Tag Archives: bullying

Bullying: It Never Stops

26 Jul

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Once upon a time—in the late 90’s—I was sitting in math class at my Christian high school.  We had some free time so I was working on homework when a student in the back of the room began harassing me.  “You’re a lesbian, you know that?” he taunted.

One of his smirking friends joined in pointing out that I must be a lesbian because I didn’t have a boyfriend.  At least they didn’t call me ugly or fat—that day.

Finally, unable to stand it anymore, fighting back tears I told them to stop, which just encouraged them to continue their torment.  My teacher was standing at the front of the classroom, no more than 15 feet from where I was being verbally abused.  I looked straight at him and asked, “Aren’t you going to do anything about this?”

I’ll never forget his response.  It’s one I’ve heard used by educators, parents, and adults everywhere when they talk about bullying.  Dismissively, he said, “If you ignore them, they’ll stop.”

If you ignore them, they won’t stop. 

I know because I tried that, too.  The bullies only jeered more loudly.  Other joined in or laughed, while a few girls sometimes giving me pitying glances.

Back in those days I didn’t cry nearly as much as I do now.  I would hold it in knowing that they could never see you cry.  You can never let them see that they got to you.  I knew I would come home and drag a razor across my wrist or thighs or stomach and somehow that would release my pent up rage.  No one called it “cutting” or “self-injury” back then, just para-suicidal behavior.

Sometimes during middle school and high school, I imagined I would stand up and give an impassioned speech, which would change everything, like I was staring in some sort of Hollywood blockbuster.  I would tell them how much it hurt to be called names, to be pushed into my locker, and to be left out.  They would finally understand, apologize, and we’d all become best friends like on “Saved By the Bell” episode where Zack dated the fat chick.

I couldn’t wait to grow up because I thought there wouldn’t be bullies anymore, or at least I wouldn’t have to go to school with them every day.  When I became an adult or at least went to college everything, I assured myself that everything would be OK.

When I went to college, everything was OK.  I met and befriended real lesbians on campus and wondered what those immature high school boys would say about that.  I excelled in my classes, like I usually did, and felt secure in my environment of friends who accepted me.  Finally, I was part of the “in” crowd or maybe just in a crowd.

They (whoever “they” are) say that bullying is just one of those things kids do and the victims will survive.  Students just need to toughen up, educators say, because kids will be kids.

I wish I could say it still didn’t hurt.  I wish I could say the kid who made fun of my voice every single say in sixth grade science class hasn’t affected why I sometimes feel awkward when my voice is amplified over a microphone.  So many of these lies still rattle around in my brain and the lies have become my truth.  It is something God and me are working on together. 

The truth of the matter is that words do hurt.  The far reach of social media has made bullying even worse.  I recently watched a documentary called The Bully Project and I cried through much of it.  I couldn’t even watch the entire thing.  Emotions I thought long dead resurged.

Finally, it occurred to me that no matter where you are, what age you are, or what you do, there will always be bullies.  Work bullies, neighborhood association bullies, church bullies (who do it in the name of God), road rage bullies, mommy group bullies—and you know what?  Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Frankly, I’m sick of bullies.  They’ve taken too much from me and I’ve let them.  I don’t have any deep answers on how to solve the bullying epidemic.  I don’t know how to make teens stop sending stupid text messages or posting ridiculous nonsense on Instagram or Snapchat.  All I know to do is to tell them over and over again the effects of bullying. I can’t change them, but I can change me.  I can stop giving their words meaning and move past the hurt they inflicted.

I refuse to be like my math teacher, who incorrectly told me they would stop.  They never stop.  Instead, I work with students as they deal with conflicts and teach them about who they are in Christ so the truth can overcome the lies, so the light of God can overcome the darkness

In this work, I have found redemption for my own middle and high school years eaten by the locusts.  There is healing in ministry—something that makes the scars bring forth His light. 

My junior year of high school was more than half a lifetime ago and I still remember the words of the students and my teacher.  I still feel the sting because I am human.  But I don’t let it consume me because I am redeemed.

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To Save A Life–the Movie & the Sonic Kitty

23 Oct

On Thursday evening, I attended a pre-screening of TO SAVE A LIFE, a film that delves into the lives of teenagers in crisis (suicide, pregnancy, divorce, cutting, bullying).  For now, all I will say about the film (which releases in January 2010) is:: it’s pretty good, has the potential to get teens (and adults) talking about crucial issues, and I love the kid who pours bacon bits on his ice cream cone while on a date.  Plus, the promo items, which include recycled pens made from wood and slap bracelets were top-notch.

