I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in a couple of years on the fourth of July. It was hot and humid here. My sweaty hair was stuck to my face. My brave little boy was in my big yellow double running stroller, the strap tied a bit too tightly around my arm digging in. My oldest son was running behind me with my husband. I was surrounded by an amazing group of people out there representing the church we attend, showing love for our community by passing out a few thousand popsicles in the parade. My face was flushed red from the heat and the exertion of running to keep up while pushing a nearly 100 pound load and simultaneously handing out popsicles with one hand while the other steered the stroller. I handed this person a popsicle, smiled, and offered a short, but enthusiastic, “Hey there!” As I turned away from them to continue, I heard ever so faintly “she put on a lot of weight.” I felt my face flame up with embarrassment. My pulse quickened like it would for an impending physical attack. I was stunned for about half a second before I realized there was no time to dwell on this. I had to keep moving and stay with my group even though I wanted to know so badly if there was going to be more to this conversation about me.
I sat with it for 2 days. I didn’t say a word to anyone about it, not even my husband, because I was embarrassed. Because I felt ashamed. Because most of all they were right. I mean yes, they were right. But in those short few seconds they saw me, they didn’t really see me. They chose to see just one thing. My weight. Not me. They only saw my weight.
I wanted to go back and tell them. All the things they didn’t see, that is. All the things they couldn’t even begin to understand. All the things I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. All the things I have overcome to be here today, standing in front of them happily offering them a popsicle. All the times I almost didn’t make it. All the ways I have struggled and failed and got back up again anyhow, refusing to let that be the way it ended. So yes. Yes. I have gained weight. And it would be so easy to make excuses and justifications. This is what insomnia can do to you. This is what it looks like when you watch your heart and soul – your child suffer from unimaginable pain. This is what long term, chronic stress and worry looks like. This is what someone that has been on the edge one too many times looks like. But it wouldn’t be the whole truth. The whole truth is I have done this to myself. That’s the whole and embarrassing and painful truth. I have struggled and I have done the very best I have been able to over the years and this is where I have found myself. I have tried and tried and tried. I really have. And when all else has failed, when I have prayed and ran, and wrote and read, when I have cried and screamed and still felt the world spinning out of control in front of me, I have turned to food for comfort. And just because I have put on this weight does not make me any less of a person. It does not mean I am not worthy, not interesting, or not important.
I wanted to go back and tell them more. Like how I just ran 100 miles two weeks ago, for the third time. And while some would attempt to diminish these accomplishments because I was not “fast”, I stand proud knowing the truth of the matter. It takes a level of endurance and grit I never knew I had to run for a day and a half straight. It takes a hardened will, a determination to go forth despite the burning pain, the deep ache that settles in all of your bones, the beaten down body, and the discouraged mind. It takes dedication and passion. It’s all about heart. It’s a feat of strength, not just physically but mentally. And just because I have put on this weight does not mean I am weak, out of shape, or unhealthy.
I wanted to tell them all of this and more. I wanted to make them see how much more I am than someone who has put on weight. But the more I thought about it, the more ridiculous it seemed. Why does it matter? Why do I care what these people think of me? Why do I look at myself in the mirror more critically after a mindless comment someone made by the side of the road? Why do we let people do this to us? Who is anyone to judge you or me that way? Why do we dismiss a compliment so easily but let an insult stick to our ribs?
So I came to a realization and that is I need to be a better friend, to myself. The next time I look at myself in the mirror before I leave, I will not throw in a biting comment about how I look. The next time I am discouraged that I cannot zip up my favorite pair of jeans, I will not berate myself. The next time I hear a less than flattering comment about myself, I will not let it take root in me. I will not give it the satisfaction. I will dismiss it the way it should be. I will love myself more. I will look at myself the way a friend would. If I would not say it a friend, I will not say it to myself. As we all should. I will cut myself some slack and acknowledge that I really have done the best that I could. I will believe my own words. I will know that I have not failed anyone and that I am not a failure myself.
I will honestly and truly treat myself like a friend would. That’s what I want for you too. I want you to see yourself for how amazing you are. I want you to see that it does not matter if you are a few pounds heavier than you want to be. It does not make you any less beautiful. What makes you beautiful is you. Who you are. Not some arbitrary number. Not the way your critics may see you, but the way the ones that love you see you. What an amazing thing that would be – to finally see ourselves the way our loved ones do. The way we should be seen. That is the hope. That is the goal.
July 15, 2015 at 10:53 am
Great post! You could’ve stopped with I just ran 100 miles, but I understand the rest of it. Completely. I was borderline anorexic in high school after always being an overweight child. When I left for college from a small southern town, that’s how I left, the chubby girl that had lost a lot of weight. But fast forward almost 10 years and one divorce later and I returned to that small town back to an overweight adult. So I get it. They don’t have to say it. I see it in their eyes when I first run into someone that hasn’t seen me since I’ve moved back. Their look says it all. But like you, I’m working on the self acceptance, the no body shame, the “I’m doing the best I can right now” attitude. That’s where it all starts.
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July 15, 2015 at 1:44 pm
Thank you ❤ Keep working on being nicer to you and I will too!
July 15, 2015 at 11:28 am
I enjoyed your story! I think most of us have put on a little or a lot of weight,it is called life. The point of your story that hit home is what our family and friends think. My husband still says I am as beautiful as the day he married me. ( 30 yrs ago) I often ask him if he is blind- But really it is all about what is inside a person that makes a person. Look beyond the covering and see the beauty inside each person.
July 15, 2015 at 1:46 pm
Thank you for sharing Kelly! Yes what is on the inside matters most!
July 15, 2015 at 12:36 pm
Your words hit me right to the core. I can relate to this on so many levels. Thank you, thank you for saying what so many of us struggle to articulate. I will take your advice & be the friend to myself that I need in my life.
