Homeward bound 

I’ve come a long way in terms of making decisions.  Not just in terms of making good choices, but also just making decisions period. Most of my life I made decisions based on what others wanted, thought, or said. I made decisions trying to please or get people away from me. So for me to be able to sit down, think, and make a decision based on what is best for me and my family is almost unbelievable for me. Most of the time I struggle with a lot of self doubt and question, after I make the choice and the ball has started rolling. I think as my confidence and  strength to keep true to myself build this has started to diminish. However, recently James and I decided to move our family back to Nevada and that had me going back and forth for months. 

I kept asking myself if we were going backwards. Wondering if I was just being weak. Wondering if I was running away from something. I would feel confident in our choice and then here and there I would go through a whirlwind of emotion pulling me the other way. I prayed. I talked to James. I talked to myself. I looked back over the last 6 years. I looked deep inside of myself and asked myself a million questions. James and I kept these thoughts, questions, and choices to ourselves. We made this decision for our family alone. I believe we are able to do this, because we’ve been on our own this whole time. We haven’t lived by family, friends, etc. It’s been him and I. We built our life on our own through our own choices without influence. We built our foundation on our own. Him and I. The foundation. 

I think we needed years to be alone. To figure stuff out. To get strong enough and learn more about ourselves. To grow and deal with our own crap. We grew as a couple, but we grew even more as individuals. We learned, healed, and became a unit. We survived the first few years of parenthood on our own and still like each other. Haha. Now our daughter is three years old and we have to ask ourselves how she will have the best life possible. The first thing that comes to my mind is family. I tried to go every direction with my answer. I tried to talk myself into and out of everything. I came right back to family. I know a lot of people move away from home or where ever their family resides and are not only happy, but thriving and content. I also know a lot of people that stay by home forever and are also happy, thriving, and content. I don’t think there is a wrong or right. For me, I learned I feel best, happiest, most complete, strongest, most at home, when I’m by my mom and brothers. That won’t ever change for me. While I know that I can survive and be happy anywhere, I know that I won’t be living my life to the fullest. I truly believe that it will be the same for my daughter. She could and would have a great beautiful life anywhere. I believe it will be better and fuller to be by our families. To have grandmas and grandpa, to have uncles and aunts, to have cousins, to have family. 

Texas will always be where I want to be. Texas will be where I try and end up forever, but it’s not home right now. So we are going home. Right back to where we started. We aren’t going backwards. We are going where we believe we belong. We are doing what we believe will not only improve our quality of life, but our daughter’s and family’s too. I finally feel like I’ve gotten to where I’m going. Feels really good to feel like you’re going home. I can’t tell you how blessed I feel to be able to share the best days of my life with my mom and the rest of our family. We’ve been through some hard and dark times together. We should go through beautiful moments together too. One of the most powerful relationships in my life has been with my grandparents. I have plenty of memories and lessons throughout my childhood from aunts, uncles, and cousins. We can only hope that our daughter has the same. We couldn’t find one reason to not be where we wanted to be. Home. So mama, I’m coming home!! And Texas, it’s not goodbye. It’s see you later. 

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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. 

Half of me 

My parents split up when I was around 3 years old. There were 3 of us and my mom was pregnant with my brother, when we left our sperm donor. That was it. He never wrote, called, showed up to court, never gave my mom a cent, etc. Nothing. 4 children that were half his and he couldn’t mail a damn birthday card. Jerk. 

When I was 17 years old, I was on meth and a mess. I moved away to my aunt and uncles to get some help. I started to see a counselor. Her name was, “Judy.” She was lovely.  I remember our first session she asked me what my first memory was. I remembered being in a crib. I remembered playing and trying to get a tooth brush (I think) off the bed next to the crib. I remember my father yelling and smacking my hand. I remember him leaving and never seeing him again. I never knew how that one moment would define so much of who I am. I didn’t want people to leave me. I didn’t say no to anyone. I didn’t fight. I was  fearful. I was a pleaser. I would let someone take my soul and not say anything. The list could go on and on. 

It’s funny how our heads work. I have a wonderful mom. She’s been there from the begining. Loving, playful, and full of  fight for us. Why couldn’t my first memory be of playing with my mom? What was it about this one memory that made it stick and be first? Why?  I’ve often wondered why I was left with this memory instead of him just not existing to me. I’ll never know. Just like I’ll never know most answers to questions I have about him. 

I honestly don’t know if a child will ever get over being abandoned by a parent. I don’t know that there’s anything that will ever fill that void or answer so many questions that being abandoned brings. We had a good family that helped raised us and loved us. A power house mom that somehow not only survived, but thrived with all 4 of us. We were never without. I mean, we grew up with a lot less than most. We struggled to make ends meet, but we were never without. We always had clothes, shelter, food, etc. We could have everything, but we still didn’t have a father. Well we did have a father. We’ve always had a father. He may have been a horrible father, but he was ours. 