Also, exciting was the opportunity to meet my pal, Lori Lenz, who I’ve been working with for quite a while, but never met face-to-face, until tonight.  I made her a scarf and she wore it all night!  Lori is ABSOLUTELY adorable, and if you get a chance to catch her at one of the TO SAVE A LIFE pre-screenings, you should give her a big hug from me!  And tell her that you love her scarf.

Lori and me!  Look shes wearing the scarf I made!

Lori and me! Look she's wearing the scarf I made!

Before we headed to Philly, Sarah and I made a pit stop in Levittown.  She had to do a work thing and dropped me off at the Super Wal-Mart.  After people-watching for an hour in the store, I decided to go outside to savor the beautiful fall weather.  I walked and walked and walked until I ended up at a Sonic clear across the parking lot.  As I sat down to read, I noticed a young tabby several yards away.  We eyeballed each other, and deeming me safe, the cat crept closer and closer until it was only two feet away. I beckoned the feline closer, but it maintained its distance.  Finally, I stood up, and it ran away to hang out in Parking Spot #1.

Philly Phever has even taken over Chik-Fil-A

Philly Phever has even taken over Chik-Fil-A

So I asked two Sonic employees about the cat and they told me that it was there unofficial mascot.  Apparently, they called the humane society and other rescue organizations, but no one would come to take away the cats.  Cats?  You mean there’s more than one?  Yup, a whole family of felines lives in the weeds.

An old ship along the water front.

An old ship along the water front.

Over at Parking Spot #1, Miley the Cat (I named it Miley because “Party in the USA” was playing) was looking hopefully at a new family of diners. The poor thing probably survived on scraps thrown her way.  I considered ordering her a hot dog, but decided against it.  I knew I couldn’t take her with me, so I called my mom and asked her to pray for Miley the Cat.  My mom, who knows my love for animals, asked God to care for this sweet cat—that it might know the love of a family.

Be a hero & save Mileys life!

Be a hero & save Miley's life!

I don’t know what else to do, but tell you about Miley, show you his/her picture, and let you know where to go to claim a beautiful kitty that needs a home.  Miley the Cat is located at the Sonic along Route 13 in Levittown, PA at the Levittown Town Center Shopping Center.  If you can’t make Miley yours, please let someone know about  her/him because you can save a life.

She Didn’t Want Me Anymore

2 Sep

I sat in the guidance counselor’s office with tears pouring down my cheeks, snot running out my nostrils, and a broken heart.  He eyed me wearily, like he hated middle school girls who cried.  I am convinced that he was the Grinch, even looked like the Grinch minus the green skin pigmentation.  “So, your friend told you that she doesn’t want to be your friend anymore?” he asked suspiciously, almost mockingly. I nodded, unable to croak out an answer.

He called her down to the guidance office, my former friend.  When I walked to school that morning, she was my friend, or so I thought.  Little did I know that just before homeroom, she would end our association—not only as best friends, but as friends altogether.  It seemed that I was holding her back from accomplishing her true popularity potential, and well, we all know that in sixth grade it’s all about who you know.  A sad, but true, life lesson I learned at the tender age of 11, before I was officially a teenager.

She walked into the Grinch’s office, her head held high, threw a contemptuous glance at me (which I don’t think the Grinch noticed), and explained her case.  She was merely trying to tell me that she needed to make other friends, too, that I was no longer to be her sole companion on adventures in her backyard, in playing Nintendo, in long chat on the phone after school.  She needed to let other friends into her life.  But she was lying through her teeth; she was good at that.  The Grinch applauded her for making such a mature decision, and dismissed her.  With a haughty over-the-shoulder glare, she was gone from my presence, and I wish, from my life.

She made the rest of middle school difficult for me, convincing other kids that I was a nerdy loser.  She would sit in class and make it clear that the small cluster of girls around her were talking about me.  The boys in the class would throw spitballs at the back of my head during French class.  A lot of kids hated middle school; I hated it more.  I had another friend, jealous of my placement in the gifted class who assaulted me from the other end. To stay afloat, I focused on my studies, trusted in God, and found solace in my church youth group.

That day—the first week of sixth grade—was one of the worst days of my life.  I’m sure people will tell me to move on; it happened a lifetime ago.  But I don’t think anyone really gets over a thing like that, the first time someone tells you that she doesn’t want to be your friend—your best friend—anymore.

