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All of my life I've felt different.

As a kid there were obvious differences; I was a lot bigger than my peers. But it wasn't just my voracious appetite and the size of my clothes that made me feel different. I felt more at home with adults; I didn't feel like I could relate to friends my age. In hindsight, that makes sense. I spent a lot of time clinging to my mom and staying inside where I was protected from the torment. It's hard to understand and relate to your peers when you make it a point to hide from them.

Associating with primarily adults made it easier for me to walk into a meeting room for the first time on my own. Each time I started WW I started with my mom and each time I left WW I left with my  mom.  The last time I joined was no different. We joined together and after about 6 months or a year, I can't quite recall, she was ready to quit. I wasn't. I was nervous to walk into my meeting room alone, I'd never done that. I found a seat at a table by myself. Though I was surrounded by people I'd been surrounded with for months, I never associated with them. My mom and I came together,  sat together, talked to each other and left together. It was like there was no one else in the room. We didn't talk to them, they didn't talk to us.

So when I walked in alone and sat down alone they didn't talk to me and I didn't talk to them. Til one day someone sat at my table with me and we began to talk.  From there I began talking to everyone in the meeting room. Most of my new friends were retired with kids my age but I found I looked forward to seeing them every week. Asking them about their knitting projects or grandbabies. I genuiniely enjoyed their company and slowly but surely I started allowing them to know me.

As a lesbian who was brought up in a pretty homophobic church, it was drilled into me that God didn't love me and I struggled to accept and love myself. Through the years it's gotten much easier but it I sometimes still fear that someone will decide they don't like me because I don't like boys. It is just as unfair for someone to decide that they don't like me as it is for  me to assume that just because someone was born in a different generation they will think a certain way. I try to remind myself that judging others will not stop them from judging me and I work hard to remember that I'm only hurting myself when I try to "protect myself" this way.

The lovely people in my meeting not only supported my weight loss but also my personal growth.

As "mature" as I sometimes think I am, there are also times where I accuse myself of being immature or childish. I cry often. I'm not depressed, unstable or hysterical but I'm very, very sensitive. I feel things deeply and have a hard time letting things roll off my back. I try very hard to not let other peoples emotions affect me but I often fail so instead of trying to change it I'm learning to embrace it.

I'm recognizing that feelings are a beautiful thing and I am allowing myself to feel them deeply. Yes, it is very difficult when I feel low but when I feel joy I feel it throughout my entire being and more often than not, I feel incredibly joyful.

There was a situation a couple months ago in which I had my feelings hurt and a couple people that I loved dearly for many years made it clear that they were no longer interested in maintaining a friendship. This truly was for the best, I know that. We had grown apart and we were living very different lives. It was a struggle to find things to talk about, it was a struggle to relate to one another but it was still extremely painful to say goodbye. I did my best to leave the door open but days turned to weeks and it would appear the door is shut. I have to be OK with that. I need to be surrounded by likeminded people, healthy people and years of friendship is not a reason to keep hanging on and trying to make it work. On the flip side of that, years of friendship was dissolved over absolutely nothing. A complete untruth. This bothers me.

I know what I know. I know I am not in the wrong but words do hurt. Accusations, though complete fallacies, do hurt. Opinions of people do matter to me, even if the people who are voicing their opinions are people I have nothing in common with. We did have a lot in common. We did have a bond...despite that fact that the goodbye was the healthiest thing that could've happened, despite the fact that the goodbye was a long time coming and despite the fact that the goodbye was absolutely necessary, it was still goodbye and in my heart of hearts I know that the friendships are dead.

Today I realized that. I think up until today I had clung to the hope that that the olive branch I had extended would be accepted and as sad as I am that it wasn't; I'm also very grateful. I took a moment today to consider what my life would look like now if things had played out differently and I'm grateful that things are going exactly as they are going. I'm so grateful that I'm stepping back from trying to play God and control everything in my life. I've felt more peace, gratitude and appreciation since the goodbye than I realized. It wasn't until I stopped today and considered what the future COULD look like that I was able to be grateful for my present.

I wallowed for a bit, I felt sad for a bit and I definitely did not choose to handle my sadness in a healthy and productive way initially.

Instead...I ate it.

Yeah, that didn't work out so well. It's Mother's Day so we celebrated  with a Mother's Day cookout. I weighed and measured all of my food, I tracked it too. I ate things I didn't plan on eating but I owned my choices and I felt good until dessert came out and the sorrow I was feeling bubbled up and I decided to stuff it down with a brownie, then another 1/2 of a brownine. It sat in my throat for hours reminding me that emotional eating doesn't actually make me feel better and while I knew that, I still tried. Because I'm human.

