Getting out of your own way

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate… Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us…” – Marianne Williamson

There is not a time in my life that I can remember my weight not being an issue. Whether it was feeling enormous at a size 12 during my sophomore year in high school (what was I thinking???) or feeling overwhelmed by the journey ahead of me at a size 24 a few years ago, how I felt about the number on the scale hung over my head like a heavy cloud blocking out the sunlight.

Yes, I worked hard in school and in my professional career. Accolades and success surrounded me.  Even at my unhealthiest (267 pounds) I had joy and a genuine smile on my face. However, there were many experiences in life I avoided because of how I felt about my body.

Unconsciously over the years, I allowed my obesity to become a crutch. It was a handy, go-to excuse for areas of unhappiness or failure.

I should have gotten that job, but they couldn’t see my talent because of the weight. I really love him, but he doesn’t love me the same way because of the weight. I’m having a great time at this party, but I can’t be as cute as the other women my age because of my weight.

As I entered my late 20s, the crutch of obesity became an invisibility cloak.  Unknowingly, I used it to keep myself from truly experiencing life as the best version of myself.  To be clear, I define the best version of myself as the “Jessica” who makes better eating and exercising choices, not by a certain number on the scale or the size on the label of my wrap dresses.

Faced with high blood pressure and a family history of obesity related issues, I realized I was so busy running from my own potential that I was squandering the blessing of embracing a healthy lifestyle.

Embracing a healthier Jessica…

For me, losing weight (and maintaining it) is like standing naked in front of the world. It can be intimidating to really stand in the sun, for everyone to see who you truly are, but you will get used to how incredible it feels on every inch of your skin.

During countless talks and good cries about taking action to get healthier, my Mommy would often say “Baby girl, get out of your own way.” She was (and is) so right.  She had her fifth graders read this poem my Marianne Williamson at their graduation ceremony.  It held true in my journey, and may hold true for yours.  We can all embrace our own light…

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson

(Originally published March 8, 2015)