True Confessions Friday:: He called me Squeaker.

3 Jul

Anyone who’s ever talked to me or listened to one of my audio interviews over at The Christian Manifesto knows that I have a unique voice. While my mom thinks my voice is quite lovely and those who know me appreciate its quirkiness, it hasn’t always been a gift.  In fact, there was a time I didn’t want to talk at all because I hated my voice.  Plus, I felt like I had nothing worthwhile to say anyway.

It all started in middle school with this kid named Jeremy (I should out him by giving you his full name.  That would be mean and self-serving.  Besides, this is my confession, not his).  He was short blond kid with a bowl haircut and eyes that slanted with malicious intent.  He wasn’t popular and he wasn’t unpopular—he was middle-of-the-road mediocre.  The popular kids made fun of him, so to impress them, he made fun of me.  Why he wanted to impress kids who mocked him is beyond me.  You’d think a kid in the gifted program would have a little more sense.  I was one of his favorite targets.  Besides being a chubby nerd with the self-esteem of a banana, I had a funny voice, too.

He called me Squeaker and I hated it.

And I just about hated him for it.  I know we Christians aren’t supposed to hate, but this was middle school and as you know, middle school is war.  Plus, I said “just about,” which means I didn’t really hate him; I almost did.  Jeremy is still one of the meanest kids I’ve ever met.  Not only did he call me Squeaker, he got other kids to do it, too.

Every day during environmental science, he would taunt me from his seat ahead of mine.  No matter what I said he would imitate me, even if I was answering a question in class!  Plus, I sat one seat away from my first real crush, Tim-something-or-other (Notice I can’t remember his last name.  It started with a “W” though).  It was day after day of humiliation.  A few times Tim, my prepubescent knight in MC Hammer-like pants, told him to knock it off and Tim was popular enough to be taken seriously.  But Jeremy was relentless, like a collection agent that keeps calling your apartment for someone who doesn’t live there.

Jeremy was one of the reasons I was grateful to go to Christian high school.  I sit here at 29 years of age and still wonder how one young boy could be so cruel.  It wasn’t just calling me Squeaker—that was just the worst thing he did.  It shattered me—because the other kids joined in, because I believed it, and because I still believe it sometimes.  I hate that it happened half my life ago and it still hurts me.

But it’s also empowered me.  Despite my squeaky voice, I decided to go into communications, primarily for writing.  Still I found I loved our ghetto college radio station and video production.  It’s still my dream to host my own radio program (or podcast) and I’d love to do voiceover work, especially cartoon voices (seriously, that would be the coolest thing—EVER!)  What was once my weakness, God used as a strength—to teach youth, to lead Bible studies, to do interviews, and to talk non-stop even when people want me to shut up.  Jeremy called me Squeaker and he meant it for evil, yet God used it for good.  By the way, Jeremy, I forgive you, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget you.

The Bully in the Kitchen

10 Jun

My two dogs are great teachers in lessons about life. Obviously, I don’t get tips on social etiquette from them–like smelling another dog’s butt to say hello or licking myself in front of company. However, animals of all kinds are great teachers if we allow God to use His creations to teach us about Him and His people.

Lately, Cassie (9 y/o peekapoo) and Maddy (almost 2 y/o shih tzu) have had difficulty eating together. Since Cassie is a nibble-through-the-day kind of dog, we have open food bowls. Usually by the end of the day a few morsels of dry food remain. Because Cassie nibbles, Maddy also learned to nibble. Generally there has been no problem with this arrangement, until recently, when Cassie decided that she was Queen of the Food Bowls. Lying sideways, she “guards” both bowls (and the water, mind you) so that Maddy can’t eat until Cassie allows her. Plus, the dogs refuse to eat unless someone is home; therefore, the behavior is easily observable.

At one point I sat on the floor with the dogs, moved Cassie to the side, and showed them it was just fine to eat with one another. Maddy was a little nervous, shooting sideway glances at Cassie, but she ate. Cassie seemed a bit grumpy…but I’m the pack leader, not her. This worked for a while, until Maddy decided she should always eat from the same dish as Cassie. Again, I showed them their dishes and they worked it out. Today I was making lunch and noticed Cassie was being the Guardian of the Food Dishes again. I sat on the floor, and Cassie automatically moved to the side yet Maddy refused to come over. I sighed and moved the food dish closer to her and went on with my day. Maddy ate. Conflict resolved.

