It’s been a while since I’ve done a #TransformationTuesday so I thought this before and after would only be fitting since my modeling career is blooming right along with me. A lot has changed since the pictures on the left so let’s take it back a couple years to 2017 and I’ll paint the context. I was fresh in my #BloomingUnapologetically journey. I filed for divorce that January, which for me was the key that released me to fully pursue me. It set the tone for me to step outside my box or better stated, crawl from under my rock. Modeling was a childhood dream of mine that I buried because I was told being plus sized wasn’t something I should celebrate or acknowledge. Due to that belief, most of my life I battled with my weight and hid behind clothes that would downplay my curves and plus size figure. Modeling didn’t even cross my mind again until I chose to pursue my dreams and conquer my fears as I began this healing journey. The end of my marriage served as the catalyst that I needed to propel me to be the best me. I decided that I would face my biggest battles with my fluctuating weight and address the root of my lack of confidence.
I get a lot of questions on what I did to lose weight, how I started and how I stay motivated. My first answer is weight loss was much more than numbers and measurements for me. It was all about me reclaiming my life and finding me after my ex husband left me. I knew I needed to make drastic changes to pull myself out of deep debilitating depression and it had to begin with learning to love me. My goals seemed impossible to reach. My reflection, I didn’t even recognize. I had literally lost my identity. Who you see today is a product of no short cuts, hard work, discipline and healing from the inside out. Thank you for tuning in to me #BloomingUnapologetically.
I remember the days when the separation from my ex husband was still new and I had just found additional proof of infidelity. My emotions began with devastation, reached infuriated and settled down with a interjection of maturity. If I could’ve quoted how I felt at that moment I’d title it “Somewhere Between F*** You and Forgiveness”. An array of emotions between dumbfounded and pettiness all crossed my mind and there was no resolution but to work through how I felt. I admit, it took a few months to process but it was my responsibility to heal beyond that. Staying there would’ve only prolonged my healing and I refused to let him or his actions have any more power over me. So cold turkey I refocused my energy. I removed my attention from the pain of what he did to me, to achieving peace. One thing I’ve learned over my #BloomingUnapologetically journey is that healing comes in waves. It does not happen all at once. Some days will feel unbearable. Some days will feel absolutely liberating. But most days will be a balance of both in between. I’ve had to adapt to taking days as they come. No feeling or emotion that you feel is wrong, it is just your truth at the moment. It is your responsibility to own it, embrace it and continue to level up. Even if you are the victim, healing has to begin and end with you but to even get to that point you have to uncover your hidden wounds.
A few weeks ago I celebrated my divorce in the company of close friends and family. It was definitely a joyous occasion as we dined over good food and great energy. The gathering was impromptu, invites were sent via text and I literally planned it the night before with my cousin who was also celebrating her divorce which was granted just a few days before mine. I was surprised by all the "I'll see you there" responses and the turn out warmed my heart. I've gotten a lot of side eyes as word has spread that I am celebrating divorce but I would like to set the record straight. I don't advocate for divorce. I advocate for wholeness by any means necessary but even this philosophy took me a while to attain. I remember a time that I was fresh in my marriage and still on that newlywed high full of hopes and dreams for our future. The same cousin who just celebrated with me came to me seeking advice regarding her derailing marriage around October of 2014. I'm known to give good advice with my forte being toxic relationships but this was advice on a topic I was not familiar with. I hadn't been married that long and I was talking to someone who was about 10 years in the game. I remember encouraging her to work it out and to stick by her husband and to forgive him and all the other good save your marriage tactics that were taught to me. We continued our conversation over dinner and parted ways later that evening. We caught up weekly over candid conversations that usually resulted in me jokingly calling her crazy. She informed me not too long after our 'save her marriage meeting' that they would officially be parting ways. I knew that God could change anyone and fix anything so I secretly held hope and prayed that they would work things out even in the midst of me knowing she deserved better. That was my first experience with giving advice on a topic I didn't have experience with but a few months after this in February of 2015 I got my second chance at this.
So the gate is open and the chains have been broken, but where does that leave me? Honestly, I'm in the doorway looking out at my freedom and its vast possibilities but stuck between dreams and reality. It’s been a week since my divorce has been final but I can't say that it has really hit me yet. I am still a bit numb. Like it is officially over? Like really over? Like I'm really done!? I know I did a good job of concealing the depth of the troubles in my marriage. I know that God's grace made it look like what I went through wasn't a big deal and maybe didn't even warrant a divorce but the truth is the depth of my marriage woes were ugly and painful. I never thought I would leave. I never thought that I would stop trying. I never thought that I would move on and at a point in time I couldn't even fathom what that looked like or how I would even take the first step. I was under the impression that all that I was going through was what I deserved and it ultimately became my normal. I began to think that I didn't deserve love and that I would never know what love from a significant other felt like. At my breaking point, I remember asking God this can't be all that you have for me. This can't be all that I deserve and this definitely can’t be a reflection of your love. I felt unloved, I felt neglected, I felt worthless and I was emotionally tapped out. I had poured out all that I could to save our marriage the first time and he still hadn't changed, he still hadn't forgiven me and he no longer wanted to try. Despite my unbreakable demeanor, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired and being on the receiving end of his bitterness. The little hope left in me led me to believe that I deserved more and the truth set in that I wasn't going to get it from him. He tapped out long before I did but I had finally mustered up enough courage to throw my towel in too. I didn't care that it made me look like a failure. I didn't care that people to this day would be saying I told you so. I was dying inside and desperate to live.
Him: “The fact that you aren’t confident is surprising but I know you have been hurt, I understand.” Me: A lot has happened to me that took my confidence. Truth is I didn’t feel beautiful or even the slightest bit of confidence until recently. I was rejected constantly in my marriage. He wouldn’t touch me. I don’t even remember that last time I’ve been touched. I peeked at my highest weight in life and I’m just now starting to come down. Not sure how much I’ve lost. I start back working with my trainer in the new year. I promised myself that this time I will do this for me. Weight loss is my biggest battle. I had this conversation sometime at the end of last year. He met me at a point where I was still buried in my shell obviously struggling with lack of confidence and I was attempting to tell him how I had gotten to that point. I have come quite a ways since then but my struggle with confidence is a little unique. I wouldn’t exactly say that I struggle with low self esteem. I am confident in my intelligence, I connect strongly socially, and I know that I have a pretty face but I never considered my size to be a beautiful thing. As weird as this sounds to people who see me as confident, I really haven't felt confident until recently. It is true, I have been through a lot of trials that has drained my self confidence but my biggest blow to date was my failed marriage. Not only did his infidelity do something to my psyche but his constant rejection damn near put any trace of confidence I had left in a grave. I’d like to share with you guys a little of what got me to this point.