We all have things in our life that can waver our confidence and for me growing up it was my weight. As far back as I can remember I have always been heavy. Now for obvious reasons being heavy especially at a young age can certainly cause issues with your confidence. I was teased (mildly), feelings of not being normal, unable to shop with my friends or my sister (who is skinny), and being looked at differently by boys. Those are just a few of the many reasons I lacked confidence due to my weight.
Looking back at elementary school even though I was aware of my weight and aware that I was heavier than everyone, confidence didn’t play a role at that point in my life. I was more concerned with cartoons, playing outside, toys, playing softball, creating mud pies/cakes that looked amazing I may add, and preparing for Christmas literally the entire year. Like many kids Christmas was and still is my favorite time of year.
It was when I went to middle school that I realized that I was insecure with myself and remained so until my senior year in high school. Middle school was so different than elementary school. First there were way more people around from different schools and right away I noticed that there were little cliques that would form. Those people would stay with their corresponding clique. For me this was weird! I was always a loud kid who was always talking in elementary school to my friends especially at lunch. In fact I can remember my teachers always telling my parents through the years “She is a good student she just talks a lot” (I am convinced there is nothing I can do about this by the way the Italian in me pretty much set the loudness and talkativeness in stone). When these cliques formed I began to feel left out henceforth my struggle with insecurity and confidence for years!
It was then that I realized I didn’t fit in or allowed myself to believe that I didn’t. Those different cliques were made up of many types of people. Some cliques were race based not in a bad way of course but for example the Filipino kids all hung out with each other, there were the athletes who played football and basketball, they also had the drama kids, the “geeks“, and of course the popular kids who were popular mostly because they were pretty/good looking people.
These girls were all skinny and wore certain clothes. I clearly wasn’t wearing the clothes they were. I looked more like a tomboy because at that time there were so few plus size clothes for heavy teens that didn’t look awful. I had to buy what fit me and the realism was that my options were limited. Even though I had been told for as long as I could remember that I had such a pretty face it didn’t make things better. In fact I think it made things worse. Instead of someone saying “your pretty” they localize it and in turn you doubt everything else about your body.
When I noticed that I didn’t quite look like the other girls and also that the guys who I had recently started to notice were not noticing me I fell into my insecurity. I wanted to be prettier and look like those other girls so that the guys would notice me. Now as an adult I clearly realize that looking good should be something that you want to do for you not for anyone else.
At the time I simply felt like I wanted to hide myself, my clothes, and my body. I never wanted to go to gym class and it wasn’t because I was lazy but because I didn’t want to be judged by others in the locker room while changing.
It was about the 7th grade when my coat that served as my shield against the world would appear. I remember winter rolling around and the weather clearly like every year required to wear a coat. This year was different however. After dealing with 6th grade and entering 7th when girls were starting to get their first kisses etc I was feeling more insecure than ever. When winter arrived I wore my coat to school, at first I would take it off upon sitting down in class but gradually I started to keep it on all day because I felt like it hid me. Man I loved that coat! I wore that coat literally every day all through winter and transitioned to a lighter coat for the rest of the school year. I felt so much more comfortable in my coat. In my mind no one could see ME with my coat on. It protected me.
My last year of middle school was no different I wore a coat of some sort the entire year. If it was warm out I wore a light coat when it got colder I transitioned to a heavier one.
High school came and again it was so different upon entering. High school comes along with more new people and being the newby again as a freshman was no fun. I continued to wear a coat of some sort for the first 3years of H.S I will not bore you all with every detail of my insecurities. During those years wearing my coat I do not think I realized that other people noticed me wearing it all the time. I also realize now that I did absolutely nothing for my “shape” wearing a coat. It made me look way bigger than I was.
After many years of dealing with my insecurity it took only 1 comment to ignite the flame of confidence that would eventually grow into a full bonfire of confidence. It was the 11th grade and it was the end of the school year we all had our yearbooks and like all school kids I wanted everyone to sign my yearbook even if they put standard comments like “kit” and a phone number. One friend of mine wrote a message it said “ I wish I had the guts to say what was on my mind like you do, you're such a wonderful person, take that coat off and show the world you! “
Initially I was so embarrassed that someone noticed my coat! It only took an additional second for me to realize that of course everyone noticed I’ve been wearing these coats for years.
Her compliment to me about saying what was on my mind really hit home. I embraced that for a moment. In fact I still embrace that. She probably has no idea that her one comment impacted my life for always. (You never know how you affect people so smile and pass on the good vibes and you can change the world even if its just the world of one person) I realized then that I DO have traits that I love about me.
