After being out in the public for the first time on a lunch date with my self proclaimed "Coco-Nuts," I have a few thoughts about my experience. I have spent most of my life hiding from the world. When I was overweight, I was near invisible to others. What I mean by that is no one seemed to matter if I came or went, if I was sick, no one asked me how I was feeling, when I had something to say, no one listened, at least that's how I felt at the time.
November 2013, I remember the night I landed back in Ireland and my business partners planned a get together with all these ladies who wanted to lose weight. They had built me up as this super star for having lost 9 1/2 stone (130 lbs) coming in from America to help them get healthy, so I would say it was a little rigged. When I entered the room where they were all gathered and began talking, the room go incredibly quiet. Uncomfortably quiet, I might add. I am the fourth child of a family of five and quite often felt unheard when I said anything, but that night, was a moment I will never forget.
I started talking and every woman in that room had their eyes glued on me, maybe because of my American accent, maybe because of what my business partners hyped them up to think I was but it was a moment where for the first time in my life I felt I had a voice. I can't say I was comfortable in that voice completely at that point but I felt people were paying attention and hanging onto every word I was saying. That began a journey of me leaning into becoming the woman I have always meant to be.
Fast forward to today, I have done radio shows, tv shows, podcasts and such but today was something even more odd as I had a reaction to the crown. Not good or bad and to be frank, I am very appreciative of this opportunity I am given to carry such a heavy responsibility that comes from a jewel filled crown and shiny sash.
My friends who I met many years ago on the beach, were so kind to want to take me to a nice restaurant called Roy's at the famous Turtle Bay resort just up the street from where I live. I warned them this would be my first time in public with the title of Ms. Hawaii so I was hoping they would understand the attention this would bring to us. My one friend loved it as he has been one of my biggest fans ever since we met so he seemed to quite enjoy the attention.
He dropped us off and immediately attention was to me. My mum said since I was a little girl, I have always been one that loved the limelight. To be honest with you, I still get nervous on occasion only because I don't see myself as anyone different than anyone else. As we sat there, of course people stared. I could literally feel the eye balls on me which resulted in part of the discussion we had during lunch. One of my friends said, "we better get all the attention from you now while you have time for us." My heart sunk when I heard that. Since I was young, my mother always said I didn't care what kind of status people had, I loved all people and as a matter of fact I think I cared more about loving on the underdogs. That's not to say I didn't have my own bouts of bulling others out of my own insecurities because I did. I hate to admit that however I have always felt deeply for those less fortunate and although I have had several people in my life say in so many words "remember when you make it big Becky" it saddens me that they think in anyway our relationship would change.
I just got a little dose of this today, this idea that because I hold a title, wear a crown and a sash that somehow in the public eye I am important. Every single one of us is important. I told my friends, this title doesn't make me anymore valuable or less valuable then any other person however our society puts so much credibility I can see how easily I could slip into this line of thinking that I am better than. That's never my desire. It reminds me of what happened when went from being overweight and invisible to thin, beautiful and confident. All of a sudden I had men running to open my doors for me. I found myself in a very similar situation as I am in now when I used to look at myself in the mirror and shake my head thinking, 'I am still the same person however I live in a different body so people treat me differently.' I would stare at myself in the mirror slap my face and tell myself, 'this is just a meat suit, it doesn't define me... it only DESCRIBES where I have been."
I would be lying if I told you I wasn't nervous to be on stage in front of 7 judges wearing a swimsuit but I am. My mind jumps back and forth from I need to be better to I am find just the way I am. It feels like I have two voices in my head fighting against each other. This is the kind of awareness I am grateful for. It's not a matter of judging how I am feeling rather it's just a matter of standing in a place of curiosity of my thoughts, feelings and how I am choosing to allow them to affect me. I want women to KNOW that our value doesn't come from what other's think of us, what the billboards show or what societies expectations are. The fact of the matter is, I am 50 today, my body is AMAZING to have survived and come through what I have put it through and to have recovered along the way. I love my imperfections, as I said earlier, my body doesn't define me it's REFINED ME.
I keep reminding myself I am using this opportunity to bring awareness to the fight against obesity and that there are viable solutions out there for people to recover from years of self destruction when it comes to unhealthy eating.
It just so happens to be my 50th birthday and the thought that comes to me is, what is the chance of all the stars aligning for me to experience this on such a moment-us birthday. I am not one to celebrate birthdays, as a matter of fact I have often been known to say, 'I just want to sleep through the day and wake up the next morning and keep going." That's only because I come from a family who isn't into celebrating much so I have had to stretch myself in honoring the value I bring to this world.
So I guess the take away today is, regardless of how other see you, SEE YOURSELF as important, valuable and beautiful. One of the things we study in our 12 step work is, 'What other's think of you is NONE of your business." Be the best person you can, serve as many people as you can and stay grounded and rooted in God or whoever it is that you call your higher power and who you rely on in building your identity but CLAIM YOUR CROWN because it's who you were made to BE!
And if I had a crown and a sash to give each and everyone of you, I would because you deserve to be recognized and acknowledged for all the hard work you have put into being human, going through the difficulties of life, and your tenacity to not give up on you and those you love.
So join me on this journey of you claiming your own crown and voice in a loving kind way.