Editor’s note: Please join us in welcoming our new columnist, Sarah Aarssen. Sarah has lost more than 50 pounds so far (and counting) and she’ll be a regular contributor here at Project Blissful.
When you hear people tell their “stories” they always talk about hitting rock bottom.
For the drug addict rock bottom was when he snatched the purse from the little old neighbor lady who used to bake him his favorite cookies in the winter, knocking her down and breaking her fragile hip.
For the alcoholic rock bottom was when she smacked her innocent child’s face in a fit of drunken anger or when he smashed his car into a tree killing his best friend.
Rock bottom is always a tragic story.
It’s never very pretty. Nobody ever says “I really hit rock bottom when I drank myself silly at a party and ran around the neighborhood naked on a dare.” No drug addicts story begins with “I knew I had to turn my life around when I was no longer able to afford my weekly massages at the spa.”
Rock bottom is always a gross, murky, muddy, messy, bloody, dirty, shameful tragic turning point in a person’s life. But even below all the muddiness, below all the layers of guilt, shame and filth, beyond the grief, beyond all of that… there shines a light. It may be a small little pin light that is barely flickering, but there’s a definite light.
You will also hear people say that you have to hit rock bottom before you can move forward.
I don’t know if I totally believe that. I don’t believe you have to be in the gutter before you can realize you’re on the wrong path. I don’t think you have to go ‘all the way’ before realizing you don’t like this roller coaster ride and you’d like to get of please. You don’t have to knock your elderly neighbor down, snatching her handbag, before you realize “hey, I think I might have screwed up somewhere along the way.”
But I do believe that there was a point in my life where I said “what in the hell am I doing to myself.” It wasn’t when I looked in a mirror. It wasn’t when my arse got stuck in a chair. It wasn’t when I stepped on the scale. It wasn’t even when I went shopping and couldn’t find anything in my size.
That defining moment, my “rock bottom” happened at work.
We had just had our company BBQ and a coworker had taken some pictures and sent them out via e mail to all of us. Amongst all the great pictues of the beach, the food, friends, the sunset there was my rock bottom.
I saw a picture of myself and didn’t even recognize me. I can sort of see my face in that picture but whose arms are those? Hey that big girl has on my shirt… and my skirt…and is standing next to my husband… kissing him… HEY! THAT’S ME!!!!
Oh my God. That is me. I quickly closed the picture but I knew everybody else in the office would see it. But hey, it’s what they see in me every day. That is what I look like. That is what everybody at the office sees when they look at me. That is what people see in the grocery store, in the mall, in the bank. Everywhere I go, that is what people see. THAT is what I look like.
I went home that night and cried. I laid on my bed and just cried. Marco came and laid with me, held me close and asked me what was wrong. Between sniffles and sobs I managed to get it out.
“I’m so gross. I can’t believe what I’ve done to myself. Look at me!”
Of course he said all the right things. He told me how wonderful I was, how beautiful I was. what a great person I am.
He said everything a husband is supposed to say. But as much as I knew that he meant what he was saying, I also knew that I could not go on this way.
From that day on we made changes.
Yes we, he and I, both made changes. He vowed to help me in whatever way he could and from that day on we began our new journey together. We haven’t turned back since.
So I didn’t need to have a heart attack at 40 to snap myself into reality. I didn’t have to learn that I have diabetes before saying “Wake up Sarah!”. All I needed was one picture, one life changing, defining picture was enough to show me that little pin light flickering in the dark.
Have you hit “rock bottom” before? How did it feel? What did you do next? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section, below.