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Maui Bigelow

Source: Kaylin James / Howell Design Studios

One of life’s greatest myths is, losing weight will cure unhappiness; especially if you are fat. We are told losing weight is always the resolution. It sounds dumb, and it is dumb, but this is what society has programmed us to believe, and unfortunately, many have bought into the ignorance. I am here to tell you losing weight will not fix every area of your life.

At my heaviest, I tipped the scales at 376 pounds. While I failed to meet society’s beauty standards and was subjected to negativity solely because of my weight, I was unbothered. I was a fly fat girl who was confident, bold, and unapologetic. In that obese body, I learned to love myself despite what others thought. I became bold, and most of all, immune to the idea that I lacked value because of my size. It was also the place where I learned my purpose and first applied it by empowering other women and girls and encouraging them to love themselves. Oh, and I don’t have any of those sad stories about not getting guys because of my size, either. Not to mention, I have a great career as a plus-size style influencer that put quite a few coins in my account. So, yeah, being plus-size was not that problematic for me.

Although doctors and family urged me to lose weight, I honestly didn’t see the need. I was fine, well I thought I was until I became what society thinks all plus-size women are, unhealthy. I didn’t have a heart issue or hypertension, but I did have a fibroid that weighed over 10lbs and was causing me to bleed uncontrollably. I also had Blood Cancer, Multiple Myeloma. I needed surgery to remove the fibroid, but because of my weight, the doctors were hesitant. Now I had an Oncologist telling me that being overweight was an issue because Multiple Myeloma affects the bones. Basically, I was too damn big. So I had weight loss surgery, I changed my lifestyle in 2018, and today I am nearly 200lbs lighter, floating between 215 and 220lbs.

Before surgery, the bariatric team suggested that I find a counselor. This piece of advice changed and saved my life. Why? Because my relationship with food and those 376 pounds were connected to great trauma that needed unpacking. When I was 10 years old, my uncle started molesting me. My body began to change, and men started coming to me like I was a woman when I was merely a baby. I begin to eat to cope with the fear and sadness this produced. Then one day, my aunt (who meant no harm) said, “you’re getting too fat, boys aren’t going to like you.” Lightbulb moment! If being fat meant boys wouldn’t like me, neither would men, right. So, that weight was unaddressed trauma, 30 years of hurt that needed to be healed, and a little girl waiting for someone to rescue her, all grown up carrying shame that didn’t belong to her.

To the world, I am better because I lost weight, and I can’t lie, in regards to my physical health, that is true. The fibroid is gone, and my numbers have decreased tremendously in regards to the Multiple Myeloma. However, this glow and blinding light is the presence of peace and joy, not the product of weight loss. The beauty and brilliance that are currently on display are reparations; it is what happens when you choose you first and heal.

Healing is the highest level of self-love and self-awareness. Healing is a humbling experience that summons hurt, conjures up bad feelings, and it is the hardest work you will do for yourself. While the healing process is painful and often leaves you feeling weak and vulnerable, you become mighty the moment you decide to do the work required to heal. You prove yourself greater than every person and every situation that came against you. You will lose people and things on the journey to becoming healed, and I need you to be okay with those losses, especially since they contributed nothing to your growth.

Listen, sis, losing weight will change your size. It may improve your health, but it will not heal you because it damn sure didn’t heal me.

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