Would Life Be Different If I Felt Pretty?

A few months into my journey – I wrote  about a conversation I had with an overweight woman who didn’t understand how I could be so confident and well spoken and overweight. You can see that post here.  In her mind, those characteristics were so incongruous that it was literally unthinkable.  She truly believed that overweight women (herself included) couldn’t be intelligent and well-spoken.

I tried not to take it too personally because in her mind, I was an exception to the rule which lessened the blow of insult at the time.  She admitted that she settled after college, she “gave up and married a good man who was crazy enough to marry her.”  And after having his kids, she felt like she had more than she deserved.

More recently,  after the Southwest incident, I received thousands of e-mails – many of which were written by admittedly obese men and women who openly stated that people who are obese (themselves included) do not, in fact, deserve the same level of respect as thin people in society.  Really ? Really?! Am I the only one who has a problem with this?

In my original post, I was floored by the woman’s thoughts, but now I think I understand what she was thinking.  And I find myself wondering, yet again, how different my life would be if I looked how I’m supposed to look.  I wonder how different life would be if I were skinny.

Would I pursue music more seriously?  I have a decent voice.   My friend, Kent, recently told me (over and over and over) that I’m so talented and that I should sing as often as possible for anyone willing to listen.  And I LOVE to sing.  I’m probably not as good as Kent thought I was as we drove up the coast, but I’m better than a lot of people I hear.  And when people ask why I don’t pursue it, I say nothing.  I just move my hands up and down, signaling that my body is the reason.  After all, girls who look like me don’t sing.  And they don’t go on TV – unless it’s weight-related TV.

Another question that comes to mind is…would I be married?  I’ve been pretty lucky in dating throughout my life.  I’ve had several boyfriends, most of whom were not jerks.   I’ve actually a few guys who would have made suitable husbands even passing on the opportunity to become a “Mrs.”  But the question, more specifically, is…would I have had better relationships if I had been more honest with myself and the guys I dated?  I think the answer is, obviously, yes.  That being said, I don’t believe I’ve met my “soulmate.”  I’m really not sure what I think of that whole concept, but I know what my wish is. 😉  It’s just a conversation of “what-if’s” that have helped me recognize that I don’t have all of the answers.

I’m not saying that I regret the end of previous relationships or my choices not to pursue music.  I’m just admitting that, until recently, I failed to come to terms with the fact that my weight has held me back in life.  It has, at times, been too obvious to ignore (i.e. every time I’ve passed up swimming with dolphins because I’m too heavy to wear a wetsuit or staying in while it snowed (even though I love snow) because the biggest coat I could purchase was far too small to button or not taking the subway in NYC because I couldn’t fit through the turnstiles.)

I’ve made amazing strides in the last several months including taking the subway to get from point A to point B, applying (and being accepted) to a school where I will go and study what I truly want to learn and sliding down a 3-story water slide while swimming with my family in the Spring – something I would not have attempted at 400 pounds.

But I’d be lying to myself (which I did for far too long) if I said that my weight had not/does not keep me from doing things that I want to do.  It has taken me a long time to come to that realization and a lot longer to accept it.  But the story doesn’t have to end here.  My story does not end here. And the difference between myself and those who don’t believe that a woman can be confident and well-spoken, is that I am proving them wrong.  I am not giving up on myself, nor am I giving up on my quest to be the best version of me.

I am well-spoken now.  I am intelligent now.  I am overweight now. I am worthy now.  And I’m going to keep reminding myself until I believe it with every fiber of my being (whether I’m over 200 pounds or under 150 pounds.)

Who knows where I’d be if I had lived through my 20’s being pretty?  Would life have been better?  It’s hard to imagine that it would have been.  I’ve had some pretty intensely awesome moments in my life that I would never had experienced if I hadn’t had a weight problem.  See the video in the top right corner of my blog. 😉   And I probably wouldn’t have made the incredible friends that I have now if I hadn’t struggled with my weight.

On the track last night, I was listening to Katy Perry.  (Don’t judge me! I like to be mindless when I run.)  The lyrics in her song, Firework, struck me in a deep, not-so-pop kind of way.  The lyrics were “Maybe the reason why all the doors are closed (are) so you could open one that leads you to the perfect road.”  It’s not exactly deep and unoriginal, I know, but it seems to be proving true in my own life.

So while I hope that someday I can be completely healthy and pretty and successful and loved and free of all worries associated with obesity, I’m thankful that I’ve come as far as I have.  And I’m definitely thankful that, in spite of my flaws (of which there are many) that I can finally recognize and admit that my weight has held me back far too long because admitting it allows me to change it.  And that’s what my whole life is about – changing, growing, learning and being better today than I was yesterday.

What about you?  Do you expect to be treated poorly based on your appearance?  Do you believe that your life would be different if you liked the way you looked?

