Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

I’ve carried this weight since I was 11. That’s when it came, unbidden, unwanted, and for me, unexpected.

It showed up everywhere, my legs, my stomach, my arms, and most of all my chest. Heavy. Unwieldy. It showed up and stole from me. It stole my childhood, my innocence, my ability to even dress myself anymore.

I remember being in the book aisle of my town’s K-Mart sobbing. Next to the girl’s clothing section, this was my favorite place to be. Among all the stories I could lose myself in. I was good at losing myself in other people’s worlds.

“Why can’t I have the skirt Mommy? I like it,” I hiccupped, embarrassed I was crying in public but unable to stop the liquid emotion from pouring out.

I saw my mom hesitate. She squatted down, eyes level with mine, her own liquid emotion there.

“It’s not flattering on you, honey. I’m so sorry but no.” She hugged me.

It was a cool white jean skirt with suspenders that I’d found in the girl’s aisle, a size 14x because the weight was my constant companion. I remember the feeling of shame because I had looked at myself in the mirror and seen it, the weight. But while I’d seen it, I didn’t realize what it was. I didn’t know it was a thing to fear. I had been too focused on childhood to realize this was something I should be aware of.

That day I changed my relationship with food. It was no longer simply a part of my day, it was everything I thought about. What to eat, when, how much. I had been promised five new outfits (a shopping spree!) if I could go down one clothing size. I went down four. That summer I also shot up a few inches and started my period.

Now a new weight was upon me.

This weight I couldn’t get rid of, no matter how much I restricted my diet. The only thing I could do with this weight was pack it into a bra that seemed too big for a young girl to even be able to hold and try to cover it with baggy shirts. It was a weight I carried in front of me, 24×7, a weight that caused men to stare, to leer, to make inappropriate comments, comments I didn’t even understand.

This weight was heavier than the extra flesh I’d carried on my hips and stomach. That weight was now gone, replaced with sharp bones and flatness. This weight made the boys at school drool, be nice to me one day then jeering the next. This weight confused me. This weight made me hide.

I have never been at peace in my body.

I have said and done horrible things to myself to try and tame the weight. All of it. The weight at my hips and stomach, the weight on my chest. I’ve gone up and down, restricted food, told myself it didn’t matter and eaten everything. I’ve worn loose clothing to hide, this clothing making me look bigger than I was. I’ve worn tight clothing but the tight always meant walking with my eyes down, because tight clothing brings eyes, and mine couldn’t meet them. I’d never understood the women who can own their weight. I’d tried. I’d marvel over women who had the weight—hips and stomach OR chest—and who exposed it, unabashedly, joyfully, sexually. Humanly. Exposing never seemed normal for me.

As I sit writing this, the liquid emotion is once again making its way down my cheeks as I think of all the time spent wasted. All the times my heart would begin to inch its way into my ears, drowning out everything because it was beating so hard as I walked through life with something on that was drawing looks, eyes down, feeling the stares, hearing the comments and scared that looking up, owning my body would invite something horrible. An invitation, a touch, violence.

I’m almost 44 and for the first time in my life, I am starting to feel lighter. The weight is still there, in fact, there’s more of it now.

A new inch or so on my hips, some new heft in my stomach. The weight of my chest all these years has bent my back, my shoulders slouch forward, shielding, hiding. My shoulders have permanent divots in them from a lifetime of bras. But now I’m working to straighten. To wear what makes me feel good, even if it proves my womanhood. To meet eyes, with kindness until they demonstrate they’re not worthy of my kindness and then I meet them with strength. I am working to make food my friend, not an enemy to be fought against at every meal.

Forty-four. That’s almost 32 years of hiding, fighting, fearing. I no longer want to live in fear and I no longer want to hide. I want to be seen, not for my weight or my clothes but for what I bring to the world through who I am inside.

I’m trying to raise young men who will meet eyes with kindness, who will appreciate beauty for more than what it can do for them. Who will understand beauty is so much more than flesh.

I’ve been heavy almost my whole life, but it hasn’t been because of my weight.

It’s the heaviness of being a woman, of not understanding the power I owned, of not valuing my space in this world. It’s the heaviness of carrying my fear. Fear of being seen and looking up.

I’m looking up now. I’m not scared.

I’m finally losing the weight, even as I gain some pounds. And that makes me happy.

You may also like:

Hey Moms, Lose the Weight

As Mothers, We Carry the Weight

Why I Stopped Criticizing My Body in Front of My Daughter

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Heather LeRoss

Heather LeRoss is the mom to two smelly but sweet boys and step-mom to another boy (he’s less smelly). She spends her days spinning in circles of crazy wearing a tiara, gripping a glass of champagne. Heather is a lover of fine boxed wine and chocolate. She hopes to someday be known as “Heather” again and not, “those boys’ mom.” Follow the funny and heart feels on Tipsy Tiaras and on Facebook.

I’m Afraid of Going to the Dentist

In: Living
Woman sitting in dental chair looking nervous

I never used to have a fear of the dentist. Growing up as a child who struggled with sensory issues and hated brushing my teeth, combined with struggles with food and not eating very healthy, I often had cavities and needed trips to the dentist to fix them. So trips to the dentist were just common for me, and I got used to it. By the time I was a teenager and needed braces, those trips only got more frequent. Did I enjoy the dentist? No, not really. But I never had any anxieties about it until five years ago. It started...

