It was 1982, and I was standing in the hallway of my family’s 24-track recording studio. The beautiful hallway had a 30 foot long fabric mural with a rolling rainbow design. The walls were paneled with beautiful wood, interspersed with dozens of floor to ceiling panels of mirror which created a really cool effect in the dim studio lights
It was a quiet morning as I prepared for the band, Chicago, who would be recording there that day. Cookie jars were filled, coffee was brewing, and the silence of the studio was deafening, but comforting. Soon the studio would be filled with music, laughter, and the incredible buzz as creative juices overflowed.
I was 21 years old, fresh out of my first marriage of only 3 months, and I was wearing a dress that showed off my curves. I should have felt great, but instead I stood grimacing at my image in one of the mirror panels.
“I’m so fat!” I mumbled, “I never thought I would grow up to be a fat person,” I chided myself. I had gained about 35 pounds after my divorce, despite the fact that I was bulimic.
Suddenly, one of the wood panels next to the mirror creaked very hard, as if someone suddenly leaned against it. I felt a distinct presence. I was not yet comfortable with myself as a mystic, and I had just gotten out of an evangelical church that had me so afraid of demons that I was certain Satan was lurking in my sandwich. However, this presence, which was clearly male, was very calming and loving. I could feel him smile, with his arms gently folded, as he gazed at me. At that very moment, my perspective about my body completely changed.
I shrugged, “Oh, well, if I’m going to be a fat person, then I may as well enjoy my food!” I joyfully bounded off into the lounge to grab a fistful of cookies, and a cup of coffee with extra cream, and I never looked back.
Oddly enough, the more I gave myself permission to be me, the more weight started to fall off. Without thinking, I ate a normal breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and dessert, and I was no longer bulimic. Within a year, I had lost the weight I had gained, and then some. I had been 165 pounds (and growing daily) and couldn’t see my feet, counting calories and living my life wrapped in guilt and shame, hating myself every moment. And now, I was suddenly 125 pounds, and loving myself.
Some people might applaud me and say, “Good for you, Summer! You lost the weight!” But, this is not about the physical. What I truly believe happened in that moment, in that recording studio that day was, well, I’d erased some really old tapes. I immediately lost the weight (erased the tapes) of self-loathing and judgement. I lost the weight of guilt and shame. I lost the fear instilled by the evangelical teachings of the church I’d attended. I lost the weight of having to weigh and measure and worry about every darn thing I ate! And, as the mental and spiritual weight dropped off, it was reflected in my body as weight loss.
Again, it wasn’t about physical weight. If I hadn’t lost the physical weight, I would have been fine with that, because I had made complete and total peace with who I was. My desire to criticize my shape and size completely disappeared in the presence of whoever that remarkable Spirit was who stood at my side with such love and acceptance and taught me that I am not my body.
I lost the weight of things I didn’t need to carry anymore, and in so doing, I started to find my true self.
I erased an old track, and started to record a new one. A love song written to myself.