When I was growing up, I always knew I was different. All my best friends were tall, skinny and pretty. They were the girls who every guy wanted to date or get a chance with. They were the girls who got any guy they wanted.
They were everything i wasn’t.
Going back in time to when i first decided to try out cheerleading, i remember being beyond nervous. All my friends were doing it, and i thought to myself, “hey i could do that too.” While waiting in line to try on the uniform, the lady doing the fittings was, to put it nicely, sort of a bitch. I was so excited to get my chance to try on my uniform and be able to look just like all the other girls. I was always a little “fluffier” than them, but it never changed who i was. When it was my turn to put on the top, she made me feel so embarrassed because i needed a bigger size than the other girls. My seven year old heart was so upset, but i made sure i didn’t show it. I didn’t want her to know she hurt my feelings. The comment of her saying, “well, we are gonna have to special order the size you need for your team, because we don’t have any of those”, still sticks with me as an adult. Did she not realize how awful it was to say something like that to someone? Especially a little girl?
I pretended I didn’t care. I felt like Elsa i guess…. conceal and don’t feel, right?
As the years went on, I dealt with it all. Girls from other teams would judge, not just me, but my team because we came in all shapes and sizes. I wasn’t the skinniest and I wasn’t the most flexible, but you know what? I had more spirit than them and I loved my teammates. I was a good base/back-spot, and my flyer always knew that i would be there for her when she was falling. The girls on my team were all my friends and they never let me feel different. I was their friend, and that’s all that mattered. My coaches were some of the greatest women I have ever met. They were like second moms to me, and always reminded me that i was just as good as everyone else. Just because my uniform size was bigger than the others, it didn’t make me any less of a cheerleader than them. Those girls were my family, and they always will be. They helped me love myself.
As years went on, so did the harsh words and mean looks. It felt like the older I got, the meaner the kids were. I remember sitting at the lunch table in 6th grade and all my friends were wearing the latest at American Eagle and Abercrombie, while i was wearing the latest surfing clothes and whatever i saw cool at Old Navy. There was this boy who made a joke about my weight at the lunch table behind mine, and i just looked at him and didn’t say a word. I couldn’t believe he just said that i was too fat to be eating pizza. I went home that day telling everyone how great 6th grade was, when really i went to bed that night and cried myself to sleep. How could someone be so cruel? I remember hating the fact I knew he would be at the table next to mine everyday. As the year went on, my friends would defend me. They could tell that it would bring me down. I even recall one of them calling him “a loser”. Ironically, he actually did grow up to be just that, a loser. Funny how that worked out.
I tried so hard to fit in with the other girls. Asking my parents to make sure we only bought my clothes from name brand places and that my hair always had to be done. One time i remember a girl saying, “wow, i didn’t know abercrombie made clothes for fat girls.” Even writing that now, breaks my twenty-three year old heart and i even shed a tear now remembering how i felt. I thought about how I did everything like the other girls, why was i always the one being picked on? I just didn’t know what i was doing wrong.
As I got older, I struggled for a while with my self-esteem. I never let it show though. I was always the one who never said no, the one who was always down for something fun or i was the one who would laugh the loudest. I didn’t want people to know how others were constantly trying to bring me down. I didn’t want people to know that I was hiding from all the mean words.
Then one day, a friend said to me, “I wish i could be happy with my life like you are with yours.” A strange thought came over my head, and i thought “wow, they’re right.” Maybe that is why everyone was always trying to bring me down. It was because I was happy and they weren’t. Misery loves company, ya know?
Through my recent breakup, of course I did the typical, “but what does she have that i don’t?” I was driving myself crazy and that little girl in me was hurt. Hurt because I felt like i wasn’t good enough. I kept having flashbacks to every time a boy would chose my best friend over me. It wasn’t until one night while i was running, did i realize i needed to stop. Stop comparing myself to others, especially her. Stop letting people define me, when i define myself. It wasn’t healthy. I’m me, and if someone doesn’t want that, then they know where they can find the door. I’ve spent my whole life trying to fit in and I finally learned that i really was born to stand out. I hate to say this, but Jeremy helped me remember that what was inside mattered more than my looks and I wish i could thank for that (that’s it, i swear). I know what i have to offer the world, and i know who i am(for the most part). I wear make up for myself. Yeah, it might cost more than your whole dinner date meal, but i’m okay with that. I’m okay with the fact that maybe i’ll always been a little bit thicker than most girls. I’m okay with it all, because it’s what makes me, me.
With the very, very soon arrival of my niece and the fact my goddaughter is growing up so fast, often i think of the lessons i will teach them. I want them to be strong girls who turn into strong women. I want them to be smart and to never settle for anything. I want them to know they will always have a friend in me, no matter how bad things are. I want them to know that as long as they stay true to themselves, they will be just fine. I want them to know they are perfect just the way they are. I hope they never meet a bully that makes fun of their appearance. If they do, i hope they know that others opinions are nothing compared to the opinion you have of yourself.
I’m thankful to have had such a great support system growing up, and even now. My family and friends always being the people to have my back.
So if you haven’t heard it today,
You are beautiful.
You are smart.
You are loved.
The only things that are unpretty are the mean people in this world with their unkind words to pollute your positive vibes.
There are good people in this world, be one of them.