A very vulnerable post lies ahead because there’s a lot of truth here. More than I usually share. And, I have shared a lot.

You see, I have always despised photos of me being taken. I have been so ashamed of my body for years and years and years that, well you get it.

And mirrors? I hate full-length mirrors. I would have mirrors where I could only see my face because I was told I was pretty once and held on to that all my life.

Yet, all I have ever wanted to be was “normal.”

While I don’t really know what “normal” feels like since I’ve never been normal in my life, I just knew, looking at my sister, that I wished I was more like her. Tiny. Petite. Curvy. That was my image of “normal.” Eats what she wants, but knows when to stop. She wouldn’t use food for comfort. Or to satisfy an emptiness. Or to fight boredom or loneliness. Or to dull the pain. She ate for nourishment. Like a “normal” person would.

Or I would be out and see other women – healthy, comfortable in their clothes, comfortable with themselves, and just wished, and wished, and wished I could be like them.

“Comparison is an act of violence against the self.”

Iyanla Vanzant

At my largest, I was 315 pounds. I have never really told anyone that. Lucky you. Can you imagine that on a 5’2″ frame?

Yep. That’s me. 315 pound me. I haven’t shown this photo to anyone. My bestie took it because I was dancing with her son. If I would have known the camera was pointing toward me I probably would have used him as a human shield and hid behind him. Like that was going to save me.

See how long the pants are? I would trick myself into wearing high platform heels thinking that it could “slim” me. Talk about delusional.

You’re also seeing a very depressed me. Pretending like everything is ok. Like this is “normal.”

There is nothing normal about this person.


Diabetes. Heart condition. Cholesterol. Depression. Anxiety. Can’t walk more than a few steps before running out of breath. Sedentary. Every bone in my body hurt. Of course, they did! Look at what they were carrying!

But I had a kid, a glorious, amazing child. I had to put a smile on my face and keep moving forward.

I was put on a medication that helped curb my appetite and I was able to lose some weight. But it wasn’t enough. I needed more help. So, I had gastric sleeve surgery and lost 95 pounds!

Yay! Felt like I was getting my life back. I returned to the theatre because I wasn’t so ashamed of myself and my body. One show, two shows, three. Opportunities kept coming. I was beginning to feel like a “normal” person!

It was wonderful.

Full-length photos were not as embarrassing. See? That’s me in my first show back!

Until my knees decided they had enough. Plus, going out and eating and drinking after shows weren’t the best idea. Yet, there I was.

And the weight started to pack on again.

Guess I didn’t learn my lesson, because I gained back half the weight I had lost.

My life kept going in circles. I had to lose weight, but couldn’t really move because my knees hurt so badly, so I’d get more depressed and eat more. More. More. More.

Yet all I wanted was to be normal.

“The hardest thing I ever tried is being normal.”


Then the broken leg. But, you already know that story. And, if you don’t just go back a few posts and you’ll see it.

Then, I needed a knee replacement.

My doctor, bless her, suggested a diabetes medication called Ozempic. You see, my diabetes was also out of control and it needed help too. This medication is wonderful. My diabetes is now in remission. And, it has helped with inflammation. But most of all it helped with weight loss!

I’ve been on Oz for 14 months now. I’ve stalled for weeks at a time. I started at 285 pounds. I am now 159.

“Brave is finding a new normal.”

Gina LaPapa

So, here I am!

If someone would have told me I would reach this point, 9 pounds from my goal, in a size 10 jeans – petite even – in a medium top… well, I would have called them crazy.

I have collar bones and a neck. A wobbly neck to be sure, but a neck all the same. One where I can wear dangly earrings and not feel silly.

I’m not afraid of full-length mirrors anymore. Nor will I shy away from a full-body photograph. In fact, I had to take one myself because I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing!

But most of all it feels good to have a taste of what “normal” feels like. And, I gotta say, it’s damn fantastic!

Carmen is a single mom who acts, sings, drinks way too much coffee, and writes stuff as she authentically navigates life. Sometimes it’s interesting, sometimes not so much. You can decide. But if something moves you, drop a line, share it far and wide, and let me know what you think! Be sure to check out her business website, Heart-Centered Marketing and Business Solutions.

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