Last week as I sat in my Weight Watchers meeting listening to everybody talk about their food obsessions, issues, challenges, victories and being quiet on the side like I normally do, I was seething inside. First of all, I don’t like going to Weight Watchers. I have nothing against the program. It’s just a constant reminder for me that I am overweight.

I’ve been following the program and it’s a good program. I’m losing weight. The leader said, we have a couple of celebrations in the room today. I knew I was one of them, but I wasn’t volunteering. Sigh. But she called me out anyway. I’d lost another 5 pounds. Everybody clapped. Hooray. Then she asked me to share with the group my thoughts about how I did it – what was different for me.

All my life I’ve been telling people that everything is fine, I’m great, and giving people the answers they want to hear. So I was about to tell everybody that I just “tracked my meals”, and “stayed on plan” and I wasn’t hungry at all! Instead, WOW! Something came roaring out of me. Yikes! I told everybody that I was not tracking anything, that I hated being there and that I was definitely not going to sit in that room every Saturday talking about food for the rest of my life. And then I cried for twenty minutes.

Now to be fair, those folks in that meeting who come regularly every week do not talk about food, they talk about their life. They are great people who have been incredibly supportive of me and each other and I am grateful to have that support and the encouragement of the group leader. I am telling you this story because something has been unleashed in me since my daughter, Elizabeth has died.

I have learned through raising her and losing and grieving her that I need to speak up. But only in this past year, though writing Butterflies and Second Chances have I truly found my voice. By writing it down, all the scary feelings that I’ve never said out loud to anybody, I’m finally letting them out. And it feels great!

This year is the year of no more secrets. Thank you, Elizabeth, for this blessed gift. For bringing wonderful people into my life. For teaching me to be raw and real with all of them. For showing me also how to love as openly and fully as well.  

I will not hold it inside if I am feeling bad. If I see you and you ask me how I’m doing – be prepared, because I might just tell you I’m having a pretty crappy day!

— Annette