In This Here AFTER


Today I stood in the full body mirror attached to my closet. I stared at my belly and my hips for full minutes in disbelief before huffing out a joke at my own expense to no one,

Girl. You need to get it together. You looking like one of them ‘Before‘ pictures on Instagram!

I chuckled as I took in the rest of me, vowing to make another plan for weight loss and a healthier lifestyle. I noticed how wide my breasts have become and I took in the extra 1/4 inch around each arm. My shoulders are tan and the lines from my tee shirts so distinct they’re distracting. 

Checking out my neck, I noticed dibbles and divets I’ve never seen before. I looked at my face and realized, black does crack and those ‘laugh lines’ are in fact wrinkles.

I told myself, “You could stand a cut and color. All that gray just makes you feel old and weathered.”

Having done what I could to avoid them, finally, I looked into my eyes. They’re the same dark chocolate brown they were when I was born. And the light in them is no dimmer but glows all the more brighter. My eyes fascinate me. Staring into them, they told me a secret that made me drop every self incriminating remark previously made

Baby, this ain’t the ‘Before’. No. This is your AFTER!

My hips and thighs, belly and breasts may report elements of where I’ve been and how I got there. But it’s my eyes that tell the real story. And it’s true.

See this is my AFTER.

After divorce.

After pneumonia.

After miscarriages and so many surgeries and procedures I lost count.

This is After dancing with bankruptcy and burying my father who dropped dead of a heart attack on his way to work.

This is After sitting in rooms with experts telling me what I couldn’t and shouldn’t do.

This is After paying off student loans and car liens and crawling from up under suffocating debt.

This is After the birth of my son and the sheer joy of our everyday adventures.

This is After losing 60 pounds and having it find me again.

This is After climbing a mountain and then getting trapped in an elevator.

This is After break ups and make ups and oh just fuck it’s.

This is my AFTER with full awareness of everything that came ‘Before.’

When I was a younger woman I struggled with ‘normalcy.’ By struggle I mean I wasn’t normal and I knew it. So to compensate I’d pretend to be normal for at least 20 minutes everyday.

In my ‘normal’ minutes I’d talk about boys and plan parties with friends. I giggled and forced myself to care about what other people thought about my outfit or my next step.

The ‘normal’ acting was treacherous. And soon as I could I shed it like a winter coat in spring. I tucked it away in the back of my mental broom closet and haven’t put it on again.

That was the ‘Before.’

See that’s what’s missing in all those pictures. They show you only the physical transformation of a person. 

Here’s Jane. Jane lost 82 pounds using our critically acclaimed and medically sanctioned weight list method!

And the only thing we know is Jane was fat but then she dropped a bunch of money in a program. Now she’s thin and can live her life.

What in the entire fuck does that mean?

If you’re fat, you can’t live? Is that the message? Is being fat the only thing holding you back from living your best life?

I call bullshit.

Your ‘Before‘ isn’t about the weight. It’s NEVER about the weight. Your ‘Before‘ is for you to define. It’s your freaking moment or moments.

Before‘ can be anything. It can be ‘Before‘ I signed a lease with just my name. It can be ‘Before‘ I finished my degree. It can be ‘Before‘ I moved to another state. 

It’s your ‘Before.’ And the AFTER is that moment or moments when you knew better, you did better, you felt better. 

It’s that moment when you look you in the eye and realize 

I’m still here! Aren’t I an amazing ball of light!

Cause you are. Show off your AFTER. You’ve earned it!

Before yoga owned me!

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