Where’d I Go??

A few weeks ago I posted about our upcoming trip to Hawaii (Road to Paradise). I complained about being overweight, but said I wasn’t going to worry about it. Oh, how I wish that were true. It may have been my intention, but there’s no way around it. It is on my mind. Not that it will ruin my vacation because I know it won’t. But it’s still there.

I had an interesting (if not very common with women) conversation with my friend, Terri, on Sunday. She had asked a friend why this friend never told her she was fat. Her friend responded, “I don’t see you as fat.” And she’s not fat! But her perception of herself and our perception of her are very different. How many people do you know whose physical appearance has been transformed when you get to know them? Pretty soon you see their spirit and not them. (Though I confess to noticing pretty clothes and nice hair).

But I don’t trust others to see me that way. I certainly don’t see me that way. I look in the mirror or at a picture of me and all I see is a person I don’t recognize. I want to scream, “This is not me!! I am NOT this person!!”

I had gained the majority of my weight before I moved to Pennsylvania so this is all anyone here knows. I told Terri that I feel like nobody up here knows the real me. Not one person has made me feel judged on my appearance, and yet for some reason I think about it.

I’m a very open and honest person. I don’t know how to be otherwise. There are certain things I may not talk about, but for the most part I’ll tell you anything you want to know. And stuff you don’t want to know, as evidenced by this blog. Terri said, “Oh, we know the real you.” And I know she’s right. This is me. The real me.

The stupidity of these thoughts is epic. I have made wonderful friends up here, both in church and in the neighborhood. They see through my physical appearance and like me for who I am. And what kind of arrogance do I have to think I’m the only one who likes people for their insides, not their outsides?

I’ve always said if someone doesn’t like me because of the way I look then I don’t want to be their friend anyway. Why would I want to hang out with someone that shallow and petty? And I truly mean it. So why do I care??

Thankfully this negativity doesn’t consume me. Oh, I probably think about it more than I should, but it doesn’t keep me from being happy. I know where my joy lies and it certainly isn’t in what size clothes I wear.

Maybe I’ll lose the weight someday. I would like to be healthier and I’m pretty sure I would feel better. But I wonder what I’ll think about then.


I have a new post up at Mothers with Cancer.


  1. radioactive girl on July 1, 2008 at 11:02 am

    Here is something interesting. My husband gained a ton of weight when we were first married. I did not notice. Then, when I was pregnant with my twins, he lost over 100 pounds. I did not notice that either. I generally don’t notice much about someone elses appearance unless they tell me. I notice WHO they are, not what they look like. Did you ever notice that the most attractive guy could become totally ugly just by his personality? And the opposite is true too. Maybe it is just me, but the inside is really just so much more important than the outside.BUT, I have seen pictures of you, and you are beautiful on both the inside and the out!

  2. Lori on July 1, 2008 at 11:18 am

    (((Hugs))) And even though you know this… I think almost all of us feel this way. I know that I do.We just had Jeff’s bar mitzvah, and I saw the pictures and thought Holy Smokes, when did I get so dang fat?!?! The camera adds 10 pounds, and I must have been wearing 4 cameras that day.I know that what’s important is getting and being healthy, and for you – you are so much healthier now than you were, right? So, one step at a time. It will come. And let us all bask in our jealousness when you come back tanned and gorgeous from Hawaii.

  3. Gretchen on July 1, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Jenster, I have been on this journey, as well. As long as we have a today, we can work on being healthy–not just skinny–but healthy in mind, body, and most importantly for me, spirit. I think if we switched our thinking re: how we could cherish ourselves, that might change a few eating habits. Just a few, mind you. ;)Thank God, you have a today. I know your battle with cancer didn’t just change your breasts. I, for one, am so happy to have you–whether at your “ideal” weight or not, so that we can MIRL and blog together until then.xxxooogretchenP.S. If you want to “see” me as Reese Witherspoon, though, that’d be just fine. 😉

  4. The Daily "B" on July 1, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    I feel your pain. I struggle with this… every moment. Bad bad bad. But You’re so right, the negativity doesn’t do anything for you. Easier said than done, but it’s true. I’ve decided to just make better choices, I know it’s different for me, being a youngster and all, lol. Better now than later? I guess.It’s funny but true, when you live with someone or just spend a lot of time with them, you don’t notice the appearance. Someone told telling me how great my mom was looking after shedding a few pounds. Huh? I had no clue. Apparently she has lost weight but I never noticed. lol.

  5. Jenster on July 1, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    Radioactive Girl – That’s it exactly. A person’s outward appearance can be changed by their insides. And thank you. (But those pictures are from before I gained the weight! lol)Lori – We’re always so much critical of ourselves than others are. I bet you looked gorgeous! And don’t hate me because I’m tanned… heeheeReese — I mean, Gretchen – I do thank God that I’m here and how much better it is than the alternative. And that I’ll get to meet you someday IRL over margaritas (I’d prefer mine on the rocks, please, with salt of course!)Deb – It is easier when you’re younger. I never realized how true that was until, well, I got older. lol

  6. lahdeedah on July 1, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    Oh, man, can I relate to this post. I intellectually get that we’re all lovely inside and out, but I can’t help but long for the old model. I admit it. I’m vain. But vanity aside, excess weight is not good for us cancer chicks. Hey Jen, what do you think about supporting each other to lose a few lbs?

  7. Monnik on July 1, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    I’m glad this isn’t consuming you, and I hope you don’t give it more than a fleeting thought while you frolic in paradise with that amazing family of yours.

