I wanted to share with you why I wanted to do this blog. I struggled so much as a young girl and it carried over into my adulthood. One of the only things I remember from Kindergarten is being made fun of. I remember exactly what was said to me and where I was. We all were sitting in the floor listening to a story. The little girl next to me said, “You look like boy! You’re wearing jeans!!” She laughed and it made me cry. I didn’t understand why she decided to be mean to me when I was nice to everyone. After that day it took me a long time before I would wear jeans again.
Later in Elementary School, I had a teacher that didn’t care for me for some reason and put me in the slow readers class. We were given little stories to read and had to highlight words we didn’t know. I would constantly get in trouble because I wouldn’t have anything highlighted. I was a good reader and I knew what all the words meant. Eventually I started highlighting words so I wouldn’t get in trouble.
I liked a little boy in my class one year in my class. I told him I liked him and he laughed and said he liked another girl who was pretty. Why would he ever like me? This is where my confidence started to leave me. I started to believe that I was ugly. The other girls were prettier. They had nice clothes and hair. I thought about myself and how I looked and this is one of the first times I looked in the mirror I didn’t like what I saw. I was gangly, I had a huge gap in between my two front teeth. I had bangs and my hair wasn’t blonde or brunette it was somewhere in between. I decided that I wasn’t pretty like the other girls. My self worth was fading. It doesn’t help when you get picked last or not picked at all for square dancing or teams. It really doesn’t help when everyone on the team decides they will lose because you got put on their team.
All through school kids picked on me and made fun of me. I have even had a teacher pick on me so other kids wouldn’t talk to me. She made up lies and told everyone that I had an illness. A lot of kids wouldn’t have anything to do with me. That same year I was paired up with the most popular girl in school for pen pals with an elderly woman at a nursing home. The other girl invited the woman to her house for dinner and brought a gift for her the day we went to visit the nursing home. The old lady made it very obvious to me that she didn’t care for me. She wouldn’t talk to me and ignored me the entire time. I felt that I must be the worst person alive. I didn’t understand why people didn’t like me. I began to wonder why on earth God would create a person like me. My family loved me but I thought they had to so it didn’t help my confidence.
The devil had a hay day. I didn’t understand it then, but he would whisper things in my mind when I looked in the mirror. I saw someone who wasn’t good enough, someone who wasn’t pretty, someone who wasn’t loved. I saw a joke. It’s amazing how young you are when the devil starts trying to destroy someone.
Middle School didn’t get any easier for me. I started to hate myself so much. Kids can be so mean. I had a few friends but not a lot. I started staying home from school because I didn’t want to have to face kids in school who didn’t like me. I begged to be home schooled or go to another school. In Middle School the boys called me hairy because I wasn’t allowed to shave my legs. Some of the guys made fun of me because I couldn’t play sports. In one gym class one kid made fun of me so much I got sick from crying. The hate for myself starting growing. I started self mutalating. I would bang my knees up against the wall or bath tub because I though I deserved to feel pain. It became my escape. I ended up hurting myself bad enough a few times that I ended up on crutches. Most kids were nice to me and offered to help me get from class to class. I hated myself but I hated that I hurt myself in secret. I would lie and say I feel down. A lot of kids thought I was faking my injuries. It upset me but I didn’t want them to know the real reason so I stayed quiet. By 7th grade I had put all that behind me and I had a lot of friends. We all accepted each other for who we were.
I stopped hurting myself physically but started depriving myself of food. If I thought I ate too much I’d go throw it up in the bathroom at school. Near 8th grade I was a size 0. I wanted to stay that tiny. Everyone said I was skinny and they were jealous. I thought I’d finally achieved something and finally had a reason to feel good about myself. In between 8th and 9th grade, I moved to a size 5. I still struggled with eating all throughout high school. I had a love hate relationship with food. I wanted to eat what everyone else was but I didn’t want to get fat. What I didn’t know at the time, is that when you don’t eat, your body goes into starvation mode. It stores fat. I gained weight instead of losing it. It made the situation worse. I didn’t realize exercise and eating right were necessary in being healthy and being at a healthy weight.
