Konwahahawi: Starting the journey

I think adults really believe that they are helping when they sit around talking about how fat their child is. They don’t realise how damaging it can be. My parents were just scared to have an obese child and didn’t really know how to deal with it. I don’t blame them. I understand it but the approach was all wrong. That was my life. Accompanied by several plus size kids’ clothing catalogues. The clothes were horrible; horrible brightly-coloured sweat pants and flowered shirts – kinda like the clothing for plus size people today. I remember being made to do sit-ups, take laxatives, run around blocks with my parents shouting at me. I hid food in cups, pockets, and bags. I ate to soothe my sadness of never being good enough or thin enough.

I was teased at school being called an orca or a beached whale. Girls are so very mean. I was called a “ten” – meaning my boyfriend looked like a “1” and I looked like the “0”. There were so many people who talked down to me. I was cheated on a lot. I wasted so much time; eating bad food, taking awful diet pills and not treating myself the way that I deserved.

I didn’t make very good choices after college. I am bipolar and instead of dealing with it, I ended up self-medicating with drugs, alcohol and sex. I put myself in dangerous situations and unhealthy relationships. I was suicidal, I cut myself A LOT. I began therapy at the age of 21 after a suicide attempt and a two-week stay at a psychiatric centre. I gained weight to hide the person I used to be. I was ashamed and I wanted to bury that as deep as I could.

In 2005, after a horrible breakup and a cancelled wedding, I returned to my parents’ house. I was defeated, overweight, and miserable and I spent a lot of time alone.

I believe that I found my love when I was ready. On June 1, 2007, I met the love of my life – Atohnwa. I wouldn’t trade all the bullshit I went through to get to where I am today. Then I started gaining weight because we were happy – cooking, dining, snacking. I have put on 100 lbs in seven years. It wasn’t until last year that I was diagnosed with PCOS. Now I have to deal with the hair, acne, etc. My boyfriend and I would like to have a baby but this is impossible right now.

I have been thinking about weight loss surgery for the past 2 ½ years. I have researched and weighed my options. On November 1, 2011, I had my first assessment for gastric bypass. I weighed 270 lbs and I am 5ft 2 ¾.

I have never said that out loud but I am not ashamed because I love myself. I am beautiful and I am an amazing person. I will be having surgery within the next two weeks. It is the best gift I will ever give myself. I am completely over doing everything for everyone else or caring if people think my decision is crazy. I am ready to start a family and live my life to the fullest. I am trapped in this body. I am over it.

Who is Konwahahawi?

Konwahahawi is a 30-year-old Mohawk woman who has battled with weight her entire life. She is a traditional longhouse woman of the Deer Clan. She is a hard-working, book- reading, crafty, tattooed, multi-tasking woman who is working on her masters in education while working two jobs (aboriginal law & event planning). She is very much involved in youth advocacy, indigenous rights, women’s rights, community activism & philanthropy. She keeps her home immaculate while keeping her boyfriend of 5 years happy. She is a bi-polar, ex-self injured, beautiful plus size woman. This is her journey.