I get that it is healthy to live a healthier life. Also, personally speaking, I feel fantastic, I look phenomenon, with each passing day. I also understand that the beauty I feel and see are not what society expects, due to my waistline. I have met some absolutely beautiful people, throughout my life. They were not fat, but had some extra cushion, yet the pressure of the society had told them they were a misfit, and needed to change their physical appearance. ‘Girl, you just need to lose 5 more pounds, then you can go and get that dress.’ Yet, they had successful marriages, and a supportive family. I have also known some very beautiful thin people. You know, the ones that everyone suppose to look like, and they were miserable. They masked it well, were very successful (let’s face it.. beautiful, physically fit people get the job first) but was sitting on someone’s couch once a week, and were heavily medicated. Their lives were a mess. Maybe, it is because they were tired of being used as the world’s example? Maybe?
I have the pressure of being a great mom; a loving, supportive wife; an available daughter and friend; a great student and leader that contributes and is not complacent. Lastly, I have the pressure of the world to look a certain way; live a certain way; and be who society expects. Now, if I had to choose two out of three, the lateral choice would drive me crazy. I am not a celebrity, a famous writer, poet, or musician, therefore this type of pressure should not be given too me.
When we are all thin and look the same, physically. Then what? Will we then be placed on even playing fields, with the same opportunities? No, because then it will be something else. God help us, if we get trapped into another political warfare. The uniqueness of this world would be gone, as well. So how far are we, as people, expected to conform? Are we to change who we are, every time something needs changing? Can we ever be perfect? I am not sure that’s a reality. Perfection means no growth, stagnation.
I use this argument, because obesity is so much more than bingeing on bad foods. It infringes on cultural standards and beliefs; it is genetically devastating; a physical, mental, and emotional entrapment that cannot improve with society’s stereotypic behaviors. I hope my argument does not seem discombobulated. What I hope to show is the size and level of confusion and culpability.
There is not anything wrong with knowing and owning who you are. Sure, we should be healthy, but we cannot throw our identity away achieving a healthier lifestyle. The magic is in the teaching. We have to bring awareness, without placing blame, stripping culture beliefs, while providing knowledge. I do not want to look like or become Halle Berry or Jennifer Lopez. Yes, they are beautiful, beautiful women that have had the same problems, in life, I have. That kind of beauty and success do not erase LIFE, and all that comes with it, and nobody can change that.
So, I would say, let’s get healthy, not skinny, and focus on becoming a better person. At least that’s what I am doing. I will keep working on my weight and waistline, until I identify with that girl in the mirror. This is when I know I have hit my weight loss goal.
Everyone has vices that aren’t necessarily good for them. Most of the time, even when we know they are bad, we still take part, i.e. obesity. My dad, although he has a small stature, he makes up for it with his bigger than life personality. If you ever what to know where I get it from, it comes from my daddy! Well, he has a vice that isn’t very healthy, and he hasn’t cared to change for anyone, and that includes his wife of 35 years.
My daughter is doing well; however, when we were not sure about so many things, we simply chose not to travel. We wanted to stay close to her doctors. But, my husband and I knew that we needed to get the two of them together and soon, so we flew him out. It had been long overdue, and life was calmer, and pretty gosh darn good; there was no need in us keeping all of this happiness to ourselves.
About a month, before he had arrived, I had begun to start working on my vice, which was food. He was here for three days, and then we took him to the beach, for the rest of his stay. He said he wanted to see some girls in ‘kinis, and I wanted to make it happen. By gosh, it would be his first time seeing the ocean, in his 65 years! What’s a girl to do? I love my daddy!
Well, after he flew back to Arkansas. He called and said, “I love my grand baby! She sure is pretty! I think she looks like me! Baby, I am going to work on me, and start to do better. Can I come back for her second birthday?”
I said, “sure why not! We would love to have you, and we can do Christmas and New Years together, and this time only go to the Biltmore Estates, which isn’t far from us.”
He said, “Good! I’ve seen enough ‘kinis that drive isn’t worth seeing anymore.”
Now, I do not like my dad’s vice, but I also feel that it isn’t going to get better, until he decides to do better. Everyone chastise him about it, except me. I just want him to eat everyday, at least three times a day. I know that he wants to tell his granddaughter about the evils of the world, and the danger in boys, like he told me, and to make sure she doesn’t date until she is 25. He is very old-fashioned and a sharp dart, when it comes to his girls.
About two weeks later, he called and said, “Baby, I haven’t had a drink in a week. I am going to the doctor to make sure everything is working right, so I am there for my grandbaby.” Shocking, right?
Of course, I wasn’t sure how serious he was, so I called my mom to check. She confirmed, but was skeptical. We didn’t know how long this was going to last, but we were going to support him how ever long he needed. And this will be my dad’s first visit to a doctor in 10 years. He was finally ready to hear what the doctor had to say.
