‘You wouldn’t have lost weight at the holocaust.’ I had things like ‘fatty’ and ‘ugly hippo’ scrawled across every school book page. I felt like dying. I felt like giving up.’

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“My name is MC Solomon, but better yet, I am MCLIVINIT. In the last year I have lost 150 pounds, gained a lot of insight, and found more saggy skin on my body than I ever realized was possible. All I’ve ever wanted was to inspire people with my story, through my music. I have struggled with weight my entire life. I have been through it all: bullying, counseling, nutrition classes, fat camps, abuse, addiction, the latest weight loss fads, diets, cleanses, and even the Lap Band. But NOTHING has ever worked. Why you ask? I have never loved myself enough to see that I am worthy. I am on a journey… a lifelong journey. While I am losing weight and getting healthy, I am constantly working on my mental health. I grew up in Dallas, Texas, and come from a very large, loving, and gregarious family. Life was absolutely perfect. I could sing all day long, make crafts with my mom, eat with my whole family, cook with my grandmother, go to church with my grandfather. In my mind, there was absolutely no hate in our world, and everything was perfect – until it wasn’t.

Overweight teen smiles while holding orange bowling ball
Courtesy of MC Solomon

Fat. A word that was used to torment me. A word that gnawed at my self-worth. A word that changed my life forever. At the young age of 9, my idea of perfect life took a turn for the worst. I got sent to fat camp. Man oh man, talk about being on a diet. Being the drama queen I once was, my first year of camp, I managed to only attend 2 of the 8 weeks I was supposed to attend. From that year on out, until I was about 15 years old, I was forced to go to Fitness and Training camp every single summer in the scorching Texas heat. What was it like? Well, the first thing that comes to mind would be the movie, ‘Holes.’ Manual labor was the only way of getting our 10 minutes of phone calls a week, IF we even got that much time. We would purposefully spill things on our faces and joke that we were saving it for later. Every morsel that went into our mouths had to be documented and written down. The 28,000 steps, 1,200 calories, endless hours of weekly counseling and nutrition classes, and the No/Low-fat diet worked, of course… until I returned to the real world. Every summer I would easily lose 50 pounds, only to go back home and gain 80 pounds. One year after another.

Teen who was bullied for her weight sits outside in blue strapless dress
Courtesy of MC Solomon

The road to becoming a healthier and better me has been anything but easy. I have had to work very hard to overcome bullying. Especially with the route of gastric bypass, I have had to overcome MANY haters – including hate from people I considered best friends. Overcoming any addiction is difficult. My first encounter with bullying began when I was in the 6th grade. My house was ‘TP’-ed and the boys that were responsible for toilet papering it wrote ‘FAT ASS’ in massive letters on my front walkway with shaving cream. Little did I know then that those words not only physically would stain my sidewalk for 7 years, but would also emotionally scar my heart.

Teen bullied for her weight smiles in purple ruffled dress
Courtesy of MC Solomon

At the age of 14, I felt like I had hit the lowest point in my life. The summer before 9th grade I lost 60 pounds, at Fat Camp. I walked into my new high school confident and self-assured, but sadly and quickly all of my confidence was torn to shreds. I started to get letters, emails, and even texts that read, ‘Your mom named you MC after McDonald’s,’ and ‘You wouldn’t have lost weight at the holocaust.’ One day, I walked into my theater class and someone had turned in a paper with my name on it for a character analysis. The assignment was to pick someone from TV that we believed related to us and. Someone had turned in an assignment as me saying I was most like ‘Fat Albert.’ The paper had listed 10 reasons why I was just like that character. As if it couldn’t have gotten worse, I began to have my books and binders stolen and placed back into my locker with things like ‘fatty,’ ‘ugly hippo,’ ‘whale lard,’ ‘hideous’ and more – smeared, and scrawled across nearly every page. I felt like dying. I felt like giving up.

