What is this an area code? Winning lottery numbers? Your combo on your locker?

Three times, I failed.

Seven months, I have been on my own, surviving, thriving.

Nine, loyal friends who I call my tribe who never let me down, no matter the storm.

Three. Seven. Nine.

You want to know what else is significant about three, seven, nine? That was it. Rock bottom. The pit of hell. The ugly place. The yucky reality. The highest number. Yeah, it was 2015, my heaviest 379 pounds.

Give me a minute. Deep breath my way through this. Did I just type that? Will I be brave enough to share that? We’ll see.

It was fall. There was a bitter chill in the air, and I was getting ready for the holidays. I was shopping for gifts. It was a solo trip to good ole “Wally World.” I had a list, on a mission to get what I needed.

I remember a baby shower was coming up, so I jetted over to the baby section while I was there.

I was trying to decide on an outfit to purchase. An older gentleman was there with his wife. He stepped close to me while passing down the aisle and said, “Excuse me” since he was needing in the section I was in.

He casually looked over at me and said, “Oh, you must be so excited. When are you due?” It was the worst. Could I possibly be confused for someone who was pregnant? I left in a haze.

I spent the next several days mulling over that comment. Thinking to myself, “Is this how I am viewed?”

It is sad and depressing at that moment. Did I tell anyone? Yeah, one person who laughed about it and said, “I guess I can see why he thought that.”

This didn’t help. It only further suppressed those horrible feelings I was feeling about myself.

I wondered, “Who saw me this way? Who sees me as “the fat mom,” the “looked over and looked passed?”

So here is where I stood up, stopped making excuses and started research. I knew what would not work.

I had tried a bunch of fad this and fad that over the years. But I buckled down. I lost 41 pounds right away within six months.

I was halfway through 2016, and I was suppressing again. I could feel the pull again, the quit, the wanting to just stop. And for the first time, I didn’t.

That was my turning point. That was the shift where I didn’t give up like always.

As 2017 was approaching, I was changing, but most importantly, I was learning. I was learning along the way how I needed to be more proactive in my day-to-day life in order to shed away what has always kept me safe: My weight.

Eating was a way I hid all of my emotions. My sadness was fixed with some junk food and a Pepsi. I found comfort in cake and Kool-Aid.

No one knew I was drowning. I wouldn’t let them know.

I am not about to dismiss any of the fault or place any of the blame. I did it. It was all me.

I needed something that was lacking. The fact is I didn’t know what was lacking was the same thing that would in fact set me free.

I spent my whole life living for everyone else. Doing for everyone else. Helping everyone else. Standing by everyone else. Holding up everyone else. Giving up for everyone else.

I will never forget the day when I said while looking in the mirror, “You have given enough. You have done all you can. It is time you be here for you.”

And as easy as it sounds, I stopped. I broke the chains that held me down, kept me back and let that control and hold over me go.

As those changes started to take shape with my health, my view on food and how to exercise, I noticed that so did my support.

And guess what? Now, that number 379 started all of this in motion so many years ago.

I don’t focus on that number anymore. My end goal isn’t a number. It is a feeling and a way of life. I am a work in progress. We all are, matter of fact.

Maybe now isn’t your time to give up and take control of your life. Fine, but it will be one day, and when it happens, go back and reread the struggle and the pain is real.

I don’t write this as “story” or something to do. I write this as real life. The good and the bad of it. It is real. I write this in hopes that you see your struggle, you see your pain and you know that it doesn’t have to be this way.

I said once in a previous article that I am not a paid actor, and this isn’t a fictional tall tale. I write every single article the same. I write like I am doing so for a journal that no one will ever read.

When I send them to Jordan Morey every month, I say, “Please let me know if you don’t think it is.”

But the bottom line, this is life, the ugly, the pretty, the harsh, the easy, the difficult and the simple.

I don’t eat now to hide things. I just enjoy life. The cut corner today is the splurge tomorrow.

My smile is brighter now, and that is really all that matters. That dark place that held me for years is gone, and it all started because “I got it.”

I finally understood that no one can fix me but me.

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