get to experience the real deal. I realize I’m trying to make up for lost time, but I feel like if I’m lucky enough to be alive, why wouldn’t I spend that time with those most important to me? Making amends and healing by action. Making the most of my time.  Sharing the “real Gabi” finally.  I’ve been alone for way too long.  What am I doing alone in Houston? I think I’m doing this all wrong…. 

Leading by example

Life as an overweight kid was pretty rough. You definitely notice that you’re not one of the pretty ones and that you don’t look like other kids. Where exactly does that leave you? Kids can be ruthless and downright mean, but so can adults. Probably even worse. The world doesn’t like overweight people. I know with social media now there’s a whole “body positive movement” that seems to be spreading, but the fact of the matter is that it’s crap. Don’t get me wrong. I love the movement. I may even feed and promote the movement. I’m all for the message, but I’ve also lived as an overweight child and adult. It’s not nice. Most people don’t care why you’re overweight or that you feel good about yourself anyways. Being overweight is seen as laziness, lack of control, poor choices, gross,etc. However, don’t lose weight either, because a lot of people will hate and criticize that too. I know this from personal experience. The first thing someone is going to attack is our looks. Most people aren’t going to attack my lack of book smarts or that I’m a scaredy pants. They’d call me a fat cow, before that would happen.  The first thing someone will judge is our looks. Sad, but true. Even with the spread of body positive bloggers and plus size models, it’s an uphill battle covered in insults and judgement. Children are not excluded from this. I remember adults calling me chubby or commenting on my body. Trust me, if a child is overweight, they know that they’re overweight. Kids at school have called them fat. They’ve discovered they don’t look like other kids. They probably can’t play and run like the other kids. They know their clothes is bigger than others their age. Being an overweight adult is hard. Being an overweight child might be even harder. How do you cope with that as a child? How do you learn what to do with that? How is an overweight child supposed to learn to stop it? It’s a child. I was a child. Children aren’t meant to cope with being fat. Heck, most adults don’t even cope with it. It’s horrible. It’s like a tunnel that people just get stuck in and can’t get out of. Children included. 

As a little kid, I didn’t understand or know why I was overweight. I only knew that people called me fat and that’s what I was. I can remember my own family members, classmates, and even random people calling me fat and various insults based on my weight.  As I child, I don’t believe that I had any control or power over my weight. I was a child. I didn’t know I had the option or ability to be a normal sized kid. I didn’t know how that was even possible. I didn’t know why I looked the way I did. I would get older and stayed overweight. I hear people say, “kids stretch out. They’ll outgrow it.” Yeah, I’m still waiting for that. Most children that are overweight, turn into overweight adults. It sucks let me tell you.  I started as a girl that would eat to the point of sickness, so that I wouldn’t go to sleep and have nightmares. I would get older and just learned unhealthier habits that settled in even harder. I never learned to be anything else. 

Of course, at some point we become responsible for our own actions, bodies, choices,etc. I stayed overweight. By then, I wasn’t just overweight. I had issues way bigger than my weight. I was dead on the inside. Do you think I cared what I looked like on the outside? No. All I wanted was to shut my mind off. To not feel anymore pain.  To erase everything from my mind. Oh hello drugs. Then, I found that if I use drugs like meth and opiates, it’ll make me lose weight too. I signed myself right up. For years and years. Guess what? I stayed overweight. Just my luck huh? 

I talked a big game about giving birth to my daughter and using her as a weight to exercise. (Give me a break.) I talked about having her and getting right back out to running and two hour gym sessions. Prior to the fertility treatments, I was probably in the best shape of my life (until now.) So I was hopeful that I’d have her and get right to it. Haha. That was cute. The only thing I used my kid for was a reason to eat like crap and not exercise. What happened to all the work I had done prior to having her? Physically, mentally, and emotionally!  I had promised myself I would show her better. That I would be better. I had retrained my head. Read books. Counseled myself.  I told myself I would lead by example. I had done so much work to just drop the ball. Ugh back to square one. I had to start over. This time fatter than I had ever been in my life. I started to change my lifestyle little by little. 

I worried about my daughter ending up in the terrible cycle of the overweight world. It used to scare me. Now it really fuels me. I truly believe in leading by example with children. I believe our children are the way they way are, because of us. They know what we teach them. Hence, children being mean to overweight people and kids. Following lead. 

