Forward (Submitted by Kami Abrell)
Webster Definition of COURAGE: Mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty
I don’t know how I feel about this definition of courage when it comes to opening up and allowing ourselves to be truly seen when we share our stories. To me these definition doesn't quite capture the feelings that come with and are attached to courage, the feelings that are evoked by courage.
This blog is about courage, because it's what I think of when women open up and share their stories. Our stories can be hard, but I am finding unexpected treasures of inspiration, and courage, and truth, and beauty in them. Please take a look at this one.
Forward Progress by Kami Abrell
Leaving the doctor’s office this morning, I had to share my win with someone. Who better to share with than the best cheerleader I know?
I messaged Roz to share that I am another 1.5 pounds down which means I am 26 pounds down from my worst/heaviest weight ever and 16 down since April of this year. I wasn’t one bit surprised by her text:
“Kami!!!!! So super fantastic – you are inspiring me!”
What? Me inspiring you? Roz, who has lost like 90 pounds and kept it off for 20 years AND owns a fitness studio?
But I continued reading her text:
“And Yes! I want you to feature you/your story on our Fit Chicks Movement Ambassador Page.”
My response back:
Scared smiley face with a sweat bead rolling down the forehead. “Whoa nelly…I’m not sure we are ready for that. Maybe when I get another 25lbs down.”
Roz’s response in text:
“disliked,” followed by my “whoa Nelly..” text.
Of, course that doesn’t surprise me either which brings me to one of my biggest personal struggles, opening-up about my biggest fears and issues I have about not being enough, which ironically is how I got myself into this mess in the first place. But that is a whole other blog.
I do not like to show weakness or admitting that I need help. Or that I am not as healthy as I want to be and that I know what I should be doing but struggle to do so. That to me a sign of weakness.
For me to be able to move in forward progress, I had to go back a bit. Starting with reaching out to friends and family that I know without a doubt to love, support and accept me for who I am.
For so long, I have been disconnected from my childhood friends and family. I realize now, I did that on purpose. Up here, in the Indy, Pendleton, Muncie areas, no one knows me from my past. When I meet a new friend or see someone I worked with a few years ago, I know they don’t think, “God! What happened to her? She used to be so thin and athletic.” They just see me, Kami. The one they have always known. Sure, I have gained some weigh since I moved to the area 20 years ago, but they never knew me as I once was. And that somehow made it ok.
But those at home? Those childhood friends I’ve been able to hide from? They wouldn’t be so understanding. So, if they don’t see it, me, it can only be speculation, right? The last thing I want to do is prove to the people I grew up with that they were right. I am not smart enough, thin enough, athletic enough, perfect enough. That I am not enough. And now that I am not fit and thin on the outside, it is a dead give away to the feelings and fears I have always felt on the inside.
Luckily for me, a few events helped me push passed this. First, my best friend in high school found herself single and after loosing 90 pounds, needing a surgery on her ankle. Her surgery was a month before mine and recovery time was about as long as mine. This brought us back together with something in common as she was working to lose the weight she had gained back.
Second, my childhood neighbor, or my adoptive sister as we called each other, was getting married and her aunt who had been helping with the wedding became ill. Without a second thought, I text her and said, “I would love to help.” I was after all the maid of honor in her first wedding some 24 years prior. She was ecstatic by my offer and we were off and running.
Both of these renewed friendships help me heal a piece of my heart I hadn’t realized was broken. The piece that treasures those who care for us, who love us and support us through all our ups and downs. The piece of my heart that needs connection, companionship and community. The piece of my heart that needs to know I can make mistakes, and am allowed to feel frustrated, angry, sad.
It is the same piece of my heart that also needs to know I am never alone. That I am enough, just as I am. Perfectly imperfect.
For years I ignored her. I tuned her out. I pretended she didn’t exist. But she does, and once I decided to fill her up again, I see just how important her need was.
Once We got through our surgeries and the wedding, things went back to normal for a while. We were still in contact but there was no wedding crisis needing my attention, or workout setback that needed addressed.
After the holiday I knew something was missing. It didn’t take me long to figure out it was Fit Chicks!
Again, I had to get passed my ego and pride to reach out to a community I worried didn’t want me. Thank goodness I did!
I can’t say for sure what has kept me in forward progress, but I know for a fact it is the realization that I in no way want to back to where I have come from. I know for a fact it is the friends and family I have cheering me on. Celebrating the victories and supporting me and understanding the struggles. It is knowing that I am not defined by one day, one action, one choice, but a combination of all of them. And that means that I can make mistakes, I can accept who I am, even when not perfect because no one is. I can like me even when I am frustrated. And most of all, I can love and accept me unconditionally be I am making the best decisions for me and continuing in forward progress.
Kami!! You are courage, inspiration, truth and beauty epitomized!! Thank you for inspiring us and congratulations! We are celebrating with you!