Keep Reading

She is an Anonymom

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother standing at sink holding a baby on her hip

She stands alone in the church kitchen, frantically scrubbing pots and pans while the grieving huddle around the fellowship hall, and she slips out the back door before anyone comes in. She is an anonymom. She gets out of her car and picks up the trash thrown into the ditch alongside the country road. She is an anonymom. She sits on the park bench, watching her children play. In the meantime, she continually scans the whole playground, keeping track of everyone’s littles, because that is what moms do. She is an anonymom. RELATED: Can We Restore “the Village” Our Parents...

Keep Reading

Your Husband Needs Friendship Too

In: Faith, Friendship, Marriage
3 men smiling outside

As the clock inches closer to 7:00 on a Monday evening, I pull out whatever dessert I had prepared that week and set it out on the kitchen counter. This particular week it’s a trifle, but other weeks it may be brownies, pound cake, or cookies of some kind. My eyes do one last sweep to make sure there isn’t a tripping hazard disguised as a dog toy on the floor and that the leftover dinner is put away. Then, my kids and I make ourselves scarce. Sometimes that involves library runs or gym visits, but it mostly looks like...

Keep Reading

Memories are What Matter—Watch the Chevy Holiday Ad Making Us Cry

In: Living
Chevy holiday ad

I don’t know about you, but the older I get the more I find that this time of year feels fragile. I love the holidays, don’t get me wrong. But these days I recognize a comingling of joy and sadness that envelopes so many during this season. It’s a giant heap of emotion as we sort through the good, the bad, the happy, and the sad of the past year and try to make sense of where we are right here, right now, in this moment of time. So when I saw Chevrolet’s new seasonal ad last night, I was...

Keep Reading

This Is Why Moms Ask for Experience Gifts

In: Faith, Living, Motherhood
Mother and young daughter under Christmas lights wearing red sweaters

When a mama asks for experience gifts for her kids for Christmas, please don’t take it as she’s ungrateful or a Scrooge. She appreciates the love her children get, she really does. But she’s tired. She’s tired of the endless number of toys that sit in the bottom of a toy bin and never see the light of day. She’s tired of tripping over the hundreds of LEGOs and reminding her son to pick them up so the baby doesn’t find them and choke. She’s tired of having four Elsa dolls (we have baby Elsa, Barbie Elsa, a mini Elsa,...

Keep Reading

6 Things You Can Do Now to Help Kids Remember Their Grandparents

In: Grief, Living, Loss, Motherhood
Grandfather dances with granddaughter in kitchen

A month ago, my mom unexpectedly passed away. She was a vibrant 62-year-old grandma to my 4-year-old son who regularly exercised and ate healthy. Sure, she had some health scares—breast cancer and two previous brain aneurysms that had been operated on successfully—but we never expected her to never come home after her second surgery on a brain aneurysm. It has been devastating, to say the least, and as I comb through pictures and videos, I have gathered some tips for other parents of young kids to do right now in case the unexpected happens, and you’re left scrambling to never...

Keep Reading

When You Need a Friend, Be a Friend

In: Friendship, Living
Two friends having coffee

We have all seen them—the posts about the door always open, the coffee always on, telling us someone is always there when we need support. I have lived with depression my entire life. From being a nervous child with a couple of ticks to a middle-aged woman with recurrent major depressive and generalized Anxiety disorder diagnoses. Antidepressants, therapy, writing, and friends are my treatments. The first three are easy, my doctor prescribes antidepressants, I make appointments with a therapist, and I write when I feel the need. RELATED: Happy People Can Be Depressed, Too The fourth is hard. As I...

Keep Reading

When You Just Don’t Feel Like Christmas

In: Faith, Living
Woman sad looking out a winter window

It’s hard to admit, but some years I have to force myself to decorate for Christmas. Some years the lights look a little dimmer. The garlands feel a bit heavier. And the circumstances of life just aren’t wrapped in a big red bow like I so wish they were. Then comparison creeps in like a fake Facebook friend and I just feel like hiding under the covers and skipping it all. Because I know there’s no way to measure up to the perfect life “out there.” And it all just feels heavier than it used to. Though I feel alone,...

Keep Reading

To the Parents Who Coach: Thank You

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother with young son in soccer uniform, color photo

I always planned on being an involved parent, whatever that would mean. Never an athlete, always athletic, I joined the swim team in high school, taught swim lessons for spending money as a college freshman, played intramural soccer at 10 p.m. on weeknights on a college team with a ridiculous name. Later, mama to only one baby, finding extra dollars wherever I could, I coached track. And then, my own babies really started to play sports. I promised myself I would volunteer as possible, but something always stood in the way, and all I could manage was to get my...

Keep Reading

Now That I’m There, 30 Doesn’t Seem That Old

In: Living
Woman holding a sign with the number 30 and chocolates, color photo

I turned 30 this year. The change of a decade has caused me to reflect a lot. This is the first time I’ve hit an age ending in zero and sort of wish I could go back a ways. At 10 and 20 years old I was still eagerly waiting to get older. That desire slowed down and stopped around 25 years old. Still, I haven’t lived my first 30 years with a lot of regrets. I have four little ones who call me mom. Some days they make me feel old. Often they keep me acting young. Dance parties...

Keep Reading