My daughter is three years old and she wants to be just like me. She moves her hands like me, she talks like me, she wants to wear a shirt like mine, she wants to eat like me, she wants to sit like me, she wants to love her daddy like me, she wants to exercise like me, etc. I can’t tell you how terrifying, adorable, and motivating this is. I’m not scared my daughter is going to end up like me. I’m not scared she’s going to walk around being made fun of and not have any control over it. I’m not scared she’s going to have to deal with all the crap that comes with being an overweight child. These things used to scare me quite a bit. Except for the first time in my life, I finally have the education, habits, tools, and power to control my fears of my daughter growing up overweight. I finally know how to be healthy and what it means. I finally know what I’m eating. I no longer roll my eyes at moms who don’t give their children sugar or processed foods. I’m not trying to be a perfect mom or a hippie mom. I’m not trying to be better than anyone. I’m trying to raise a healthy child that learns healthy habits. I’m trying to break the cycle. I’m trying to give my child the best chance at this hard game of life. I’m trying to make it so that she doesn’t grow up addicted to sugar and food. I’m trying to make it so that food is not a coping mechanism for her, but fuel for her body. I’m doing that by example. Life is hard enough without having to worry about being overweight. My job is to protect my child and prepare her to become a healthy functionioning adult. I use that as fuel. Fuel to eat right. Fuel to exercise. Fuel to show compassion and forgiveness. Fuel to keep learning and advancing. Being the best version of myself. 

I’m no longer on a weightloss journey. That moment has passed. It turned into a lifestyle at some point. I won’t ever stop this. I make the choice everyday to make health and fitness an important part of our life. This is how my body and my mind feel best. Yes, I am losing weight, but it’s just what’s coming with living a healthy lifestyle. My daughter deserves a fighting chance. She deserves to feel good and be healthy and that’s my job.  This three year old carries so much power for me. She fuels me like no other. I started this journey for myself and now it’s for my family too. It’s not just me anymore. So when I don’t want to for myself, I do it for my girl. She’s watching. 

Hide and Seek

When I decided to have a baby, I knew it was going to be a journey. Not only reproductively, but emotionally. I had garbage from my childhood and adulthood up to that point that I carried. Garbage that I could pass on to our child unintentionally. I knew that I was a work in progress, but I knew that I needed to be honest with myself and confront all aspects of myself. 

When I found out that I was having a daughter, I screamed and cried in joy. She was on our vision board. Her name, her personality, her outfit it all hung on our vision board. Holy crap, a baby girl! Oh my gosh, a girl. A girl like me? Oh no. No, she can not be like me. I will be damned if I pass my crap onto her, because I don’t want to deal with myself. No. So it began. 

I thought about reading books on how to raise a strong daughter, but quickly realized the way to do that was by example. I started to read and learn about ways to improve my self esteem. I learned about ways to change my thinking. I trained myself mentally daily. I would go through lists everyday (I continue to do this) of all the good things not only in my life, but inside myself. My head tells me differently everyday. My head wants to tell me that I am depressed. My head wants to tell me that I want to kill myself. My head wants to tell me I’m not worth anything.  My head is a crazy B. So I have to make these lists. I have to see what is real and what is in my head. These lists help me to see my current life so that I don’t wander back to the past. I had to do the same thing in the mirror. I stopped myself every time I was thinking about how fat I was or looking in the mirror disgusted. I changed it over and over. Try not doing that while you have cankles and hormones ranging through your body. 

I told myself that I couldn’t let my daughter know this horrible world that so many of us are stuck in with our body issues and self loathing thoughts. I decided my daughter would know different. I wouldn’t be the one to teach my daughter to not appreciate her body. I wanted to be able to show her a woman that works to be the best version of herself. I want to be the one to show her self love. 

When I had my daughter, I was in a good place mentally. I felt strong and I felt confident. I really had been working hard on myself for a few years. Then, I was hit with post partum depression. I’ve struggled with depression all my life and had been pumped full of hormones for two years to have a baby. I had my baby and bam, I crashed. I felt horrible. The amount of guilt that followed was unreal. We fought and worked so hard to have this baby girl and I had her, but here I sat depressed and wondering why I ever thought I could be a mother. It was a struggle that my husband and I pushed through together. Poor guy. I’m not sure how he still loves me, but I’m so grateful. 

