Sunday, August 24, 2014

I Have a Jacked Up Grill- But I'm Learning to Live With It

The Start of My Crooked Tale

So just as the title states....I have a jacked up grill.  Crooked teeth, a mangled mouth, even a snaggletooth.

It all went down between the first grade and second grade. My baby teeth fell out at a pretty quick rate and as they grew in there just wasn't enough room in my mouth for all those new teeth at once.....so they started to turn every which way

First grade

Second grade





Sure I noticed it.....but it wasn't a big issue in my world yet.  You don't really pay attention to those things much as a little kid.  You just accept flaws and move on with your life.  I was much more focused on trying to get the longest turn on the swings at recess as possible

All that changed though in the 4th grade when I was finally made fun of for my teeth.  Another kid said that the school didn't need to have landscapers and that I could cut down all the trees with my beaver teeth.  That single statement changed everything.  From then on my teeth would be a huge insecurity for the rest of my life

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Why Her and Not Me?

Not too long after my insecurity set in my older sister Kinsey got braces on.  She and I were both cursed with ugly crooked teeth, hers though admittedly worse than mine.

I was happy for her.  I knew it was something she wanted and needed and it made me excited for when it would be my turn. 

7th grade approached, the year my sister got her braces on, and I anxiously awaited the  moment my parents would tell me it was time to get the process started.   Nothing.  8th grade came and passed, then 9th, and 10th grade.  It was at that time that I knew it just wasn't ever gonna happen.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't bitter....because I was REALLY bitter for a very long time.  I couldn't help but wonder why her and not me? Why was getting braces for her a priority but it never even seemed on their radar at all for me?  I was more hurt because it never even got brought up.  No explanation of any kind.  I get it....we were poor.  But we were always poor lol  We were even more poor back when my sister got her braces then we were as I got older.  Maybe it sounds petty....but it really bothered me for a very long time.  I think I would have felt a little better if they would have just had a conversation with me about it but they never did.  And anytime I brought it up I didn't get any kind of response.  That only added to my bitterness.

 It took years before I got over it....and honestly if I'm talking about it now I still think there's a small part of me that's still bothered by it, but I'm more ok with it now than ever before.

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I had to accept it as best I could at the time and make my way through the rest of high school.  Luckily, unlike grade school not a single person ever brought it up to me.....at least not to my face

Love this

 

I always wondered though in the back of my head if it was how people described me.  Not even necessarily meant meanly or as a dig....but as a way to identify me.  For example....

"Whitney blah blah blah...."

"Who??"

"Whitney....you know.....the girl with the messed up teeth"

Maybe it sounds a little crazy, but I have always feared that it has been made into my identity.  I don't want to be the girl with the snaggletooth for the rest of my life

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Getting Defensive

There is only one person in my life that repeatedly brings up my teeth.  That person is my niece Elsa.  

Starting from when she was probably 4 she has asked me several times "Why is your tooth like THIS??"  as she demonstrates a turning motion with her thumb and pointer finger, referring of course to my front snaggletooth.

She is just a curious little kid asking a question , albeit freakin repeatedly, but she never meant any harm by it.  She never even asked with a snotty tone in her voice, but I struggled with that question every single time.

Even though I knew she wasn't trying to be rude, the directness of her question always threw me for a loop and I never knew how to handle it.  My knee jerk reaction was always a snappy reply of "Because it just is!!"  I never knew what else to say. That question always made my insecurity coming flooding back, even if it was coming from a 6 year old.

The last time she asked me this question was probably about 9 months ago when she was 8.  My response was the same as it always was but a little less bitchy.  This time though she had her own response.  She said, "Oh.....I have to get braces in my future."

That response was so sweet to me.  I took it as her way of trying to make me feel better and that I wasn't alone.  Like she wanted me to know she too had crooked teeth that needed fixing.  For the first time ever I smiled after that dreaded question.  And then I also took the time to show her and tell her how it happened.  How I ran out of room and the teeth started to turn.  She smiled big and pointed out her big gap between her two front teeth.  It was a sweet moment of sharing our mangled mouths.....except I think her gap is adorable.