Then I realized something startling. I had taken the “easy way out”. Instead of sitting the girls down and talking to them about their problems (just kidding…they’re dogs), I just isolated Maddy and refused to deal with Cassie. Since Cassie was being the “bully”, I should have removed *her* from the situation and encouraged Maddy to eat at the appropriate area.

I realized this is exactly how I’ve seen bullies deal with in real life, you know, outside of my kitchen. Instead of dealing with the bully, teachers send the bullied kid to the guidance counselor. The child who is the victim is obviously the problem, not the kid who’s being cruel. Instead, shouldn’t the mean kid go to the guidance counselor? Or both kids at separate times? It’s a tough world so the kid being teased may need to learn better coping skills while the jerky kid may a smack down. Both children may be dealing with tough situations at home and it’s coming out in their behavior at school. Whatever the reason, instead of doing what’s easy, sometimes we need to truly address the situation at hand.

Right now, Cassie and Maddy are sitting by the door listening for intruders (like the FedEx guy–a real threat there) in the hallway. Maddy thinks that they should be running around the apartment like a couple of wild hooligans, so she’s jumping all over Cassie pulling her ears and her tail. Cassie growls at Maddy and puts her in her place. Dogs dealing with conflict on their own–normal pack behavior. Guarding the food bowls in the kitchen–unacceptable pack behavior.

Parents, youth workers, random blog visitors–how do you decipher between normal and unacceptable behavior in children or teenagers? What are ways you have deal with bullies–whether your kid is the bully of the bullied?

Oh, and do you have a dog? (That being the essential question in this discussion!)

Queen Sized: Fat Chicks Can Rule

13 Jan

“Pretty girl gets pretty boy.”

“You have such a pretty face…and such an ugly body.”

“All anyone is ever going to see when they look at you is fat.”

“If you knew that people would like you better if you lost weight, aren’t you just punishing yourself?”

These are all lines from the new T.V. movie Queen Sized starring Nikki Blonsky (Hairspray), which premiered tonight on Lifetime. As far as made-for-Lifetime movies go, this one was exceptional (that is, for a Lifetime movie). The story revolves around a fat teenager named Maggie Baker, who deals with the normal struggles of an overweight girl (being called names like “wide load” and “thunder thighs”, having kids moo at her, a mom that doesn’t understand as well as identity issues that come with being fat). Then a couple of the popular girls decide to make Maggie’s life ever more miserable–they nominate her to be homecoming queen.

Despite the odds, Maggie decides to make a run of it, eventually gaining support from the rest of the student body, except from the popular kids who tried to humiliate her. And, of course, being a Lifetime movie, Maggie is voted homecoming queen, gets a bit conceited about it, has a few struggles dealing with the whole thing, and comes out at the end looking gorgeous. Oh, and she snags herself a really cute guy (who looks like he was 30 even though he is supposed to be a high school senior).

While the plot is basic, the movie hits on a lot of important issues that fat people deal with head-on. Maggie’s mom (played by Annie Potts) is passive-aggressive towards her daughter’s weight issue. She tries to get Maggie to eat healthier food, signs her up for a mother/daughter yoga class, and “encourages” her in a patronizing way. Mrs. Baker acts out of love for Maggie; she doesn’t want her daughter to be teased, held back, or suffer health issues. Yet Maggie’s mom dances around the truth refusing to ask the question–why is Maggie like this? The answer is vague, but seems to be tied to emotional eating.

Another interesting aspect of the film is Nikki Blonsky’s portrayal of Maggie. A plus-sized actress, Blonsky wowed audiences as Tracy Turnblad in the updated version of the cult classic, Hairspray. Naturally, Blonsky was told she would never find work as an actress. I even read an article that questioned whether or not Blonsky would manage to find other movie roles after Hairspray. Blonsky’s struggle as an actress mirrors Maggie’s struggle to become homecoming queen–they both are trying to do something in a medium where thin and beautiful is what sells.

I liked that Maggie’s outfits are cute, but not ultra-trendy. They are clothes a woman could find in a store with plus-sized fashions like Fashion Bug or Lane Bryant. (As an aside, plus-sized fashions have gotten way cooler and more affordable since I was a teenager. I’m dressing better now than when I was 16. Of course, maybe I’m just more fashionable.) Also, there are scenes that were so true to my life and my experience as a fat girl, I could feel my heart break. For example, Maggie’s often out of breath when trying to keep up with the other girls in gym class and chooses to change in the bathroom stall when in the girls locker room. At a party, a cute guy talks to Maggie in Spanish and her friend comments that he’s into Maggie, but Maggie shrugs it off saying he’ s only interested in conversing with her because she’s fluent in Spanish. It was such a normal feeling for me, I thought he was only interested in her because she was fluent in Spanish! The Spanish-speaking hottie ends up being Maggie’s date to homecoming and he is rather flirty…so…looks like Maggie and I are both wrong.