July 15, 2015 at 1:46 pm
Thank you Jamie! Who couldn’t use another friend or someone encouraging?! We need to be that person to ourselves ❤
July 15, 2015 at 3:02 pm
You hit on what so many people feel day after day. I recall not wanting to be in pictures with my children so there wouldn’t be “proof” of what I was. I become a health and fitness coach because of it and let me tell you, nearly everyone I work w has issues with things you have talked about above. Well stated. I pray you continue to find yourself beneath the pressures of the world and negative thoughts
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July 15, 2015 at 3:42 pm
Thank you so much for your insight! You are right, so many struggle with so many other issues that aren’t as easily seem as the weight they are judged for. Thank you! ❤
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July 17, 2015 at 12:11 am
So true. I take medications that cause me to gain weight. I don’t exercise except walking, housework, pulling weeds, walking the dog, and shopping. Why? I have Lupus and Fibromyalgia. Every day I wish I had more stamina, felt better, didn’t hurt, but I push through and do what I can. Yes, I have a jellyroll. Yes, I wish I looked different, but I thank God I am still here and can walk my dog, go places with my husband, and enjoy my family. As it is, I eat almonds for breakfast, a light lunch, and a reasonable dinner. I feel like I have already had to give up a lot without starving to get 30 pounds off. My self worth has suffered, but I’m still the same person under that 30 pounds. Be kind. You never know what battle someone may be fighting.
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July 17, 2015 at 12:21 am
I’m sorry your self worth has suffered. You sound like you’ve been through a lot and survived as best as you could. Keep going and keep loving yourself ❤
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July 28, 2015 at 3:09 am
Re Lupus … Please read book “The Autoimmune Solution” by Amy Myers.
August 4, 2015 at 8:41 pm
I don’t mean for this to sound like shameless self promotion, but this really resonates with the purpose behind a new app I am launching soon. The app is about sharing tiny acts of kindness to social media instead of “selfies” and other “look at me” content. What matters – what makes you beautiful – is who you are and the impact you have, not how you look or what you own. Would love thoughtful people like you to join us when we launch – you can sign up for early access on our website at http://www.elseapp.co
Please continue to love yourself. I know that sounds funny from the founder of an app called “Else” – but it takes loving yourself to fully love others.
July 15, 2015 at 3:03 pm
Hi Kathy. I read this article via Huffington Post and spent some time trying to track down where I could leave you a reply. Your article brought tears to my eyes. I am 29 years old and suffered from severe insomnia and depression when I was about 24-25 years old. I am still getting the insomnia back on track. I gained about 45 pounds QUICKLY. I was always around 120-130 lbs and would consistently hear how pretty I was. Suddenly, I entered this dark place and the weight kept piling on. I wasn’t exactly over eating, but I was put on medications that accelerated the weight gain, and in combination with insomnia and depression, it spiraled out of control. Every week I was having to buy bigger clothes. I’ll never forget over hearing a conversation between my parents… “She just ballooned up,” said my mom. My mom has always been so supportive but this rapid weight gain was not only unhealthy, but also concerning for the people in my life. Those words haunted me. It got back to me that a guy I had a crush on told someone he wouldn’t date me because of “the rolls.”For several years, I was too afraid to meet up with my college friends, go on dates, or see anyone from my past for fear that they would judge me. I looked like a different person. I WAS a different person. In the last 2 years, I’ve made my mental health a priority first, and now the weight is starting to come off. I’ve lost about 23 lbs so far. I know I will never be that 125 pound 23 year old again, but I’ve grown and changed so much in the last few years. First it was for the worse, and now it’s for the better. The looks, the stares, the comments – “Why don’t you just start working out?” “You used to be so gorgeous!” (yes, I actually heard that). “You look so different!” My weight gain seemed like it was an open discussion for everyone to speculate and talk about – both to my face, and behind my back. It shattered me. It’s like because I gained weight, my value decreased in their eyes. I felt like your article was written directly for me. Thank you for being so open and honest and addressing an issue that so many of us have dealt with. If you can over come it, I can too. I hope upon reading this, others will realize that rapid weight gain or extreme weight loss is very personal, and many factors can contribute to it. Please be supportive if you know someone who is struggling with this. Thank you.
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July 15, 2015 at 3:48 pm
Wow Rebecca. Thank you for sharing your heart with me! You are so right on all of it! I too have struggled with insomnia and depression with my son’s diagnosis and coming out the other side feels both amazing and scary as I take inventory of what I have done to myself and who the new me is right now. Thank you spreading your kindness ❤
July 16, 2015 at 4:31 am
Yes!!! Mine was from a stressful job & tumors in my feet. 😦 45 lbs in less than a year.
July 16, 2015 at 9:40 am
Sorry to hear about the tumors Tia. Keep being kind to yourself ❤
July 17, 2015 at 3:58 am
I already had fibromyalgia, and then I threw my back out 2 years ago and triggered arthritis in it. I am 43, and gained 30 pounds that I am still carrying. So many reasons, so many fears. I really want to get healthy, but insomnia, lack of energy and fear that if I twist the wrong way I will be bed ridden again. I feel your pain. But I want to change.
July 17, 2015 at 11:17 am
Thank you for sharing Becky! Keep being kind to yourself and do what you can. ❤
July 17, 2015 at 1:43 am
Rebecca – thank you so much for this comment. It was like reading something I could have written myself, and it made me feel so much less alone. I gained so much weight after college due to depression (I was also that cute 120 college girl once!). I have heard family members, including my own mother, say similar things. It makes me not want to see any old friends for fear of judgement. I don’t date, and I only go out with people I’ve become friends with since this “fat” period. I’ve conquered my depression, but the weight still remains and I’m hoping that I can overcome this.
July 17, 2015 at 8:06 pm
This is a great article! I feel like your comment was describing me to the T.. I have struggled with severe depression and anxiety for years now. Most of the time,its a struggle to get up and brush my teeth and get ready. I never feel well, and my energy is always low. I wouldn’t wish depression on my worse enemy 😦 it has taken soo much from my life, and I just cant seem to fight it. Ive put on weight because of it which sadly just makes me feel worse about myself, and my life. I’m not the happy, fun woman I once was:(
July 19, 2015 at 8:29 pm
Thank you for reading. I’m sorry you’ve struggled so much. Keep fighting the good fight and remember to love yourself!