He ended up getting into a horrible car wreck and survived years later. He was paralyzed, and could barely talk, but he was alive. We received a letter some time after the accident. My mom told us there was a letter for us to read, when we felt ready. A little bit of time passed and I didn’t read it. One day I was high on God knows what and went looking for that damn letter. Big mistake. I read it and put it back like I had never seen it. Boy, I was livid. Before I was sad, hurt, confused, maybe even a little angry, but now? I was shaking in anger. I kept that a secret and just held on to it alone. Never told anyone I read it. He ended up dying. 

My mom asked us if we wanted to go to his funeral. She left the choice to us. My brothers and I decided to go. So we made the trip to Mexico with my mom. I remember my heart racing as we stood in front of the church. I remember being scared. I wasn’t scared of what I would see or the people. I was scared I wouldn’t be able to control myself. I was scared I would go kick the casket over. I was scared I would start screaming in anger and not be able to stop. I saw people crying and mourning this man that I had mourned my entire life. I was so confused. Could a man that abandons 4 children be lovable? Could that man be someone that made people happy? There across the aisle sat a girl with her mother. The girl was sobbing uncontrollably. The girl looked like me. That girl was his daughter. He was a dad? She knew him? Why? Why her? How could she love this man? I was so angry and so jealous. I knew he was a piece of crap, but I was still jealous. Why was she ok to love, but not me? We made it through the funeral. I didn’t kick the casket. I didn’t scream.  Instead, I walked up to his daughter and I told her I was sorry for her loss. I gave her a hug and told her I was so so sorry she lost her dad. 

I read that letter again eventually. Years later. I read the letter sober and as a mother. You know, I like to believe that I’ve done a lot of work on myself. I’ve worked hard to try and get over my shit. Reading the letter again, I still have anger and confusion. It no longer consumes me, but it’s there. In the letter he had said that we weren’t his kids. We were my mom’s kids. She raised and cared for us. The thing is that’s not how this works. When you have a child, that is your child. No matter what, he was my father. I was his child. He had that role whether he wanted it or not. I am a mother and I am responsible for the type of parent I am to my daughter. If I were to leave her, she suddenly wouldn’t stop being my daughter. He was a coward and in the letter I felt he was still trying to avoid responsibility. My aunt asked him what he wanted to say to us. He said, “I’m sorry.” My aunt had asked him if he loved us and she said, “He yelled at me as he was pounding his chest, “aquí los llevo!” (“I have them here”). Reading these things in the letter I felt as if I was being lied to. I wondered if a person that can abandon four children and never look back can even feel remorse. He was sorry? For what? Years and years and years and yearrrrss went by. Where he could’ve talked, written, etc. Now he was dying and he said, “I’m sorry.”  It just wasn’t enough for me, but it’s all I received and have. 

I never asked any questions I had. I never screamed and let it out. I never attacked him, while I sobbed as I had envisioned so many times. I realized I had everything I was going to get from him. Long lashes, issues, and my brothers. 

He had substance abuse issues (alcohol and drugs).  He was a liar. He was abusive. He was selfish. He hurt my mom. He hurt my brothers. He hurt me. He hurt everyone. It would be really easy for me to be just like him. I can’t tell you how terrifying that is. I have everything inside of me to follow lead. I have to fight like hell so that side of me doesn’t win. Today I write this as a 32 year old that is still angry and hurt. My father died and we never made peace. I was never given the chance to love my father.  I feel like that will probably be with me forever. Just like he’s always been with me forever. Whether he wanted it or not. He was there.  

I want to eat her face 

After marrying James, we called Las Vegas home and traveled the states for work. Marriage is interesting. My view on marriage is totally different now than it was then. Boy was I in for one heck of a ride. The only man I’d ever lived with was my brother, Daniel, and he’s a saint.

 I’m pretty sure I wanted to leave every month for the first couple years. Now, that being said, I have also fallen more in love with him everyday that has gone by. So yeah, figure that one out. 

We have had our moments that have made us question, if we were going to make it. I’m happy to say it’s been years, but we’ve been there. We selflessly gave ourselves to the marriage. Throughout our struggles and ugliest moments, we managed to put ourselves aside and figured out what was best for us. We learned that there was nothing that was going to break us. There was nothing that either of us could do, to make either one of us leave. I can not tell you the peace that brings. To know that no matter what happens, you have someone unconditionally loving you by your side. It’s everything. We have this love that is so much greater than ourselves. 

I never wanted children. I never had dreams about being a mom. I didn’t even want to babysit anyone’s kid, if I’m being honest. I didn’t understand them and I most definitely did not understand why someone would want a kid. However, James was the end of life as I knew it. I remember being so overwhelmed with this great love. I realize it sounds cliche and dumb, but I had this deep love for this man that created a longing for something more with him. Our love. There was nothing, but our love behind her. Well and some prayer, science, and a lot of money. 

On February 26,2014, it was the end of life as we knew it. After losses, tears, hard work, prayers, procedures, medicines, bed rest, etc., we had ourselves a beautiful baby girl. Our fighter. Our miracle.  She is bigger than we will ever be. I see her and I see James. I see a love that is so grand, I don’t believe anything in this world can top it. She is the perfect combination of us. The first words that nurses and drs said about her were, “wow she is something else!” I have continued to say that daily. She is special. She is one of a kind. She is ours. I love her so much I could eat her face!!!