Leading by example

Life as an overweight kid was pretty rough. You definitely notice that you’re not one of the pretty ones and that you don’t look like other kids. Where exactly does that leave you? Kids can be ruthless and downright mean, but so can adults. Probably even worse. The world doesn’t like overweight people. I know with social media now there’s a whole “body positive movement” that seems to be spreading, but the fact of the matter is that it’s crap. Don’t get me wrong. I love the movement. I may even feed and promote the movement. I’m all for the message, but I’ve also lived as an overweight child and adult. It’s not nice. Most people don’t care why you’re overweight or that you feel good about yourself anyways. Being overweight is seen as laziness, lack of control, poor choices, gross,etc. However, don’t lose weight either, because a lot of people will hate and criticize that too. I know this from personal experience. The first thing someone is going to attack is our looks. Most people aren’t going to attack my lack of book smarts or that I’m a scaredy pants. They’d call me a fat cow, before that would happen.  The first thing someone will judge is our looks. Sad, but true. Even with the spread of body positive bloggers and plus size models, it’s an uphill battle covered in insults and judgement. Children are not excluded from this. I remember adults calling me chubby or commenting on my body. Trust me, if a child is overweight, they know that they’re overweight. Kids at school have called them fat. They’ve discovered they don’t look like other kids. They probably can’t play and run like the other kids. They know their clothes is bigger than others their age. Being an overweight adult is hard. Being an overweight child might be even harder. How do you cope with that as a child? How do you learn what to do with that? How is an overweight child supposed to learn to stop it? It’s a child. I was a child. Children aren’t meant to cope with being fat. Heck, most adults don’t even cope with it. It’s horrible. It’s like a tunnel that people just get stuck in and can’t get out of. Children included. 

As a little kid, I didn’t understand or know why I was overweight. I only knew that people called me fat and that’s what I was. I can remember my own family members, classmates, and even random people calling me fat and various insults based on my weight.  As I child, I don’t believe that I had any control or power over my weight. I was a child. I didn’t know I had the option or ability to be a normal sized kid. I didn’t know how that was even possible. I didn’t know why I looked the way I did. I would get older and stayed overweight. I hear people say, “kids stretch out. They’ll outgrow it.” Yeah, I’m still waiting for that. Most children that are overweight, turn into overweight adults. It sucks let me tell you.  I started as a girl that would eat to the point of sickness, so that I wouldn’t go to sleep and have nightmares. I would get older and just learned unhealthier habits that settled in even harder. I never learned to be anything else. 

Of course, at some point we become responsible for our own actions, bodies, choices,etc. I stayed overweight. By then, I wasn’t just overweight. I had issues way bigger than my weight. I was dead on the inside. Do you think I cared what I looked like on the outside? No. All I wanted was to shut my mind off. To not feel anymore pain.  To erase everything from my mind. Oh hello drugs. Then, I found that if I use drugs like meth and opiates, it’ll make me lose weight too. I signed myself right up. For years and years. Guess what? I stayed overweight. Just my luck huh? 

I talked a big game about giving birth to my daughter and using her as a weight to exercise. (Give me a break.) I talked about having her and getting right back out to running and two hour gym sessions. Prior to the fertility treatments, I was probably in the best shape of my life (until now.) So I was hopeful that I’d have her and get right to it. Haha. That was cute. The only thing I used my kid for was a reason to eat like crap and not exercise. What happened to all the work I had done prior to having her? Physically, mentally, and emotionally!  I had promised myself I would show her better. That I would be better. I had retrained my head. Read books. Counseled myself.  I told myself I would lead by example. I had done so much work to just drop the ball. Ugh back to square one. I had to start over. This time fatter than I had ever been in my life. I started to change my lifestyle little by little. 

I worried about my daughter ending up in the terrible cycle of the overweight world. It used to scare me. Now it really fuels me. I truly believe in leading by example with children. I believe our children are the way they way are, because of us. They know what we teach them. Hence, children being mean to overweight people and kids. Following lead. 

My daughter is three years old and she wants to be just like me. She moves her hands like me, she talks like me, she wants to wear a shirt like mine, she wants to eat like me, she wants to sit like me, she wants to love her daddy like me, she wants to exercise like me, etc. I can’t tell you how terrifying, adorable, and motivating this is. I’m not scared my daughter is going to end up like me. I’m not scared she’s going to walk around being made fun of and not have any control over it. I’m not scared she’s going to have to deal with all the crap that comes with being an overweight child. These things used to scare me quite a bit. Except for the first time in my life, I finally have the education, habits, tools, and power to control my fears of my daughter growing up overweight. I finally know how to be healthy and what it means. I finally know what I’m eating. I no longer roll my eyes at moms who don’t give their children sugar or processed foods. I’m not trying to be a perfect mom or a hippie mom. I’m not trying to be better than anyone. I’m trying to raise a healthy child that learns healthy habits. I’m trying to break the cycle. I’m trying to give my child the best chance at this hard game of life. I’m trying to make it so that she doesn’t grow up addicted to sugar and food. I’m trying to make it so that food is not a coping mechanism for her, but fuel for her body. I’m doing that by example. Life is hard enough without having to worry about being overweight. My job is to protect my child and prepare her to become a healthy functionioning adult. I use that as fuel. Fuel to eat right. Fuel to exercise. Fuel to show compassion and forgiveness. Fuel to keep learning and advancing. Being the best version of myself. 