July 17, 2016 at 1:49 am
This could have been me – both Kathy’s original article and Rebecca’s comment. I spent a year traveling and enjoying my life (and putting on a little weight), then due to a family illness, I became a caregiver, and the insomnia and depression set in, bringing on the weight gain. Before I even realized, I had gained over 30 lbs and couldn’t wear anything in my closet but jeans (barely). I even started wearing my sister’s plus-sized tops, as well as my older brother’s golf shirts. I skipped a college reunion that I’ve ALWAYS attended, declined invitations from friends and relatives, because I just didn’t want anyone to see me looking like this. When I do run into people, I find myself bringing it up first, to soften the blow, but most of my friends are kind (to my face). I’m fortunate that I’d never heard anyone say anything – not even my sister who has NO filter. But I see it, and I refuse to let anyone else see it. I’m getting back to a place of loving myself, and I’ve gotten a new wardrobe (from someone who recently lost a lot of weight). So I’m fighting the depression, started to lose a few lbs, and working my way to being a better me. I know people will talk – let them. I’m going to give them something else to talk about. Like “Wow, look at all that weight she’s lost.”
July 15, 2015 at 3:09 pm
Thank you for sharing such a great post! Your entry completely hit home for me! So much so that it made me cry! It’s so true, you should never judge or assume you know what is going on in someone’s life based on what you see. It seems like people today are just so rude and way too quick to assume. I had been steadily gaining weight for the past 3 years. My highest peak was 30lbs over what I would like to be. Most of it has been from the stress and heartache of dealing with infertility issues. Within one years time frame I lost 2 babies through miscarriage. It was the most painful time of my life, both physically and mentally. I was left with no children, shattered dreams, and the un-welcomed reminder of weight gain from both pregnancies. It caused me to completely spiral out of control. I dealt with every emotion possible, I was depressed, angry, sad, I left my job, died/cut my hair, lived in my pajamas for weeks at a time, would starve myself one day and eat everything in the house the next. I went for a few months, too afraid to leave the house in fear of how others would see me. I wouldn’t even allow family or friends to stop by for several months, all in fear of being judged. I felt like a complete failure as a wife, I no longer felt human, was completely crushed and at my lowest of lows. I no longer recognized myself when I looked in the mirror. Finally, as I started to recover from the losses and crawl back out of my shell to re-join civilization, I slowly started taking steps to get my mental and physical health back on track. I found a group of women dealing with similar situations who I could connect with. They helped me realize everything I was going through was normal and all part of the recovery process. I’ve lost 16lbs over the past 6 months solely through diet and exercise. It doesn’t seem like much, but I remind myself this is not a crash diet, it’s my new life style. I haven’t been called “fat”. But instead always face that dreaded question “when are you having children?”. I still have bad days where I’ll lock myself in the house and find comfort in food, but those days are becoming less and less as I focus on being healthy and re-connecting with the things in life that make me happy. That’s the biggest life lesson I’ve gotten out of all this – Concentrate on the things that make you happy and it will help diminish the things (or people) who try to bring you down.
July 15, 2015 at 3:53 pm
Thank you for sharing with me. I’m so sorry for the loss of your previous babies. About 6 years ago, I had one child already but dealt with multiple miscarriages. It was a devastating experience each time that I wish on no one. I’m so sorry for all the invasive questions people feel the need to know but I am so glad you have found support and people that understand. Keep being kind to yourself as you deserve ❤
July 15, 2015 at 3:14 pm
“Why do we dismiss a compliment so easily but let an insult stick to our ribs?” Beautiful words. The entire post (found over on Kindness Blog. Bless you and yours and your Words of Truth.
July 15, 2015 at 3:54 pm
Thank you Shandra ❤
July 15, 2015 at 4:11 pm
I’m not sure why I clicked to this post today, I usually scroll past because I have to get back to kids or something somewhere will blow up, I’m sure you know how that goes.
I’m glad I stopped. I want you to know I feel your pain – from the other side of the fence. I’m too skinny. I hear comments on how good I look or how they wish they looked like me after 4 kids, and I want to cry. I’d trade the weight in a moment for a fully functional body and brain. I was recently diagnosed with Celiac disease. You know us perhaps as those annoying gluten free people. But Celiac doesn’t just rob you of cake and bread and dining in 90% of restaurants. It robs you of the ability to plan ahead and follow through. It robs you of joy and leaves you with depression and anxiety. It erodes your capacity to serve others till there’s nothing left to give. The auto immune disorder that keeps me skinny robs me of so much that I thought made me, me. Jealous of this skinny body? Please be careful what you wish for. This same disorder gave my little sister stage 4 colon cancer. Be very careful what you wish for. Whatever stage or state in life you may find yourself today, use that body to serve anyone and everyone you can and hold that joy tightly. This day is a gift.
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July 15, 2015 at 4:28 pm
Thank you for sharing Ruthann. You are right, we need to appreciate our bodies for all they can do. Personally my desire isn’t to be just skinny because there are so many others things I want to focus on being, like kind, compassionate and caring. I am learning to be ok with slightly bigger than I was before and still healthy. Everyday is a gift for sure, all it takes is one look at my child that wasn’t supposed to survive to remind me a thousand times other. Take care of yourself and thank you for reading! ❤
July 16, 2015 at 9:05 am
I am so very, very sorry for your loss. I hope that a GF diet, however frustrating, helps you at least as much as it helps me.
I was skinny once, too. When I was in my twenties, people would make similar complimentary remarks, when I was coping with three under-threes (should have been four, but I lost my daughter’s twin during pregnancy) not knowing how hard I struggled to maintain any weight, or to cope with depression. I was diagnosed with Cœliac disease in my late thirties, after having twin boys (who, thankfully, both survived despite being premature due to pre-eclampsia).
The difference a gluten-free diet made was astonishing. It only took about five years to get up to the ‘ideal’ weight for my height, and I felt healthier than I had ever been (despite several serious, ongoing health issues, some of which were yet to be diagnosed).
I’ve seen the weight issue from both sides, now.
Then came diagnosis after diagnosis, over the next twenty years, and with each came another set of medications. Finally, eighteen months ago, my liver started to fail from the effect of coping with all those medications. I put on twenty kilograms in as many weeks, and people would mutter rude things about my shape.
