She Told Me I Was Fat

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It happened nearly nineteen years ago and I still remember it like it was yesterday. I was on the playground, a young five-year-old. I was in a purple t-shirt dress, my long curly hair bouncing as I climbed up the to the top of the slide. Suddenly, she looked at me, a girl whose name I will never remember but whose words were imprinted on my heart. She looked right at me and said, “You’re fat!”. That is all she said and walked away. I honestly have no idea if we were friends, or if I even knew her name but even now nearly nineteen years later I remember my heart breaking. I remember it was all I could do to get home without crying. I remember telling my mom and grandmother. I remember my little heart and head couldn’t understand but even at five I knew that fat meant ugly and she had called me fat, which meant I was ugly.

Fast forward seventeen years later to two years ago, I am with a woman who loves me and knows my struggle, yet as we walk across the parking lot she grabs my arm looks at me and smiles. “I am so glad you dropped all that extra weight because you are just too pretty to not be tiny. I am so glad you are your tiny self again. You are just beautiful like that.” I starred at her not believing the words that just left her mouth and my heart and head took me right back to my five year old self who was broken-hearted because someone called her fat and therefore ugly. It didn’t matter that I knew I hadn’t changed sizes, it didn’t matter that I knew that this woman had an Ed and therefore couldn’t speak truth, it didn’t matter that I knew my beauty wasn’t defined in my size, it didn’t matter that I KNEW that fat and ugly are NOT synonymous, it stung. I have wrestled with what she said and  the sting that it cause and why it hurt so bad. Friends I think the truth I remembered in the midst of the sting is worth sharing.

When I was in the deepest darkest days of Ed, beauty meant one thing, it meant being thin. However, no matter how desperately thin I got it, was never enough. I could never see myself as beautiful, only ugly. My view of myself was defined in something temporary, in something that the world tells me is important. My beauty was defined in my physical appearance which is something that will never be perfect. The more I watch TV, flip through magazines, or browse pintrest the more disgusted I am. You see I am a true girly girl at heart. I love anything that sparkles and glitters. I love pretty dresses. I love nail polish. I love lipstick. I love getting all dressed up. And at the same time I love my sweatpants. I love my big shirts. I love throwing up my hair in a top bun and wearing no make up for days. But I have learned that none of those define me. And the more I look at the media and the more I hear young girls and older women talk the more my heart breaks, because the overarching message is this: You are beautiful when… you are size x, you have perfect hair, you have a clear face, your nails are manicured, you have beautiful clothes. And it all is just not truth. As women I believe we have an innate desire to want to feel beautiful but I have learned that beauty in no manner comes from my physical appearance. If you read my post, “Why I Won’t Call You Skinny” you know that I believe, beauty is not defined in a size!

I know you just read that last sentence and were tempted to stop reading because you don’t believe me. You don’t believe that beauty is not about your physical appearance but I promise your beauty does not depend on your physical appearance and I desperately need you to believe that. Because until you do, you can’t fight the lies of the world that tell you otherwise. The statement from my friend and the girl when I was five stung because it defined me solely by my physical appearance, it defined me as only good enough or beautiful enough if I met certain standards, and it hurt to be put in such a narrow, rigid box of lies. And any time someone tries to define us in one way I believe it hurts because we are soo much more than what are face and body looks like. However, I will be the first to say that it is hard to not believe the lies that the world tells us but it is absolutely so much more fulfilling and life giving to fight the lies.

I truly believe that I have the most beautiful friends and family in the world. However, their beauty has everything to do with their heart, their faith, their love for others, their ability to show grace and has nothing to do with their size, their clothes, their hair or makeup. The truth is my hair will one day turn gray. I will have wrinkles and saggy skin. I will probably shrink. My teeth my fall out. I may have age spots. I may gain or lose weight.  And yet I will still be beautiful and so will you. If I prescribed to the world’s idea of beauty, I am not sure how I could get out of bed in the morning. Many days I wear yoga pants, big t-shirts, and my hair in a messy bun. I get zits, my hair normally needs to be washed, more days than not I don’t wear makeup, so if I spent my time following the world’s idea of beauty, why would I get out of bed. Frankly, I would be terrified I wouldn’t match up. But each day I get up, I fight the temptation to give into the lies of the world and I remember that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and am absolutely beautiful, no matter what my physical body looks like.

Honestly,  I wish I could say that everyday, every hour, every minute, I believe this truth but I don’t and frankly some days are just harder than others. Some days I fight the lies of my past life with Ed and the lies of the world. But I remember that I am aiming for grace, not perfection and each time I remember the truth and live in the truth, that is beauty. Beauty surrounds me in the smiling faces of those who love me as my messy broken self, beauty is in the scars of battles won, beauty is living in freedom and not bondage. The world lies and tells us beauty is in the face but I am hear to tell you it is in the heart. Beauty is all around you and I dare you to see it and live in it this week. Whether you are wearing sweats, a prom dress, a swim suit, a wedding gown, or pajamas, you are beautiful.  My prayer is that you will discover how truly beautiful you are this week, because that is freedom, that is living in truth. And in case no one has told you today, you are absolutely beautiful inside and out just the way you are. Believe that truth this week friend and live in the freedom of discovering real true beauty.

