I showed her my picture. It revealed something that most people here do not know about me. It showed my journey…
I was 16 and lying in my bed, in a hotel room, in South Africa. I was angry, sad, upset…I was hurt.
I had just gotten off the plane on 11 July after having left Vancouver on the 7th. We had travelled a long way and as we sat in the car driving to our hotel in Cape Town my teacher, a woman who should have known better, an adult who should be there to protect the students said something to me that made my teenage heart break.
She looked at me and her words told me I was not good enough to be loved. She said to me that if I ever wanted to get married I needed to lose weight. She said it like I was not good enough.
What she did not know was up until that point I never hated myself. I was raised knowing I was loved and cherished. I also had come to the conclusion, by myself, that I wanted to be healthier. She did know any of this…she simply saw what was in front of her.
Fast forward to last week, a few years later, almost 200lbs lighter, from a size 26(US) to a 14 (and going down…) and I showed my friend my photo from about 1 year before that conversation took place. Now, my friend adores me and thinks I’m stunning. I have no doubt the value she places on me…but when she said “so, how long did this take you” I snapped back, with all due respect, and told her to never ask someone that.
You see, it doesn’t matter how long it took me to get to where I am now. I have accomplished what I have through discipline, self-control, exercise but most importantly through loving who I was first and foremost, not what my body looked like. How long it took me is not that important, it’s only that I am where I am now and on my journey…that I’m moving forward in my life and becoming a better person for me and for my future.
I seem to have begun a series on judging others without realizing it but this topic is so important to me. We are so quick to judge people based on what we see in their lives now. We may see a person struggling with an eating disorder or perhaps their weakness for images on the internet that are detrimental and degrading. Perhaps we see someone whose marriage is falling apart or who is fighting with his wife. Or maybe we see the girl who is battling anorexia and we keep telling her how great she looks for losing weight but do not understand that she is in fact hurting herself.
One of the projects I’m part of is called So Worth Loving. We are a lifestyle brand which seeks to ensure that everyone knows their value and through reading the struggles, victories, plights and celebrations of others involved and those who write to us at SWL I have becoming increasingly aware of my tendency to make too quick assumptions, even when I personally know how much they can hurt.
So, today, let’s think before we speak. Let’s be wise with our words. Let’s not assume that which we do not know. Instead, let’s build deep and meaningful relationships with genuine love.
image from: http://sueswink.tumblr.com/post/5670721200