My GP was sympathetic, but evidently horrified by my sudden weight gain – especially given the simultaneous loss of appetite. Blood tests showed dangerously raised liver enzymes. I was told I had to stop taking all the drugs I was taking, except for the heart meds and the Buprenorphine patches (which control the chronic migraines, and take the edge off the fibro pain). Giving up the medications was easy – coping with the consequent increase in pain, further loss of mobility and fear for the future hasn’t been as easy.
It only took six months to lose most of the weight I had suddenly gained, as my liver started to heal, but that’s not the point; our weight is never the point. The point is that we keep going, despite setback after setback after setback, and learn to forgive the ignorance of those who are fortunate enough never to face what we face day in, day out.
I’ve since been diagnosed with yet more chronic conditions. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. But thanks to inspirational stories like this, from awesome people who understand what is truly important, I know I can keep going a little while longer. =^_^=
July 16, 2015 at 9:58 am
Thank you for sharing your experience. It sounds like you’ve been on quite the wild ride! My child is still with us, although we have been told to prepare ourselves more than once, he truly is our little miracle. I do know the pain of pregnancy loss and its a devastating experience. I’m so sorry you lost your baby. Thank you for sharing what worked for you. I appreciate it. Keep fighting the good fight and hanging in there ❤
July 16, 2015 at 1:27 pm
tiggerthewing – I know other people who have been helped with chronic conditions and autoimmune disease. Is there a way to connect with you to share the information?
July 15, 2015 at 5:59 pm
This is coming from a former thin girl who gained 70 lbs on an antidepressant . My experience has been that this world only values you by the scale. I am an artist, a self taught musician and a mother who has managed to raise one son to be a successful mechanical engineer. We live in a world that judges by how much money u have and how much u weigh oh and if your attractive. So now I’ve gone off the antidepressant (lost 35 lbs so far) and beginning to get complimentary comments again not for what I’ve done or who I am but how I look. Maybe there’s a place one day that I can live where you are valued for who you truly are and not what I look llike.
July 15, 2015 at 8:38 pm
Right on B. It sounds like you’ve made the world a more loving and caring place even through your own struggles! But people care so much about the weight and only the weight, they forget the real live person under it. Thank you for sharing ❤
July 15, 2015 at 6:12 pm
You are such a rockstar! I want to thank you for helping me today, and for helping all the great folks I will share your words with. Thank you! Bless you, and keep up the awesomeness that is you! You are enough.
July 15, 2015 at 8:39 pm
Thank you Terry! I appreciate the encouragement and kind words. “You are enough” Lovely! ❤ Thank you for that.
July 16, 2015 at 3:26 am
Thank you so much for this. I’m really hard on myself. I think we all are. We mourn what we used to be, what our lives used to be. My husband tells me all the time how beautiful I am but I just feel like he’s going to tell me that no matter what, even if he’s lying. We go through so much, we just need to love ourselves a little more. 🙂
July 16, 2015 at 9:39 am
Thanks Nicole. We do need to love ourselves more, hard as it may be at times. ❤
July 16, 2015 at 9:03 am
Thanks for sharing your experience. I’ve been there so many times. Rather than say something, we die a little inside, as we walk away. Writers seem to process things differently. We take it in, and mull it around, and then we write about it. If I hear, “she has a pretty face” one more time, I can’t be held accountable for my actions… 😉
July 16, 2015 at 9:42 am
Thank you Natalie! So well said and so very right! ❤
July 16, 2015 at 5:33 pm
This is so amazing. I am a workout instructor. But in the last year I have stopped being a slave to the gym outside of the classes I teach. I got rid of my scale, started spending more time with my kids, and having more fun. I was spending so much time counting calories, avoiding social eating situations, and missing things to go exercise more. Then I stopped…why??? Because I still thought I wasn’t good enough. Guess what…. I’m heavier but I’m also happier. So much happier! I’m enjoying my kids and husband, being with friends, and just loving life. Thank you for putting into words exactly how I feel! Meghan
July 16, 2015 at 6:50 pm
Thank you for sharing Meghan! I’m so glad to read how much happier you are! That’s the real goal in this life anyhow, right?! To be happy, surrounded by those we love, doing what we want. Congratulations on your journey to bliss ! ❤
July 16, 2015 at 6:03 pm
It’s funny reading this article, because I hear that sentence “she’s put on a lot of weight” being said in one of my good friend’s voice. Someone who constantly judges people for their appearance on the outside yet never really reaches to get beyond that surface level. I always wondered what she has said about me… Over that past 4-5 I have struggled with depression, chronic pain and also have been in and out of unhealthy relationships. I have missed out on reunions, dreaded going to weddings and seeing people who used to know me 50 pounds ago. I have no children and I’m single so I feel that I have no excuse to the outside world. The struggle was on the inside. In the past 2-3 months I have lost 15 pounds, and am definitely gaining my confidence back. I am starting to like the way I look in clothes again, having more energy, and feeling confident again. It’s a long road ahead, but I feel to outsiders, I owe them no explanation. Even if I wasn’t planning on losing weight. It’s my body, it’s my choice. What I have went through is on a need to know basis. I know I won’t wake up happy every day, but this article is a good reminder to love yourself and treat yourself the way you want to be treated. Thank You 🙂
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July 16, 2015 at 6:52 pm
Thank you for sharing Reagan. You don’t need any excuses to the outside world, that’s for sure. From your struggles, you owe you and only you the pursuit of your happiness, whatever that may be. Keep loving yourself, you’re worth it ❤
July 16, 2015 at 6:48 pm
I just want to reach out and give you a HUGE hug. What a beautiful heartfelt post and you have me crying still. You are lovely…inside and out! God bless you.
July 16, 2015 at 6:53 pm
Thank you Erica for your kind words and encouragement. I’m truly touched by them ❤
July 16, 2015 at 7:50 pm
I’m there with you. I had a high risk pregnancy with my son that packed weight onto me. I am now 60 lbs heavier than I was in high school and my early 20’s and I have heard the “she’s put on weight” comment before. My response, “I have put on weight, but just look at my awesome boobs and fabulous butt!” Girl! Curves are where it’s at and brownies DEFINITELY taste better than being on a diet the rest of my life!