I decided at 5:00 that I would go to the gym and lift weights; I'd run this morning and planned to lift yesterday but didn't...the gym closes at 6 so I had enough time for my pull/abs routine and my wife wasn't home so I thought "why not?" It was not to punish myself, it was not to "work off the food" it was not because I was -6 weeklies. It was because I deserved to feel good and I needed to remind myself of how strong I am.

When I got home from the gym I took my dogs on a long walk through the woods. There is a new walking path we haven't explored yet and I was excited to go walk with them. We walked for over an hour and I spent time thinking about all of the amazing blessings I have. My sister teases me when I talk about my "gratitude walks" because I'm a little hippy-dippy and she's not. I know it might seem a little out there, and if you're like my sister, that's OK! We all have to do what works for us, march to our own drums and I do now that I have the confidence to do so.

My walk didn't start off as a gratitude walk, it started as me walking listening to a podcast and spending time with my girls on Mother's Day. It was my Mother's Day gift to myself; I am a fur-mom after all. But then my phone battery blinked and I wanted to conserve it incase I got lost (I didn't, which I'm grateful for and I made sure to include that on my list of things I said thank you for).

I started by being thankful for the obvious things in my life like my family, my pets my career...I was grateful for the smell of sawdust at the construction site we walked by and the pond we discovered. I look forward to finding out if Tallulah likes to swim this summer! Lexi loved to swim, Karlee hates the water.

While listing my gratitude's I started thinking about past friendships, how people come and go and how some are easier to bid adieu. I said thank you for the time I had with the people I had to say goodbye to because everyone comes in to our lives for a reason and they never leave without leaving a mark. There is always something to be learned. I felt sad, I felt bitter and I felt confused before I set out on my walk, but after spending some time acknowledging that I felt grateful and found myself wishing all of the people who hurt me the best. I know you didn't mean to hurt me, I forgive you. If you did mean to hurt me, I forgive you. I wish you peace, love and tremendous happiness. People who hurt hurt people. No one should live with pain in their hearts. I don't want to hurt people because I hurt, so I'm letting go of that hurt.

I've had a tremendous shift in my mindset lately. I've been a Weight Watcher for years and I've always focused on LOSS. I've been a leader for a year and a half and we always celebrate LOSS. It's a good thing, right! Weight loss. We lose 5 pounds we lose 10 pounds, we get to goal by LOSING. But I don't want to lose.

I do want to see the number on the scale go down, I do want to feel healthier, leaner and a little lighter on my feet but I don't want to lose. I have so much to be grateful for and so much love in my life and I want more. I want to keep gaining. Clarity, confidence, compassion, wisdom, love, acceptance. There are so many things I can gain and only one thing I want to lose so why focus on LOSING one thing when I can focus on  gaining SO many!

It's a little odd, but I'm a little odd. It's a little different, but I'm a little different and that's OK. I enjoy marching to my own drum. I enjoy feeling things so passionately and having such a big heart, even if it means I get hurt more often. Allowing myself to be vulnerable to hurt allows me to be open to love. I've tried to put up walls, I've tried to "not care" I've tried to protect myself and the strangest thing happened; I felt all of the hurt so much more intensely. The walls did nothing to keep out sorrow but they did trap it and keep it in. I couldn't love as deeply as I had in the past, I couldn't feel overwhelmed with grattitude, I couldn't even SEE how much I had to be thanful for. I could only feel myself rotting in the prison I had created.

Slowly. Painfully. Decaying.

I don't want that. I don't want walls. I don't want to not care what people say, what people do or what people think because I do care. I care about people. I care about the members in the meeting room who loved me all those years ago and they cared about me too because I let them. I care about the members in the meeting rooms now and they care abut me because I let them. Most importantly, I care about the people who claim they don't care about me anymore because anyone who says that probably feels as much hurt, as much pain and as much misery as I did when I was trapped behind my walls.

NO ONE should feel that way.

Life is too short to hurt, or to pretend. I'm tired of fighting to be someone I'm not and by accepting  who I am I'm able to move on. Let go. Heal. I'm allowing myself to focus on gaining while I'm surrounded by people who are focusing on losing and even if my methods are a little unorthodox, they work for me and that's all that matters.



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