I began eating more and was a little heavy my junior year. I thinned out by the end of my junior year. I was so excited to be a senior! I was having some trouble with my ankle and went to the doctor. It turned out that I had a tumor right above my ankle on my fibula. I went through a lot that summer. My best friend Tiffany was right by my side and helped me through everything. God was by my side and if it weren’t for Him and my faith, I’d have never gotten through anything. In June of 2004 I had a biopsy of the tumor on my leg. The results came back and it was cancer. I had osteosarcoma. I was ready to go through whatever God wanted but I was still scared. I was anointed at church and I believed that God could heal me. I got so close to God. I knew that He would bring me through. I went to see my cancer doctor and he began to tell me all the things I would have to go through. They would remove my fibula from my ankle to my hip. I would have to miss my entire senior year with therapy and chemo. If that didn’t take care of the cancer cells I would have to have an amputation. It was so much to hear. I was upset, as any 17 year old girl would be. We walked through the hospital and I saw all these children who were in wheel chairs. They couldn’t walk and never had been able to. They were so happy. I got so mad at myself for being so selfish. I realized that if I had to have an amputation, I would at least be able to know what sand through my toes feels like and grass. Those kids never had that opportunity. I left the hospital that day with a newfound strength and appreciation. No matter what happened, God would take care of me and I would be okay.
On July 7, 2004 we received a call from my doctor. He said they had my biopsy sent off to a hospital in New York and they couldn’t find any cancer cells! I was cancer free! I still had to have the tumor removed and be in a cast for the summer. I didn’t care! As long as I could go to church camp, I didn’t care. I got my cast off the second day of school in my senior year. I gained a lot of weight from not being able to walk for an entire summer. By the end of Senior year I was in size 12’s from a 7 and I weighed 170lbs instead of 150. The summer after I graduated high school I lost a lot of weight. It continued in my first year of college. I started eating better and using the stairs to go everywhere. My first non babysitting job was a runner at a law firm. I was able to walk everywhere in the city to deliver and pick up things. I was healthy and happy.
After a bad break up I didn’t eat. I didn’t even realize that I wasn’t eating. When I did eat, I would get sick. I got down to 120lbs. I was too skinny and I was able to fit into a 6. Eventually I began eating again. I started dating my husband. We went to McDonald’s a lot. I started gaining weight but it didn’t hit me as to why. I was working full time and taking evening classes and then eating dinner at 10PM. I was heading towards a very unhealthy path. When my husband and I got married in 2010, I was the heaviest I had ever been. I was 175-180lbs. Out first year of marriage was tough. My Grandma Nickels passed away June 8, 2011. 5 months later my Grandpa Wagoner died on November 8, 2011. Our car broke down, my husband’s job situation fell through and I turned to eating. By June of 2012, I weighed 190-195lbs. At my heaviest I was 195. I was miserable and heart broken. I had no clue now I got so big. My friend introduced me to a 24 day challenge from Advocare and I started losing weight. It helped me realize what I was putting in my mouth every day. I was eating junk and my body hated me for it. This past June 2013, I weighed 150. I as so proud of myself! My goal is to be 140-145lbs and in an 8.
I have realized on my journey that I needed God. I got saved at 6 but in 2012 the devil started making me doubt that I’d ever said the salvation prayer. I struggled for a long time with it. Finally one reading the bible God spoke to me and said if you have a doubt, then take care of it. I prayed that prayer and knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was saved. I haven’t looked back since.
I have realized that you cannot eat junk and be healthy and I have realized that comparing yourself to others gives you no satisfaction. Compare yourself to yourself and to what God wants you to be. I still struggle with the comparing thing all the time. I’m getting better. I put it all out there for others to see. Writing this was very hard for me. I cried a lot and had to stop several times. I knew my story needed to be heard.
I wanted to start this blog because I knew other girls have gone through this or are going through this and they need to know they are not alone! I will try to post something every day. 😊
Love in Christ,
Iva Mae 💜
I stole this picture from my beautiful cousin Katie.