July 17, 2015 at 12:20 am
Thank you for sharing! You sound like you have it all figured out and you are so right about the brownies! 🙂
July 16, 2015 at 9:38 pm
This is beautiful and so are you! Was this written for me directly, because that is what it felt like lol?! Thank you for so eloquently putting this message out into the world.
July 17, 2015 at 12:18 am
Thank you Ashley ❤ I appreciate your kind words and I'm glad it spoke to you!
July 17, 2015 at 4:05 am
This is a nice group of women making positive comments.
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July 17, 2015 at 11:16 am
It is, isn’t it?! Lucky us 🙂
July 17, 2015 at 10:36 am
I’ve gotten that comment too but it was from my Dad. He didn’t mean it to upset me but he worries about my health. Yes, after having a baby at 40, no sleep in 4 years, a pending divorce and losing my nephew, working out was last on my list. But I’m getting myself back again. I’ve used the tragedies in my life to give me the gumption to change and be the person I want to be. One thing I learned from the article is how much loss of sleep can effect your health. I also am trying to treat myself better. I agree with you 100%. We wouldn’t talk to a child the way we talk of ourselves so speaking well to your inner child is paramount. I enjoyed the article. Thank you.
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July 17, 2015 at 11:02 am
Thank you for reading Rhonda!
July 17, 2015 at 5:30 pm
Kathy, Thank you so very much for putting in such elegant words what so so many of us experience everyday. I will be sharing this on FB, so that other beautiful, strong, and worthy women in my life can know they are not alone. I wish I could reach through the Internet and hug you–tear stained face and all. (((💗)))
July 19, 2015 at 8:25 pm
Thank you for your kind words Cherie! ❤
July 17, 2015 at 5:48 pm
Just thank you. This is me. I’ve gained almost 70 lbs in the past 12 years. I deal with anxiety, depression, throw in Hepatitis C from a blood transfusion I had at age 2. I’ve dealt with miscarriages, and years of infertility treatments. My 2nd child put me into heart failure where I lost 40 lbs of water weight in 3 days, only to gain it back in real weight over the next 3 years.
A high school friend said to me about another girl from our class, geez, she’s gained a lot of weight. I turned to her and said “I’ve gained a lot of weight”. Did I cause some of the weight gain? Definitely. It doesn’t come off easily, that’s for sure!
July 19, 2015 at 8:26 pm
Thank you for sharing your story. Take care of yourself ❤
July 17, 2015 at 6:00 pm
Kathy, I loved your post (a friend posted a link to her Twitter feed).
You made me think of a J.K. Rowling quote: “Is fat really the WORST thing a human being can be? Is “fat” worse than vindictive, jealous, shallow, vain, boring, evil, or cruel? Not to me.
I’m not 100% certain she said it, but it’s in character for her, and makes me love her even more than I already did.
I don’t know you, but I wish you all the best of health, happiness, and LIFE! Be well!
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July 19, 2015 at 8:27 pm
Thank you so much! Love that quote. I wish you the same great things out of life!
July 17, 2015 at 8:24 pm
Darling, i am so sorry that you have been hurt by thoughtless people. I am 64 and have spent so many years trying to be the perfect everything…It has taken me years to begin to mend my broken insides. Everything I have been through has made me the person I am today, so when I am approached with the weight comment I just say-“Yes I have gained weight, but unlike you, it was all in my heart…”
July 19, 2015 at 8:30 pm
That’s a great attitude. Thank you for sharing your insights with me. I wish you all the best! ❤
July 18, 2015 at 12:02 am
Thank you for this beautiful post! We shared it over on the Graves’ Disease & Thyroid Foundation’s Facebook page, and it really struck a chord with our whole community. On a personal note, I have an autoimmune thyroid issue myself and will soon be heading to my high school reunion carrying a LOT of extra weight. I’m trying really hard to keep myself focused on having fun, catching up with old friends, and enjoying the scenery. Easier said than done, though! Thanks again for sharing your story.
July 19, 2015 at 8:32 pm
Thank you for your kind words and for sharing. It certainly is easier said than done but I hope you enjoy your reunion!!
July 18, 2015 at 2:24 am
I know about hypothyroidism and steroids etc. I’m a physician. A very small portion of the 68% overweight Americans fit into the medical disorders group. I’m in my 50’s, have low testosterone, and work night shifts where I’m surrounded by junk food all night and a free soda machine. And I love sweets! And the night shifts increase my cortisol levels which in turn makes me store fat easier. It is so hard to maintain a healthy weight, but oh so worth it! I have excuses to be overweight also, and struggle making food choices sometimes. But one thing is certain, eat more calories than you expend and you will gain weight. Do the reverse and you lose weight. With some helpful tricks for doing so in between. The majority of my patients would rather have me prescribe them blood pressure and diabetes medications and refer them for joint replacements than make better food choices and lose weight. Some travel to Mexico for gastric bypass surgery where 1 in 10 of those die from surgery complications. I see very few obese patients in their 70’s and older because frankly they don’t live that long. It’s all about choices. Free agency. I’ll say it again, water is free and good for you. Now let the critics be critics.
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July 19, 2015 at 10:41 pm
Knowing on a scientific/medical level isn’t the same as the lived experience though, Edward.Whilst I agree with your objective assessment the emotional effects of illness on ones capacity to self-care can very much limit things as can financial consequences of illness such as medical bills, unemployment and I’m sure you’re also aware of links between poverty and obesity and again about choice. Low mobility and low social mobility can hinder individuals in aquisition of and preparation of healthier choices. Junk and processed foods are cheap and easily available. So there’s issues of agency, societal problems around food costs and the psychologically debilitating effects of chronic illness or severe stress which makes it harder to act on your advice than someone who has better mobility, energy, mood, time, choice and access than the ideal situation.
Poverty and depression were the main factors in my weight gain. With improved finances and improved mental health, I found I could eat better, be more active and lost the weight.
Did you not read about the women who found themselves too ashamed to face old friends and family? They felt judged and shamed? You can retreat into medical science but as a physician I assume you’re rarely judged and shamed negatively by friends and family or face the financial and social barriers to good fresh produce or healthy meals despite what you claim are temptations around you.
