Kimberly Healed With Words

Creative expression helps this member find a path of hope and inspiration.
Published April 6, 2018

Kimberly, 38, lost 23 lbs*

*At 6 months, participants in a clinical trial of the WW weight-loss program lost an average of 9.7 lbs (5% of body weight). And, people who track their food more often lose more weight. When actual WW members track their food at least two times a week for 6 months they lose on average 16.6 lbs. (7.9% body weight). Kimberly lost weight on a prior program and is continuing on WeightWatchers.

It wasn’t a stranger. It was a guy I had been with more than a year, and one night he just transformed into something unimaginable. He turned into a monster, and threatened me with a gun. He forced me. It was a very horrific thing he did to me. That was 20 years ago. I never spoke to him again. I knew I couldn’t be in that situation or put myself in that situation again.

I didn’t tell a soul when it happened. I felt great shame and humiliation. I felt stupid that I was with this person who wasn’t who I thought he was.

But a couple of months later I finally told my niece, who is close to my age. I knew she would keep it a secret, I could trust her. She wasn’t judgmental. The fear in the back of my mind was being blamed. She asked me if I was OK. I felt a burden lifted. And that was the beginning of my healing, being able to share my story.

The incident was like a seed planted. Things can water the pain and cause it to grow or you can grow in the direction of healing. I took the path of healing. It’s a choice. I began to let go of my private pain. I started to look more into self-help and self-growth. This incident changed the path I took in life. I wanted to finish my degree. I decided to major in criminal justice and then got my master’s in school counseling. That helped even more. I get to help boys and girls with the issues they’re experiencing as they’re growing up. During my counseling courses I read a line that went, “If you change your mind, you can change your life.” I never forgot that, and I live it.

When I was in college, I started writing poems. It’s one of the talents I saw that I had. I wrote when I was happy, sad, or felt jealous—any strong emotion would spin me into a writing frenzy. After the incident, my poetry became rawer, darker, more real. The paper promised to hold my secrets, hold my anger. Being able to write about what I was feeling — things that have happened to me — is great therapy. Things I wouldn’t say I can write. I can really be myself. I’m able to describe exactly how I feel. I don’t hide what I feel. That’s a tremendous gift in getting through my trauma — the gift of writing and self-awareness. I write every other day or so. I’ve posted things on social media and Connect. Poetry offered a rhythm for talking about the trauma, and I got a lot of comments.

I learned the technique of REBT (rational emotive behavior therapy) when I was training to be a school counselor. We constantly make ourselves anxious when we overthink things. Self-talk helps me come down from that anxiety and I use it to help me reach my weight-loss goals. If I’m fighting getting on the treadmill, I’ll tell myself, “You’re up. You’re already dressed. Get on the treadmill. This is what you need to do to reach your goal.”

Sometimes I do spoken word events. I always recite my poems from memory. One night at an open mic, I was recognized as the MVP (most valuable poet) based on an audience vote. I felt so proud, but also that I had blessed another person. I could see the audience connecting with my poems. Some people just came up to me after and told me how amazing my words were.

I didn’t turn to drugs or alcohol for comfort but I do like the sweetest, fattiest foods. It was temporary comfort but that comfort didn’t stick.

I first joined WW in 2013 and have rejoined a few times since then. At the WW Workshops, there was no judgment. People always had great ideas. I learned all these strategies about feeling better about myself, feeling worthy. The most recent time that I joined WW, I decided to try WW Digital. I want to be a WW Coach, so that’s another goal to work on.

Now, I feel that anything that happens to me in life is a foundation being laid for something greater. It’s a new belief system for me. I’ve been in relationships over the years. They’ve been learning experiences, but they weren’t completely what I wanted. I’m not going to settle. I need to get what I really want. That would be a fulfillment of happiness. I’m worthy of love.

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, click here for resources.