Thursday, August 18, 2011

Me at 13

I am assistant coaching our junior high volleyball team for the second time this year. We collect all the usual forms including the sports physical from each player. I normally don't look at them - just file them and move on.

Today I glanced at one as a mom handed it to me and a few words the doctor had written jumped off the page.

"would like to weigh less". 

I read them and my heart broke. I could feel the blood pounding in my ears as I felt what this girl is feeling.

I felt that those few words spoke volumes about how she really sees herself.

I wanted to run over to her, grab her in a hug and tell her she is beautiful, she is perfect and there is no mistake in her. She has been given a strong, healthy body. (and she's tiny, not an ounce of fat on her)

And you see, I can relate to her. We moved to a new school when I was in 3rd grade. I read my journal from that time recently. I wrote about how lonely I was and I thought that I should go on a diet and then I'd make friends. I was 9.

Then we moved again when I was in 7th grade. I was so lonely. Some boys called me Ethiopian because I was so thin. I had terrible self esteem and no matter how well I did at school or sports, it didn't change what I really felt inside. Maybe if I look right, dress right, eat right - then they will like me....

And do you know what I realized as I grieved for this young woman? I don't feel like that any more. I am 37 years old and I am finally saying good-bye to that girl. I love her, she is part of me, but I am learning to love this body I was given.

This body of mine is strong.

I am enough; just as God created me.

This body grew three amazing human beings.

And I can run.

If you know a young teen, please, please tell her she's perfect. Just as she is.


  1. "If you know a young teen, please, please tell her she's perfect. Just as she is. "

    Great advice.

    As a father of two pre-teen girls, this is something I'm trying to be conscience and leery about. Too many friends and family (female & male) have told me about hating the way that they look and it really hurting them.

    Thanks for reminding us to encourage acceptance & that sports can be great confidence booster that can help anyone feel better about themselves.

  2. Loved this! I have a pre-teen niece staying the night right now and she is constantly calling herself fat or accusing others of thinking she's fat. It's so very hard to watch :-(

  3. So great. So strong! If ONLY we knew then ... thanks! :)