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Mouth Related Meltdowns

The Boy and I hadn't been dating too long, maybe a few months, when one day out of nowhere I had a complete and utter breakdown over my teeth.  Never in the time that we had been dating had the subject of my teeth ever surfaced but in my crazy insecure head I felt the need to bring it up.  To me my teeth have always been the elephant in the room that I needed to address before someone else did.  Like I had to make sure people knew that I was aware of how bad they are and beat them to the punch.  If I talked about them first it was ok.

Does that even make sense?  I don't know....but there I was...a blubbering crazy girl going on and on about how much I hated these stupid teeth of mine.  He didn't interrupt me.  He just sat and listened and let me ugly cry.  When I was finally done all he said was. "Well I think you're beautiful."  That was it.That boy of mine is so sweet. That was enough to make me feel good and forget about my insecurity for a while.........


That was until he proposed just before our one year anniversary.  The first few days I was absolutely giddy as expected. Starring at my ring every five seconds and flipping through wedding magazines daily.  It wasn't long though before the insecurity about my teeth crept back up on me....hard.  The result: another meltdown.  I kept thinking how could I get married with these hideous teeth.  I was going to be "that bride" that looks like trash the second she smiles.  A lifetime of reminder of them in picture form.  I REALLY didn't want these stupid teeth in my wedding pictures

This all might make me sound like a drama queen to some, but for somebody whose had an insecurity for most of their life it can b e hard to shake them for such a big moment in your life.

After listening to me ramble on and on about my teeth yet again, The Boy offered one suggestion. he said, "Why don't we get you braces before the wedding."  That question put everything into perspective for me.

At the time of our engagement I had been unemployed for months and only recently had started working temporarily for the Census.  My student loan payback was about to kick in soon and I had no permanent job prospects.  It was no time for me to be getting into more debt.  I also knew I didn't want to have to wait that long to marry him.  So while the question was a sweet gesture, it made m e realize I needed to get over it.  I said my feelings out loud, I shed some tears, and now it was time to move on.  And I did.

The feelings never really came  back, not even on my wedding day.  And if they did I don't even remember it so it obviously wasn't crippling feelings of insecurity.  I smiled big in pictures and didn't let it bother me.  I was beyond elated that day and nothing could change that, not even my snaggletooth.


Not all girls get this, but I got a pretty bad case of the post wedding blues.  And with that came the whole teeth debacle...again.  Even though it didn't bother me at all the day of the wedding I was now terrified of getting back our pictures from the photographer.  I had this vision in my head of picture after picture showcasing my crooked teeth. 

After a month of stressing over it we finally got our pictures back.  I pored over every single picture and to my surprise...they weren't that bad.  Not too bad at all actually!  This was about as bad as it got........

Kinda Chickletty


My snaggletooth is poking out slightly in this one


And while my teeth don't look great in this one, my closed eyes and dorky face is what makes it worse lol


But that was it.  I can live with that!    All the other pictures were great and showed exactly what I was....a happy in love girl.





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Dealing With It

There is no masking my teeth in person.  They're right there for everyone to see.  I've actually come across a handful of other people in my life who have dental issues, whether it be missing teeth, crooked teeth, or whatever....that try way too hard to hide it.  I think trying to hide it actually draws more attention and defeats the purpose.  I've seen them try to talk without  barely even moving their lips, or refusing to smile with their mouth open.  Then when they smile or start to laugh naturally and their mouth opens, they quickly catch themselves and snap their mouth shut.  It just makes it more obvious.  You wonder....what is going on in there that you won't even let yourself laugh???

They only way I try to mask my teeth a little is in pictures.  If you can kinda sorta cover it up.....why not? lol  

 My left front tooth is turned inward, which is not nearly as noticeable in photos as my right front tooth which points outward...my snaggletooth.  For this reason I had my nose pierced on the left and my bangs swept the left as well, making it "the chosen side" lol  

Everyone close to me knows I gravitate toward the left side in all group pictures...gotta catch my good side yo!




This is why all my Wardrobe Wednesday posts look the same too....the favoring of the one side.....in case you ever wondered


Being incredibly awkward doesn't help
much either

Pictures of me from the right side are pretty rare since I'm adamant about being on the left, but I dug up a few 

My seester's wedding


 
I hate this picture so much I can't even believe I'm posting it

There you go....I have revealed the dark side! lol

But moral here is...how do I deal?  I stand on the left ;)

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Where I'm At Now

So here I am....married....almost 25....and pretty much accepting that I will never have straight beautiful teeth.  And if I ever do it will be way, waaaaaay, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down the road.

