Ditching the Barcode

I have talked a lot about self-worth on this blog. I have talked about not feeling worth-while because of weight or because I miss spell things. I have talked about finding worth in men, or beauty.

For the past few months I have been faced with a lot of changes. People have been asking me how the project is going, and my answers are not at all the ones I would have thought they would have been had I been asked in December. I expected to be 40 pounds lighter by now, and for me, that was the matter of achievement I had dreamed for myself. I had placed upon myself a new realm of self-worth  — the “I successfully lost weight” value that would launch me into the realms of Jennifer Hudson. But I have not. Presently I’m not even sure I can claim ten pounds down anymore. But what I can claim is worth more than I could have ever imagined.

My whole life I always told myself I had two choices: lose the weight or accept myself. I never listened to either. When I finally launched into this project, I expected to succeed in the former. The opposite happened. Yes, I am frustrated with my general lack of discipline, but I have grown in so many ways that the sense of accomplishment I have is beyond anything I could have imagined for myself. I am fortifying my self-worth to withstand being heavy, being criticized in my art, or losing the job I loved more than anything.

In the past few months, I have felt as if I was being stripped of my favorite parts of myself. I did not realize the pride I had taken in my writing abilities — in my ability to write 65 pages in a weekend, or come up with ideas in a flash. Now, riddled with a depth of writers block I have not felt in six years, that past pride is dwindling.

I did not fully grasp the pride and stability I had taken in my relationships. They are, and will always be there, but some are drifting in distance and therefore switching into new experiences, no longer the comfort of the known circumstances I had relied upon.

I did not fully grasp the pride and ultimate passion I had for my students at APU. I did not realize the amount of value I had placed on myself because I had become a college professor at twenty-five. My entire identity and self-worth had been wrapped up in that world — the world of academia with sixty students a semester raving about me in evaluations and giving me a hot chili pepper on ratemyprofessor.com. Leaving teaching at APU was (and is) the worst “break up” of my life. I think about my students every single day, and at least once a week I say, “oh, you should put that in the syllabus.” I used to hate it when my students did it, but oh what I would give to get an email that asked me a question that was clearly answered in the syllabus. I miss them that much. Leaving APU felt like leaving my favorite part of myself.

Now, in this new chapter, I stand bare — it’s just me. No Professor Rachell, no “succeeded at weight loss Rachell” or “best friend Rachell,” but me, Rachell — perfectly loved, perfectly valuable because I am a human being who rents her momentary space on this planet and that is enough. I am completely known and loved by the God who made me. I am complete, as I am, even if I never accomplish another drop of my desires, I am enough. That is what this journey has taught me. I had expected to fill this blog with recipes and running tips, but rather it has filled me with an intrinsic value I did not foresee. So thank you. Thank you for listening to my journey, I hope that I may be able to also share in yours.


Weight: 204lbs at my last Weight Watcher’s meeting, plus a BJ’s Pazzookie, a mini pizza, a beer, and a chocolate bar.  How do you feel?: Hopeful Small Victory: I passed two sections of the CSET test today. It’s not weight loss, but I feel pretty darn awesome about it. Biggest Disappointment: My foot is skill killing me.  Thing I appreciated about my body this week:  I puts up with me even when I don’t put it to bed on time. #embraceablenow: Because I love me, just as I am.

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