Gaining Confidence

John - Evans, Colorado
Entered on December 1, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in myself. I know that sounds strange, but if you knew me, you’d know why this is such an accomplishment. I’m relatively short, and I’ve been overweight my whole life, and my self confidence was shot until last year. Since elementary school, I’ve had kids tell me that I’d never amount to anything, that I was ugly and unloved, and since middle school, that I was going to end up being buried in a piano case.

I knew I wasn’t that big, but it stuck with me all the same. I’m not going to hide it ; I did try to fit in with the kids who taunted and teased me, I vied to feel normal and be like them. But save for a few, I never met real friends. Even to this day, I can honestly say that I trust few people, but that‘s changing. I’ve lost weight, and I’m actually very fit for as big as I am. I may weigh 245, but I’m in the 1200lb club in my school. My grades aren’t the best, but they’re better then they have been in years. And I owe it all to a conversation I had with my art teacher at the end of my sophomore year.

He asked me why I was down that day, and I told him that I was depressed. I didn’t get into detail, and I won’t here. But I remember exactly what he said. He said, “John, you can’t let things weigh you down. It won’t ever get easier for you. You gotta just believe in yourself, ignore the drama of high school and family, and live your life in a way that makes you happy and proud to be you. You can only do what you believe yourself capable of, and if you don’t believe in yourself, it won’t workout. It also helps to have friends that are there for you in the times you fail.”

I started eating healthier, but I still cheat now and then. I made myself stronger, though I know I could be even more powerful. I started another sport besides football, and it has brought me a lot of confidence and helped me make many more friends that I am thankful to have. And now I know I’m more then just the fat kid that everyone makes fun of to make up for shortcomings in their own life. I know that my life, my health, and how I see them are in my hands, and are affected by my confidences. I know that how I carry myself will affect how others see me.

So now I believe in myself, and people can see that in the way I talk, walk, and act. They see me as someone who doesn’t resent how he is, but accepted and is improving it. They see me as a person who is confident in sports, school, and his health. I believe in myself now… and now others do, too.