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48 Comments

  • Reply
    Alyssa
    June 17, 2011 at 2:13 am

    Ok, first of all, you ARE pretty – and not just pretty, I’d say gorgeous. You have a megawatt smile that pops out in every photo of you I’ve ever seen, and beautiful chestnut hair, and most of all, you have a HUGE heart. I know this because I’m some random girl that’s started following your blog and you’ve taken time to tweet about my posts, respond to my comments, so on. That’s COMPASSION – a value far more attractive than a slim waist or plump lips. (And it is very appreciated!)

    I like this post because I experienced something similar today. I’m fairly confident for an obese person – I know that I’m attractive, I feel very confident in my intelligence and talents, but I can be very self conscious. Even tonight I was cuddling with my husband and he was staring at me and I said “what are you looking at?” and he replied “you’re my wife, why are you so self conscious?” and I said “I’m 50 pounds overweight, that’s why!” and he explained how he still married me and yadda yadda yadda. So it’s interesting. We can be completely confident in other areas, but the excess weight can definitely make a confident layer just melt right off. I wonder if it will be different for me when I lose the weight!

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      June 17, 2011 at 10:33 pm

      I don’t know if it will be different, but I know I’m changing…a lot. I can probably attribute some of it to becoming more comfortable in my own skin/smaller frame, but some of it is probably age too. I’m 30 and starting to figure out that who I am is okay…and in some ways awesome. =)

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  • Reply
    Jillian
    June 17, 2011 at 3:33 am

    I have always wondered this exact question about my life! And in honest answer I think my life would have been different. I don’t honk that overweight or obese people deserve less than thin ones, but I do think they get less then thin ones. I have been heavy all my life. At 20 I was 247 lbs. Now I’m 22 and down to a size 13, but i still feel 247 lbs. I’ve never been in a relationship ( ha! Who am I kidding? No one has ever even been interested!). And every time I talk to people I think everyone around us is staring at how much bigger I am then them.
    I know I am smart. I know I am capable. I know if there’s a job I will kill myself to get it done. It is only in the looks department I think I suck. The only time i feel supremely confident is when I’m working out. I run a 5k every other day. I run an 8 minute mile. I BodyRock. So I understand that whole “remind yourself” thing.
    I hope when I lose all my weight this will change. Ive been heavy all my life so I can’t wait to see!

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      June 17, 2011 at 10:33 pm

      I feel like an unstoppable athlete when I’m working out too. Hmmmm, I think that sounds like a good idea right now!

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  • Reply
    Hyla
    June 17, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Yes, it has held me back but not as much as I want to blame it.
    55 ponds lighter and we recently got a motor scooter, I will be getting a bicycle, I started to jog, and next Tuesday I am going kayaking!!!!

    All these things I would not have done at 259 pounds.
    On my bucket list is to swing comfortably in a swing again!!!!
    Also I can not wait to swim again. I have not swam in more than half my life and I used to do it for school.

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      June 17, 2011 at 10:34 pm

      I got my first bicycle as an adult at just under 350 pounds, and it was the most liberating and rewarding feeling. It’s at the top of my list of “Favorite Things” now!

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  • Reply
    Melissa
    June 17, 2011 at 9:13 am

    This is a beautiful post from a beautiful person. I don’t mean to dole out tired old cliches but…you can’t change the past. There’s no point in the ‘what might have been’. It wasn’t. Everything that happened got you were you are right now. And aren’t you light years from where you were just a short time ago? I’m a big believer in ‘everything happens for a reason’ so you’ll have to keep putting one ‘grapevine’ in front of the other until you see where it’s led you next.
    Who says you have to look any way to sing? “The Voice” seems to be getting amazing ratings and what about Glee? SING if you want to sing!

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      June 17, 2011 at 2:36 pm

      I’m not dwelling on the past..I’m just wondering what would be different..I consider myself to be extraordinarily lucky. I’ve done things that many never do..This definitely is not a complaint post..it’s just the admission that my path has been affected by my weight..that’s all. =)

      I haven’t seen The Voice or much of Glee, but I’m definitely excited to hear about exceptions to the rule. =)

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  • Reply
    KCLAnderson (Karen)
    June 17, 2011 at 9:46 am

    What a provocative (in a good way) post!!

    I grew up in a family that basically believed that fat = stupid, lazy, unhappy, unable to love, unlovable…insert negative trait of your choice. Even when I wasn’t really overweight (but my body was somehow not what they thought it should be) I wasn’t confident. Sometimes it feels like I spent most of my teens, 20s, 30s and early 40s with a black cloud of shame/lack of confidence over my head. Not 24/7, but it overshadowed my life in so many ways. Others told me that I was pretty, beautiful even, but I was hard pressed to feel that way on a regular enough basis to make a difference.

