From Wanting to Die to Coming Alive

About a year and and a half ago, I reached the highest weight of my life: 300 lbs. I was miserable. I'd been fighting with my insurance to get top surgery for 3 years at that point, and it still seemed impossible. I hated my body and could barely stomach walking near a mirror. I was depressed, self-destructive, and just wanted to die.

Life has come a long way since then.

On December 12, 2016, I had top surgery. While I still want revisions, the relief I felt was enough to keep me alive, and, slowly, to allow me to start transforming other parts of my life contributing to my depression.

I started losing weight. I dropped 28 lb in the first year, and another 19 in the past 6 months. I've tried to exercise a little each day, and be more mindful of what and how much I eat.

I dropped clothing sizes, too. 8 inches off my waist size, and 2 shirt sizes. Today, I weighed myself at 244 lb, and wore a medium shirt for the first time since my late teens.

Ten months ago, I also moved. Arizona contained a lot of ghosts: Streets where the exes who had raped me lived, constant reminders of other abusers, threats in bathrooms, alcohol drowning my friends, and too many people who called me by a name that had never been mine. A room I could afford had opened up in Pennsylvania, and I took the leap. I piled my possessions in my car and drove.

It was one of the best decisions of my life.

Slowly, I learned to trust. I learned what it felt like to be safe in my home. I made friends. I built a family from them, a family unlike the one I left behind.

And then I took another leap. I started to mend things with my blood family. We're learning to trust each other, and that is a precious gift.

As I got more comfortable in my new surroundings, I worked up the courage to reach out to larger and larger communities, and I came alive. I'd had a community I felt safe in when I lived in Arizona, but it was surrounded by misery, and for the first time, I feel like a person rather than a statistic.

For the first time, I feel safe and whole, alive and happy.

For the first time, I love my life.