Tonight, I saw a Dove Soap commercial that upset me. You may have seen it, little girls swimming, taking gymnastics, practicing ballet. Then, flashing on the screen were the words “6 out of 10 girls stop doing what they love because they feel bad about how they look.” That makes me sad. How could the darling little freckled-faced girl diving in the deep end of the pool let her baby fat stop her? How could the pigtailed brown-eyed cutie perfecting her back handspring let the space between her teeth crush her Olympic dreams? How could the pink leotard wearing ballerina let a slightly larger than average nose stop her from dancing the Nutcracker?

Maybe it’s the stacks of magazines at the grocery store checkout, covers filled with stories about the latest scheme to get perfectly sculpted abs in 2 weeks or how to drop 4 dress sizes in a month. Maybe it’s the Enquirer, Star or Globe tabloids with pictures of bathing suit clad plus size women in unflattering positions faces blacked out concealing their true identity while the image of a slim trim actress beside her shows sparkling eyes and a bright white smile, no need to conceal her identity. Or maybe it’s the rows of ridiculously proportioned Barbie dolls lining the toy aisle. Who knows?

I wasn’t one of those 6 girls who quit. Even though I was a good fifty pounds heavier than most girls in my class, it didn’t stop me from joining the middle school dance team. I didn’t let the fact that besides a turtle I am one of the slowest creatures to move across planet earth stop me from playing softball and leading my team in stolen bases my junior year. A big part of stealing bases is attitude. What I lacked in speed, I more than made up for in attitude. Ask my mother. At seventeen years old, I had more attitude than Michael Jackson had in his video for Beat It. I didn’t let my feelings of inadequacy stop me from doing anything. And believe me, most days, I felt like I fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on my way down.

I had self-esteem issues just like every other teenage girl, maybe more so carrying around all that extra weight. Why didn’t I become a statistic? Why? Because I had a Moma and Daddy who told me not to listen to those mean insecure adolescent boys who called me Miss Piggy. I was beautiful with long silky dark auburn hair and green eyes that sparkled when I laughed. I had a Daddy that made me feel like Pete Rose on the ball field, Tiger Woods on the golf course and Martina Navratilova on the tennis court when I was barely coordinated enough to walk straight. I had a Moma who didn’t raise a quitter, even when it was hard, even when my team lost, even when I wanted to give up. Whether it was running for class treasurer, playing clarinet in the school band or trying out for cheerleading, they were my biggest fans. Moma and Daddy may have thought I was too short, too fat or just not coordinated enough but they never let me know it.

Funny thing is I did become a statistic. I became one of the 4 in 10 girls who say so what I could stand to lose some weight, so what my teeth are crooked, so what I’m no super model. I’m not quitting. No matter what you think.

Thanks Moma and Daddy.

Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.image