Life just happens and so many other things take priority first.  Right now we need to buy The Boy a car, at some point we would like to buy a house and start a family, and we will both be in student loan debt for the rest of our lives.  And even if we ever had a little bit of extra money I would choose getting Lasik done on my eyes first before braces.  My eyeballs have started rejecting contacts and wearing glasses is incredibly inconvenient in my job....but that's another story.

The point here is....there is always going to be something more important than my teeth and that's ok.  I'm not whining by saying that.  I accept that as part of adult life and realize that I may have missed my window and this is just how it's going to be.  It's been like this for 18 years....what's 60 more? lol

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Elsa

Remember my niece Elsa with all the questions and the braces in her future?  Well the future has come!  Ironically just as I began brainstorming this post in my head I found out my sister had taken her to the orthodontist and she was getting braces on in a week.  I was so excited for her!!

The cherry on top of the whole situation was when I heard that as they were walking out of one of her orthodontist visits she said to my sister, "thank you for paying for me to go to an orthodontist."

Isn't that the sweetest damn thing you've ever heard?  I'll be honest....I cried when I heard this....but I'm an emotional wreck anyway.  She said this all on her own after an unpleasant visit of getting molds that make you gag and getting fitted for a headgear.  She could have easily walked out of there with a bad attitude but instead she chose to thank her mom for doing this.  And this is also without them ever telling her about how much it costs.  She just knew on her own that this was a big deal and that she should grateful for this opportunity.  I am so proud of her for realizing that all on her own.


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So there you have it.....my tale of insecurity. 




 I'm done talking about teeth now! lol

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Chopped Salad with Hearts of Palm

So here's my issue with salad.....they're a lot of work to eat!  Back in the old days when I actually took lunch breaks I used to eat off the salad bar at work. Every. Single. Day. 

By the time I built my salad, waited in line to buy it, then sat down at the table I had about 20 minute left of my 30 minute break. Then I had to sit and stab at and cut everything up.  I absolutely HATE giant leaves of lettuce and big chunks of everything.  I much prefer everything to be bite size. Not only so I can get a little bit of everything in a fork full, but also so I can shovel it in my face faster with less mess.  I'm not a dainty eater and I need all the help I can get.

I would sit there for what seemed like forever hacking and sawing at everything with a plastic fork and knife leaving me with just a few minutes to eat and a cranky attitude

Since The Boy definitely doesn't need another reason for me to be cranky, at home I always make my salads chopped salads. It's the only way to go in my cookbook! (<----see what I did there?)


Here's a recent one I made that I really loved


And I really should just stop taking ingredients pictures...because I forgot something about 90% of the time.  In this case there's no roasted sunflower seeds pictured.  Use your imagination. They're small, grey, and crunchy...in case you were wondering


This is not really a recipe as much as it is an ingredients list.  Use however much ingredients you need depending on if you're making a salad for one or a crowd. You can swap out the bacon for turkey....or have both! You get the idea. Make it your own.  As long as it's all chopped up bite size you're good to go

Chopped Salad with Hearts of Palm

Bacon, cooked and crumbled
Crunchy lettuce like romaine or iceberg, chopped
Diced avocado
Chopped hearts of palm
Chopped hard boiled egg
Shredded cheddar cheese
Diced cucumber
Diced sweet bell pepper
Cherry tomatoes halved or quartered
Red onion, shaved or finely diced
Roasted sunflower seeds

Mix all ingredients together and dress with dressing of choice.  I used my Cilnatro Green Goddess Dressing which added a good brightness




Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wardrobe Wednesday- My Struggle with Summer Style

I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who feel the complete oppostite of me...but Summer is my absolute least favorite season to style.

