Vulnerability and weakness

By TERESA HAMMOND

It’s been two years this issue since I first shared the story of my weight loss journey in these pages. To quickly summarize, it’s a story that did not begin on New Year’s Day but rather mid-year as I faced my true unhappiness and how I had dealt with it.

Food is a funny thing, for many of us it represents a number of things: celebration, family, love and … avoidance. That’s what I had to face when my journey first began. I used food to self-medicate and did not engage in physical activity to offset it in the slightest.

Earlier this year, I shared that I found 10 pounds that I lovingly refer to as ‘date weight.’ My partner (aka PIC) and I enjoy nights out, either just us two or with kids in tow. Activity level aside, the ‘good’ life has a way of catching up with you.

Personally, I view life as a journey, a chapter book. Each chapter slowly unfolds and as you reach its conclusion, if you’re lucky, if you’re present, you learn a bit before starting the next.

So while I’d love to share in this issue that those 10 pounds no longer plague me, that would not be truthful. They are still hanging on via the down three up three weight loss dance.

I’m not a slave to the scale, I do however have certain clothes which when they fit I feel I’m in my best self. In other words, I feel good when those jeans and/or shorts fit and it wasn’t long ago that they did.

The 2016 year however has not been a chapter of total loss, weight or otherwise.

As I have struggled with the 10 pounds, balancing a life transition from single mom of two kids, to one in a committed relationship new hurdles have arose and (in time) been cleared. Moms/wives/partners, for the most part, put ourselves last. That’s why baby weight holds on as long as it does, that’s why we look for motivation and then beat ourselves up for not completing our goals, that’s why we as women must support one another. In my opinion we are the worst at not just guilting ourselves, but self-criticism.

During the 2016 year, I’ve had to allow myself to become more vulnerable than ever before and with that face my weaknesses. This is big. Personal growth is hard, most especially when you feel you are doing it under the microscope of those who have supported you through tough times.

As a people pleaser, I have found myself in a place of recognizing what truly makes me happy. Learning to listen without judgment, accepting that another’s path is not mine to judge or question and love in a way which is all a bit new.

Granted that’s a lot to pack into one chapter, but it’s a powerful one all the same. What I learned in 2016, is that while the girl whose 8.5 by 11 photo graced these pages in 2014 may have had her physical life figured out, she still had much to learn in the way of personal growth.

Being vulnerable is hard. Trusting unconditionally can be a challenge and forgiveness, now that’s where the key to happiness lies. I’ve learned a lot as I’ve reflected on choices, mine and those of others.
What I’ve learned most and find myself saying most to my children and my PIC is the beauty always comes back to choice, our personal choice. We choose to allow ourselves to trust, be vulnerable and acknowledge weakness or not. In doing this we also choose how we let the actions, opinions or reactions of others affect our chapter. That’s huge.

So, as I say good bye to my 2016 chapter and open the new chapter of 2017 I’m grateful to those 10 pounds. Those 10 pounds brought some good lessons. Those 10 pounds gave growth a new name. They also helped me both recognize and accept that I’m not just at peace with weakness, but happy to own it. In doing so the next chapter promises to be just as impactful in my life and maybe another’s.

Happy New Year. May your 2017 be filled with abundance in blessing, love and reflection as you find yourself growing in ways you never thought possible. Cheers!

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