Kathy, I’ve cried piteously when friends have commented when I was very ill and overweight that I had let myself go and just needed to do more and eat less, some thought I was pregnant, others just vanished from my life, essentially. It’s painful but we care what people think of us, we want people to think well of us, we want our friends and family to be proud of us and that’s where the pain comes from, in my experience. That feeling that you’ve let them down.
Thanks for a great post and kudos to the other commenters for sharing their brave individual stories. I’ll be sharing this on my Facebook too… found it via the invisible illness awareness week page on there.
July 19, 2015 at 11:01 pm
Thank you for sharing and for your kind and courageous words. I agree it is hard to share your story, so I’m glad you shared yours with me! Keep on keeping on. ❤
July 18, 2015 at 4:01 am
I was always heavier my whole life. Suddenly in ly early twenties I would keep having horrible stomach pains, couldn’t keep food down and eventually in about 4 short months and many trips to the bathroom later(one time at work I didn’t make it) Idropped down from 130lbs to 84 lbs. I received so many compliments on how I looked great, but I did’t feel it nor did I believe it. I moved out of my moms house because she was so mentally abusive. I was incredibly stressed, was losing friends like crazy, working 60 hour weeks just to make it and feeling so so weak the entire time. I went out to the club and passed out and had a seizure once! Horrible experience. People accused me of being on drugs because of my weight loss and I was so hurt by the lack of support I had. I was alone. Like truly alone. I wasn’t sure if I would make it out alive. I moved into another house and had some truly horrible roomates and had no where to go so I stuck it out. I lost my job and was so desperately low in my life I thought aboust suicide. I couldn’t do it. Unexpectedly, one night I met a man, who now is my love. We got pregnant really soon after we met and fought all the time. I had my daughter and continued to get so sick. I went to the er quite a bit of times and eventually after many tests found out I had Crohns. I felt relief. I knew what I was battling finally. Well I immediately got put on Prednisone(a steroid) and got almost instant relief. I stopped going to the bathroom so much, and could eat again with a huge appetite! The old me was back! And….so was all the weight. And then some. I was constantly being told I was fat. So and so had triplets and she was still skinnier than me. No one understood. (Old Asians have no filter and really dont understand Crohns) I went through years battling this disease and my weight. I went through many up and downs and my man has stuck by my side and knows my battles. I still struggle a little but honestly I don’t mind my weight. It seems like its other people that mind. I learned to love myself. I have overcome so much and now I am doing things to further myself and my family for a better future. Every now and then my Crohns sets me back a little, but I come back swinging hard. All I really mean to say is, its up to you to believe in your beauty and strength. It is not your business what other people think. Keep doing you and believing in yourself and everything will fall in place! Your inner beauty really shines more than any physical beauty. Guaranteed. 🙂
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July 19, 2015 at 8:37 pm
Wow Sandy. Thank you for sharing! I’m so glad you have learned to love yourself, that is so important.
July 18, 2015 at 2:33 pm
Thank You for sharing your experience. It takes a lot of courage to share feelings that are so personal.
I have struggled all my life with weight but after a transplant I really gained. Then to make matters worse I developed a condition associated with the kidney failure that makes it virtually impossible to loose weight according to my Nephrologist. As he stated it “your body works against itself.” But not only have the comments come from those who think they are trying to help me, but the medical professionals who should know better. A little kindness can go a long ways in making someone’s journey a little easier.
Anti-rejection medications, as wonderful as they are, have definite side effects that are far reaching and long term. I always felt like the more important issue was that of being alive, but many can’t seem to grasp this point which is too bad, because we never know when its “our turn.”
July 19, 2015 at 8:38 pm
You are sow right Dawna. A little kindness can make someone else’s journey easier! Thank you for reading!
July 18, 2015 at 4:09 pm
First, thank you for this article. Sounds like a lot of women out there are struggling with the same thing. For those of you “hiding” from life, please let me tell you, as an overweight “older” woman, people are drawn to you because of your inner strength, not because of your weight. And even skinny girls will not be attractive if they don’t have a good self image. Plus…the good news….curvy is back in! Yay! So put on something that makes you feel good, play “All About That Bass”, and go live life. Because in a few years you’re going to realize you missed out on life.
July 19, 2015 at 8:43 pm
Love this Cherie!
July 18, 2015 at 8:35 pm
Thank you for writing this. I really, really, really needed it. Because of this essay. I have turned a corner. I felt myself relax inside. Truth does that to you. Infinity thank yous.
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July 19, 2015 at 8:50 pm
Thank you Julie. Your kind words touch my heart ❤
July 19, 2015 at 2:44 pm
thank you for this. how easily we judge and presume, or comment without actually thinking and wondering about a person’s soul, their heart, their life, and their suffering,
July 19, 2015 at 8:52 pm
Yes. We see so little of who someone really is when we judge them just on apppearance. Thank you for reading!
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July 19, 2015 at 4:16 pm
I have been through a very, very difficult season recently and it’s not over yet and I don’t know when or if it will end. But one of the outside signs of three plus months of chronic illness is that I’ve lost weight. I had and have weight to lose so luckily it’s not adding to my health worries but it’s very hard when people comment on it like it’s a good thing. I would gain it all back if it meant I could be perfectly healthy again but that’s not a choice I’m being given. It’s made me realize how inappropriate it is to comment on someone’s weight at all. We assume less is a unilaterally good thing and therefore fine to comment on but unless you’re very close to the person and they’ve shared with you that they want to lose weight why is making a comment about their body okay? The people I feel the most comfortable around are those whom I know aren’t concerned at all with how I look and conversely I’m least comfortable around those who make a comment of some sort every time I see them, even if it’s “positive.” With the latter I know that the conglomeration of cells that is my body means something to them that it doesn’t mean to me, to who I really AM. With the former I know I am seen to just be me.
July 19, 2015 at 8:58 pm
To be seen for who we actually are and not just what we look like is an extraordinary thing. I’m glad you have some people that you make you feel that way 🙂 Thanks for reading.
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July 19, 2015 at 4:55 pm
Love that you’re so real.
July 19, 2015 at 9:00 pm
Thank you ❤
July 19, 2015 at 6:53 pm
Thank you so much for this post. I am 45 years old and I have struggled with my weight as well as my self esteem my entire life.