As I heard Maggie and those around her utter the lines I highlighted at the top of this post, I realized that I, too, believe them. Of course I’m not married yet; only pretty girls get married to intelligent, decent guys who love God and dogs. Yes, when people look at me all they see is my fat; it’s sort of what’s there, right? Why would people look past my weight when it’s so hard for me to do the same? During the climax of the film, Maggie fights the negative thoughts surrounding her (usually delivered by her mother, who appears randomly wearing a cocktail dress, as a visualization of Maggie’s inner thoughts) and says to herself, “Nobody treats me as worthless as you do.”

And isn’t that the truth, ladies? Whether you’re a size 2 or a size 32, it doesn’t matter–nobody knows your physical, emotional, spiritual, and psychological flaws like you do. When asked the question, if you could change one thing about yourself…I’m thinking, stop right there, can I choose more than one thing? I can pull out a list of about 100. Yet it’s so easy for fat girls to blame all their problems on their fat. I don’t have this, do this, deserve this, want this…because I’m fat. I’m starting to realize something–I see me as fat; the world sees me as fat (at least most of it); but the people who really matter see me as Amy, not the fattest girl in the room (***see comment below). Or as Maggie says at the end of the movie, “I faced my fears and I did it in a kick-a** dress!” (I censored the quote because I didn’t want to offend people by using the world “ass”. See, it’s OK to cuss it when you put it in quotes.)

Readers, check out the comments section at the bottom of this post. Some good conversations are starting to develop and I would hate for you to miss out!

***I’ll admit it right here. When I go places, I do a “fat check” to see if I’m the fattest person in the room. If I’m not the fattest, I feel a sense of relief and think, “Thank goodness! There’s someone fatter than me here.” I also do a “wedding ring” check to see who’s married, so I can try to flirt with the single guys. I don’t think they’ll actually be interested in me. I think guys can smell insecurity and that could be my problem. OK, that’s enough transparency for one day.***

Here are a few things I’ve written about my own battles with weight and indentity:

Identity Crisis: Growing Up Fat

No Fat Chicks

Liberation Through Skeletons in the Closet

Bullying in the Age of Technology

28 Nov

Traditional methods of bullying such as hassling underlings for lunch money or giving wedgies seem to have fallen by the wayside in light of new technology. For example, is it better to call a girl a slut in front of a few friends or to send a text message about her to everyone on your phone list? Would you rather leave a nasty message in someone’s locker or post it on your blog for all the world to see? Technology has given us great methods to communicate over large mediums, and yet it’s precisely these mediums that have caused a rise in cyber-bullying.

According to a recent article from Reuters (read article), bullying has spread from school yards and girls bathrooms into the very homes of students through text messages, instant messages, blogs, and other types of advanced technological harassment. The article goes on to state some statistics and mentions some measures schools are taking to make rules against cyber-bullying.

Despite our best efforts, bullying will always be a sad part of life for kids. For the kids who are bullied, they will doubt themselves, withdraw, and wonder if they matter at all. The bullies dehumanize themselves acting out of insecurity and anger or even both. Even the kid who wins the lunch money in the epic school yard battle loses himself in the end. But, hey, maybe bullying isn’t that big a deal, right? I mean, we all got through middle school and high school, didn’t we?

We all got through it; some of us barely got through. One thing I’ve learned in talking to a lot of youth workers is this–an awful lot of us invested in the lives of teenagers were bullied. And some of us were even bullies. While many act like the effects of being pushed around in gym class or teased mercilessly in middle school are over, our actions speak otherwise.

Maybe we just won’t let anyone get that close or perhaps we’re people pleasers. Maybe if we make fun of ourselves, then no one else will. Perhaps it’s that back-biting gossip we enjoy, since we’re no longer the butt of the jokes (we can always disguise it as a prayer request). Or maybe we just like the feel of being one of the “popular” kids…you know, the one who gets to sit next to the senior pastor or the author of the hottest new youth ministry book. For some of us, the effects of our pasts scream loud and clear.

