46. Storm

46. Storm

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Curvy & Confident

Storm

The great and glorious masterpiece of man is to know how to live to purpose.

~Michel de Montaigne

“Should you eat that?” “You shouldn’t wear that.” “Are you sure you can fit?” “She should exercise.” “Put her in sports.” “Try a bigger size.” These words had echoed in my ears since I was old enough to understand. They became my inner voice.

Should I wear that? I’m too big to do this. Maybe I shouldn’t. I can’t. Words became action; action became more eating. More eating became a bigger waistline. A verbally abusive partner solidified the deal.

Daily, I was told how beautiful I would be if I were smaller.

I was told that I couldn’t be happy unless I was thin.

I waited for happy; it never came. Insane dieting, a divorce, and a fiancé who flew the coop when I was six months pregnant put me in the darkest place of my life.

And at my heaviest — 330 pounds.

One day I woke up. I was holding my three-week-old in my arms and I decided then and there: I was good enough. I was worth it. This tiny person would grow without those words in his head.

Did I lose the weight? Not really.

But I did go back to school when my son was three months old.

I did apply for every scholarship I could get my hands on and every bit of financial aid I qualified for. When I didn’t fit behind the desks, I sat at the teacher’s aide desk. I studied. I passed. I got into nursing school.

I passed nursing school at 320 pounds.

I was on my feet twelve-plus hours a day and went to classes most of the week. I took care of a child at home. I found a way to pay for college.

I worked as a nursing assistant while I waited to pass my boards.

I passed.

I got a job at a long-term care facility taking care of fifty-four patients per night.

I was told that I couldn’t be happy unless I was thin.

I worked six days a week for months until I got a job at a Long Term Acute Care where I had nine patients a night for twelve-hour shifts. I’ve been there a year and a half. I never sit.

I was still 310 pounds.

I returned to writing, one of my passions. I spent my nights off staring at a computer screen and writing when everyone else was asleep. I’ve returned to school to work on my bachelor’s degree online. I finished sixty-three hours of critical care training in a month-long weekend class schedule with a full-time job and a kid. I sleep three to five hours a night most nights.

I was still 305 pounds.

I work out. I eat better. It’s a learning process. But I don’t have to be thin to be strong. I don’t have to be thin to be happy. I have a beautiful, energetic and hilarious son, a promising and fulfilling career, a rewarding hobby, and a loving family. I found my happy. I found myself.

I accepted a new position at a magnet hospital in their ICU.

I’m still 300 pounds.

Curvy is not a complete roadblock to being you. I still shimmy and dance in Storm Trooper scrubs. I do everything I set out to do. I’m getting to a healthier me but I don’t let words stop me from wearing a dress, going out or living my life.

The words I hear now are mine. I am good enough. I am worth it.

So are you. You have always been good enough. You have always been worth it. You do not need to rely on anyone for your happy. You are strong, stronger than you know, and you can do anything.

Say that, repeat daily. Then take the world by storm.

~Jillian Rossi

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