A big part of it my very well be me living in Arizona... the heat is just sooooo extreme! Today's high for example is 115.....it's flippin hot! When I'm hot and sweaty it's nearly impossible for me to feel cute.  I can't even go run a simply errand without my back getting soaked from sitting against the car seat or getting a sever case of swamp ass.  Scratch that....I actually get swamp EVERYTHING

It's terrible.  I don't feel cute, make up is a joke because it just melts off my fac, and my hair is either in a braid or a bun.  "Styling" just isn't gonna happen because comfort is my main priority in this kind of heat

In my dream world I would just spend the entire summer naked.  Great for my husband....a nightmare for everyone else.   So if I can't be naked the next best thing is limited clothing.....which equals flowy maxi dresses and shorts and tank tops

Not that those things can't be cute....because of course they totalllllly can be.  But it gets old to me very fast and isn't very fun or exciting to style.  I lose interest and just end up leaving the house in the same two to three outfits over and over.  I prefer the layers of Fall and Winter clothes.  I like how adding a scarf can completely make an outfit, or layering sweaters.....you just can't do that when it's 115 outside.

So needless to say....Summer sucks for me in the style department.  I haven't even been taking any pictures of my outfits at all because I can't even handle the 10 minutes it takes outside to snap the photos.  All I have for you is a picture I took in my hotel in San Diego before heading out for a day of fun

Hat: Fashion Q
Shirt: Ross
Shorts: Ross
Sandals: Charlotte Russe

See what I mean?  Hat...braid....shorts....flip flops.....nothing special at all.  

What's your favorite season to style?  What's your least favorite and why? I wanna hear your struggle yo!

Happy {Wardrobe} Wednesday!



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Cilantro Green Goddess Dressing

It's Summer....it's hot.....and turning on my oven just isn't happening.  My AC is already running 24/7 and I'm pretty sure my house would never recover if I turned on the oven

That leaves meals to the stove top  or cold dishes....and I'll gladly take a cold dish in this sweltering Arizona heat.  I've had a huge craving for salads lately so I thought it was time to stop being lazy and depending on bottled dressings and make my own

I combined pretty much everything I love...cilantro, mayo, lemon, garlic....and some other yum yums!




It's super simple....just combine all the ingredients together in a food processor or blender and you're done!  I forgot white vinegar in my ingredients picture.....whoops!  If you're thinking that it sounds like too much acid using both lemon AND vinegar....it's not I promise! Even though they are both acidic they hit your palate in different ways that I love together. If you are leery about it, start with the juice of one lemon along with the vinegar and then add more lemon juice from there.  I LOVE lemon so I did the juice of 2 lemons.  Don't be afraid to play around and adjust things to your taste.

 Oh and about the anchovies.....they really are delicious!  I totally understand if you don't want to go biting into one straight out of the can....but they really do make the dressing!  Just like they do in caesar dressing....it adds a depth and saltiness that you would totally miss out on if you left them out.  Don't be scurred!


It's delicious of course as a salad dressing or just as a dip.  And I'm drooling over the thought of eating it over a nice flank steak....yum!  You could do so  much with this...it's not just for greens




 Cilantro Green Goddess Dressing

1 cup mayo
1 cup sour cream
3 anchovy fillets
1 bunch cilantro . All the leaves and 1/2 the stems
Juice of 1-2 lemons (I do 2)
2 cloves garlic
5 green onion
1 Tb. white vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste


Blend all the ingredients together in a blender or food processor.  Store in airtight container in the fridge
 



Monday, July 21, 2014

MoMo Monday- Daddy's Girl

I don't know about you, but there's nothing in this world cuter to me than a little girl and her father.  I love being out in public and seeing a big macho man holding the hand of his littler girl and her dolly in the other.

A daddy's girl relationship just melts my little heart into a big pile of mush.  Maybe because I never had that relationship myelf....who knows....but it always puts a smile on my face when I see it

She may be "Only a cat" to other people....but if you've followed my blog at all you know that MoMo truely is our child.  And I would definitely say that Mo is a daddy' girl

It's actually kind of funny because when The Boy and I first started dating....he was actually a smidge jealous of her.  We spent most of our early dating days at his house, so when he finally started to come over to my house he saw how much time, attention, and energy I put into Mo.  He even made the comment once that when he came over all I did was pay attention to Mo instead of him.  

His tone changed rather quickly though because he soon fell in love with her himself and got it.  He now knew the love that is the Mo and why I was so obsessed with her.  Now he's just as obsessed with her as I am and they are two peas in a pod and I love it

Here's a picture of them from the earlier days


So cute!