To make it interesting, since we both are clearly going through a life transformation, I made him a part of my weight loss journey. I call and talk to him about my wins and fails. Then one day I said to him, “Pops, if you keep fixing yourself, and I keep working on me, we can support each other, which pretty much guarantees that my baby will have the both of us for a long, long time, at least until God feels otherwise. You can have the fat I am shedding!” He thought it was funny, but rapidly agreed. I will shed some weight, he will gain some weight, and do as his doctors have advised. We have a plan. Although, we have fun, we both know that it isn’t going to be easy, and there will always be an obstacle; however, we know that we will walk this journey together! For God’s sake, my baby needs us!
After becoming a mother, I knew that I was going to be a great mom. I didn’t know much about babies. While my high school friends were making babies, I was in college. With my college friends, I am the first to get married and pregnant; needless to say, they weren’t much help. We didn’t know anything; however, they all believed that I would do a great job. They had more confidence then I did. It was so scary.
When she got here, she was magical and had all ten toes and fingers. It was nothing short of a miracle. Everyone should have kids, especially if they want children. It’s a treasure that should never be denied to anyone. Motherhood and all of its glory and fabulousness is the best kept secret.
Then something terrible happens…
The doctor tells you that your daughter has Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB). I looked at my husband, he looked at me, and we weren’t sure what to think, because we had never heard of it. Then we began researching EB, and found the most gruesome pictures of children that had 80% of their skin missing. We found YouTube videos that had no audio, because the screams of the child, during bandage changes, were to horrific for its viewer.
I threw myself into this community, even though, I couldn’t look at the pictures or watch anymore videos. But, I had so many questions and concerns. I wanted to know if we were going to have a normal life; what does EB mean for our daughter. I couldn’t bear it, but I had to. So I joined the support group EB Friends (www.EBfriends.ning.org). Where my spirit began to calm, eventually, was when I joined the EB Lounge on Facebook named Epidermolysis Bullosa Lounge 🙂. This is an open group, and anyone reading this is welcome to go and experience true UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.
I became fast friends with several of the women within the group, from all over the world. I had become a part of a core five support group, for us mommies, when we aren’t focusing on EB. We live in the US, Norway, and United Kingdom. This will later become one of the next best thing I could have done for myself! One day we were messaging each other, and we found that even with EB, we still had OUR lives to live, and for the most part, it was seriously neglected. At this point, EB had become my life. I hyperventilating at every movement and moment. Although, my daughter didn’t look like any of the other children, and our experience was truly miniscule compared to so many others, I was so scared. I had stopped living, and had begun waiting on her skin to start sliding off.
My baby never crawled right, because I wouldn’t let her on the floor to properly learn. During this time, my weight continued to balloon out of control. I had forgotten how to live, because I was completely living for what ‘was’ to happen, although we weren’t sure that it was going to happen or when it was going to happen. I was ready, though! I had learned how to bandage better; I got over the loss of a toenail or fingernail. I was waiting on the biggie.
Then someone sat me down, and ask me something so simple. She asked me, “are you imprisoning your baby?” I didn’t like that question, because there wasn’t anything that was positive about that question. The implications made me sick to my stomach. I knew that if this is what I was truly doing, then I was NOT being a good mom. A tear rolled down my cheek, and I said, “how’s that possible? She can’t get on the floor to crawl, her skin is going to fall off! Do you want that to happen to her?!” She said, “Evette, it has not happened yet? And look at her, she is ready? What are you going to do about her walking? You cannot interfere with her natural growing processes. You need to let her go, so the two of you can learn her limitations. Right now, we don’t know how EB will affect her, because you aren’t allowing her to naturally progress.”
I knew that there were mommies and daddies that couldn’t hold their baby, at all; I knew there were children bandaged for most of their lives; I knew that some children using their hands and feet, however minimum, blisters and tears would occur. Worst yet, so many of the other EB babies were dying. I was witnessing at least one death a month. None of this had happened to us, and we had already determined that EB was not life threatening for us. My baby’s skin was pretty close to flawless. By the time, she was 10 months, we had not had ANY episodes.
Something about me is that it doesn’t take me long to change, once I realize the benefit. I knew that everything said to me, in that moment, was true. So, I changed. Me being a bad mother was NOT in my plans, during my pregnancy. So, I held my breath a lot; I cringed more often; I cried some, but I let my baby go. And go she did! She flourished! My butterfly had spread her wings, and she hasn’t stopped flying yet.
At the moment, I let go, and allowed God, I experienced true UNCONDITIONAL LOVE! What a wonderful feeling. Fear is a horrible monster that wants to own you, and you have to rid him ASAP. Fear changes lives; hampers lives; and destroys lives.
To learn more about EB, I would encourage a visit to Sue’s blog page. She also created the FB support lounge.
Our song: Just the Way You Are