Tracye learned not to fear love

How feeling safe helped this member find love.
Published March 20, 2018

Tracye, 42, Lost 4 lb*

*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). Tracye is a WW Ambassador.

“My word for 2018 is ‘Shine.’ I’m truly ready to show up, and I have no reason to hide.”

I just got married on Valentine’s Day! But for almost 20 years, I’d been leery about relationships. It took a great deal of soul-searching to get to this point.

I’m a singer, so I perform in public pretty often. I’d been heavy all my life, but when I was 19, I had lost weight on my own during the summer. I didn’t perform for a few months, and when I stepped back on the stage in the fall, my size 14 figure started getting a great deal of unwanted advances, comments, and stares from audience members, fellow entertainers, and men in general. I didn’t know what to do with all of it.

I was studying opera in college at the time, and the students around me were so open with their sexuality. They didn’t seem to have qualms about their bodies like I did; after I lost the weight, I was afraid to wear form-fitting dresses or jeans that hugged my body while I was performing. I’d think to myself, “If I dress this way, I’m going to be back in a situation I don’t want to be in.” Suppressed memories from childhood began to overwhelm me.

What was resurfacing for me was that from age 3 to 7, I’d been molested by two different acquaintances. The abuse caused intense trust issues with men. So when I started to get more attention, I didn’t know how to handle it, and I started eating as a result. I didn’t realize that I was trying to protect myself, but now I can see the connection. I hadn’t dealt with my traumas; I hadn’t even told my parents.

I started to believe there was something innately wrong with me, since people did whatever they wanted with my body without my consent. I'm a fun, outgoing person, but I always kept everyone at an arm’s distance. I always wanted to hide, even though I’m an entertainer. It’s the strangest feeling to be in a room, but not to be able to really be there. Finally, I began having conversations about my past with therapists.

It took years of therapy and loads of prayer through my 20s and 30s to heal. Then, at age 35, I told my mother about what happened.

Approaching my 40s, I chose to start online dating. I met my future husband, and we started seeing each other. He took the time to be a true friend to me first before getting physical. The relationship helped me feel emotionally safe enough to begin letting go of the weight I had built as a shield during my 20s and 30s, and I joined WW. I’m sharing my journey on social media. On Instagram, I started a wonderful campaign called #fulllengthlife. I post full-length photos, not just selfies. I now say, “This is all of me,” rather than just the pieces I showed before.

I have a daily affirmation that as I grow smaller and reveal my figure, my strength will not be diminished. I will use my voice and my life to take up far more space in the world than my body could ever take up physically. I won’t say I’m perfect, but I can say I’m healed enough to love well and to help other people.

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