And, yes, I was bullied and yes, it effects me to this day, though not entirely negatively. I know what it’s not like to be included, so I try to include others, to be kind, and to share. Those of us who were bullied cruelly can compassionately share our stories with teenagers to offer hope and perhaps remind bullies of the hurt they can cause.

However, I feel sick to my stomach to think of the humiliation of being scorned in this day and age on blogs, e-mails, text messages, and so on and so forth. While students may not be worried about having a bully steal their lunch money, they have to wonder whether or not they’ll be slammed on their arch rival’s blog after school. Maybe teenagers shouldn’t care what other people think…but then again, isn’t that part of being a teenager?

I’d love to open a proactive discussion on how youth workers and those interested in teen culture can start raising awareness about this issue without coming across as lame do-gooders. Please post or e-mail me with your ideas. This is a topic I’m interested in exploring with like-minded individuals. Or, hey, let’s get a list of resources going.

Thanks to Gman for making me aware of this article via his blog!

Liberation Through Skeletons in the Closet

8 Oct

One of my newspaper columns from when I was in college (a liberal women’s college at that)…

Liberation Through Skeletons in the Closet

Hi everyone. In case you haven’t noticed I’m fat. Those of you who don’t know me personally now know my secret. And the funny thing about being fat is that society has made “fat” a taboo word. For example, if you call someone fat, this is considered to be a bad thing. It’s bad to be fat. Now there are certain health risks associated with being fat, but there are also health risks in being a high school student in America today, like being shot by a classmate. But this isn’t about fancy terms or classification; this is simply about independence.

See, before last semester, I could never say I was fat, overweight, or the other terms associated with obesity. And not only could I not say I was fat, but I also could not accept myself for being fat. Camryn Manheim, a robust actress on ABC’s prime-time drama said it herself, “The world isn’t lining up to respect or employ fat people.” But, maybe times really are a’changing.

One of my favorite shows is “E.R.” (not because of Noah Wyle. I love Erik Palladino) and as I watched Thursday, April 20’s repeat episode, I noticed several big, beautiful women in the background. Yeah, they were not the main actresses, but some representation is better than no representation at all.

Not only am I more attuned to media representations of fat women (for men, this is not a big issue, excuse the pun), but I’ve accepted myself as not only a BIG individual, but also a beautiful one. What happened, you ask? Some miracle diet? Too much Richard Simmons? Absolutely not. I took “Introduction to Gender Studies”, a communications course taught by Isabel Molina last fall. For my final project, I decided to do something that cut close to my heart, how overweight women are portrayed in the media. I read Camryn Manheim’s book, Wake Up, I’m Fat!, and studied many actresses. I even submitted my paper to the Women’s Studies Conference, and it was accepted. I was honored to present my paper before conference attendees, and the President’s Council, but that’s really not the point.
The point is this- I was amazed to be chosen. Women are actually taking a look at their dress sizes and saying, “Hey! I may be a size 18, but I’m still gorgeous!” It’s about time.
Middle school was hell for me. Not only was I white in a racially tense Allentown middle school, but I was also in the gifted class and yes, I was fat even then. You can imagine how the ridicule increased my eighth grade year when I openly proclaimed that I had become a born-again Christian. I got called every name in the book, and a few that I think were made up especially for me. Even in Christian high school, my weight was always an issue. When my “best friend’ told everyone about my crush on the cutest guy in the high school, I was the laughingstock. All because of a few extra pounds.

I was ostracized for being fat, and even called a lesbian because I did not date the boys at my high school. Obviously they didn’t see the double standard, if I was too fat to date guys, then it was obvious why I couldn’t get a date. At the end of my rope, I wanted to die. I could painfully lose weight, or live with torment.
And everyone thinks it’s so easy to lose weight! Even though I don’t overeat and I am very active, I still am fat. To lose weight, I must go hungry and exercise excessively. Even some of my relatives turned against me, “If you would lose weight, you would be such a pretty girl. You would drive the boys wild.” Well, guess what I learned? I am a pretty girl, and I do drive the boys wild. Maybe not all the boys, but definitely the ones that are worth holding my hand.

I don’t have it all figured out and I still struggle to accept the image I see in the mirror everyday. I tried to love myself for who God saw me as, but it didn’t work, because I was trying to see myself through thin eyes. When you see me when we return for the fall semeter, maybe I’ll be several pounds lighter, but maybe I won’t. It doesn’t matter. Now that I can accept myself for who I really am as a person, and who I am in Christ, weight is not an issue. The real issue is, will you accept me?

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