For the first year of her life, I did put myself on the back burner as most parents do. We moved back to Texas and figured our new life out alone just the three of us. I wasn’t taking care of myself physically and it showed. I continued to gain more and more weight. Before I knew it, I was the biggest I’d ever been.  I hid. I deleted any and all pictures that others or I would take. I don’t have a picture of just how big I was, but the biggest pair or shorts I had was a size 26 (but they ran small 😩). A few months before my daughter turned 2 years old, I decided I was done. I was done being the fat girl that I had been my entire life. That journey led me right back to my childhood. 

I do suffer from memory loss. Whether it’s intentional or because of the drugs isn’t known, until memories start to come back and I sort through it. As a child and into adulthood I hid everything. I hid my fears, my sexual abuse, hell I even hid my period,  my rape, my drug use, my self hate, I hid EVERYTHING. Deep inside only myself. When I decided I couldn’t be fat anymore, I had to go right back to where it started. It took me back to things I had hidden deep inside myself. As I started to talk and think about where it started, a memory hit me. It took me back to a nightmare. Literally. As a child and even into adulthood, I had horrendous nightmares. I remember them very vividly. To the point that I’m not sure all were nightmares and some weren’t real. To this day, I’m concinviced some were real experiences. After everyone would go to sleep, I would get out of my bed and sneak into the kitchen and eat. I would eat so much that I would end up sick and in pain on the bathroom floor. However, I was awake and not in a nightmare. Well I was in a different kind of nightmare. So there it began. My journey to becoming physically healthy and losing weight for good brought me right back to being a scared little girl. To be continued… 

My Good Thing 

I never imagined I would be alive at 32 years old. I never imagined I would live outside of my early 20’s. It’s a sad way to think and live, but that was my reality. I didn’t have a fear that I was going to die or get killed. I had terrible secrets hidden inside me that had already taken my life. In my mind, I was already dead. 

I lived with those feelings in this dark dark place for years. I painted this picture on the outside of a fun loving funny girl, but secretly I felt incredibly lonely and battered to hell. I had this deep pain that nothing could comfort. That wasn’t the only thing I was hiding. I was also a drug addict. 

I can recall a couple times that I tried to end my pain. I took more and more and begged for it to end. When I would wake up, it wasn’t a sense of relief. It was sadness. I “lived” like this for years. I was dying in front of everyone’s eyes and they had no idea. I’m not sure what happened, but suddenly I was just done. I couldn’t anymore. 

I was clean for a little while and thought, “hey, I’m clean. I’m alright now.” Uh no. That’s not how it works. I still did not know how to cope. I still had horrifying memories and secrets. I also had been doing drugs and living this way for most of my life. I didn’t know any other way to live and cope. I didn’t know how to make peace. I didn’t know how to stop making mistakes. I entered rehab voluntarily and sober in 2011, at the age of 26.  

Is everyone ready for it? Alright ladies and gents, here we go! I remember walking into the room without expectations or a clue about anything. I walked in and saw all these people that were just like me and yet I was terrified. I looked around and there on the couch sat a tall, handsome drink of water. His name was James. I took a seat and that was the end of life as I knew it. Don’t tell James this, but within minutes of meeting him, out of nowhere, my head told me I could marry this man. I want to add that I was the type of girl that never wanted to get married and men were nothing but disposable fun. I was never looking for anyone and I most definitely wasn’t looking to fall in love and get married. Ever. 

Days turned into weeks and weeks into months. James and I continued to be friends throughout the process. We would go on walks, talk, deal with anxiety attacks, be silent, cry, etc. We were friends and we fell in love. Love I never knew exsisted. Love I never knew I deserved. Love I never knew I wanted. The kind of love that gives songs meaning. Hard, soul consuming, make you want to throw up kind of love.

I married James, after knowing him for less than a year. We walked down to the courthouse in Oklahoma wearing David Hasselhoff t-shirts and jeans and said, “I do.” There was never reservation or anxiety. I had never been more at peace with anything in my life.

I truly believe that every ounce of pain, sadness, guilt, etc., had led me straight to this very moment. I believe that I was right where I was supposed to be. I believe that I had to go through all this, in order to get to him. I believe that James is my good thing, my unicorn, the climax (interesting choice of word) in my book, my gift, my sign from God, my one big moment. I believe that if the only thing I ever do in this life is show our daughter this great love, it will be enough for me.

I’m not magically fixed. I still suffer from depression and anxiety. I still seek help in more ways than one. I still have my crap, but I am different. I’m clean. I’m hopeful. I cope. I love. I learn. I share my old secrets. I live. I’m ALIVE and I get to figure this whole life thing out with James holding my hand. I couldn’t be more grateful. Thank you God for letting me live.2011