In January I finally came to the realization that how much I weigh is my personal choice. This isn’t a decision that belongs to anyone else. This is mine and mine alone. So, what did I want? I wanted to be healthy.
Since January I have lost 37 lbs and 23
inches. I have 20 pounds to go, yet I still am critical of myself. For me, now it’s time for the hard work. Time to let God do His work in me. I have a lot of physical pain issues, but luckily no diseases, nothing holding me back. My job now is to praise Him every day that I am here, I am healthy, and that I have a husband and family that love me and support me.
If we can all do this, remind ourselves of our beauty, that we are still alive and that we can still put one foot in front of the other….we will all succeed in anything!
July 19, 2015 at 9:02 pm
Thank you for sharing Tina. Excellent reminder! ❤
July 19, 2015 at 8:04 pm
Thank you for your wonderful words. They almost, with a few exceptions, could have been written by me. I have struggled with all sorts of weight issues since the age of 15 when I started dieting (at a size 3 and 5). It has really affected my self esteem and now as a 58 year old I still struggle mightily and probably always will for the rest of my life. It causes me a lot of depression, though I don’t generally let others see that side as I try to stay positive and make others happy and laugh. I am very overweight, about 50 pounds overweight, and every pound shows since I’m only 4′ 11 1/2. I don’t even eat that much and for most of my life I have eaten very healthy and exercised regularly. Genetics play a huge role in the difficulties I encounter in trying to lose weight (I have to practically starve myself to lose even a few pounds). Although I am sorry that anyone else suffers, it does make me feel a bit better knowing I’m not alone. I worry a lot about my health, a lot more than I do about “looks.” Now I have arthritis in my knees and can barely even walk. I’m rambling here. Anyway, I wish us all the best as we try and come to grips with being healthy and learning to accept ourselves as we are. I still haven’t learned the latter, but I still keep working on it. My best to all, and again, thank you.
July 19, 2015 at 9:04 pm
Thank you for reading and sharing Mary Jane. I am still working on the latter as well. My best to you too! ❤
July 21, 2015 at 3:53 pm
I understand where you are coming from, and quite honestly, your interpretation of what was said and meant is probably correct. However, we are trained to take such comments as insults. I might have said to another person “she put on a lot of weight” but I may have said it out of concern for someone I once knew. Gaining weight can be an indication that you have gone through something. As you said… you went through a lot just to be there that day, and perhaps that was what the person you overheard for one second was really commenting on. We, as women, need to not judge one another… and try to not to assume we are always judging one another. We do need to watch what we say, but we also need to watch how we take what others say. Often our interpretations reflect our own insecurities as much as they reflect the judgments of others.
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July 21, 2015 at 11:02 pm
Great point Cindy! We do have to watch for that because it can be so easy to simply assume we’re being judged because the world seems to be such a judgemental place. I appreciate you reading ❤
July 23, 2015 at 2:51 pm
July 24, 2015 at 3:38 pm
100 miles? You actually ran One Hundred Miles? I am speechless! Wow!
July 24, 2015 at 11:43 pm
I did. Thank you! It’s amazingly hard and rewarding all at the same time. You just keep going. Thanks for reading! ❤
July 25, 2015 at 4:05 am
How I needed to read these words!!! I too have been through so much and have also used food as my comfort…I too have put on way too much weight. Right now I am just trying to pull my life together mentally, emotionally, and spiritually and don’t have the energy to worry about something as inconsequential as the pounds I have added to my frame. I feel ashamed but you have given me permission to treat myself gently with love. If I had a friend who had gone through what I have in the last few years I would not even think about her outward appearance ; I would just admire her for holding it together through it all. So I need to be that friend to me.
July 25, 2015 at 2:42 pm
Thank you Denise! Yes, be that friend to yourself because you deserve that kind of love and respect. We would never treat someone we love that way when they are struggling with life, we should extend that same courtesy to ourselves! Thank you for reading ❤
July 25, 2015 at 11:37 am
Yes . yes yes. Word. Our grandmothers et al many hundreds of years back may have also received verbal expression of the obvious. Fuck’em. You gain, you lose. You keep winning. Xo
July 25, 2015 at 2:43 pm
Thank you for reading and sharing Heather! ❤
July 25, 2015 at 4:59 pm
What other people think doesn’t matter but still hurts. The truth of the matter is people are too judgmental. They are standing there judging you on a little weight when in reality they themselves are probably fighting their own battles which makes them find fault in others. I try to be nice to people when they judge me but I really want to look at them and ask “could you make it through what I have?”
July 27, 2015 at 1:50 pm
Thank you for sharing Sarah. You have a really valid point and a great attitude about it! ❤
July 27, 2015 at 4:18 am
Sometimes comments have nothing to do with you at all, and everything to do with the person commenting. For example, the first time my dad saw Isabella Rossellini, when she just started modeling, all he said was, “She has buck teeth, just like her mother.” It struck me how bizarre it is to look at both Ingrid Bergman and Isabella Rossellini and only be able to see imperfect teeth.
For somebody to see you after several years, and not to be happy to see you, or not be impressed that you’re taking part in a charity event, or to interested that you have two kids and just notice that you’ve gained some weight — that says a lot about her. Of course it’s hurtful to hear comments like that, but she must have a really strange world view, or just a really unhealthy way of looking at the world. Maybe it’s sad how much beauty she’s causing herself to miss.
I’m sure you know all this, but still, I wanted to say it anyway. Best of luck to you and your family!
July 27, 2015 at 1:52 pm
Thank you for reading and sharing your kind words! I appreciate your insight, I think you have hit the nail on the head. It says more about them and the life they are living than the person they are judging.
July 27, 2015 at 6:28 pm
Thank you so much for sharing. This hit home in a lot of ways. My dirty little secret that I am ashamed of is that I too notice when people I know have gained weight or don’t look as good as they used to. The problem isn’t with them, it’s with my own insecurities. It’s me telling myself “well she’s gained weight too. Now I don’t feel so bad about myself”. Like when I see pictures someone else has posted on FB and in the background, their house is messy. I cheer internally, in my head, because my house is messy too. While this is a horrible excuse for some of the negative comments that are thrown around about apperences, I truly believe they most often come from a place of insecurities within the person who said them. I promise I am working on this.
