Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Walking Reflections

About a year ago... maybe two... I had taken my family to a beautiful, isolated forest to hike amidst the thick ferns and towering trees. It was a place I had gone many times before; a peaceful retreat where I could go to hear my own thoughts clearly in the silence. I used to go there and walk along the winding dirt path, sunlight filtering through the canopy, and breathe the deep earthy scent while I made wishes. I would whisper to the forest, "Please, bring me my soulmate. Send him to cross my path. I need someone to love." A prayer, perhaps. It felt like a sacred place. And so I was excited to bring my husband to this special forest. I had in my mind an idyllic vision of us walking hand in hand along that same path. So I brought him there.

As we began our little hike, the older kids ran on up ahead. It was a long path and there were some difficult and steep areas on the way to a lighthouse at the pinnacle. I never had gone all the way up there. Not far into the forest, it became a bit difficult for me. Weighing 278 pounds is not a characteristic you should strive for if you are training to hike mountains. Anyway, just a few minutes into the forest, my husband was getting ahead of me. He was carrying our baby with him. He got further and further ahead of me, and I was huffing and puffing along behind. I was nearly out of breath as I huffed out, "wait... wait for me..." as I stood bent over, hands on my knees, trying to catch my breath. But it was too late, they were gone. I could hear the faint laughter of my children up ahead, but I knew I was not going to catch up. My husband never looked back. I sat down on a log there in my sacred forest, and I cried. As the tears ran down my face, once again I whispered to the forest. "Please... please help me lose this weight. Please send me the strength and courage to do it. I so want my life to be different. Please... help me find a way." I sat in the silence and tried to make some kind of commitment to myself and draw strength from the solidity of the trees. I sat in the silence for a very long time, and then hiked back down to the car to wait for my family.

Yesterday, I took my children to a large, sprawling zoo to see the animals and walk along the winding paths, lined with trees. It was a zoo I had gone to many times before, but have never been able to walk ALL the paths in one day. In the past, I have had to stop numerous times during our zoo visits, to catch my breath and rest my legs. Weighing 278 pounds and walking along miles of hilly walkways can result in a LOT of pain. My husband decided to come along to the zoo. As we entered the zoo and began walking, I noticed that he was going quite slowly. His knees have been bothering him... giving him a lot of pain lately. I slowed my pace so as not to leave him behind. As we walked along, looking at the animals and enjoying the peacefulness of the zoo (which is thick with vegetation), he followed along slowly. We had not gone even 1/4 of the way through the paths when he decided to sit and have coffee and wait while the children and I finished our visit. And so, he did. And the kids and I walked every single path in the zoo together, and I did it without having to stop and catch my breath or sit and rest my knees. We walked for hours. We had a wonderful time together.

I have noticed that my husband now moves much like I did when I weighed 278 pounds. When we are walking up or down stairs, I can do them normally... but he has to take them the exact way I used to: both feet on each stair. Very slow and painstaking. And while we are not getting along at the moment, I would NEVER wish this kind of agony on ANYONE. Watching him gives me flashbacks of MYSELF as a morbidly obese woman. It just makes me ache inside to see. I have lost weight; he has gained it.

I see it all around me. People stuck in huge bodies, hurting, wanting to get out but not knowing how. It reminds me of the pictures of Hell that my mother used to show me when I was a child: drawings of tormented souls trying to crawl out of a fiery pit, but always being dragged or poked back down by a devil with a pitchfork. I don't believe in that kind of burning hell, but I have lived the other kind of hell. The pain is real, the torment tangible. I am not going back.

Come on out and live. Breathe the fresh cool air. Whisper to your God or your Self of the Universe for strength. Pull yourself out and LIVE. I believe in you... in all of us. We can join hands spiritually and do this TOGETHER. It's time.

21 comments:

laine said...

You are in my thoughts.

Katschi said...

Lyn, I would hug you if I could.

Anonymous said...

Wow...that was so profound. Thank you for sharing so much wisdom. I wish you the best...you deserve the best!!!!

Karen in TN

Anonymous said...

You refreshed my resolve to continue to lose weight with your thoughtful, insightful post. Even down 24 pounds I feel 110% better than I did at 274 -- weight loss is such a gradual state that we need to be reminded what we are accomplishing and what we have to look forward to from time to time. Thank you for reminding me.

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Vickie said...

really good posting.