    When I finally did lose significant weight in my 40s my confidence soared and because I knew what it felt like, I was able to cultivate it…does that make sense? But don’t get me wrong, there are days (and sometimes weeks or months) when it’s not easy and it’s not there.

    I remember once doing an experiment. One day when I was feeling really great about myself, I noticed that others smiled at me, held doors open, etc. I was inclined to interact. I decided the next day to change my demeanor. I wore the same exact clothing, but put myself into a unconfident mode (and it wasn’t hard…). No one noticed me…

    Anyway, enough rambling…I have to agree with the Katy Perry lyric and say that even though it feels like I wasted all that time…and who knows what I may have achieved in my life back then…it was all part of a process to lead me to where I am today. It wasn’t my time…my turn, back then. It is now. And I am grateful to have it. And I’ll tell you this, I never reached my “goal weight” and my BMI is probably not in the “right” range. I don’t wear single digit-sized clothes. But that part doesn’t matter nearly as much as I thought it would.

    Yes Kenlie, you have so much going for you right now!! I’ve said this before, and I will say it again, you are a bright shining star!!

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      June 17, 2011 at 10:38 pm

      I’m so surprised and inspired by you….and so often! I’m not sure I can articulate what I’ve taken away from this post without rambling, but you made me smile on the inside….I am so happy to know you!

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  • Reply
    Treading Lightly
    June 17, 2011 at 9:53 am

    I expect to be treated differently as an obese individual, however, don’t mistake that for accepting being treated differently, because I don’t. The facts are clear, the truth obvious that fat people are treated differently. It’s not right, but it’s a fact. Each of us has an opportunity to be an ambassador and to insist on equal treatment, you don’t have to be shrill, but you have to be heard.

    I hear you.

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  • Reply
    Jodi
    June 17, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Kenlie,
    This is a complex question you have asked yourself. I used to weigh 450 lbs but I also had a “pretty face” as I was told time and time again. I also in fact have a very good singing voice. I never had the guts to try to sing publically because of my obesity. I missed everything in high school and college. I never got asked out and I think some of that was because I had a “what guy would wanna date me attitude”. When I was 19 I fell in love for the first time with my best guy friend. He loved me too but the weight of course was the reason (in my mind) that I lost him.

    When I turned 25 I lost some weight and got married to a nice guy weighing about 260. Then I had two kids and gained back up to 330. I now weigh 163. I am 5’8. I am treated very differently. I have managed to keep my head on straight about it because now all of a sudden I am in fact “hot” or so I am told countless times by people who think this is a compliment. It actually has the reverse affect on me. It’s very confusing and in a way insulting.

    Your life probably won’t change as much as you think because you seem like a very mature person who KNOWS who you are. Mine really hasn’t because inside I am still the same grounded person. I am also the same insecure person. I am sorry if I am rambling but your blog really touches me because years ago i was you. I actually like my life.

    Do I wish I hadn’t missed things that I did…sure….but I can’t live the rest of my life with regret. Thin isn’t the be all end all of life….happiness is. If you get fit and thinner and it makes you happier fantastic, but it isn’t a magic cure to all of life’s issues. I am guilty of thinking nearly my entire life that my weight was the ONLY thing holding me back from being SUPER ME. In reality it was ME holding me BACK.

    Again I am sorry for rambling…

    Jodi

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      June 17, 2011 at 1:24 pm

      Wow Jodi..congrats on your amazing weight-loss!

      I feel like I should say again that I’m not living regretfully, but it’s an interesting question…one that people ask often. And admitting that I’ve let it hold me back means that I can change it and move forward…and I definitely have done that so far.

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      • Reply
        Jodi
        June 17, 2011 at 2:23 pm

        Kenlie,

        The fact that you are a big enough human being (no pun intended) to blog about your struggle and put it out there for the world to judge speaks volumes for the person that you are. I know you aren’t living with regret at all. I personally regret missing out on things because I was ashamed of myself. No one should live in shame and fear of what others think of them. I know if you keep working the way you have you will meet your goals. I am in your corner…

        Jodi

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        • Reply
          Kenlie
          June 17, 2011 at 2:37 pm

          Thank you Jodi! =)

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  • Reply
    Alexa
    June 17, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Oh, Kenz, you are KILLING ME. First of all, you are pretty. But I know what you mean. You can be pretty but if you are fat, the world doesn’t see your pretty. Pretty = thin.

    But, seriously, OMG I struggle with the what-ifs all the time. There are so many things, especially when it comes to my dating life, that I wonder about. Would I have had an easier time in high school? Would the guys I wanted to date have dated me in college? Would I have gotten that job?

    Ok, to be honest, 99% of my “what-ifs” have to do with dating LOL. But it really does bug me… and it’s chicken/egg — would being skinny have made me more confident and that have made it easier, or would I simply have an easier time b/c I was skinny and that would give me confidence? As it is, I’ve had to work three times as hard and it’s taken four times as long as I reckon it does “normal” thin girls to build confidence in myself — and a lot of the time has been spent learning to IGNORE society’s relentless messaging that fat can’t be pretty or desirable.