All my love,

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What’s Inside Your Heart

“What you do shows what’s inside your heart”-Nicholas

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Six years. That is how long we’ve had together. One week. That is the time we have left. As I sit here and begin to tell you about someone who means the world to me, tears are beginning to cascade down my face. These are happy tears. They are filled with joy for the time we have spent together and the memories shared. They are filled with hope for the future and all that will happen in both of our lives. And they are filled with a full heart for all he has taught me in the last six years. However, I would be lying if I said the tears were not mixed with a hint of sadness because selfishly I don’t want him to go. You see in one week we won’t live five minutes from each other, we won’t be in the same time zone let alone the same country. Communication will be a mix of face timing, texts,  and fb messages scattered in with some phone calls. And while it will be more difficult than I could imagine, it will be worth it. He is going to make a difference wherever he goes and I have the joy and the privilege of saying always, that’s my big brother…

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If you know me than you know about Nicholas. You know what a huge part of my life he is. And if you don’t then let me clear up some misconceptions for you. We are family, we are brother and sister. He is my big bro and I am his little sis. Not by blood, not by formal adoption, but by heart. And let me tell you I am willing to take down anyone who tries to tell me differently. 😉  It didn’t happen overnight but through the years he has become my big brother, my protector, my adviser, my advocate, my partner in crime and my best friend. It is no crazy accident how we became friends, in fact if you know the story you are laughing at how our friendship began. I could sit here and tell you about the lock in where we became real friends, or the family bonding, and meals that made us siblings but this post isn’t about that. It is about Nicholas.

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Some people radiate and you can’t help but notice them and if you have ever met Nicholas you know this true of him. From his smile, to his charisma , to his humor and intelligence he shines. His story is one of perseverance, love, and truly miracles. You could never imagine how much this guy has gone through to bring him to where he is today but that is the most amazing part about him is if you met him you would assume he has had the best life imaginable to bring him where he is. That is the most precious part about him, he his humbly grateful no matter where life takes him. The quote I used to begin this post,  is one that Nicholas said to me many years ago and it hangs painted on a canvas in my room as a reminder that all I do shows what my heart is about. Nicholas lives out this statement in every aspect of his life. He lives to help and serve others. He has wisdom that most adults never have. He has a child like spirit that literally is bouncing off the wall at times. He has a heart that loves others with more passion than I have ever seen. And if you have one conversation with him, you know this because his heart evidently shines through.

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Truth is I have great friends and a wonderful family but Nicholas and his family are one of the best gifts I have ever received. When I look back on the last six years of my life I could not have made it through without them. His family (which there will be a later post on) and him have been my rock on many of the hardest days I have ever faced. Nicholas and I may have gone to separate colleges and lived apart for most of our friendship  but it didn’t matter. We have shared more long talks, skype times, meals, heartbreak, Disney movies and laughter than I could ever count. I have never met anyone who would come home from a six week trip and sleep on an air mattress for weeks because his little sis had occupied his entire room. I have never met anyone who will sit up with me for hours baking cookies and practicing my song for a wedding the next day. He is the person after heartbreak, after bad Ed days, after fights, who never ceased to pick up his phone when I desperately called. And even more after I walked away from each conversation I felt uplifted. He has a gift of turning any situation into a joyous one and a gift for encouragement that exceeds any I have ever seen. He has counseled me over more problems than he would have liked, shared more friends with me than he thought he ever would, and let me talk for more hours than he was ready for. And all those things make up why we have become family, why we have become siblings.

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Through Nicholas I have learned that family isn’t made through blood and it isn’t made by having the same name. It is made when you hold each others hands when your world is falling apart. It is when you celebrate the joy of triumph. It is when you cry on each others shoulders. It is made when you clean out closets and run errands together. It is made in the big moments and the little moments. It is made in the in the midst of the darkest days and brightest tomorrows. Family is made when you share all of life deeply and intimately together, when you face it together as one, when you make the promise to be there for one another no matter how many miles separate you, and when you know deep in your heart that you share a bond that can never be broken. That is family.

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They say people come into your life and when they leave they leave footprints on your heart. Nicholas hasn’t left footprints he has left a piece of himself in my heart. He has changed my life for good and he has no idea how much he has done so. I am not the same person I was six years ago and so much of that is due to him. So if you know him, if you are a part of our family, thank you for sharing your Nicholas with me always. If you don’t know him you are missing out on one of the best guys on the planet. I have learned more about life, love, truth, and joy from this guy and thank you will never be enough. So as tears fall down my face my heart is full for all the memories we have together. Every time I look at my bracelet, wear one of his necklaces, write in my journal, look at my canvas, watch a disney movie, I will remember that, “What you do shows what is inside your heart.” and I will always  remember my Nicholas. The truth is I couldn’t be more beyond blessed with him because he is one in a million!

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Love you always and forever Nicholas,

❤ Your Marta

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