We are only three months into 2023 and already it's been a roller coaster of a year for me. It seems like I've been busy every day this year so far and it doesn't look like it'll be letting up anytime soon. However it's not always been a "bad" busy. I've also spent a good amount of this these last couple months spending time with my friends, reconnecting with old ones, and in general trying to spend more time with the people I care about. This is something I've wanted to put more effort into for a while and it got me thinking about the other areas of my life I wanted to put effort into. This led me to a couple questions. What does my ideal me look like? What kind of life does that person live? And what does that person spend their time and energy on?

In order to answer these questions I've had to examine myself and recognize the things I see as problems with myself. In 2021 I started with my mental health. I've had mental health issues probably since late elementary school that only got worse as I aged. That is, until I recognized it as a problem, and a problem that I couldn't fix by myself. I needed help. I sought out that help and since then I've made strides in improving my mental health. Now, I need to do the same for my physical health. I have also been overweight since elementary school and honestly that was probably the number one factor in the decline of my mental health. But while I have made improvements mentally, I feel as though I'm on a rapid decline physically. In high school I was in a car accident that forever changed my life. In that accident my leg was forced through its socket shattering my hip on the way through. While the damage was severe, I was young enough that a hip replacement was something the doctors didn't want and instead they reconstructed my hip and held it together with the help of metal plates and screws. This was a long recovery that meant I couldn't walk for around 6 months. By the time I had healed enough that I could put weight back on my hips, I had forgotten how to walk and spent many more months in physical therapy building back some of that strength.

Ever since that accident my hip has hurt with any moderate form of physical activity. And as I've aged, all my lower joints have deteriorated quickly. I now have arthritis in my both hips and knees. This has led to a cycle of needing to lose weight to take strain off my joints, but joint pain makes exercise very difficult, if not impossible. While I probably need my hips replaced, at this point I don't think that would be a good idea until I lose weight. Losing weight has felt like an impossibility for a very long time to me. I've tried starving myself, strict diets, seeing nutritionists, personal trainers, counting calories, and more things than I can remember at this point. But I've never had anything stick and I've never lost more than 10-20lbs that quickly came back. I've had a steady increase in weight year after year. This upsets me deeply and negatively affects my mental health greatly.

This year is the year I want to change that. That I need to change it. But it's becoming clear to me that I need help. I have been trying to watch what I eat and make sure I'm in a calorie deficit as well as logging everything I consume. But I've recently started considering Bariatric weight loss surgery. This would force weight loss and hopefully allow me to be more active with less pain which is something I really want. I'll be honest though, I'm terrified. This is a life changing surgery for better or worse and a decision I am not taking lightly. There's no magic fixes and this would require more discipline out of me than I've ever had to give. However, I'm just as scared of what happens if I continue my current trajectory. I have always wanted to be more active but pain and self-consciousness about being sweaty and out-of-breath too easily keep me from enjoying those activities. I struggle to keep up with my kid on a slow day and certainly don't get to do all the activities I'd like to do with them. I feel like a failure and like I'm letting them down as a parent. I have never liked the way I look and have actively hated it since the 5th grade. I'm not asking for body positivity for myself at this point I just want body neutrality. I'm tired of the difficulties finding clothes, the hateful comments about my weight, the fat shaming, the sense of failure, and all the things that come with being overweight. I'm tired of living like this.

I'm sure there are going to be those that read this and will call me a failure. Who think I'm looking for the easy way out. That would call me lazy and continue to shame me for being fat. I'm going to try and ignore those people. And for those people I truly hope you have the day you deserve.

But I'm sharing this because I know there are a lot of people who struggle with mental health and being overweight and I want you to know you're not alone. I don't have any answers but we have to keep going, keep trying, not let anyone make us feel less than human. I've tried changing for others who told me I needed to for a long time, for those whom my existence made them uncomfortable. But no more. If I'm going to change it's going to be for me. Because I want to and because I want a better life for me and those I love. Because I deserve to be happy, healthy, and loved. And you do too.