    I think all we can do is say “goodbye and good riddance” to our fat 20s, and move on in our 30s. Getting too caught up in what-ifs is maddening! <3

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      June 17, 2011 at 10:39 pm

      Let’s make our 30’s rock together, huh? =) Okay…awesome…

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  • Reply
    Jodi
    June 17, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    You know guys…thinking more about this…

    If I had been skinny growing up and not picked on my entire life until college (too big for people to notice me enough to make fun of me) I am not sure that I would be the person I am. I like who I am. I like that I am funny (not that skinny people can’t be funny but I did have to ROCK the personality a little more to survive grade school). I like that I am empathetic towards others. I like that I give everyone a chance before I judge them. I love that the man I married loved me at 260 lbs, 330 lbs and now at 163 lbs. I love me. I guess I wouldn’t change a thing…

    Okay I would go back in time and tell the mean girls to SUCK It a little more then I did but that’s about it.

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  • Reply
    Grace @ Healthy Dreaming
    June 17, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    I can relate to this post in so many ways. I grew up thinking so many times

    If I were thin, then I could ___.
    If I were thin, then I would _____.

    Forgetting that fat or thin, I am me.

    🙂 Thanks for this post!

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  • Reply
    lindsey
    June 17, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    lived the first 20years of my life obese. Dropped 90 lbs and I can tell you I would NOT be the same person had I not been obese for the majority of my life. My life now (as in how I am treated and perceived by other people) is as different as night & day. Its amazing and astonishing to see how differently people in general treat me now that I am no longer obese….I hate to say it but seeing this difference has seriously shaped how I view people in general and not in a good way…

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  • Reply
    Janece Suarez
    June 17, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Kenlie,

    Growing up I was fat. Suddenly in jr high/high school I got thin and pretty for about 4 years. It took me 2 of those years to realize it and then I spent the other 2 not believing it before I married very young and began having babies and putting on weight. Even as a young adult (I am about to be 45) I was only barely overweight, and thought of myself as horribly fat. Partially because I had a husband who told me so every day. (Looking back, if I was sooo fat, why did he date or marry me? Some people are just odd…) My overwhelming weight gain occurred when I got very sick with my liver. I nearly died, and as a result was on prednisone for about 8 years. During that time I was diagnosed with asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. So I spent ALL of my 30s thinking of myself as fat *and* sick.
    Now (as you know) I have lost 131lbs. I am only 12 lbs away from a “healthy weight for my height”. Twelve measly pounds. Yet when I look in the mirror I don’t see the thinner women I am today. Some days I think I glimpse her.
    How would my life had been different had I been (stayed) thin? I might have never gotten sick. But maybe I would have. I certainly wouldn’t have settled for a man who clearly didn’t want to be married to me. Since that horrible marriage led to the unbelievably lucky one that I am in now, and have been for the past 15 years, I am glad it happened. Maybe, had I not been fat, I would never have met the man who is my soul mate. Maybe I wouldn’t be as strong as I am today. Maybe I wouldn’t feel as accomplished or as proud of myself. I certainly wouldn’t have met some really wonderful people, like you, Kenz, and Tracey and Tonyne and Suzi and…well, it’s quite a list actually.

    I’m sure that I wouldn’t have set the example that I have for my kids, and others in my family, that you CAN overcome weight issues, if you persevere. Sadly I am also sure that I wouldn’t have gone to the extremes that I have to teach my children about healthy eating choices.

    Maybe I needed to be fat for half my life so that they could and would learn to stay thin and healthy.

    I’m okay with that. =)

    THANK YOU for such a thought provoking post!!

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      June 17, 2011 at 10:40 pm

      Wow..we all have such unique stories! Thank you for sharing yours….

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  • Reply
    DefineDiana
    June 17, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    I wonder this about my life all the time. I have been overweight as long as I can remember. I honestly think that I held back doing things because of my weight careerwise and relationship wise that I wouldn’t have done had I been a normal size. I do blame the weight on a lot. However, it has also made me who I am. It has brought me to my Fiance who I love, and I am leading a life that happy with now.

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  • Reply
    Carly T
    June 17, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    I swear it’s as if you reach inside my head and pull out my own thoughts and put them in your blog. Even though I was always the chubby kid, I had a passion for dance took several classes a week. Once I hit puberty, the dancing helped turn my chubby into curves, but because my diet was constantly being watched by a well meaning father and I was being told what a knock out I “could” be, I failed to see how great my body was and be happy with it. I was short with curves and not rail thin like some of my friends, so I was constantly thinking about whether or not I was the biggest person in our group, even at a size 7!

