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It it Time for Me to Take Control of the Things in Life I Can Control

I have always seen myself as an average size girl. Every few months I go through phases where I am motivated and excited to get toned and in shape…for some reason this only last a couple of weeks before I am back to my old routine. Two years ago my mom, Maggie, was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. This has controlled the way I feel on a daily basis, some days I am dragging and tired and I don’t know why, others I feel angry that I can’t do anything about what has happened to her.

I have deiced it is time for me to take control of the things in life I can control. My appearance and self-confidence are two things I can take charge of. I am using this challenge to strengthen my self-esteem and overcome obstacles that have been weighing me down and keeping me from reaching my full potential.

~ Michelle Horkman, 2009 SLAM BAM Contest 3rd Place

Black Leather Pants

Black leather pants. That has been my dream to wear them, because then I know I am fit with the body of my dream. I have never had that body. When my mother is asked about my size as a child, she responds, “She wasn’t fat, she was…happy.” That may have been true as a child, but it changed as I became self-aware in middle school. My sister who is four years older would put on my clothes and pull out the waist to show me how big they were on her. At school I was called “the Pillsbury dough girl” by the boy on whom I had a crush. In high school, I was told that I had a pretty face but that my body did not match it. The worst memory for me was when I was at camp as a teenager. A group of boys would chant “wide-earth” every time I walked in or out of the cafeteria. My mother could not understand my unhappiness with my body and self. She told me that my size and shape was the best it would ever be in my life. She basically indicated that my fate was that of most of the women in my family: a life of obesity.

I now have successfully stayed the thinnest person in my family, but I am still overweight and I have never worn black leather pants. I have had two children and been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I have been told that they are both reasons to not be able to lose weight. I accepted that for a period of time while I cared for our family until I realized that the way I looked in pictures was not a bad camera angle, but my true self. I realized the scale was not changing. I realized that I avoided looking in mirrors because every time I did, all I could think were negative thoughts about me. I finally realized that I was not happy. I had to make a change. I started doing boot camp. I started noticing changes in my body and I started doing exercises that I never thought I would be able to do. I realized for the first time that change is possible.

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I Am Eager to Grow Smaller Physically and Bigger Mentally

“You have such a great personality.” “What pretty eyes!”

“Don’t get rid of that booty.” “Black guys love thick girls”

These are the comments I have heard a majority of my life – people thinking it is a compliment, trying to help, providing encouragement, asking me out on a date, you name it. These are the comments that have come to define who others think I am for the past 28 years. These are the comments that I am sick and tired of. These are the comments that hard work, perseverance, lots of sweat, and introspection will annihilate over the course of the next several months.

For years I have been the “biggest” teammate, daughter, girlfriend, sibling, and friend. Never have these individuals called me fat, thankfully I have a good support system, but nonetheless, it is fact

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