  8. SweetAnnee on July 1, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    Oh jenn..negative talk is so bad for us..I do that to myself too.We will never be as thin as we want nor as we once were..Our friends love us conditionally..just as God does..and as long as we are healthy..then a bit of weight..well we can live with it.Be Happy, eat healthy..talk walks..love yourselfDeena

  9. mel on July 1, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    right there with ya. i tend to look on the outside of me. i’m so glad my peeps look on the inside. just like God. hunh. go figure. (no pun intended…) 😎

  10. Terri Stone on July 1, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    Thank you, my friend, for writing these sane words. What wonderful words of encouragement written by women who have had to struggle with real issues! My hope is that all these words will sink in to my head and heart.In all honesty, I am never drawn to a person based on their physical appearance. What draws me first is their mind, then their heart and finally theirs sense of humor. This is true for both women and men.Jen, you’re gorgeous both inside and out! I so admire your candor and straightforward approach to being a cancer survivor and no one makes me laugh as hard as you do when you tell the stories of your journey.I’d love to continue this conversation with other women in hopes of getting to the bottom of the of why so many women’s self-worth is wrapped up in what the scale says, a jean size and society’s idea of what’s beautiful.I can’t wait to see that ‘bronzed’ body and smiling, rested face when you get back from paradise.Your gal pal,Terri

  11. Jenster on July 1, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    Jill – I’m all about helping a sister out. Can we wait until after my trip?? LOLMonnik – Thanks. :o)Deena – Be Happy, eat healthy..talk walks..love yourself I’m trying!! Mel – HeeheeheeTerri – Thank you, sweet friend. I enjoyed our conversation. Hm. I’m seeing a future CLEAR theme…

  12. Lynilu on July 1, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    Excellent post, Jen. I’ve had similar thoughts many times. I’m not happy that I am the size I am, but I don’t worry about it. I try to keep my diet healthy, not always succeeding, but knowing it is just one factor of my life. I like me, regardless of size and shape, and that’s something to be really happy about! I’m glad you know where your joy lies! 🙂

  13. Becky on July 2, 2008 at 3:18 am

    I SO understand what you mean. Have you ever seen The Fat Rant? I think you can google it or look it up on YouTube, but it’s pretty much sums up my way of thinking about the subject.I’m pretty comfortable in my own skin. Not that I wouldn’t enjoy being 40 or 50 pounds thinner, but I like the ME I am today much better than the me I was back in my thin(ner) days. And my peeps here IRL have never known anyone but this current me and like me just fine, too. There are a couple of of people in my life who have set themselves up as being ‘superior’ somehow because they happened to have better genetics than I, but I don’t let it get to me. They tend to be the overly critical types that place far too much stock in image (and society’s ideal) and not enough in character, and are usually not a part of my normal circle to begin with. Life’s too short to torture myself with ‘friends’ like that, or with trying to maintain an unrealistic body size. I’m not Kate Moss, nor would I care to be. Even in my slimmer days I still had to shop at Lane Bryant for clothing, because big boobs and big bones do not in small clothing belong. But it never hurt my dating prospects any back in the day, and Jeff has never seemed bothered by it. My size is not causing any health concerns, or getting in the way of any of the things I’ve aspired to do (well, except maybe the Boston Marathon), so I don’t view it as a huge deal. All that to say…enjoy your vacation. Don’t give any of this stuff a thought. You are a beautiful woman, well loved by your friends and family. Wear that gorgeous new swimsuit with pride, woman…run and play and swim and celebrate living with that wonderful family and the wonderful life that the Lord has blessed you with. Enjoy it with gusto, my friend!

  14. Stacy~ on July 2, 2008 at 7:06 am

    I think everyone here said it very well, so I don’t have anything better to add. I knew someone at work who’d lost a lot of weight, but was always crabby, always concerned about her appearance. Gradually she gained a bit of the weight back, but what happened was she stopped being so conscious of her looks and just began to enjoy who she was. She became a much easier person to be around, and it transformed her and made her look better (at least I thought so). So being thin didn’t make her happy.I think as long as you’re healthy and happy, that’s what matters. Sometimes people look a lot better with more weight instead of being so skinny. I think as women we never think we’re good enough, so there’s always that harmful thought in the back of our minds that wreaks havoc with our peace of mind. But you a a lovely person, with a beautiful heart and soul, and your mirror is a cold, inanimate object that is no friend to anyone. What you have is so much better. And no matter what you look like Jen, your spirit is going to shine through and show the world how gorgeous you are. Enjoy your vacation – you DESERVE it. Relax, have fun, and breathe.

  15. Katybug on July 2, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    Ditto to what everyone else said! What can I possibly add to what’s already been said? How about the fact that I think you are one of the loveliest, most beautiful people I know, both inside and out, and I admire you incredibly? Clearly I am not alone. 🙂 Very ironic that you should do a post on weight, considering I’m putting one together that addresses that as well!!! What are the odds?

  16. Mama P on July 3, 2008 at 3:05 am

    This weight thing is going around the internet. You are not alone. You are perfect the way you are, but if you want to lose some to be healthy, do it!

  17. Eileen on July 4, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    Great post! Someone once asked me what I would do if for some magical reason, we all had to stay at our current weight for the rest of our life? Would we hide in the house or life life to the fullest. Made me think…a lot. I do what to loose weight to be healthier, but I am no longer going to let it stop me from enjoying any part of my life. Easier said, I know, but something to think about.Have a great weekend!!

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