    I joined the drill team in high school because I still loved to dance no matter what I felt my body looked like. For the first couple of years I excelled and got in better and better shape and was proud of my accomplishments, but I still was never completely happy with my body. None of my true friends judged me or thought anything of my weight, but weight is a BIG focus when you’re on drill team and being a short, curvier member, the director’s eyes were always on my weight (we had to weigh in every week).

    All of this really weighed heavily (ha ha) on me and I began to gain weight towards the end of High School. It was a subject of importance often throughout my Senior year and by the time I graduated, I was very discouraged and had gained about 20lbs. While 150lbs on a 5’2″ frame isn’t great, it wasn’t as bad as I felt and was lead to believe it was (I’d LOVE to be 150lbs now, and I’m still only 5’2″).

    I graduated, attempted college, got a job and moved out, moved back home, moved out again, all the while steadily gaining weight. I am now 33 years old, 304lbs, married to a great guy, and pregnant with my 3rd child. My husband has no problem with the way I look and can’t keep his hands off me (even after 15 years), but I have issues with the intimacy because I don’t feel sexy about me.

    Yes, there are things I want to do that I don’t because of my size. I want to take my kids to a water park and go on all the slides with them. I LOVE roller coasters, but haven’t been able to ride one in a few years. Most of all, I stopped dancing, something that was a source of true happiness for me (I’ll get out there and shake my booty at a wedding reception, but I haven’t taken a class since I graduated high school).

    I guess what I’m trying to say is, it’s all about how you see yourself. Even though I was “thin” or in shape, I talked (and ate) myself out if it and I’m missing out on stuff now. I used to berate myself when I moved up from a size 9 to an 11, I’d give ANYTHING to fit in those size 11s now! I’m still young, so I haven’t given up that one day I’ll dance again and I’m DETERMINED to loose weight by the time my 5 year old is tall enough for a big wooden roller coaster (he loves the kiddie one, so I think I’ve raised another enthusiast) because I want to be right next to him to see that joy on his face. I get discouraged easily (and daily), but I WON’T give up. And you’re blog has become one more thing that helps with that. Thanks!

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      June 18, 2011 at 12:54 am

      Do. Not. Give. Up.

      Try. Reach out. Keep trying!

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  • Reply
    Kelly, Future Thin Girl
    June 17, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    This is a very articulate, well-written, well-thought out post. That being said, I can’t get past the Katy Perry part. (Yes, I’m totally judging you!) You had me until you mentioned her. Really, Kenlie? (I’m saying this with love, because I care.) =)

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      June 17, 2011 at 10:41 pm

      Whatever Kelly…you watch Dancing with the Stars! Need I remind you that it trumps everything? =) (I say this because I love you. lol)

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  • Reply
    Kris
    June 17, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    Another thought provoking post! I know I expected things to be somewhat different when I lost my weight – *I* feel better about myself and how I look, which has given me more confidence. 🙂

    But my darling hubby, who told me all along he loved me no matter what – you know what? He meant every word. He does not love me MORE now that’s I’m thin and *I* feel pretty. As long as I’m happy, he’s happy.

    And you know what? I love him even more for that.

    I don’t dwell on might have beens, I just celebrate all the things I can do now. And yes, I do think being big made me who I am, and according to the people I care about, I’m loyal, and compassionate, and a good friend. So that works for me.

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      June 17, 2011 at 10:43 pm

      Those are wonderful characteristics! Good for you Kris! =0) And good for us who get to know you too!

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  • Reply
    Laurie
    June 17, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    I have thought you were beautiful since I first saw your blog.
    And, I know you are well spoken with or without a few drinks in you.
    That made me sad about the turnstyles (but happy that you have since done them)
    I missed something, where are you going to school?

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      June 18, 2011 at 12:55 am

      Oh dear…the drinks…hhaahaha I don’t drink often, and that’s probably best, right? =)

      I’m going to school in Los Angeles after I move…..=0)

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  • Reply
    Perri
    June 17, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    Unfortunately I’ve got a wide variety of experiences on both ends. I’ve been thin and not thin. At present I sit in the not thin category. I am now in my 40’s. I think when I was in my 20’s my weight affected me differently for difference reasons. It was more about impressing others and trying to fit in as the underlying reason to want to lose weight and be thin. Now it is about wanting to be healthy for myself and my family, wanting to gain years of life vs. hospitalization and death.

    I’ve always had an outspoken personality and never taken much guff from rude people. I believe everyone has the right to be treated kindly unless they prove otherwise. I see people for the light they carry inside of themselves. Looks as you get older play less of a role then when you are young. “Beauty fades and stupid is forever”-Judge Judy quote. That may be one of my favorite quotes out there because it is so very true.

