The red and white polka-dot bikini probably wasn’t the best choice, especially since I was an overweight twelve year old. I thought the red ribbons in my pigtails were cute. Aren’t we supposed to have color coordinating accessories?
I was dead wrong.
I knew I didn’t look like everyone else, but in the back of my mind, a little voice pleaded to fit in. All my cousins were slim; my sister, my aunts, even my mom! They all were wearing a two piece bathing suit.
Why couldn’t I?
It sounded logical while I was standing in the Gibson’s Discount Center check out line with everyone else. It wasn’t until I stepped out of the dressing room at the water park, that the “aha moment” struck.
I knew I had made one of the biggest mistakes of my young life.
“Oh My GOSH!” (They didn’t use the word gosh)
“Look at what that (Bad words) is wearing!”
That was only be the beginning. The barrage of insults, comments and not-so-nice actions sent me running back to the dressing room. Putting on a t-shirt and shorts, I cried. Spending the rest of the day watching everyone else enjoy the park, I made a decision to change my destiny.
Even now, the memories still burn, my face flushes. The words echo in my memory. People can be so mean. They didn’t know how often I stood in front of the mirror hating my body, wishing I looked liked my sister, my cousins; really, anyone else.
I began to educate myself. Calories were not my friend. I said goodbye to things like candy bars, sodas, chips, and fried chicken, (sigh). I learned about carbohydrates, bad fats and to read labels carefully. Exercise became my new friend.
My body went through a metamorphosis and so did my wardrobe. I decided that it was time to stop comparing myself and trying to blend in. Instead of making excuses and ignoring the problem, I started taking the steps to be the best me I could be.
I worked hard for a long time and the results were satisfying. I felt and looked great but many who had made fun of my weight continued to do so long after I slimmed down. They had decided that I belonged in a box and they wanted to keep me there.
[bctt tweet=”Sometimes, no matter what you do, people will try to keep you down.” username=”ceajones”] They don’t want you to have success, reach a goal, break away from some type of bondage or addiction. In fact, they are happy with your unhappiness.
When I started writing, I had to go through this lesson all over again. It was painful. No one cared that I was a “writer” until my first big article was published. All the haters came out of the woodwork. I felt as though I was back at the water park stepping out of the dressing room in that gosh awful bikini.
I dove back into my cocoon and decided writing wasn’t for me. I choose to stick with what was safe, articles that didn’t draw a lot of attention. I slid into a comfortable t-shirt and pair of shorts and sat on the sideline watching others become more and more successful.
Until I got mad again.
Why should I let others bully me into not following my dreams? I wanted to be bold and brave, so I did what worked before.
I made a decision to be the best me I could be, regardless of the naysayers and the critics.
Are there dreams inside your heart that you’re keeping to yourself because you’re afraid?
Have you let others decide who you need to be?
You can decide today that you are breaking free. Be determined, educate yourself, have a plan and step out in faith. You can be bold and brave whether it’s a decision to become healthier or follow your dreams.
[bctt tweet=”You can start where you are, do what you can and use what you have. ” username=”ceajones”]
Don’t let the naysayers determine your future. I believe in you and it’s time that you believed in yourself!
Also published on Medium.