Growing up, I was a healthy little girl. I had a great family, good friends, good school experience etc. In about 4th grade all this changed.
I switched schools in 4th grade, from a high-performance public school which was more like a charter school to a much smaller private Christian school. There was really nothing wrong with this new school, other than I was the outsider. Most of these kids had been together since Kindergarten and I just didn't really fit in. And my parents did not own an entire city block that they called a house. Most of the other kids had one stay-at-home parent who would be there for every field trip. Licensed Contractor fathers who built their 4th grade California Mission projects with working lights and fountains. And then there was me. Not really great at anything. Not really pretty.
Things went from bad to worse as I made the trasition from private Jr. High to public High School. The girls were prettier, thinner, sexually active. As I look back, it might have been a blessing that I had started to put on weight. I did not have a boyfriend in high school pressuring me to sleep with him. But all the same, I was not popular (except with a few band geeks) and I just kept getting bigger. At 5'0", I tipped the scales at 172 at my heaviest.
After a year or two at the local Community College, I was accepted into what I thought (and still believe!) was the best College in the world. They had an amazing choir that had come to my church annually as I was growing up, one day I was going to be one of those beautiful girls. I auditioned for the University Choir, and didn't quite make it, but I was accepted into the all ladies' choir complete with scholarship. And I had started to lose weight, yay!
While I was away at University, it felt like my life was falling apart, I took no interest in anything beside Disneyland. I did visit the Magic Kingdom approximately every Tuesday after choir practice. But I lost interest in choir, in classes, and in my friends. I felt like I was spiraling into a black hole. As it turned out, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and a Chemical Depression, in order to regulate myself I was forced to go back home and get on medication.
I never went back to that University that I loved so much, although I did work for a time at their extension center near my home. After working in the public sector for a few years, (I was a jewelry store manager, worked for the Disney Store, and was a bank teller and new accounts rep.) I decided to up-root myself from beautiful Southern California and attend a Bible College in Cincinnati, Ohio to study theology and ministry. By this time, I had learned how to control my eating, and started doing Pilates and working on an elliptical machine. I was the thinnest I'd ever been and feeling very good. At this college is where I met the man that would be my first husband. I did not like him at first, yet somehow he made me believe that I would be happy with him. We met in August 2008, were engaged at Christmas, and married in May 2009. While we were engaged he became very verbally abusive with me, and once hit me across the face. At this point, I really should have left. But I was scared. I had never been in any lengthy relationship, and this felt like my only hope. If there is something that being obese and with depression and an anxiety disorder has taught me, it's that these things give you a VERY low self-esteem.
After we were married, things did not get better, they got much worse. He needed to know where I was at all times, he started to limit my communications with my friends and family and we ended up in Alaska where I had no friends, no family, and no car. Not even keys to our apartment. I was 8 weeks pregnant when I got there (he had already been stationed there for about a month). I had been yelled at and hit, nothing I said mattered since I was just a "stupid woman" and my husband's "possession". The last straw was when he punched me in the stomach being pregnant. I called the police. They took me to a women's shelter. Sitting in that shelter, listening to mentally imbalanced women talk to themselves about aliens and government spies made me realize that this is not at all what I had planned for my life.
I called my parents and they got in touch with my church. The next morning, the church had already paid for my flight back home and my husband's commanding officer gave me a ride to the airport. On the way, I had my first obstetrical appointment. I was 10 weeks along, I saw my baby for the first time, and left my husband an hour later. I never saw him again.
Now, I am back in beautiful Southern California and experiencing what seems to be a healing process. I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl in May of 2010, 11 days before my first wedding anniversary. It took almost three years to finalize the divorce. Every day it gets easier to believe that I am divorced. At first I thought there was no worth to me, that a divorced, single-mom was something that no man would ever want, but I'm hoping that is not the case.
Someday I hope to be sitting with the man I love, on a porch, watching a sunset. Until then, I trust God every day to just get me through the day. I lean on His word and His promises. I am a new creation.... again.