I am approaching a big milestone; the biggest one that there will be for me on this journey, a milestone so fraught with emotion that it staggers me even now.
In my very first post I wrote briefly about a car accident that I had in 1994 that drastically changed not only the course of my life but the also the very way in which I view the world. I am not going to go into detail about the accident. It would just be a laundry list of injuries but I will say this, at the time of the accident I weighed 175 lbs. Not a lightweight by any means but not fat either. I was an athlete. I played volleyball for ten years and I coached it for three. I ran track for years and years. I played on a basketball team; you see where I am going with all of this? When I had the car accident, all of that stopped. Injuries had to be dealt with and I had to heal. During that time I gained 80 lbs. I went from an active athletic 175 to a sluggish insecure 255 in the span of six months. When I was cleared by my surgeons, therapists and attorneys to start getting physical again, I didn’t know who I was physically anymore. I didn’t know this girl. There was still a great deal of physical pain but the emotional devastation was greater. I was 20 years old. My life was supposed to be laid out in front of me, the world was supposed to be my oyster, the possibilities were supposed to be infinite and challenging and exciting but they weren’t. I was damaged goods. Nobody really knew. I put on a brave face for my family and friends; I didn’t want them to worry. I didn’t want anyone to know. I wanted them to see the same old Jil. I think I also wanted to convince myself that I was healed too; I didn’t want to acknowledge my new life. This was not the life that I chose. This was the life that Dr. Eric Wong chose for me, by reading a map instead of looking at the road. How could that be my life? My dreams seemed petty. I almost died that day. How do you go back after that? How do you go back to a normal life, the life you had before you faced your own mortality? You can’t but I tried. I failed.
255 is a magic number for me. Although I went on to gain more weight over the years that weight didn’t really mean much. Yes it affected me both physically and mentally but it was no worse than 255. It’s almost like I packed up my life’s dreams and aspirations and left them locked up at 255 lbs. That’s where my life started to go wrong. That is where I gave up. I gave up on my own potential, gave up on finding love, gave up on a future that would validate who I was as a woman, as a Christian, as a human; all locked away in a scale that said 255 lbs. I just stopped. Sure, life moved on, there have been good times and there have been struggles. I have had relationships, friendships, mentorship’s and careers but in my heart of hearts time had stopped for me a long time ago.
I am approaching 255. I am at 264 lbs. I am less than 10 lbs away from where it all went so horribly wrong. Please don’t misunderstand me; I have had so many blessings in my life. I have people that I love and who have loved me through it all. I have had professional successes, and a great deal of personal satisfaction along the way but when that day arrives, the day when the scale reads 255 I will feel like I am getting to turn back time a little. I will get a chance to unravel some of the pain and disillusion wrapped up there. I will get to unlock a part of myself that I feared was lost to me. A part of myself that I thought I would never see again. They are not just lbs I am dropping; they are bricks of fear, loneliness, loss and pain. I know I will not really be turning back or recapturing time. I have grown up a lot over the years but I very much understand the girl who checked her life at the door so many years ago. I have missed her. I have missed her so much. I want her to know that it’s all okay, that we made it, and that we survived. I want her to know that it wasn’t all left there on the side of the road that day, that we have made a life for ourselves; a good life. I want her to know that we never gave up on Christ and that He never gave up on us. Through it all, even when we felt so lost, He was there clearing the path.
I am walking, living, breathing proof that God is a merciful, powerful, loving father.
Not many people get a “do-over” in life; a chance to start anew. Wipe the slate clean and write a new story. I have been so very fortunate in my life because on May 14, 1994 I got a do-over. I had the opportunity to start life again knowing that I was mortal and that the choices I made made a difference. I died and was born again on that afternoon because God could have called me home and he didn’t. He spread out a new life of opportunity before me. I didn’t always make the right decisions. I know that I have disappointed Him many times over but I also know that He loves me every bit as much as He loves His other children. Now, as though one do-over in life wasn’t enough I get a second do-over, because before this surgery, I was dying and today I am very much alive. How awesome is God that he would care so much for me that he would allow me the opportunity to try again to be the image He carries of me in His heart. To grant me the opportunity to be who He intends for me to be, my own personal redemption. He has given me the opportunity to live my dreams once again.
I am humbled before Him and before all of you. To those of you who are taking this journey with me and beside me, your companionship means so much more to me than you can ever truly know. To those of you who have known me since before the accident, I want you to know that I am coming home. I have missed you all and I love you so very much.
My heart to you all…XoXo, Jil