My first memories of childhood are lonely ones. I had always felt alone for as early as I can remember. I was an only child but always surrounded by a large family inclusive of many aunts, cousins and grandparents. My mother was a single parent and spent much of her time away from home working to provide for us. She was a strong, hard working woman who showed little to no emotion. Her love was shown through her ability to provide a great home and put food on the table. Unfortunately, as a child I needed the emotional support and I didn’t understand adulthood may require my mom not being at home. So, from an early age I was seeking out “things” to fill those empty spaces in my heart. That is how my love affair with food began, I believe. Boredom and loneliness drove me to eat and then I suppose I got “hooked” on the sugar and have struggled with it ever since. It’s quite the addiction. It was comforting to me and I felt like food was my friend. Of course this was all grandiose delusion and as I carried this into my adulthood I continued to look for other ways to fill the void in my heart but food always was at the top of the list. By the time I reached adulthood the toll that eating unhealthy and seeking to fill those voids with sex and shopping took on me was staggering. My weight was out of control, my mental health was poor and my self esteem was at an all time low. I was deeply depressed and my will to live was almost nonexistent. I hid from the world as I grew in size. I was a truck driver so it was easy to do. I became a recluse as I drove around the country and continued to eat unhealthy fare and become even more miserable. I kept praying to a god that would never hear me for release from the black hole I seemed to be in. Then, one day I got into a terrible accident which caused me to hurt my back and being the size I was the doctor said my back would never heal. I was forced to leave my job and went home broke and broken to only find out that I had stomach cancer. I no longer had a source of income and now I am forced to deal with my failing health. This was the beginning of a turning point in my life. I was forced to get up and begin to figure it out. Did I want to survive or did I want to lay in my sorrows and drown. I decided to try and figure it out. This process wasn’t over night. It was over 5 years! It took me lots of reading, educating myself on mental health, changing my negative habits and replacing them with positive ones, questioning what had been drilled into me since childhood. I started to let go of everyone else’s idea of what I should be and began to learn and grow into who I am now. It hasn’t been easy going against the grain but life is so much better because I dared to live my own life on my own terms. I battled and won the war on cancer, I am still battling mental health and food addiction but these issues are under control and I have lost over 140 lbs and living a healthy lifestyle! I look back at the old me…the unhealthy and depressed me and I tell her she did the best she could and she did what she knew how to do to survive. Many people try to bury their past self but I not only recognize her but I also thank and nurture her. She helped me to get to where I am today and I respect that she endured so much to help the existing “me” to flourish. April, you were a supershero then and I am so grateful to have been a part of you. I will continue to carry the torch and make you proud!