Recently MoMo's health issues have been front and center (I will be writing all about it in a future blog post) which has resulted in a number of trips to the vet.  I think it throws people for a loop when a big burly man at 6'2 240lbs walks in.....and he's carrying an 8lb kitty cat haha!!

I absolutely LOVE these pictures that I snapped of the two of them in the exam room





He loves his baby and she sure loves her daddy.  I love my little family

Happy {MoMo} Monday!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

My Weightloss Journey Pt 1: How I Became a Fatty In the First Place


I was never fat as a kid.  Not even baby fat. 

(I apologize in advance for the poor picture quality.  I had scanner issues so I had to go ghetto and take a picture of a picture)

Kindergarten
3rd grade


I ran around outside all day until it was time to take come in and take a bath. I grew up eating relatively healthy.  Sure we still ate corn dogs and chicken nuggets (Schwans brand...the best kind!) but for the most part all of our meals were very balanced.  Our dinners consisted of a meat, a vegetable, salad, and milk or water.  Our school lunches never had juice boxes or fruit snacks.  We had a sandwich, water, and carrots with ranch.  A big treat for us was to have an iced oatmeal cookie or chips.  That  single cookie was enough to make my whole day!

My mom just didn't really buy a whole lot of processed junk.  And actually looking back I don't think it really had a whole lot to do with health on my moms end....it was out of money and simplicity.  We  could only afford the basic staples and that's just how we ate.  If you didn't like what was for dinner it didn't matter.  And simply going without dinner was not an option.  If you didn't eat it right then and there at the dinner table you got to eat it cold for breakfast in the morning.  I made the mistake once of thinking my mom was bluffing.....she was not!  And I couldn't have picked a worse meal to test her.  She had made breakfast burritos for dinner.  Cold scrambled eggs in a soggy tortilla was torture to eat as a 5 year old.....but I most definitely learned my lesson!  I am grateful that my mother was strict about food and didn't pump us full of junk. 

At a young age I became very interested in cooking.  Some of my earliest memories are of me sitting on the counter helping my mom bake homemade bread.  By the 3rd grade my mom was letting me cook dinner a few days a week.  Within just a few years she was letting me write the shopping lists based off the ads and cooking all the meals.  The joke was that she just pushed the cart and wrote the check.   My love for cooking was apparent to everyone and the seed for a career in food was planted.

4th grade

6th grade

Fast forward to the 8th grade.  While most girls my age were getting clothes and make up for Christmas, I was getting cast iron skillets, peppermills, and a deep fryer.  I spent all my time reading recipe books, watching Food Network, and experimenting with new dishes.  This is probably where things started to go down hill.

I had a SERIOUS love affair with potatoes.  When I was little I even wrote an entire menu and plans for a restaurant I had in my head called "The Potato Palace." (real original name huh? lol)  With my handy dandy new deep fryer I was making homemade potato chips and french fries daily.  No joke

And while trying to teach myself new cooking techniques I just had to make cheese sauce to go on top of those fries. Sure I was teaching myself great things.....how to make a roux....how to make a bechamel.....but I was always making myself fat....REALLY fat! Sure I sort of noticed.....but I was so into what I was doing I don't think I really paid that much attention.

I remember getting my final report card.  I had gained exactly 20lbs from the beginning of the 8th  grade until the end.  I went from 120 to 140 in only 9 months.  That's insane!!  I remember being upset by it....but obviously not enough to really check myself.  It also didn't help that that year I decided to go all "different' and chop all my long hair off.  Short hair around an already round and getting rounder by the day face did not help at all! 

Beginning of 8th Grade: 120 lbs


The last time I had a chin for years to come

End of 8th grade 140 lbs.


Double chin is forming

Over the summer before high school things got even worse!  Remember how I said my mom never used to buy junk when we were little?  Well that kind of changed as I got older.  I think it was for a combination of reasons.  When I was little she didn't work so she had more time to cook and plan.  Now she was working and we depended a little more on convenience foods.  I was kid #4 and with  just 2 of us were left in the house I think we all just became more lazy.  Our freezer started filling with banquet meals and frozen burritos and the nights that I didn't cook dinner everyone just fended for themselves on junk.  Health(ier) meals around the table just didn't happen anymore.