    I was so very impressed by your ‘not gonna take no caca’ attitude when it came to the airlines. I watched you on the Today Show and was like “You go girl!” I have three daughters and I hope all of them are like her when they grow up! lol We all deserve respect. It matters not your dress size, your sex, your race, your age, your social status, sexual preference, or anything else! Treat people how you want to be treated. Something taught in Kindergarten. That also means treating yourself well. Be nice to yourself. You may not be perfect but someone out there loves you! We are our own worst enemy and we need to learn to stop it! We need to speak up for ourselves and when wronged do something about it! Just like Kenlie did! I hope the airline was eating crow for weeks after all the publicity!

    The first time I lost weight I was inspired to do so because I was shamed in to it. I had went on a camping trip with my fiance and future brother in-laws. We were going to go boating. I had to go to the rest room to change in to a swim suit. I went in to a shower area and closed the curtain. I changed and as I was walking out of the stall to go to the door I passed 2 girls in their early 20’s. Both of them were very slim, fit, and gorgeous compared to myself. As I went past the 2 of them who were changing, I walked out the door of the restroom I heard one ask the other, “Why did she go in the shower to change her clothes?”. The other girl answered and said, “If you were that fat and disgusting wouldn’t you hide in there too?” They both began laughing hysterically at my expense. I was so hurt by these girls that I did not even know. I ran to my tent crying. I don’t even remember how long I stayed in there letting these 2 strangers get the best of me and allowing them to hurt me. After that I told myself, NEVER AGAIN would I allow someone to hurt me about my weight. I would do something about it and lose the weight. I joined Weight Watchers and joined a gym. I worked out 6 days a week, did my WW meetings and in 9 months I went from 349 lbs to 167 lbs. It was a lot of hard work and it took determination.

    Long story short, I got married. Had 5 kids all within 10 yrs. Broke my back. Got a divorce. Almost died from menengitis. Had back surgery. Re-married. Due to a few circumstances (lol) almost all that weight has crept back to my waistline. Seeing Kenlie that morning re-lit the fire in me to quit being complacent and letting things push me down. Get off my rear and work to get healthy and stop making excuses.

    I thank you so much for standing up for all of us out there, Kenlie. Your smile is infectious and you are truly inspiration. All of us out there need to take moment and think positive. We all have the ability to do what we believe we can do. No one is holding us back but ourselves. Much love to everyone! Thank you for your words of encouragement and inspiration to us all, Kenlie.

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      June 18, 2011 at 12:56 am

      Whoa Perri…! I’m so honored by the things you said. Thank you! Your words encourage me…=0)

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    Evil Pixie
    June 18, 2011 at 1:11 am

    I don’t expect to be treated poorly, but I am treated differently because of my size. I’ve been described as “all height and weight” and at nearly 6-foot and overweight, I suppose it isn’t surprising. However, I do find it perplexing that “all” is used because I am so much more than just my height and weight. I believe the bigger problem is people sum up others in a 3-second glance, and if you do not fit within their parameters of “attractive” then you are not deemed worthy.

    Like you, I am confident in myself. My mum raised me to take pride in my humor, intelligence, and spunk – not the number I see when I step on the scales. I am assertive, articulate, and resourceful; however, I have come across countless people who believe I should be apprehensive, unassuming, and self-depricating. To them, because I am over-weight, I must be defective. And because I’m defective, I should behave a certain way. When I do not, it is not only unfathomable to them, but it is impertinent of me.

    Unfortunately, the tendency to judge by first glance will not change. In fact, I predict it will only get worse as we find ourselves bogged down by the hectic pace of life. But, for me, the secret is the realization I cannot control what others do or say. I cannot control how they think or what they believe. I can only control myself. If there are opportunities to educate, I will take them. If others choose not to listen or learn, I at least gave them an opportunity. And if someone thinks lesser of me simply because I am not the size they believe I should be, it is their baggage to deal with. I will let them know where I stand (and often times that means calling them out on their own behavior), and then respectfully move on. I haven’t the time nor the patience for people who want to define me only by my weight.

    PS. Fantastic blog!

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    Cathy
    June 18, 2011 at 7:19 am

    Interesting post and comments. It’s all about what’s inside our heads, isn’t it? I had an insightful moment a few days ago. It was the last day with all of the kids at school (I teach middle school theatre), and for fun, I pulled out the videotape of me as a contestant on “Name That Tune”. It was filmed in 1983, right after I’d moved to L.A. The curly black hair is now short and grey; the contacts have given way to glasses since I now need bifocals; the 4″ heels have morphed into cushioned flats; and the body is significantly shorter and larger. Needless to say, the kids didn’t have a prayer of recognizing me until I told them to close their eyes and listen to the voice. Then the shock registered on their faces. I told them this is what happens to you when you teach middle school for 25 years. 🙂

    As I watched myself over and over that day, I was thinking about that red dress and how great it looked on me, and how beautiful my eyes were on the camera. And then I remembered something interesting: I didn’t have a clue about those things on that day in 1983. In fact, I was equally as critical about myself then as I am now. And even though I was more than 100 pounds lighter then, I was still considered fat. Not obese, but fat. And I totally bought into that – hey, I wasn’t bikini material, I could never go without a bra anywhere other than my shower, so that moniker made sense to me.