I’m no longer on a weightloss journey. That moment has passed. It turned into a lifestyle at some point. I won’t ever stop this. I make the choice everyday to make health and fitness an important part of our life. This is how my body and my mind feel best. Yes, I am losing weight, but it’s just what’s coming with living a healthy lifestyle. My daughter deserves a fighting chance. She deserves to feel good and be healthy and that’s my job.  This three year old carries so much power for me. She fuels me like no other. I started this journey for myself and now it’s for my family too. It’s not just me anymore. So when I don’t want to for myself, I do it for my girl. She’s watching. 

Women’s March 

Why did I march at the Women’s March? I had actually believed that the march was to unify women and empower us as a whole no matter our race, sexual preference, or anything else for that matter. I was hopeful and feeling inspired. Here was this women’s march being promoted everywhere we look. Talking about power, unity, and fighting the fight. I’m a woman who was raped, I’m a woman who has girlfriends from third world countries, and I am a woman who also believes that something’s need to change. I thought I was part of this group.

Then, the day before the march I read about the Pro-Life movement being denied a part in the march. Upon reading about this, I immediately felt alienated and confused. I thought this march was about supporting ALL women. I thought this was about being one and equal. I thought this was about women sticking together so we could be more powerful. To say that we will not be raped, belittled, and pushed to the back. I thought this march was to say that there are girls being trafficked in our backyard and we, women, can help them! I thought this march was to help oppressed women anywhere. I was left uneasy and unsure, if I would attend the next morning. 
The next morning I started to see pictures of the marches going on in other cities. I started to feel anxiety and some panic set in. I saw the signs bashing “my God”. I saw the signs bashing some of my views. I saw WOMEN alienating me. I was confused and immediately thought that wasn’t a place I belonged or was welcome. Even though I’m clearly a woman, I felt unwanted and like the enemy. I talked to a couple friends and my mom in hopes of some guidance. Ultimately I made the choice to attend the march. I tend to have anxiety problems so I thought I was looking for a way out. I wanted to be brave. I should’ve listened to that little voice inside. I should’ve stayed true to myself. I should’ve stayed home. 
I went to the march and at first I was moved. I saw waves and waves of people marching peacefully. They were united in that very moment and you could feel the power. As I started walking up to join the march, my excitement started to turn into anxiety. Little by little, as I read the signs and looked around, I started to feel lost. The march itself was fast. Then, they held the rally. That’s when it hit me hard. I am lost. I was jam packed here in masses of people. I kept looking behind me, to the side, in front, anywhere for me to get out with my stroller, giant husband, and two year old. What the hell am I doing here? They aren’t talking about changing anything. They aren’t giving ways that we can stick together and be stronger. They aren’t talking about accepting everyone. They’re aren’t talking about respecting each other and other women. Giving money to PP shouldn’t be the only way that women should be told to help. Is this all that women’s rights is about? We’ve managed to pack women’s rights into two categories now? Pro-life and pro-choice? That’s it? That outweighs girls being trafficked, girls be raped and married off worldwide, women being forced to be suicide bombers, while carrying their infants? 
I left. I saw hundreds of posts following. I saw pictures, read signs, people mocking the march, women bashing women for going or not going, people loving the march, etc. We all saw everything. It was everywhere. This huge nationwide Women’s March was taking place and I was a part of it. Why did I feel so bad inside? Why was I embarrassed that I went? Why did I feel even more alienated than before? 
Days have gone by and I really had to take the time to process everything. I had to take the time to get back to being true to myself. I had to ask myself hard questions about my beliefs and where I stand. The truth of the matter is that I have known and continue to know what I believe in and who I am. Sometimes I can get overwhelmed and still succumb to peer pressure whether it’s intentional or not. I too want to feel like I’m a part of something and belong. 
I am Pro-Life. I am a woman. I should not be alienated for my beliefs. I should not be excluded. I should not be made to feel less of a woman. I should not be guilted. I am NOT Pro-Choice. This one detail of my beliefs should not and does not dictate the type of person or woman I am or the type of life I live. It’s MY belief and just that. I’m not asking you to follow it, I’m not asking you to understand, I’m not asking you to educate me, I’m not asking you to question me, I’m not asking you to be a part of it, I’m asking to be respected. 
I’m not telling anyone that they’re wrong. I’m not telling anyone to change what they belief. I’m not telling anyone they aren’t welcomed. I’m not telling anyone that they need to be educated, because of their beliefs. This march was a slap in the face to so many woman and yet that’s ok, because they don’t think the same and “people are angry.” This march alienated and oppressed women just like women have and will continue to do so day in and day out.  
We want to hold women’s marches screaming that we are oppressed and demanding equal rights. How about we hold women’s marches screaming that we have the power to help thousands of oppressed women in the world and demand it be done whether your pro choice, pro life, gay, straight, white, black, democrat, republican, liberal, American, Middle eastern, Asian, etc.? 
Get your opinion and judgment out of other people’s beliefs. It’s none of your business. There isn’t one way to be a good person. There’s tons of ways. You don’t need to have a certain set of beliefs to be a good person. We can all be good people, even if we believe different things. Can you believe that?