The Skin I’m In

Hope - Mesa, Arizona
Entered on September 27, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe in being comfortable in the skin you’re in.

As a child, I was always one to stand out in the crowd. This was because, I was much taller than the rest of my friends and I looked too old for the grade I was in. But these characteristics weren’t my only flaws. I was also a little overweight. I mean I wasn’t the Michelin Tire Man, but I wasn’t “the same as everyone else.” Having these feelings didn’t hit me until I returned home one day from my dance class.

Quietly, I slid into the front seat of our minivan. The warm breeze brushed my face as I rolled down the window. Hurting tears streamed my face, as I just looked at myself in the side mirror of the car. It’s hard to understand how through one day, and hearing one word from a friend, can change the way a person feels about themselves. “Was I really that big?” I asked myself, over and over again. When I looked at myself, I saw nothing. I told myself I was nothing.

This situation led to a long period of low self esteem. My mom, who always told me how beautiful I was, would begin to buy me clothes to wear to “show off” what God had given me. But I couldn’t see what she saw. I couldn’t just walk into a store and browse at all the new summer fashions. I felt that if I touched a shirt, people would stare and point. I felt all the eyes on me, all the time, and I took it all on myself. Sometimes, I would pray that God would change me and my body. I hated the way I felt all the time. Soon, I couldn’t even talk to my friends without looking at them and then looking at myself. It was like I didn’t fit in or they didn’t want me to be there. I just wanted to escape. But as time moved on, through junior high and high school, things were beginning to change in my life.

Basketball season was just around the corner. Then just as fast as it came, it was over. I pushed myself that season, harder than I have ever in my life. One day I looked at myself in the mirror again. “That girl looking at me…is that the same girl?” Something about her was different. I was smiling.

I don’t know what happened. After that, I just saw myself different. Being part of that team made me care for myself, like I was starting afresh, as a clean slate. With no weight, with no worries, and with no weaknesses. I started from the beginning of the season and pressed on to get into shape. Today, my prayers aren’t prayers of anger, but prayers of thanks. Now, when I look at myself, I see everything, I tell myself I can be anything. I tell myself that I am something.

Now I’m comfortable in the skin I’m in.