The Cowbell

One fall morning a long time ago, I was a standing outside the lined up trailer classrooms at my middle school. I was standing with my “boyfriend” Jason and a few other “friends,” not really paying attention. Out of nowhere pops up Chris, a friend of Jason’s, and before I can respond he throws a cowbell around my neck. Horrified and embarrassed I threw the bell off and ran, thinking that I would just escape. He followed, taunting me, “Come here moomoo, we don’t want to lose you.” No one stopped him, everyone laughed, and I ducked into a women’s restroom to finally get him off of my tail. I sank, I had been teased before, but this topped any teasing that I had ever experienced. I was embarrassed, hurt and did not know what to do. I also knew that even though I had escaped, he would be back and I spent the rest of the day finding ways to avoid him.

No self-esteem and afraid I’d be teased even more for telling I took the pain and the tears and shoved them deep within myself. I’ve blocked out so much of it, I don’t really remember telling my parents or even telling my sisters. I remember only knowing that in some awful, morbid, way this was my fault.

Overweight but not obese, I was a heavy set girl. I think I wore a size 14, and because I was just outside the size range for the misses section, all of my clothing was purchased from the women’s department, so I wasn’t exactly fashion trendy amongst my 13 year old peers. I was not, and never became one of the popular kids in school, I was the awkward fat girl that wore glasses and liked to read Judy Blume.

So what has changed about me today? I am 35 and considered morbidly obese and I now know that I have something called P.C.O.S. that makes it really difficult to lose weight. I still feel awkward, and now drive to a special fat women clothing store 2 hours away just to buy clothing that fits properly. My weight is a daily struggle, it affects my health and truthfully, I still feel really uncomfortable around people I do not know. This is me, a work in progress, a masterpiece that is literally a work of a lifetime. There are days though that I wish I could go back and have a conversation with my 13 year old self. As cheesy as it sounds these are things I would tell myself:

Never Run, Never Hide!

Big things have changed about the way I treat myself and the way I respond to things like the cowbell. For one I never run! I’ve learned over the years that people do things like this because for some reason they either feel insecure about themselves or they are just plain mean. Running gave Chris the satisfaction of making me feel belittled and giving him my power. I gave him the treasure chest and he ran with it, I let him rob me.

Tell everyone, till someone listens!

I should have gone to an adult and told them what happened. It takes strength to tell the truth about things that embarrass you or make you afraid. He needed to be educated on the proper way to treat people and maybe, perhaps, he needed to tell someone that he was afraid or hurt too.

Know your truth and your worth!

This is something I still struggle with to this day. We as a society get so caught up in what normal society is that we forget to appreciate the uniqueness of ourselves. We ignore our talents which give light to our souls and in turn give copious amounts of energy to fickle trends that bleed us dry of worthiness. Pay attention to the things in life that make you feel inspired and paint your world like Van Gogh’s starry night, because you are priceless.

Love, forgive, and then Love some more!

I no longer hate Chris; he gave me something that I cannot give myself, the feeling of overcoming. In overcoming we learn how strong we really are, and we also learn about why things happened the way they did. I’ve never talked to Chris about what happened that day; I do not know his reasons for doing what he did and I don’t need to know. Letting go of the anger and hurt gives me more space in my life to do the things that I love instead of focusing on the things that hurt me. In the history of the universe my life is only a fleeting speck; I choose to live it fully.

Move forward!

It’s easy to get complacent in life. I have a small comfort zone and I really don’t like to step out of it. It’s much easier to stay cuddled with the dogs under the blankies and sleep all day. I miss so much on days that I do this, remember the fleeting speck of time from above? You can spend a lot of time thinking about what was in moments where you should be thinking, “Where do I go from here?” Remember to get out of bed and move forward.

You’re not perfect!

This is the last thing, I promise! Perfection is never humanly possible; I could argue that our imperfections are what really make us who we are. Didn’t someone once say that imperfections are the flavor of life? There isn’t a perfect body, or a perfect life, we all struggle to attain something that is not possible. So let go and let be.

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