I have always been a rather outspoken person but I don’t think that’s a bad thing! Once I decided that I liked that quality about myself I realized that it felt good to like something about yourself something that you really feel passionate about.
It was summer leading to my senior year, when I had off time from work I spent it on a new device my parents got us….The computer! Oh my! My mom knew I had wanted a computer since I was little I remember going into stores as a 5 year old and just wanting to play with them. I would ask her EVERY time to take me to the computers. Good thing I took a course in the 11th grade for typing. I was terrible then. I remember thinking “there is no way I can learn to do this ridiculousness” but sure enough it becomes second nature. Along with the computer came… The Internet!!
This is where my confidence fire really starts to grow because its on the computer that I became so aware of so many things. I got exposed to so many things. All great things. I felt like I had such a sense of support with the computer. It never let me down. I could research anything I wanted and I loved to do it. Also a little feature called chat played a pivotal role for me. I realized then that high school was not the real world at all. I really liked that a lot. I was looking forward to finishing high school. During this summer another thing happened my best friend introduced me to her friend who happened to not live far from me at all. He also had a computer and also had AOL he instant messaged me and we started to talk. AIM really helped. Man I was able to say things on the computer that I probably wouldn’t have had the guts to say in person. It sure was good training as I have no issues now with this in real life. So one conversation online he asked me out to the movies!
So here I am dating a guy in the summer. I was so in love! Once I was in love I never wanted to go near that coat. I had to look good and every day!
My senior year started and I was NOT wearing any coat I was happy and in love and I knew that my boo was coming to pick me up at 12 (he graduated the year before) My attitude was changing. I noticed that I was happier and putting out positive vibes which is great you attract what you put out. I was getting compliments which was something new for me. During this year it was such a time of new experiences. First love, there’s nothing like it. Also life without my coat in years. The entire year was so much fun.
What happened was and it shouldn’t have took this but it took someone making me feel like I was just a girl not some “fat girl” that I didn’t have to be labeled. He was totally into me and I realize now that there are many men who love a heavier woman. Google it.
He taught me a valuable lesson. For that I am so thankful. I learned a lot about myself in that relationship. It ended after 2 years. He cheated. It was through this heartache that my confidence really cemented itself because it made me stronger as a person and taught me to love myself also that peoples opinions of me do not matter only my self opinion.
I was totally happy with being confident. That was something new for me. I wanted it to develop into more though. I wanted to not only be confident in me but be confident talking to others no matter what the conversation was about. With the help of the internet and the ease of being able to chat to anyone around the world about anything and to have forums and support groups I was really able to learn about all the different types of people.
So naturally while going to my local community college I got a job. Initially I had no idea what my purpose would be there. There was some tiny ad in the paper it said "Appt Setter call for your interview" I called. I had no idea what sort of appointments. I was 18 so I assumed it was like a Doctors Office. I was wrong. It was a steel building company that sold arch type corrugated steel buildings. At first my job was to call people and convince them to make an appointment for someone to come out and finish the sale in whatever state that may have been in. I excelled and easily became the number one rep and remained number 1 all year. At this job I met a retired navy Seal we called him Dag and this man was like the ultimate new age sales guru. He was making hundreds of thousands selling what I was setting appointments for. This job offered me many opportunities to go to sales seminars by Brian Tracy among many other people and I went to them all. They gave wonderful tips and advice but they had nothing on Dag. He taught me so much. What I remember the most from him is “every no gets you closer to a yes” . I loved that job and loved learning. I was the youngest employee of that company and there were no female sales reps at all. I guess not many women want to sell corrugated steel buildings. After being the number 1 appointment setter and winning multiple awards I wanted to try to sell them myself. I wanted to be on the sales team. I was determined to be the youngest and only female sales rep. So I made it so. I had natural sales ability and I listened to the advice of those who were better than me. I took ideas that I liked and made them my own.
I ended up being "hard charger" sales rep of the year. I was so proud of my self. I was so proud to be the only female sales rep and to be so young compared to everyone else. I had to learn stuff I had no interest in really like concrete and how to lay foundations, but I believed in the company so much that I became an advocate. Dag was still number 1 of course but he always told me that once I broke out of my shell that there would be no stopping me. I believe that to be true. I think now I could give him a run for his money!
I enjoyed my 4 years there. I moved on from there to experience new and awesome things in my life with new sales ventures and new cities. That was many years ago now.
My dream now is to build an environment where its filled with positive encouragement. Where we can congratulate each other on our successes, encourage each other with our dreams, and help build confidence in those that may need our help. Lets all take the steps to create our paradise!