Since I have started doing obstacle course races, people have asked me if I would ever do one other obstacle course race besides Spartan Race, and my reply was it would have to be for the right reason. Last night, I got asked to attend a Warrior Dash on August 17th in Crawfordsville, IN by Dre O’Dell and Jonathan Nolan. They have put together a fun-raising program to help Jenny get some gear along with other expenses during the weekend so that she can do her first OCR. I you feel moved by her story as I did and would like to help, please click on her photo or click here to donate to her fundraising page. Below is a copy of Jenny’s story from her fun-rasing page.
Nine years ago, in November of 2004, I left college 110lbs heavier than when I started. I spent 3 years in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship before I found the strength to cut ties with the man who so deeply scarred me. In February of this year, I found myself in nearly the same situation with another person; alone believing I wasn’t deserving of love because I am fat, ugly, and unhealthy. I spent 12 years hating myself for letting myself go, staying fat to shut people out of my life, believing “no one would love a fat girl.” No one will hurt me if they don’t know me.
I go to school every day (I’m an elementary teacher), encouraging students to love themselves and love each other, but I haven’t taken my own advice. To avoid being alone, I work at a plus size women’s store at night and on weekends, helping plus sized women feel pretty and confident in their looks by selling them overpriced stylish clothing, but I don’t see my own beauty in the exact same clothes. I began to see how unhappy the women are with their bodies even when they’re dressed up, as I am just like them. One day at school, a student wrote me a note that said “I love you Miss Gesse” and I began to cry in front of my kids. I didn’t know how else to react because I was so used to the negative comments that I continually tell myself. I couldn’t understand how someone could love a fat girl. I asked myself, “What have I done to feel undeserving of happiness? Why don’t I deserve the love that my students have for me? Why am I working to support women to stay unhealthy and hidden from the world?”
I’ve been working to answer those questions over the last few months, and I quickly came to the conclusion that I never learned to love myself, and that is not OK. I deserve to be happy and healthy. Instead of working nearly every night, I have been taking time for myself by journaling, walking, praying, and treating myself as I am deserving of love. I am capable and determined to tackle this hurdle and be all that God has made me to be. Joining the Corn Fed Spartans is giving me the motivation to take the next step in my journey to a healthy and happy life. I can’t change my past, but I can determine my future, and I deserve a healthy one.