Shed your skin.

This is one of those posts that I didn’t know I was going to write until I am feverishly pecking away at the keyboard almost daring myself to actually do it.


Skin n. A usually thin, closely adhering outer layer.

Closely adhering. If there is any proof left on my body that my frame once held 600+lbs it’s my arms. I keep them guarded almost all of the time, feeling like the shield must be up for fear drives me to  protect the ugly tender parts and not expose the damaged goods. I have worked very hard to gain muscle in my arms, the swimming makes me stronger, but it simply can not undo the damage done. My favorite short sleeve shirts are ones where the sleeves come down to the elbows, where there is no chance of anyone seeing the most shameful part of my body.  When I swim I wear a t-shirt over my swimsuit, and when I get out of the pool I wear the water logged shirt to the sauna and only then, and only if it’s just Charmaine present do I dare peel it off. Even then I have a towel close by should anyone walk in. I don’t know if Charmaine knows that she is the chosen one that I have dared to bare my arms to or not, but I am grateful there is the unspoken understanding that with her, in the small cedar planked box, with the hazy heat drifting all around us, I am safe.  It is a slow process in accepting the reality, and loving myself beyond the shame.

Shame that comes from what I have done to my body.  I have destroyed a gift I was given, treated it with such little regard and such disrespect that all I am left with now is  the scar of the wound, the limp that never goes away, and the skin that will never closely adhere. I can have surgery, they can fix it, cut it off of me and make me look normal. Sadly I know this is the only way to repair my arms but it will not repair my guilt and shame, only I hold the power to unlock that gate.  They say that exposing the demon is half the battle, that the power comes from the secrecy, from hiding, from allowing it to hold you captive, they say it’s the hardest part. They are right.






My arm.

“the flesh is strong

my spirit’s stronger

so shed your skin

baby let it through”

a. ray





  1. Moody says:

    Oh, to leave the floppy wad of skin behind!!! You have no idea how much I can relate to this post and I am glad you found the strength to stare your demon down and show it who’s boss.

    I have always been very active in sports and I’ve always had a strong body, even though I’ve been overweight most of my life. I wasn’t “badly” overweight, so it didn’t really matter. I gained so much weight during my pregnancy (on top of the extra weight I had amassed over the few years prior to that) and even though I still have most of my strength, everything is just floppy and bouncy and going all over the place. I hate it.
    My arms are twice the size they used to be and the bottom part of my biceps does the same thing yours does. It just hangs there, useless and degrading, reminding me of days long gone when I played volleybal in sleeveless shirts and mid-thigh shorts. Nothing bounced or flopped around back then. I know there’s nothing to do, except get it done through surgery. I can’t afford that. I’ll be floppy and bouncy for a long time to come.

    Added to that, I’ve got tattoos on both my arms. They have grown over the years, but it certainly wasn’t intended. Thankfully, they’re not stretched out in a way that makes them ugly.
    I’ll post a few pics on my facebook account later on, check them out ;o)

  2. Amy Lewis says:

    I have to admit, my first thought was “damn, I wish I had a bicep like that”. You go girl. Then as I thought about it, I realized I too have many self inflicted scars and wounds (some physical, some not) which I am always worried will be exposed. Thanks for being so brave and showing the path toward self loving (and acceptance) instead of self loathing. Its a journey we can all take with you in some form. You are unique, but you are not alone.

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