The journey that I am on will never truly be done. I will reach my “goal weight”, I will meet the challenges I set for myself head on, I will manage to organize my home and my personal space but I am constantly evolving and changing. What worked for me tomorrow will look different in the morning light today.
I find myself greeting these changes with open arms. Embracing the wave of energy I feel when something new comes my way. I find I have experienced that significantly lately.
On January 19th of this year I had a full Abdominoplasty or “tummy tuck”. I had this surgery to remedy constant irritations and infections under an overhang of skin following a 150 lb weight loss. The emotional roller coaster I have gone through as someone who has vowed to love their body no matter what has been eye-opening without question. I have learned about what I hold important in my life, what I am willing to let go of and what I am willing to change.
The first couple of weeks following the operation were more challenging than I could have imagined. I wasn’t really prepared for the toll it would take on me physically and emotionally. With the help of Dr. Jason Gray’s staff, the support of my friends and the undeniable love from my son I can say I am coming out on the other side of this now. My recovery, while not complete, is getting easier day by day.
One pivotal moment occurred not long ago but not in the way I would have ever imagined it. About 2 weeks post surgery I suddenly had this urge to put on a bikini to see how it looked. I grabbed one that I had used for before pictures shared privately during weight loss challenges. I couldn’t have been happier. The woman I saw in the mirror reflected more accurately the woman I feel like on the inside. I cried but it didn’t feel like I was crying with happiness. There was something deeper happening to me.
A couple of days later after a long overdue counselling session I found that I was asking myself why it felt like a much bigger moment for me than just trying on a piece of clothing that now looked so different. It then dawned on me ~ I was 6 years old the first time I could remember a person I trusted with the innocence of a small child hurting me, violating my body and spirit. The moment that happened changed me. It changed the perception of my body. It took away from me the ability that all children naturally have to accept themselves unquestionably. I had not worn
anything that showed my body to any degree with any feeling of confidence since that time.
Putting on that bikini changed that. It challenged every negative emotion and thought I had running through my head about my body for the last 34 years. I took back something that was rightfully mine. Being able to look through an unfiltered lens and truly accept myself for the way I am at the very core. I am human, I am perfectly imperfect and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am a survivor.
To the millions and millions of people out there who have gone through something similar if not worse than I have, to the countless children out there who have yet to tell I say YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Reach out, get help and don’t let anyone continue to take what’s rightfully yours for even a second longer. You are worth more than that. You are bigger and brighter and more powerful than the things that are hurting you.
Now I am focusing on heading into the next chapter of my life. My first big goal for 2015 is right around the corner. The Keane Classic in Fort McMurray promises to be one of the most amazing and challenging experiences for me thus far but I am facing it with a renewed energy that I feel simply exploding out of me. I am overwhelmed by the encouragement and support I am receiving on a daily basis from those around me and I know that will help to carry me through the butterflies of walking on that stage.
Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing I hope that you’re safe. That you have people to talk to. That you’re able to look in the mirror and say I am perfect just the way I am.
(The Survivor): Daniela Hartshorn
(The Journey): Brod-e Bizzle
~ Love D.