My childhood was what most would deem boring. The Mountains of West Virginia were nothing short of heaven to me though. Growing up in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains provided me with many valuable life lessons, all the while having a beautiful scenery to enjoy. I lived at one of the highest peaks on the mountain, we were so high up we called it West By God Virginia, because that high on the mountain you certainly are “by god.”
My father was a coal miner, so I am truly a coal miners daughter, and coal mining was a job that took my father away almost all of the daylight hours. The coal mines did not even allow for too much time for weekend visitation. I remember sleeping with the hall light on most of my life, it was important for me to stay awake long enough to at least see my dad walk down the hallway as he came in from work.
There are a few things that stand out in my memory about my dads work. He was an electrician in the mines and he had this meter with two sticks that, I think measured energy. I was fascinated by them. Often, I would lay down my toys to play with this meter. I also remember he took me once to pick up his payday and I stood at the entry of the mines crying to go inside. He told me it was dangerous and I couldn’t go, but all I could see was a big opening into a mountain, and I surely wanted to go inside.
My mom an Avon lady and stay at home domestic Goddess. She always had dinner on the table either at our house or my grandparents when I would get in from school. In the past year I have gotten interested in my ancestors– I am Cherokee Indian and Irish, but I have an Italian Pallet. There is no doubt that came from our neighbors growing up like Rosemary Dominick. Manga, manga, manga and our neighbors usually did not mind too much to have an extra lil’ cousin hanging around, my name is Teresa after all. I fit right in!
Most of my life growing up was spent hanging out with my grandfather listening to stories he would tell and learning valuable life lessons. My childhood was spent in the woods learning about trees, flowers and animals. Basically I am just a simple girl who prefers bare-feet, but I do clean up rather nicely.
Somewhere a long the journey at a very young age, my boundaries were crossed and my innocence was violated. That day changed me, and my behavior also changed. I kept my pain and hurt inside, and on the outside I continued to shine and smile and my world seemed wonderful. The anger and hurt only grew inside. This led to comforting with food, and to many insecurities that grew and festered like a hot disease infecting my soul.
My pre-teen and teen age years were spent with a lot of insecurities and self doubt. During those years, I spent a lot of time in the hospital with Rheumatic Fever, Chorea, Allergies and Sinus’s and Ovarian cyst disease. Most of the time I was actually puny looking, only I saw myself as fat. If only I had of known at the time, my real issue was body dysmorphia and eating disorders (bingeing and purging). It never occurred to me I was trying to lose weight when I wasn’t even over weight.
My insecurities led me to make poor choices in a spouse and found myself in an abusive relationship that it took years to get the courage to break away from, and in the mean time I comforted myself with food. In the years of my marriage I also battled several illnesses and injuries. Including two miscarriages, kidney stones, a battle with what was thought to be Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis and a horrible knee injury from roller-skating at 385 pounds and falling.
In 2003 I was in a serious roll over car accident that changed my life forever. The car I was driving was a Pathfinder, and I swear to this day.. that wreck was a blessing in disguise as it led me to Find my path! I realized life was entirely too short to waste. Within 3 months I was being rolled down the hallway of CAMC to have gastric bypass surgery by Dr. Robert Shin.
What I found was surgery was the physical piece that would help me heal from obesity, but after the weight loss much work and therapy was needed to heal the mind and spirit. During this work I have been able to go back and find my inner child and embrace her, and bring her out of the shell in which she was hiding. By grace I have been able to overcome my insecurities and self doubts. Each day is new and the past a story of the past. Each day, I learn new things about myself and work through them. By living in the now and embracing each moment, unconditional love surrounds me.
Today I am almost 7 years post op and have maintained a total loss of 235 pounds. My life has changed drastically. Writing for WLS Magazine and being a blogger allows me the opportunity to pay forward some of the wonderful lessons I have learned.
Blogging is my way of expressing my inner-most thoughts…don’t ask me how I can take a walk in the park and relate carvings in a tree to my reconstructive surgery scars, but I can…it is just how my mind works. When I put those thoughts into words it somehow releases some of the energy that stores up over time, and in addition I get to share my journey with you.
My other creative outlet is making jewelry art. I work with precious gemstones and create necklaces, bracelets, belts and earrings. Really, I don’t look at it as I am creating beautiful things, but more I assemble beautiful things together with the help a power much greater than I will ever be.
I hope that you will join me by reading my journey as I Celebrate Life!
Thank you for reading. Please leave comments!! I love to hear what you are thinking and hear your thoughts! 😉
Love and Light