Later that year, I transferred into a new school. It changed my life because it made me 100% sure I was meant to perform and share my story with people through my music. Performing and studying music kept me focused and kept me sane. Over the years, my weight kept piling on. While I did have my music, I still struggled to find myself. I was not like anyone else, and that really bothered me.

Teen cheerleader who was bullied for her weight sits smiling beside her mother
Courtesy of MC Solomon

After high school I went to Berklee College of Music. Going into my freshman year I had lost 70 pounds by eating healthy and working out. I was doing so well, and then of course, something happened. I tore my meniscus. I had to go to 8 months of physical therapy, and finally had knee surgery. Knee surgery really set me back. I got back to college and while on crutches, I was shoved down the stairs by a drunk guy at a party. ‘You are going too slow,’ he said as he pushed me. Once again, visuals of high school flooded my head, and I started to feel myself giving up.

In the fall of 2016 I decided to study abroad in Spain to get out of the mess I felt like I was in. I met my best friends and finally felt like I had a voice again. My best friends, teachers, and school director made sure I felt very at peace, and despite all of my knee problems, I was healthy and okay. The fall semester at Berklee Valencia impacted me heavily and inspired me to grow up and take charge of my life. I returned home in January and had my first real ‘A-HA!’ moment. I remember sitting in the driver’s seat of my car and seeing my stomach pushed up against the wheel. I completely freaked out. I remember feeling like I was sitting in my own donut, eating myself to death.

View of teen who is bullied for her weight sitting in drivers seat of Mercedes
Courtesy of MC Solomon
Teen who was bullied for her weight stands smiling in shallow water of ocean in coverup
Courtesy of MC Solomon

I weighed 331 pounds. In that moment, I knew. I HAD to CHANGE because I realized I deserve to live. On March 29, 2017, I made one of the biggest decisions of my entire life, to go through with having the gastric bypass surgery. March 30th, the day I was supposed to be released, I could not drink water. I was physically unable to move more than 3-4 steps and didn’t want anyone to touch me. That day came and went, and the following day I started to throw up blood. Soon after, the testing began. The doctors spent days trying figure out what was going on, and why my body was rejecting itself. By April 3rd I was undergoing yet another surgery. I had a life-threatening blood clot. My doctor said it was the biggest blood clot he had ever seen, being nearly the size of a deflated football. Looking back now, those three weeks were a painful blur, FRUSTRATING, and absolutely terrifying. Dr. Davis saved my life in more ways than one.

Teen who was bullied for her weight sits in hospital bed before gastric bypass surgery
Courtesy of MC Solomon

Two weeks later, I was re-hospitalized for further complications. It was a long road to recovery but by month two I was healthy. As I began to feel more comfortable physically, I posted my first ever dancing video. I was so proud of myself. I was happy to finally share my spirit with other people, and the outpouring of love and support from that initial post is what inspired me to keep posting. Having the realization that not only was I able to change my life and keep myself accountable, but do the same for others, impacted me.

Two days after the post, I received my first negative text about my journey. It tore me to pieces, not only because of the message I got but because it was from a close friend telling me I looked stupid. It took a while and some much-needed self- love, but I learned to brush it off. I spent the summer at Septien Entertainment Group, singing, dancing, and finishing my first single with my incredible producer, and co-writer Remington Rafael. And I was inspired to keep writing. 8 months flew by and before I knew it I was almost half the size I was in March. I posted my first BIG transformation picture, and for the first time ever, it blew up. Within one night, my picture had over 8,000 likes and was on the top of the explore page on Instagram. It was reposted by incredible transformation pages. I was beyond excited. I received hate and negativity on that picture as well, but I had grown to accept that everyone has their own opinions.

