Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Beginning and End (04/16/09)
TITLE: How I lost 185 pounds and got a Life"
By Robyn Burke
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Sounds like a headline on some cheesy magazine doesn’t it? Well this is not a story about some miracle diet --unless removing one wedding ring counts! No, I’m talking about how the ending became the beginning for me.
A little back ground first… dysfunctional childhood followed by an even more dysfunctional marriage. (See the big “L” on the forehead?) Save for two amazing children that came about because of the marriage, the whole relationship was a bust.
It’s a story all too familiar. Young girl, eager to escape a miserable home life, marries the charming prince—who is really an evil frog in disguise. She discovers his true identity too late, and is kept a prisoner in an ivory tower. In this case the ‘’ivory’’ was actually made of logs and the ‘’tower’’ was a cabin hidden in the woods.
I played a lot of internal games to help me survive. I wrote romance stories in which the M.C. always became widowed in the first chapter and got a chance to start over; this included finding Mr. Right and living happily ever after. I think for a time I really did sort of lose touch with reality. I had virtually no contact with anyone outside of his chosen circle of companions. I ate way too little and I exercised way too much. I struggled with depression. (Who wouldn’t?) I contemplated suicide more than once and then, found myself actually considering how to make myself the widow I often wrote about.
I think that was the beginning of the end right there. When I realized the extent of despair I was living and saw myself disappearing a little more each day, I knew I had to do something or risk losing myself all together.
And so then the ending came rather quickly. It was like something inside of me just snapped one day and a voice inside of me said, “Girl, get out while you still can!” There is an old adage that goes “when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of change, then you’ll change.” That is exactly the way it was for me.
To be sure it was not easy. I lived in a greater fear after I left then I did while I was with him. After all I had learned how to function- survive- in the chaos of the abuse. Now there were so many new beginnings available to me! So many firsts. My own car, my own checking account, a job, freedom to choose-- from the food I ate to the clothes I wore, contact with family and friends I chose! Not that single parenting is a delight, nor the stress and pain of divorce and custody battles. And the responsibilities that come from maintaining your own home? But the freedom to make those choices, to be myself, to discover who ‘myself’ even was—Priceless!
I remember a day soon after I had moved into my own home, and I was on a mission to find furnishings. I uncovered a treasure trove at a garage sale and brought home among other things, a sturdy wooden desk. It badly needed a new paint job and as I laid out materials on my deck, I found myself suddenly filled with self doubt. “You bought the wrong paint. Those brushes are crap. This desk is a piece of junk.” Then I realized the voice accusing me wasn’t my voice but his. And I said, out loud, “Shut up! I know what I am doing. It might not end up perfect but it will be perfect for me!”
It was a little thing – or maybe not. It was another turning point in my new life. My sister refers to this time as “the metamorphose’. She says she watched me go from a creeping crawling little worm, into a protective cocoon and finally breaking out; the butterfly, flying free.
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