It’s finally almost time to see my family after almost a year. Sure, they have said the obligatory: I-miss-you, when are you coming home, and I-can’t-wait-to-see-yous. But I’m still dreading the initial moment of contact with every single one of them.This past year has been nothing short of hard.
Moving to a different state, starting my masters program, and losing my daughter when I was six months pregnant (without their physical presence) has left me in an almost indescribable place. The idea that I will have to talk about the space that I now occupy is difficult to imagine.
My head really starts to pound when I think about how my family members will react when they see how I’ve gained thirty pounds (while my partner has probably lost that much in muscle and the barely-there body fat that he once had). Inevitably, one of them will ask me “what the hell happened” or make a joke about how I’m clearly starving my partner and keeping all the food for myself. Even if the joke isn’t as harsh, there will at least be one. In any case, it isn’t funny and the question will certainly bring on a tide of emotions that I just am not ready to feel right now.
But you know what I need to say:
My eyes are no longer filled with a glimmer of hope and my skin does not glow with youthful joy. My hair does not shine from carefully applied coconut oil and shea butter.These follicles have seen better days with less stress, less mania, and certainly more hydration. The stretch marks that trail the sides of my abdomen narrate the story of love and premature childbirth. Several months after, I remained still, adding to the flesh that now make these thighs rub. These my-cup-overfloweth breasts grew to unforeseen proportions to accommodate a hungry baby. Yet, they were never put to use. Without a bra, they hang, sadly, dreaming of the time Before. This chub that has collected at my lower belly is a constant reminder that ice cream and homemade cookies (even if they are naturally sweetened) are lovely as long as they are not consumed everyday. So you see Family–today, I am broken beyond measure. I have sunk to my darkest depth. There are days when I believe I will make it, there are days when I simply want to die.
Yes, in your terms, I have completely ‘let myself go’. However, what you see on the outside doesn’t even bring you close to how I feel inside. So I beg you let me, let me, let me…let myself go, to make way for new beginnings and possibilities. I can no longer fixate on the ‘her’ of a year ago. I have to learn to love and exist as ‘me’. I have to learn to trust the uterus that couldn’t save my baby, the mind that didn’t stop me from overindulging in foods, the spirit that gave up Earthly duties in hopes of reconnecting with my dead mother and daughter. Yes, there is trust that has to be gained. Secrets that have to be shared, real feelings that have to be had, real trauma that has to be spoken. It’s a journey but I am so worth it.