22. Comfortable in My Shorts

22. Comfortable in My Shorts

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Curvy & Confident

Comfortable in My Shorts

A smile is the light in the window of your face that tells people you’re at home.

~Author Unknown

I had been going through a period of negative self-talk, wondering how other people viewed me. Did they just see a “fat” woman? Were they able to see a person, or were they judging me by my size?

And then one day, I literally bumped into someone who changed my life. I was at the grocery store, after having spent thirty minutes at home trying to find something to wear that was cute and didn’t make me feel fat. I was so frazzled by the time I left for the store that I had forgotten my list, and I was pushing my cart through the canned vegetables aisle trying to remember what I needed. That’s when I ran into the lady.

As I was apologizing, I stopped mid-sentence, because she simply shook her head, with her hand toward me as if to say “no apology necessary.” I saw how happy and positive she was. Her smile seemed confident, friendly and encouraging. It showed wisdom and grace, while her eyes showed strength and kindness.

After we untangled our carts and walked away, I found myself thinking, Wow, I wish I could be like her. That’s when a quiet thought came to me. What is it about her that you want to have? Her smile, her kindness, or her body and weight? I came to a complete stop as I realized something. I had no idea how big or small she was. I hadn’t noticed if she was thin or plump. I didn’t see her size. What I cared about was her smile, because that was how she showed she cared.

After that, I started looking at people a new way, evaluating whether I was noticing their looks or their attitudes. I realized that I was not noticing their size — no, I was seeing their other attributes. If they smiled and we made a connection, I didn’t look past that and consider their weight.

I didn’t see her size. What I cared about was her smile, because that was how she showed she cared.

That was the lesson I took away from this encounter, what I carry with me all the time now — people will remember my smile and my kindness more than my size. I also realized that it was my own thoughts and words that led people to focus on my weight.

If I acted like I couldn’t do things with them because I didn’t want to be seen in a swimsuit or shorts, then guess what they would think about? But if I talked about my accomplishments, my passions and goals, they would follow my lead,

Now, I’m walking with confidence again, believing I can put my best foot forward and it will be enough. I can make a difference, show kindness and love, change the world . . . and I can do that wearing a size 0 or a size 16. Because it’s not about size. It’s about attitude and how you treat people.

I’m comfortable in my shorts, spider veins and all. I am more than a size, and I am so excited to see where this new attitude will lead me.

~Lydia Young-Samson

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