We should all see ourselves as amazing, you are right. We should also all see our fellow mothers as amazing and be their biggest cheerleaders.
July 29, 2015 at 2:24 pm
Thank you for sharing hrabbitt! That’s another whole side to this that I wouldn’t have thought about. I appreciate your insight and kind words. Thank you for reading! ❤
July 31, 2015 at 12:34 pm
Please watch – I talked about being seen for only my weight, and how damaging that was in this video last month:
July 13, 2016 at 3:23 am
I found this last year but was still at a point where I was not ready to do what needed to be done to be happy with myself. I, like you said, would turn to food, if I was happy, sad, stressed, angry, any emotion was filled with food. I wasn’t proud of it. Due to depression and emotional eating, I gained 80 lbs in a year! And I kept gaining. I now have 4 kids as well and it was so difficult to keep up with them which made me even more depressed. I went to the dr in Dec and the scale read heavier than it had ever before. It was at that point that I realized I had to stop burying everything with food, but above that, if I wanted to be able to, I had to do it for me, I had to love me. No matter what stares I get from people who used to know me, or what comments (even from my own family). My husband loves me and still tells me I’m beautiful, mkly kids do too, so I have to look at that and know that I’m beautiful because I’m me. Since January, I have now lost 56 lbs, and I have so much more energy and am happuer, all because I decided to do it for me and not anyone else. You’re article hits home on so many levels, I teared up reading it because of that, so thank you, so much for putting it out there.
July 13, 2016 at 7:41 pm
I loved reading this, so raw and real. Thank you.
July 14, 2016 at 4:31 pm
I needed this. Over the past year, my weight has gone up around 40 pounds. Depression has played a key part, as a kindred spirit passed away 7/17/2015. Before her death, it was infertility, which we’re still battling. I am so unhappy that I’ve let myself get this far gone. A few weeks ago I was in one of my best friends’ weddings. There were tons of people from our childhood there, and I was SO self conscious of how chubby I was. Then we looked at the professional pictures a few days ago and I was just speechless seeing myself, because I don’t feel that bad, but seeing my multiple chins and huge arms I was just sick that this is how I was captured in these forever pictures. When we celebrate Tina’s life this coming Sunday, on the anniversary of a young wife and mother being taken too soon, I am making a pact with myself and with God that I will make positive life changes and live fully. The way Tina did. In a year from now, I plan in being a much healthier person; physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Thanks for sharing your heart. It touched mine.
July 14, 2016 at 6:10 pm
Loved your post! As I read it I just wanted to suggest getting tested for Hashimotos. A lot of what you discussed you have been through can be symptoms of it. I was recently diagnosed and had had symptoms for probably 15 years before they caught it. Now I have also developed a heart murmur (a result of it). They normally only test the TSH levels and t-3 and t-4. I asked for an antibody test the TPO, and TGab, and TSHRAb.
I believe God has allowed me to walk through this so that I can help point people in the right direction and when I read this article it really hit me to pass this along. There’s also a great resource called the thyroid pharmacist (she’s on Facebook and Google)
Wish you much luck and think it’s awesome you have overcome so much and still have a smile for strangers and live for the Lord.
July 15, 2016 at 5:15 am
This is a good post. I suffer from the more depressive form of bipolar disorder, and gained a lot of weight during my depressive episodes as a preteen. Not only that, but several of my medications cause weight gain. At my heaviest, I was 333 pounds and was disgusted by my reflection. Now, over a year after starting Weight Watchers, I’m at 250, and trying to eventually get to 150. Along the way, I’ve learned to be nicer to myself – my family and friends always would ask me why I treated everyone else nicely but not myself. Now, I’m not horrified by my appearance in the mirror, and take pride in my accomplishments. Hang in there – you’re doing great so far (I still can’t even WALK a mile without tiring out)!
July 15, 2016 at 7:03 pm
You handled it better than I would have. I would have gone off on them. I have autoimmune crap going on. Prednisone made me gain quite a bit of weight. =( It’s really hard. I am also a recovering/recovered anorexic/bulimic. When I was down to those teensy tiny sizes, I got lots of compliments. When I got to the weight my doctor WANTED me to be, I was told I was getting too fat and they liked me better super skinny. So basically they were praising me for slowly committing suicide.
I hate the weight crap in our society. =( It’s really awful and I always have to be vigilant about not relapsing back into anorexia because another relapse would actually kill me.
July 15, 2016 at 8:47 pm
I so understand. I’ve never been a thin person since I hit puberty. But then about 14 yrs ago I became disabled because of a stress induced neurological issue, which manifests as an uncontrollable movement disorder. My whole life changed at that point. Before I was a workaholic, constantly go, go, go. Now I can’t work, heck I’m lucky to be talking most days. I also have severe osteoarthritis with a lot of damage to my knees and spine. Pain is actually an internal stress, which also triggers my neurological condition. About a year or so before that happened my husband suffered his first heart attack and had to have a double bypass. My stress level was totally out of control. The problem is the more stressed I am, the more I eat. I’m a total comfort eater, unfortunately. So of course I have gained weight over the past 14 to 15 yrs. My husband almost died 2 1/2 yrs ago, and we have now received a diagnosis for him of congestive heart failure, among other things. Basically he probably doesn’t have too many years left. This has been so upsetting for me, and extremely stressful. So of course I’m totally eating everything I can get my hands on. Thankfully I’ve been talking to my counselor about everything, and am starting to get my eating under control, somewhat. Most people look at me and just see an overweight person, because they don’t know my personal struggles. They don’t understand the stresses I’m under every single day. They don’t have to deal with my husband’s OCD, bipolar disorder or learning disabilities. They don’t have to deal with my depression, severe anxiety, constant pain, shaking and stuttering, my jaw locking, and my inability to stand or walk without a walker, or the stress of taking care of the health decisions for both myself and my husband. They have absolutely no idea at all. They just think I eat too much and don’t exercise enough. Seriously, my breakfast this morning was a handful of natural almonds and a glass of water. And I gotta say that menopause has not helped any either! People really should think before they open their mouths to make comments about people’s weight. Until they walk a mile in that person’s life, they have no idea what that overweight person is struggling with.