    Have I felt pretty in my lifetime? Yes. Both of my wedding days stand out as times that I felt beautiful. My senior recital; my masters’ recital…those were two times that I felt beautiful. I’m sure there were others along the way. The rest of the time, my overly critical self has stood between me and pretty…no matter what the weight. I’m my own worst enemy.

    Someone mentioned compassion in a comment. I guarantee that I have developed that because I’ve been ridiculed in my lifetime. I can talk to middle school kids openly about bullying, because I’ve lived it and I know how long those cruel words and actions have taken up my brain space. I remember the “I want to crawl into a hole” feeling when people would make remarks about me to each other. I don’t get the remarks as much now as I did 20 years ago (must be because I’m old!) but occasionally I’ll hear someone say something. I don’t let it go by any more. I call them on it, pointing out that my extra weight does not make me deaf, and that their powers of observation are truly incredible (Really? I’m fat? No kidding? Wow, I didn’t know that!). I’ve even been known to mention that while weight may come and go, stupid lasts forever. (Only once, but it was a good one!) Anyway, enough of my rambling. Have a great day!

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    Joanna
    June 18, 2011 at 8:38 am

    I’m going to start off right away saying you are a beautiful person – both inside and out. You are inspiring, caring, and…well…you get the picture.

    I know exactly what you’re saying with this blog, though. Overweight people are treated different. A lot of what you said, I could have said about myself.

    I, also, am a pretty decent singer. I sang in competitions in high school, talent shows…and won or placed in most of them. Then, once I got heavier, I developed stage fright. I figured no one wanted to see a 300lb woman singing… even if it sounded OK.

    Last year, after dropping 60lbs, I bit the bullet one night while out with friends – and sang karaoke. It was hard, I was petrified… but I did it. I was really surprised by the response I got – and kind of got over my stage fright. Now, I’ve become pretty known at the karaoke bar…and actually receive requests from people to hear me sing.

    That helped boost my confidence so much…and also really helped my self esteem. I stopped trying to hide behind my weight, and used it to motivate me to do better with my weight loss.

    Anywhoozle – it’s totally normal to feel the way you do… but sometimes it takes jumping off a ledge to really realize that you can do things you never thought you could do.

    LOVE THIS POST!!

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      June 18, 2011 at 6:40 pm

      I’ve definitely jumped off a few ledges, and I think you’re right. It’s just all part of the process……

      Good for you! Rockin’ the karaoke! I love it too! =)

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    DizzyGirl
    June 18, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Wow Kenz…there are so many things I want to say after reading this post. It’s hard to pick one thing to say and keep it short. It makes me sad that so many people in America buy into the American philosophy that you have to be thin to have it all; I know so many thin people that are unhappy and even more that spend thousands…THOUSANDS to look a certain way because even though they’re thin, they still don’t look like Hollywood tells them they should. So they’re not happy either. There is more than one look out there! Why does no one believe that? It makes me sad. It makes me sad that you say things like, “Who knows where I’d be if I had lived through my 20′s being pretty?” in your post. I know you were reflecting and writing the post, and I know you and know you don’t really worry about it in real life as much, I know you were speaking theoretically, but honestly- who cares? Don’t waste another second of your life wondering about the woulda, coulda, shoulda’s. What ifs, and what if nots. The reality is that you were who you were, and what happened in your life, happened for a reason. You can’t change it and you never will be able to. So don’t regret it, don’t think about it, don’t wish it was different, don’t try to change it, etc. Don’t THINK ABOUT IT EVER AGAIN- unless it’s something that is bringing you happiness and joy in your life.

    I know, I know…easier said than done. Coming to grips with reality can be hard sometimes. But it’s wasted energy and unnecessary if it doesn’t make you happy. Seek happiness- not to fit in and look like everyone else thinks you should.

