Throughout the month of August, I'm featuring several of my fellow VSG friends and their own special journey. No two paths are alike. Here, in her own words, is Heidi's story:
In science and engineering, the weight of an object is related to the force acting on the object, either due to gravity or to a reaction force that holds it in place.
The force on an object, or life, is exactly the cause of excess weight.
Some of the force might be from a genetic predisposition and some of the force might come from factors in the environment.
Weight has been a constant driving force and a mental preoccupation – it has become my identity.
I have a successful career. I am a mother, grandmother, friend, wife, counselor, manager, and child of God. I have helped to create and run two multimillion-dollar businesses. I have spent hundreds of hours volunteering and thousands of dollars donating to those in need. Most days none of that matters for me or some people in my path. Most days I am just a fat woman.
I never intended to be a fat woman. In fact, when I was a small child I was teased because I was too thin. Early on I learned I had no value or worth and I embraced that cloak of shame. The cloak was hewn of harsh words, painful blows, withholding basic sustenance, and the weight of that whisky breath and crushing weight of the man atop my 4-year-old body. The weight became engorged with constant words of disgust toward an abandoned child who became a weight of frustration on a family who found her to be “trouble”. The siblings allied against the one who did whatever it took to win their unwinnable approval and helped to pile the weight on. The shame of deeds unspeakable weighed down any chance of self-satisfaction or love.
The weight was, initially, a shackle upon my ankle – each step dragging the weight of unacceptance and a deep longing for death – a sweet reprieve from that which seemed to be just too much.
The weight became a comfort, a blanket, a sheath around a tattered heart and shattered soul. It was a protection from seemingly endless prying hands and hateful words. The looks of disgust were more comforting than the haggard hands bastardizing love with a physical hate. With each pound my feet shuffled in the weight of shame and self-loathing and in the comfort of the protection it provided.
And then within the folds of the weight of all that was unholy formed the smallest seed of a great calling and purpose. As the first seed, and then others grew into crystals of light the remnants of the weight became a badge of honor and a source of pride in creating such beautiful and innocent souls.
As those precious souls grew and developed the weight began to matter more and more – the shame remained and the roller coaster of fad diets and weight loss pills coupled with a desperate plea to God to take the weight from me consumed most idle thoughts. In the love of little lives, I learned some value and when the darkness fell like a cloak of death after my last child I determined to value the gift of life I was given from my creator.
With pistol, pills, and car in hand I stood at a cross road of life or death – caring not about the three souls needing me – All I could think was if I was free from this weight all would be good. With gut wrenching sobs and pain so intense I resolved to live. I resigned that day to fight for me and for my God and for my kids.
I finished my bachelor’s degree – even though the memory of that 9th grade teacher looking at me and telling me I had no business going to college burned deep scars in my resolve. I completed my master’s degree with straight A’s. I worked hard and turned my self-hate to service and work.
Still every day of my journey began, sustained, and ended with consuming thoughts of weight.
Every time I partook of a public meal, I felt judging eyes on me. Have you ever noticed skinny people can eat a donut, but everyone judges a fat person who eats a donut? Every time I went to a meeting I felt inadequate – the disgusted eyes of an executive looking at me wanted to make me run and hide. But I remained and held my head high against the burden of the weight.
Every day it felt as a weighted blanket suffocating my very essence. As I have walked one weighted step after another, I have journeyed from being a shameful victim to a victorious child of God with purpose and a plan. I am not that 4-year-old girl suffocating from the whisky breath any longer. While she played a role in who I am she, and the cascade of weighted events, will no longer have power over me.
I have chosen to stop hiding behind my weight. The time has come to spread my wings and fly.
Some time ago I let go of my hate for people and have worked awfully hard to advocate for anyone in my company, no matter how I perceive they are treating me. While love comes hard serving and kindness do not – they are only possible by the grace of God. As the world is focused on inclusion, acceptance, grace, and unity I have embarked on a journey of self-grace. In 4 or 5 days I will trust the skillful hands of a blessed surgeon to help me finally free myself from the weight which has been my companion, enemy, and best friend.
It is a gamble to write such things to such an audience but this is part of the journey. We may not agree – you may not like me and I may not like you but I promise to respect you and give you every measure of grace I am able and would ask the same of you. Some may say this is the easy way out – but those who know me and the fullness of my story know the road has been hard and the weight all-consuming. Finally, after nearly 50 years, I am asking for help to let myself shine. There is nothing easy about this journey! I am excited for the physical transformation, for being able to cross my legs, for smiles rather than down turned eyes. Bust mostly I am excited to break from the weighted cocoon which has shrouded me in shame.
You are welcome to your opinion – I will ask you for acceptance, grace and support – whether you chose this path or not, I will give it to you because I no longer need your approval to feel whole and worthy. I have discovered my intrinsic value and that will never be taken again.
Thanks for making it through – I will try to blog through this experience – follow if you like, or don’t. Either way I thank you for being a part of my life and pray God’s grace, salvation, and love for you.
To follow Heidi's journey, be sure to check out The Thoughtful Journier
If you would like your story featured, please e-mail me at LizRauInfo@gmail.com with you story and information.
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