My mother was extremely overprotective of me and that is one of the reasons I was never sure what I wanted in life. She never allowed me to get involved in sports or clubs and I had a lot of social issues. My mother made me scared of the world and everything in it.
I saw other girls having a good time playing sports or cheerleading. I would ask my mom to drop me off early at school because I wanted to watch the cheer practices. I never told her that, but I always wanted to be in dance and cheer. I always asked myself why I couldn’t have what the other girls had.
I was a plus-size girl, but that’s not a good excuse. I remember I got to be on the freshman float in high school and I wore a Hawaiian dress and accessories, only to hear “Oh look, the chubby girl!” when we watched the video in English class.
Today, I would stand up for myself. I take pride in rocking my beautiful, plus-size body. But this is now. That was then.
After that I tried to get involved but my weight and my own insecurities got the best of me. For example, my school’s gym clothes were gray and maroon and one day I wore all gray. As a result one of the girls called me an elephant.
So while I did have some good memories, at least 80 percent of them were bad. I didn’t even go to prom — I asked a guy but he said no. All through school I was worried about my weight and my fears instead of making as many good memories as I could.
Fighting my mental health issues was difficult. I wanted to break free, to scream and to cry. I was even suicidal at one point.
But in 2014 my life changed for the better when I met my angel on earth — my husband, Luis. He has helped me see the world in a different light. He showed me that the world was full of all types of people, good and bad but, it was up to me to choose who to listen to and to be more vocal about what I want and who I want to be.
Sometimes things happen to you to make you realize what you are worth and also to make you stronger. I used to say this to my mother and she didn’t like it. She said no one deserved to have bullies or be made fun of, but now that I’m older I understand that when people make fun of you or try to make you feel bad it is because they are miserable in their own life and misery loves company.
When Luis and I moved to Utah at the end of March I planned to get a job. That made me a tad nervous because it had been five years since I had worked outside the home. I took care of my father in law when he lived with us, and then I became my dad’s caregiver in 2019. But before that, I’d applied for jobs to no avail, and I was always afraid that managers might be turning me down because of my weight.
Becoming my dad’s caregiver after my mother passed away triggered my anxiety and depression. It was even harder for my mental health. I was also scared about leaving my dad home alone because of the condition he has but I knew that the day had to come for me to get back on the saddle and look for work.
I started submitting my resumes. After many applications and resumes I finally got an interview. In the past, I always felt like I had to put on a fake front during the interview process. But after I met my husband, that all changed. I needed to be real. I needed to be me. I felt good about the interview. The man conducting it was very nice and asked me relatable questions. At the end of the interview, he offered me the job. That was a first for me. I couldn’t believe it.
I began my new job on June 2. I was nervous, yet excited. I was working finally! I felt like I found a purpose in my life beyond being a wife and caretaker. I was happy to get out of the house and dressed up.
My whole state of mind changed for the better. Thanks to this job, my depression and anxiety are reduced, and I am not as angry and mad as I used to be. Even when I get home, I enjoy it more. Life is funny. I didn’t anticipate that a job would help me with my mental issues. But sometimes you have to stop being afraid and get out there. And if you are a parent, encourage your children to participate in activities. Nobody’s weight should ever stop them from reaching their goals and dreams.