Hello there! My name is Katie and I would like to welcome you to my blog, Living Behind A Smile! A little bit about me: I am 34 years old and currently live in Georgia. Originally, I am from Michigan (Go Green!) but made the south my home in 2014. I have also spent time in Ohio, Virginia and Indiana. I love my family, animals (especially dogs), anything to do with the Michigan State Spartans and Atlanta Braves, Disney World and the gym. I prefer older television shows (especially Saved By the Bell, Boy Meets World and the Golden Girls) to the reality-crazed world we live in today but I also never miss an episode of MTV’s The Challenge.
I have always had a difficult time opening up to people so the idea of starting a blog and putting my life story out there for everyone to see is a little nerve racking and something I never thought I would do. However, it’s also exciting to me. I have gotten to a point in my life where I am tired of pretending that everything is okay all of the time. Everyone has a story and I’m ready to share mine - the good, the bad and the ugly.
Growing up, my life was definitely….different. For as long as I can remember, I was overweight. While part of my weight struggles could be blamed on genetics, I also just enjoyed eating foods that simply weren’t good for me. When I was in 8th grade (2000-2001) and hit my heaviest weight of 233 pounds, I knew something had to change but my lack of motivation proved to make things difficult. I tried volleyball, Curves, diet pills and gym memberships but I just couldn’t stay motivated to stick with anything. In 2006, I got a summer job at Cedar Point (an amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio) and the tide began to turn. I started working outside six days a week for 10-12 hours per day and I continued down that path until my last summer at Cedar Point, which was in 2010. While all of the exercise I was getting was difficult at first, it got easier once I got used to it. My diet still wasn’t the greatest but that changed when I moved to Georgia and finally put everything together in 2014. Not only did I change my eating habits but I also joined one of the local gyms in town and once I combined both of those things, the weight and inches seemed to just fall off. I continue to be a work in progress but as it stands right now, I currently weigh 150 pounds, have more muscle than I ever have, love going to the gym and enjoy finding ways to eat healthier. I also just had my first of two skin removal surgeries in December of 2018.
Unfortunately, my weight struggle was not the only issue I dealt with as a child. When I was growing up, I was sexually molested for seven years by a former family member. While it certainly is difficult to admit and open up about, I am tired of being a victim and not being able to enjoy my life. I am ready to become a survivor and share my story in hopes of helping me move on as well as others who have gone through something similar.
When I was younger, the idea of sharing my secret of being sexually molested was haunting. While I wanted to say something, it seemed easier to just bury it deep inside and act as if nothing ever happened. I mean, the feelings and thoughts were bound to be forgotten eventually, right? Wrong. One day though, after staying silent for 12 years, I couldn’t take it anymore; I finally told my mom what happened and while it was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, it also felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
The only negative/drawback to coming forward is that I am pretty sure that’s when I developed anxiety, although it’s hard to be certain of that. All I know is when I was in high school (before sharing my secret), I was social, participated in extra-curricular activities and didn’t have to worry about what people thought about me. On the other hand, when I was in college (after coming forward), I became a homebody/borderline hermit, studied 24/7, only talked to a handful of people on campus regularly and constantly wondered what people were thinking. Could students and professors tell I had been molested just by looking at me? Why did I wait so long to say something? How will people think of me now? Will I be the one that is blamed? Did it actually happen? Or am I lying about the entire thing? I realize some of those questions are crazy but it’s not an easy situation to go through and sometimes you can’t help what questions and thoughts go through your head. My past is always going to be my past and it’s something that I have to work through every day. While I am constantly learning different ways of coping, I am also trying to not let it define who I am anymore. If I continue to do that, it means the individual who molested me all those years is still controlling me. I already lost my childhood because of him and I am tired of letting him have my adulthood too.
My hope is that by sharing my experiences and the things that I have learned, I will be able to help those that have struggled in the same ways I have or are currently struggling.