Twelve years ago today, people would have characterized me as smart, church obsessed, a semi-theatre nerd, and, well…fat.
To put it bluntly—I was literally the coolest.
Okay…I wasn’t the coolest. Honestly…I wasn’t even close to cool. I was so far from cool. And to add insult to injury it was the final season of Friends, so naturally tragedy plagued that year from the get go.
And I was utterly miserable. I had been heavy my whole life (well, since second grade when we were weighed in front of the class; you know the drill. I knew my number was 2x that of skinny Tiffany’s). Ugh…I despised skinny Tiffany.
My life felt out of control, and, subsequently, so did my weight.
I ate to cope with the depression I’d entered since my best friend stopped talking to me the year before because, as she worded it, “people were wondering why she kept hanging out with me.” This was due to my popularity and likeability (insert overt sarcasm here).
We were so incredibly articulate in high school, weren’t we? The peer pressure mounted, and she bid me a beautiful, Viking farewell. Complete with coins for the boatman.
The only resource/outlet I had to process my true feelings was food, which sadly manifested in an endless cycle of anger that my family bore the brunt of—I am sure they still wonder why I was so mean and angry during my high school and college years. The answer (in hindsight) is straightforward, I hated myself—I was so ashamed of my body and what I’d done to it by my out of control indulgence. I was so ashamed of who I had become. And when I refer to shame, I refer to the feeling as defined by Brene Brown, “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging.”
Put simply, I couldn’t imagine anyone desiring or wanting to include me in social circles because I lacked the bodily worth that so much of the world puts such a high premium on. I mean my best friend confirmed it, right?
Except, there was one place; one beautiful space that took me in and affirmed my worthiness—church.
When I went to church, I felt like I could breathe. All my life I’d been taught that God’s love was never dependent upon my physical appearance. God’s worthiness stood in contrast to the world’s judgment and that meant something. Actually, it meant everything.
Knowing I had a place in God’s kingdom was amazing, but it wasn’t enough to completely drown out the voices of self-doubt, self-hatred that were a constant companion. I wanted to change, but the cycle felt endless.
It wasn’t until my health began to fall apart that something within me shifted. The ongoing symptoms became worrisome enough that my mother and I finally went to the doctor. After running some tests, the doctor sat me down and said, “Kori, the reason that you are having most of these symptoms is because you are seriously overweight.”
I was stunned, shocked. No one had every said it like that before.
I shouldn’t have been, I guess. For the first time my weight wasn’t just a source of aesthetic shame, but as the doctor spoke, it became increasingly real that the stakes were so much higher than I’d imagined. I was killing myself…slowly.
And I was completely responsible.
No secret fairy drove my car to Taco Bell at 11pm after I’d finished babysitting on a Friday night. I did it. All me. The shame grew. My own body was rejecting me.
I went home…still reeling from the doctor’s harsh words but determined to change. For so long, I had just believed that being overweight was my lifelong lot, and I’d just have to deal with not being the “pretty one” for the rest of my life. Being the funny, best friend wasn’t so bad, right? But this was different, if I wanted to have a “lifelong lot,” I had to change.
I weighed myself that day: 244lbs at 5 feet 2 inches tall.
And that’s really how this journey began, 12 years ago…and it’s not over. It never will be. My hope is to capture some of the moments from along the way and from my life now in this blog. To share with you that health and wellness are about so much more than a number on the scale or a pair of skinny jeans. It’s about you being you. It’s about being who God has called you to be.