I’ve had two great struggles in my life; The first was growing up feeling “un-beautiful”. From elementary school through college I struggled with my weight — I’d even go as far as to say I was the fat girl. I also had acne early on and it’s something I battle to this day. I don’t have to tell you that girls are mean —– and I admit, until recently, I was no exception. Girls are especially cruel to one another, which can make high school a brutal time for anyone, but I know it’s particularly brutal for a girl who’s ashamed of her body. I’ve worked hard to shed 60+ pounds since college and have outgrown the worst of my teenage skin troubles, but weight and self-esteem issues will always be part of my journey.
When I lost the weight I felt like I had won my battle, overcome my odds, passed my test. At 22, I felt like my struggle was finally over. But then it happened…my second great struggle came along and made me dream of days when weight was utmost concern. My dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer and the struggle became more real and more terrifying than I ever knew possible.
Since my dad passed, the struggle hasn’t even begun to fade, but from here I can see the good in the struggle. From here, I can see the struggle has given me a sense of purpose. Watching my dad’s vibrant life slip away gave me an appreciation for the short time we are given.
The struggle has enlightened me and encouraged me to pursue what is new, exciting and even downright terrifying. This year has already been incredible! I was a keynote speaker at San Diego Women’s Week, ran my very first half marathon and had the privilege of mentoring a teen girl. This year I’ll also climb Mt. Whitney, and rappel a skyscraper to raise money for cancer research. All of this is far beyond my comfort zone, but I’ve found that outside of my comfort zone is where the struggle is — and that’s where I flourish.
While I’m not doing this for my dad, I am doing this because of him. My dad taught me to embrace the struggle — and losing him is has been the greatest struggle I’ve ever known.
Above all, I’m doing this for girls of all ages who have struggled and who are struggling. I’m doing this for those that have struggled financially, physically, emotionally or spiritually. I’m doing this for who have lost someone they love; For those who struggle to pay the bills or lose the weight. I’m doing this for those who have felt rejection and loneliness. I’m doing this for all of us who just want to feel happy and beautiful in our own skin. I’m living outside my comfort zone to help all girls realize that beauty comes from the struggle.
The struggle strengthens us for the journey. The struggle makes us powerful, brave and bold. The struggle is what gives us purpose.
“If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?”