When Life is Life-ing – An Update

It’s been quite some time since I’ve come here to this space to lay my thoughts down. And that’s been by intentional design. Life has been an absolute whirlwind as it often has the propensity to be. Not too long ago, I updated you on life after Duodenal Switch surgery, but beyond that major life change; there’s been so much more. Let’s get into and how I’m managing these changes with therapy, prayer and a supportive husband! Shall we?

Parenthood is Ghetto

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Ok but seriously…I always knew parenting would come with challenges; but sometimes I feel like I am in the fight for my sanity 24/7! My oldest left home last year and it was a huge adjustment for the entire family. We love and miss her and I feel like there’s a cavern size hole in my chest. She’s in good health and doing what young adults do; but it doesn’t make my stress levels feel any less. I pray often that she remember her foundation and the things her father and I taught her.

My sons, who are 13 and 5 years old, are both diagnosed with level 1 Autism and ADHD. My older son also has Tourette’s syndrome. We’ve discussed that openly here and if you’ve never seen it, checkout both videos. For the most part, we’re used to navigating life with my older son and his diagnoses; we’ve found our rhythm and I’m so grateful for that. However, with my youngest, his diagnosis is fairly recent (though we suspected) and we have NOT found our rhythm…YET.

His personality is so different than his brother’s which means we’re in unchartered waters; and some days those waters are rocking and rolling to and fro! As a mom, I find myself frustrated because I want to understand him and his emotions, his thoughts, his habits and rituals; but he’s 5! He barely understands himself! This often leads to outburts and meltdowns and tears…from both of us! I know that in time we will find our rhythm, but until that moment arrives….

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School in My 30s…What Was I Thinking?

Yes, at the ripe age of 36, I somehow thought to myself: “Self, lets finally get that paralegal certification.” And then before I knew it, I was enrolled. Now, honestly, this stemmed from my job interviews with various law firms and legal departments telling me that my experience in the legal field was great, but I need a certification or degree. There was no way I was committing to the time or money for a bachelor’s degree; but I figured a 9 month certification program wasn’t going to be too bad.

Quickly, I learned just how wrong that line of thinking was. Am I maintaining a 4.0 GPA? Yes. Am I doing it as effortlessly as I was back in 2012 when I was in school for my legal administrative cert? Absolutely not. My brain just doesn’t function how it used too. It requires more energy and effort than I desire to give. It was ambitious of me to think this was going to be a walk in the park, and now I’m eating the most delectable humble pie. I’m on track to graduate on time in May, and I couldn’t be more anxious for that to happen.

And to be absolutely transparent, I struggle with ADHD and Autism spectrum related focus issues. I haven’t really gone into that aspect of my life because…I can’t really explain why. I do intend to, and when I do; we’ll get into how the way my brain is wired affects my day to day functionality.

Hip Replacement….Finally?

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If you’re not new here, then you KNOW that what set me on my weight loss surgery journey was the need for hip replacement after I was diagnosed with congenital birth defect called hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis back in 2017. It has been a wild and arduous ride for the last 5-6 years, and when I tell you that I am spent; I AM SPENT. My orthopedic doctor gave me target BMI of 50, which I have met and exceeded. This past Tuesday, when I went for my surgery consult, I assumed I would have my date in February.

Wrong.

Fearful of pushback from the hospital, he is setting it for a later date of April (possibly March). Yes, because despite me losing an entire human body worth of weight, this hospital might still think I’m too high risk because of my BMI. *Blinks in blank* I will spare you the medical trauma rhetoric today because as I pointed out earlier; I am spent. I am also livid. I’ve endured so much and have overhauled my life in so many ways (which was honestly needed) to continuously be met by a healthcare system that has not yet figured out how to deal with obese patients safely. I can only hope that as I finish my last leg of medical clearances from my PCP and Bariatric surgeon that the coast will finally be clear.

I Hate Being a Content Creator

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Yea…absolutely hate it. I used to find joy in brand partnerships and creating representation for people who look like me. But these days, every 5 minutes, the algorithm changes on IG or TikTok, being black or fat or in any other marginalized body is more likely to get your content shuffled to the bottom of the deck. The brands being resistant to paying you what your worth but wanting you to produce content with an exhaustive amount of stipulations is also no fun. And most of all, the people. The people who follow you just to say mean things, or pick you apart, or put you in a box you didn’t ask to be limited to, or being accused of fatphobia every 5 seconds because of weight loss, or being accused of promoting obesity every 5 seconds just for existing…like yea…I hate it.

So, I’ve been fulfilling my obligations and partnerships, but I don’t love it. And when that’s done, I don’t know if I’ll be doing it again. Right now, I want to create on my terms without the added pressure of having to meet engagement and reach demands that most of these brands want.

I Feel Lost Within Myself

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While there are so many positive aspects to having had weight loss surgery, there are so many things that aren’t that positive. Mostly, the internal dialogue with myself. Believe it or not, being extended size gave me a definitive identity. I had a built in niche that I could speak to and it helped my audience connect with me. I knew who I was because I had grown accustom to being in a super large body. Now that it has changed, I feel rife with uncertainty.

People treat me differently online and in person, and it’s wildly noticeable. I never expected that people’s compliments could trigger me or make me doubt myself, but it has. While most people are noticing how much smaller I look, I’m noticing how much my skin is sagging, or how my breast look like they’re in a permanent state of depression. My entire relationship with food has changed. I don’t feel confident or sexy for my husband despite how much he adores and has always adored my body at any size. A lot of people think that being smaller automatically means seeing yourself in a better light, but that’s just not the case.

Thankfully, I had the foresight to know that these things were a reality for many bariatric patients; so I’ve been in therapy long before surgery. I’m grateful for the coping skills I’m learning and the healing journey that I’ve begun for myself. I know right now I’m raw and vulnerable; but there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

It Isn’t All Bad

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Despite the emotional rollercoaster that is my life; it isn’t all bad. Let me be clear that my gratitude is abundant. God is merciful, loving and just; I reap the benefits of that daily even when it’s undeserved. I have the best husband on the planet (and no one can ever change my mind about that), I’m mobile and living life without mobility aids that just 6 months ago I could barely function without! I’m back to work after 2 years of being on disability because of my chronic pain, my children are in good health, and most importantly, I continue to show up for myself in a way that I was not always able too.

I am not foolish enough to believe that I am doing this all on my own. The prayers of my loved ones lift me up, the relentless love and adoration poured into me by my husband propels me forward daily. The therapist who has been an absolute God send that is truly invested in my personal success. The knowledge of knowing that whatever storm I am weathering right now will eventually pass also fortifies my fortitude.

I look forward to getting back to blogging and expressing myself in a way that I enjoy. Today is the proverbial first step towards that; let’s see where I go from here.

Until next time,