Today's post is probably the most REAL post I have ever written. It is going to be raw and emotional. This month for Ramona Recommends' Book Club we read WONDER by R.J. Palacio.
August and I have something in common. We were both bullied in school. We both have felt the pain of words that strip our dignity. I did not have a face deformity, but rather I have dealt with my weight my entire life. It has always been a struggle. I would choose food when I was sad and happy. Food comforts the soul. I hit puberty before any of my other classmates and I didn't play any sports. You can imagine what food and no activity can do to a body. I've heard all of the name-calling names; I've seen the looks; and I've been the kid who doesn't want to go to school because nothing fits. When I went to college, the weight just kept coming because I had no one to tell me to stop. Depression hit and I was miserable. I mean MISERABLE, so MISERABLE that I ate an entire box of cookies because I thought it would make me feel better. Ok I could go on and on about the pain I felt being the FAT kid, but that really does nobody any good.
It was January 12, 2003 when I decided I wanted to try going to the gym. I wore big black sweat pants, a pink tshirt, a Mossimo jacket, my hair in a ponytail and white walking shoes. I was there about 30 minutes and thought I had climbed Mt. Everest. It was HARD! I went home thinking ok that wasn't terrible; I will go back tomorrow. So, the next day I went back and did another 30 mintues plus 2 more minutes. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a gorgeous trainer who was chatting with another trainer. I like to people watch and sometimes I forget that I am staring at them...he might have caught my eye. #awkwardyes! BUT! He was the reason I started come to the gym everyday for 30-45 for the next month. He would stop by and chat and reassure me to keep coming. Each day the gym became a little easier and I would stay longer. Along with the gym, I knew I had to change my food habits. Eating In-N-Out many times a week was NOT going to work. I changed my food lifestyle 95%. It was HARD too. I even became obsessed with my food. I would not eat certain foods. It was just a learning curve. Trying to balance working out, new foods, and a new me. It became a new lifestyle that I love! I am a new me. January 12, 2003 changed my life.
The reason I posted the above story is to share what it feels like to be the one bullied. IT STINKS! BULLYING has GOT TO STOP! It has been a long, hard, and rewarding journey. Your size should not matter. No one should be bullied because of their size. We should all LOVE. Be the person who up lifts. We are all here to be loved. Be a good person and look at someone's heart, not their facade. I hope by posting this I can remind people the power of being kind. Kind is just one word, but can reach thousands.
Please go read WONDER! Be Kind and share this book with your students. We all deserve to be LOVED and RESPECTED. There is no room for hate in our hearts, but KIND gestures. Be the KIND you want to see in the world.
If you are interested, August inspired me to make this BULLYING Product.