    Okay, off the soapbox for now. Love you so much and so proud of you for addressing such a hard topic on your blog.

    xoxoxox-

    D

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      Kenlie
      June 18, 2011 at 6:38 pm

      You’re right Diz,

      It was just a thought for my blog post..You know I wouldn’t trade the last several years of my life. =) And I’m about the rock the rest…..::hugs::

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    dad
    June 18, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    I’ve known you were beautiful, from the moment I first laid eyes on you in the delivery room. intelligent and talented, too as i watched you grow up. When i heard you sing “lass from the low country’, at contest, in 8th grade, I knew then, your voice was a gift. As to what ifs, what if i had been a better father? What differences might there have been in all of our lives,yours. your sisters, your mothers or mine?
    It’s taken me years to realize we can’t change the past, but we can, with God’s help, determine a good and positive future, and that is why you are to be commended for your journey and having accepted responsibility for the needed and desired changes. You will make a difference in many lives. You already have, and mine is one of them. Thank you!
    Love, Dad

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      Kenlie
      June 18, 2011 at 6:35 pm

      I love you Dad……<3 <3 <3

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    C.
    June 18, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    I totally understand where you’re coming from and the reason for the question. I’m convinced EVERYTHING in life (even the not so good things) is easier, happier and better when/if you’re good looking. Speaking of Katy Perry I know for a fact life would be PERFECTION for anyone who looks like her! *sigh* It sucks to say this but no matter how intelligent, kind and lovely someone may be on the inside it’s how you look on the outside that has the most impact on how you move through life. The opportunities and people that present themselves to you are very tied in to one’s outward appearance. Best of luck as you continue your journey, you’re more than half way there Kenz. Be sure to let us chubbies know what life’s really like on the other side of the scale when you’re at goal 🙂

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      Kenlie
      June 18, 2011 at 6:37 pm

      Gosh C,
      I think I have to admit that I’ve been pretty lucky in spite of my size…I’ve had incredible opportunities and experiences so I’m not complaining. If life gets even better then awesome. =) I’ll definitely be here letting you know! =)

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    marie
    June 18, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    if howard sterns can “feel pretty,” there is hope for everyone in the universe.

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      June 18, 2011 at 6:35 pm

      Hahahahahahaha……….=)

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  • Reply
    Elizabeth
    June 19, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    I think of myself at a wonderful, beautiful, funny person. Then I look in the mirror and see myself 50lbs overweight and I just laugh at myself. And I feel disgusting. Because every time I remember I’m overweight; I feel anything but wonderful, beautiful or funny. I feel accomplished, successfull and productive, and then my stalled weight loss attempts slap me in the face. I’m atheletic and my weight hasn’t kept me from excelling in volleyball, basketball or tennis, and I play co-ed sports and keep up with many of the guys! Then I go home and I see myself in the mirror and I’m morbidly upset.
    But the mirror is NOT who I am.
    But the truth is— I am amazing. Today. 50 pounds over weight. And I’m amazing tomorrow. 50 pounds lighter. Because the weight isn’t who I am. It doesn’t define me UNLESS I let it. Yes, I will loose this extra weight, and when I reach my goal I will be better off for having lost it. But I won’t be a BETTER person. I am the best person I can be TODAY. I will be the BEST person I can be when I’ve lost the weight too.
    WHO I am, and why I am amazing comes from inside of me. And what I am inside. My weight is a product of letting my emotions run unchecked for years, and operating outside of self-control. Now, I’ve identified these problems and have successfully altered my habits (no more boredom eating!!) except for the occasional discrepancy.
    Because I’ve asked Jesus Christ to redeem me, I have something greater to live for. And He had radically transformed me– from a selfish, hateful woman to a woman who recognizes ALL He has done for me– and how undeserving I am of His love. He has changed me from the inside– and that is why I am amazing!!
    If I didn’t have Jesus Christ– my worth and value would be completely linked to my appearance– and I wouldn’t be amazing.
    Truth is hard to discover admist all the lies of this world. The truth is that I am beautiful and precious in God’s sight, and He loves me and my worth and value is NOT derived from my looks. The LIES are that I am only what I look like.
    Yes, I want to loose weight. But not so that I look better, but so that others see what Christ has done— inside and OUTSIDE.
    Remember the truth ladies and gentlemen —- God loves YOU— just the way you are.

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    Deb Willbefree
    June 22, 2011 at 4:27 am

    Do you know what the truth is? It’s not about being fat, really. Well, okay, a little bit about it is about being fat because people do treat you differently–but being fat is of limited influence.

    My life is different now than it would have been if I had been thin all my life–not because I was fat–but because I lived my life ASHAMED of being fat and hiding out because I was fat. My life is different than it would have been because I limited myself, refused opportunities and narrowed my field. Being fat did not do that–my attitude about myself as a fat person did that.

    I have a choice–we al have a choice–we can choose to live our lives fully, embracing opportunities, or not. Deciding to lose weight or stay fat, is a whole different choice and need not limit fulfillment.

    Well, unless you want to be a jockey…

    Deb

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    shay
    July 28, 2011 at 1:33 am

    I don’t think you should be treated any different from anyone because of your size. I am very proud of you for not belittling yourself and feeling unworthy.
    America is sooo superficial. All you see in movies, tv shows, commercials etc. are girls that are ALL in shape. but i feel like if you are confident in how you look, NOBODY’S opinion should matter. everyone deserves an equal chance, and shouldn’t have to think about not being able to do something just because of their size.

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