She also started buying Kool Aid fruit punch.  I had NEVER had it as a child and I fell madly and deeply in love with it. I was like a sheltered child let out into the world....only this new world was consisted of sugar and crap. I went crazy!  I was making it by the gallon and drinking it all by myself.  I now refer to it as "Cruel Aid" because it was a major contributing factor to my weight gain.  The pounds kept piling on.

I started high school as a new kid who didn't know a single soul.  As if that wasn't bad enough....I had to start a new school as a fat girl.  I was so incredibly insecure and sad.  My elementary school never had the type of PE classes where you had to dress out.  This was a major anxiety for me my Freshman year.  I would always change in a stall and wore the baggiest clothes possible. That class was torture for me everyday.  I couldn't help but admire all the other girls and beat myself up every single day for how I had let myself get this way.

It also didn't help that I had terrible eating habits as far as time goes that effed my metabolism even more. I rarely ate breakfast because of how early I had to wake up and I didn't want to be a burden on my parents and ask for lunch money so I also would  go all day without eating anything until I got home from school. I remember the short walk from my bus stop to my house being brutal because I would feel on the verge of passing out. Being absolutely starving I would gorge myself on fried chicken and spaghetti banquet meals (my 2 favorites)  or anything other junk I could get my hands on as soon as possible.  

First semester Freshman year

Christmas Freshman year

The first day of second semester I was mistakenly put into a beginners dance class.  For a split second I was sort of excited about it.  I had always wanted to dance as a kid and I thought maybe this was finally a way for me to get into it just a little bit.  The excitement was short lived when once again I looked around the room at all the girls.  I was the biggest one there and only making myself look even bigger by wearing a bulky sweatshirt.  The decision was made final when the teacher herself said that this was a class where you had to feel comfortable putting on a leotard.  Nope!! I marched my fat ass over to the counselors office on my lunch hour and begged to be switched to a different class that hour.  I remember even tearing up as I talked. The counselor was a woman and I'm pretty sure she understood why I was so upset.  Thankfully I was switched to another class.

At the end of that semester I went with my friends to the dance recital.  Again I teared up watching because I had so badly wanted to be a part of it but couldn't let myself because of my weight.  That night I went home and cried some more.....all the while stuffing my face with food.  It's a vicious cycle.

End of Freshman year




I spent that summer just as fat as usual...swimming at my friends house in shorts and a tankini while everyone else got to where cute bikinis.  I felt like the token fat girl of our group.

The first semester of my Sophmore year brought my sister Heather's wedding.  I was so excited to be a bridesmaid.  She paid for me to go tanning and I had grown out my hair a little and gone darker but I was bigger than ever!  

I remember when we went to pick up my sister and nieces from the airport when they flew in for the wedding.  I had always been close with my niece Katie but she hadn't seen me in quite some time since they had moved away for the army. We communicated mostly over the phone.  We were sitting together in the backseat when she said to me in her cute little kid voice, "I remember when you were skinny" Just like that.  So matter of fact.  Leave it to a kid to tell it like it is.  I was speechless at first but then finally responded. "Yea....me too."

The wedding day arrived and I actually don't remember feeling that bad about myself though oddly enough.  I think it was just exciting to get my hair and make up done and wear a nice dress.....all things I had never really experienced before.

It wasn't until the pictures came back from the photographer that reality fully set in.  The pictures made me cry.  I was HUGE.  I had a mental picture in my head.... I actually don't think it was a delusional thought of what I thought I looked like....but more of what I so desperately WISHED I had looked like in that dress.  The wish versus the reality was so painful.



About another month passed...again with no changes to any of my habits.  I was standing in the hallway waiting for my Athletic Training class to open, when one of my classmates walked up to me.  It was the oddest encounter of my life.  I had never talked to this girl.  Sure we had the same class.....but we had never spoken a single word to one another.  Despite this lack of previous interaction, she walked up to me and started twirling my hair around her finger.  WTF?? And then came the kicker.  She asked me...."are you pregnant?"

End first semester Sophmore year

Highest weight and always wearing a baggy sweatshirt

That was it.  I'd had it.  I was humiliated and angry.  Angry at her for even daring to ask me and angry at myself for getting to this disgusting point.  

It was time for a change.

(stay tuned for Part 2 in the future)