Before and after picture of woman who went through gastric bypass surgery
Courtesy of MC Solomon

A year and a half has flown by. I have been able to share my weight loss journey with the world and the positive responses and support I have received has been overwhelming. I am truly blessed and I try to live everyday with an attitude of gratitude. Weight loss was only part of my journey to recovery. The real struggle IS getting to know myself while working on my body image, self-love and self-worth. I have been able to transform my body only because I was able to transform my mind. I am a food addict and also a lover of food. This something I will always struggle with. To this day I overeat when I’m stressed and I will never give up my one true love, chocolate. I am only human. Through my spiritual and emotional journey of self-discovery, I try to remember and focus on my own mind and putting myself first. My body is my soul’s mate and I am my own first love. The moment I started to practice falling in love with myself was the moment I finally experienced a true happiness. Happiness is an inside job.

Woman standing in front of ocean beside her in home after gastric bypass surgery
Courtesy of MC Solomon

One of the biggest struggles I have now is having love for myself from within. While I did have a ‘weight-loss surgery,’ I did not have brain surgery. I understand many people believe it was the easy way out, but more than just the surgery, I STILL struggle with loving myself. To be very honest, I was one of those people that believed that with losing weight came an unexplained happiness. FALSE. A year and a half later, and 150 pounds lighter, I still have big doubts, low moments, and times of weakness. At least 2 to 3 times a day I look down and see skin sagging all over my body, and feel that it is holding me back. I have lost all this weight just to feel like the exact same person I was before. My skin is draped all over me, and I cannot afford to get it removed. I work daily on my mentality to remind myself that skin, like weight, is a physical thing. The most important part of my journey is mental.

Woman stands in red bathing suit before and after gastric bypass surgery
Courtesy of MC Solomon

I AM YEARNING for the day to get my skin removed so I can run without hearing my skin clap, so I can wear a cute pair of undies and not see a flap hanging over them, so I can comfortably lay down without seeing the skin on my leg crease. With all of that being said, until I have it removed, I have to do what I can. I am working on toning my muscles and eating well. Along with those small things, I am writing and recording music for my debut EP, Skin Deep, and writing about how skin is only a temporary thing. If I am not happy now, and I wasn’t happy prior to weight-loss, then there must be a common factor in unhappiness. My soul. I am my SOUL’s mate, so before ANYTHING, I must love my inner self in order to love my outsides.

Mirror selfie of woman before and after gastric bypass surgery
Courtesy of MC Solomon

The weight started piling on over the years because of a multitude of reasons. I was (and still am) an emotional eater. Food always brought me comfort and was a way for me to take control of my life, even though it was a downward spiral. The thing that healed me, was my music. Music is my cornerstone and no matter what is happening in my life or how bad I was bullied, my music is the one thing no one can take away from me. I found my voice through music. Music, through listening, songwriting, singing, and performing, is my anchor and my salvation. Music has healed me from the inside out and encouraged me to focus on my true purpose – sharing my story through my voice and my lyrics in hopes to inspire others in finding common ground, strength and comfort. Change is possible. For anyone, anywhere at any time. You have absolutely no obligation to be the same person today that you were yesterday. It is never ever too late to take control of your life.

Woman who was bullied for her weight before and after gastric bypass surgery
Courtesy of MC Solomon
Woman smiling in images before and after gastric bypass surgery
Courtesy of MC Solomon
Woman wearing pink shorts in mirror selfie before and after gastric bypass surgery
Courtesy of MC Solomon

It has been a long and bumpy road on my journey of self-discovery but I am finally exactly where I want to be, doing what I love. I was so moved by all of the beautiful stories on Love What Matters that it inspired me to write a song called Love What Matters. It is an anthem for everyone who has felt weak, hopeless, or unworthy. It is my anthem to you, reminding you that you are loved. You are only as powerful as you believe, and once you realize that, the world is your oyster. If you truly want something, there is absolutely nothing in this world that can hold you back. I have decided to follow my dreams and pursue my passion and I am so incredibly thankful I get to live my dream every day. Love what matters, because what matters most is love. And love always wins.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by MC Solomon, 21, of Dallas, Texas. You can follow her progress on her Instagram and blog. Have you experienced a similar journey? We’d like to hear your story. Submit your story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

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