Hurt So Good

It was her first time. He stood behind her with one hand on her stomach and the other on the small of her back.  She bent slowly at the waste to touch her toes, resting there for a few seconds so as to get comfortable. She bent her knees to squat and turn over to sit before him; knees at her chest, eyes at his knees.  She slowly lay on her back, straightening out her legs and spreading her thighs as wide as she could. An intense tug caught her by surprise so she stopped because of the pain and sat up quickly. He whispered his reassurance, “I’ll take it from here.” She smiled nervously and laid on her back, noticing shivering in her stomach.  However, the calmness and confidence in his eyes gave her sweet security, begging her to, “Relax, this will only hurt a little. Once we get into it, I promise you’ll thank me.” She willingly obeyed.  Breathing slow and heavy, she braced for slow impact.  He knelt before her, put his hands on her ankles and pressed gently.  He kept his promise.  She was loose enough to continue the work out with her trainer. It hurt so good…

 

Ha! I gotcha!

When I was 27 I was a 396-pound, hopelessly depressed, Type 2 diabetic trapped in my body. I didn’t see a way out.  My family said that they’d help. But who really wants to give up sugars and starches for the rest of their healthy lives? I was alone.  I knew that the woman in the mirror was not the woman that I was supposed to be.  I had big career and life dreams. But I had given up on reaching them because I was fettered in my own belly fat. I knew that I had to do something, but I didn’t know what or how. I knew that I had to give up everything that I loved; Comfort and Food! It’s such a huge part of my family’s culture. And we are big-time foodies. Not to mention my generational challenges.  My great-grandma was fat, my grandma was fat, my mom was fat and so was I.  396 pounds, a size 32 was the only size I was comfortable in because I thought that it hid how big I was. Nope! Who knew wearing bigger clothes emphasized my magnanimousity (my own word). I was forced to shop at places like Lane Bryant, The Avenue and downstairs at Macy’s. Double the price because it was quadruple the material.  Horrible! Comfort was the bullet in the chamber of the gun to my head.  I never felt good. So I lived my life, put on clothes and ate the foods that made me comfortable.  But, since I never had enough energy to do anything else, comfort became my place of worship.  I went to work and came home to lie down and watch TV until it was time to eat then sleep.  I was on 8 medications – 4 in the morning and 4 at night. That monotonous hamster wheel was my life. I was incinerated by the failure in the mirror. I had failed myself, failed the Lord and His dreams for my life. Every now and then someone would help, namely my Mom, but the help was not consistent.  Money or schedules always threw a wrench in the plan. At that point I didn’t have enough hate for my situation to do what I could; I didn’t possess the painful discipline to push myself. So I strived for comfort. I was slowly and privately committing suicide. I was so overwhelmed with the failure regarding my weight that I didn’t even have time to think about anything else. No relationship goals, no career goals and no fun goals, until I turned 40. 

 

I had only lost almost 100 pounds by then. But I was still over 300 pounds. Comfort still guarded the door of my prison. To top it all off I hurt my toe and almost lost it. I was forced to spend 4 days in a hospital bed taking intravenous antibiotics to save my toe. One night I fell asleep to a CSI episode about a serial killer who bit off the toes of his victims. Crazy! My A1C was 15. (That doesn’t mean anything to you except to know that the normal high end of your blood glucose level is supposed to be 6-7.) They couldn’t figure out why I hadn’t had a stroke yet. That was my wake up call.  I had a major decision to make.  I could spend the rest of my life sick and dying a slow lonely death or LIVE.

 

I decided to live. However that meant that I had to make some major life decisions. I adopted a saying that I have NEVER said out loud till now – “LEARN TO LOVE THE BURN” It’s my private mental mantra. I say it to myself when I think about quitting or not going to the gym or if I feel a sore muscle. It’s my thermostat.  If I’m working out and I haven’t had pain then I haven’t done enough. Most times I workout so hard my own skin feels like needles pricking me.  My Uncle David says, “Pain is weakness leaving the body.”  So I had to decide to dethrone comfort and crown pain as my new love.

 

After I lost most of the weight I realized that there was so much more to life and that there was still life in my dreams. Being afraid of the emotional and physical pain of what I had to give up was what kept me from the reality of my dreams.  Pain isn’t your enemy.  It lets you know that you are alive. And power is guarded by pain. Beyond your pain there is power waiting for you to seize it, use it, and transform it into the energy needed to make your dreams a reality. This goes for losing weight, building relationships, going back to school, winning your family, facing an interview or any other God-sized dreams.

 

If you are reading this and you have taken something from it that you can use for your life, or you know someone who could benefit from my journey and you share it, you are helping me to fulfill my dream.  There is so much that I want to tell you, so much that I have to say, and the results will be the astronomical fulfillment of every dream in my heart and yours.  But I only got here because I shed the pounds of fat on my belly and the pounds within the fear of pain. The pounds that I ended up divorcing were not only fat, but also the fear of experiencing discomfort and pain.

 

Music is one of my muses. It helps me get through the pain, whether it’s working out or being alone. There is a song that I ended 2017 with. Tasha Leonard’s “I’m Getting Ready.” If it were a cassette tape, it would have been ruined. Never mind the brilliant move of putting Nicki Minaj on the track. This song serves as a prophetic word for my life in 2018. I WILL live to see the reality of everything that the Lord intended for me to have by gaining through pain and dying through discipline. Ooh, it hurts so good.

 

I’m Tifiny and iambutNaked…

Tifiny Johnson