I think that I too NOTICE other people's struggles more (now). I have the "unzip the fat suit and step out" feeling - for other people - a lot.

Ceres said...

I'm so glad you're around to write posts like these... It must be so exciting to be able to do all that walking again! Perhaps it's time to visit the forest again? :-)

Autumnseer said...

I recently started my own weight loss journey, starting out at 268. After only 3 weeks eating well, working out, and losing just under 10 lbs has already made a huge difference in my energy.

I, too, was always so ashamed of being out of shape. There is a chance I may be able to go to Alaska in the fall. How I would love to be able to hike a bit and enjoy the life God gave me instead of sitting and crying as you once did.

What an inspiration you are and how compassionate this journey makes us for others who find themselves in the same position.

Fab Kate said...

amen

Anonymous said...

You continue to amaze me with your honesty in your writing. I want you to know that I have a new empathy for heavy people. Don't get me wrong, I've never been mean or nasty, but now when I see someone heavy I wonder what kind of battle they are fighting. I view them with kindness and not a wonder of "how could you let yourself get that way."

I have never been obese and I hope that I never do, but please believe me when I say that internally we all fight the same struggles. Your feelings about food are my feelings about food. I am an emotional eater, a former binge eater and I fight with the "voices" almost every day.

Thanks for this blog. Keep up the great work.

Honi said...

Lyn.. you are indeed a brave warrior .. look how far you have come.. and look at the good health greeting you now!.. wishing you strength through your difficult time!

spunkysuzi said...

You have come so far!! All i can say is wow on this post ;)You are an inspiration

Ready to Shrink said...

I was really saddened at the beginning of this post. Hearing that your hubby left you behind breaks my heart. You are an amazing woman. I love reading your blog and gaining insite from every post.

The zoo is a great triumph! Even though there was saddness for your hubby, I celebrated mostly in your joy with your children, and a wonderful day at the zoo.

deanna said...

Strength, courage, resolve, you posses it all. Thanks for opening your soul and sharing everything with us. I am ready, and glad I can come here for inspiration, support and reality.

Anonymous said...

Lyn

I too have had the same revelation. I have struggled my entire 5 decades with weight and have lost 100 or more on more than one occassion (OK go ahead and think it...how stupid...i know I really know) now I have come down 75 pounds once again because of health reasons and I can't help but notice all the heavy painbodies (sorry for 'stealing' Eckhard Tolle's line) walking around and thinking the exact same thing that you spoke so eloquently of. I do see alot of pain and misery, and I understand it. It's so much better to be free of it and not a prisoner to it.

Debra

Lisa said...

You Rock!

Anonymous said...

Lyn,

Today's blog really spoke to me. Living life as a fat woman really is my own personal hell.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Yet again, you've put words to my thought and feelings.

Rhonda (aka Girlygirlsebas at 3FC)

Blubbery Blogger said...

Thank you for your incredibly moving blog post. Even though I am just starting my journey to health, I too have already started noticing individuals who are journeying in the opposite direction. I wonder how I will feel when I have reached my goal weight and I see others who are still suffering. I wish no one had to suffer like this anymore, it is so extremely painful in so many ways. I wish you all the best in your personal life.

Heather said...

good for you! I am so glad that you are healthier and can enjoy yourself with your kids and not worry about being left behind anymore.

MB said...

WOW! I'm so happy you were able to enjoy the day with your kids. It doesn't get much better than that.

The last time I lost a substantial amount of weight I remember wanting to tell every obese person I saw that I figured it out, I knew the secret. Just stop eating all those white carbs. Of course, it didn't last and I'm still struggling to get into that grove and change my outlook like you have done.

I'm always so impressed with your writing. You are always inspiring me. Thank you!

Grismeri said...

I have only just discovered you, and you have me in tears. I am 36 years old, single, no kids, never married, never even had a boyfriend. I weigh ~350lbs and I'm 5'3". I can't walk anywhere now - I can't stand up for more than 5 minutes without excruciating pain. I feel 90. Actually, that's not fair - Nelson Mandela's 90, and I think he probably feels a lot better than I do.

This is SO hard. It's exhausting, it's EVERY MINUTE of EVERY DAY and it's SO HARD to explain to people who CAN "just stop" when they need to. I will be following your journey and cheering you on while I tackle my own. Here's to getting our lives back.