Harry Potter and the Life Lessons of Disappointment and Self-Discovery

When I was in first grade, my mom bought me the Harry Potter series because I was a little nearsighted nerd with a hyperactive imagination. As a little kid, I became obsessed with magic, spells, Hermione, and broomsticks. They were real in my mind and no one could convince me that my friends at Hogwarts were brilliantly conjured up by J.K. Rowling. I knew I was secretly a witch, and I held on to that knowledge for years.hand with a sparkler

My eleventh birthday was the day I learned the truth about myself. I don’t recall the presents I got or if I had a party or what kind of cake I had that day, but I do remember expecting my Hogwarts letter to show up any minute. I didn’t tell anyone about my secret hope, because my logical side knew that Harry Potter was fictional, but I still searched the skies every hour or so, looking for some sign of an owl. I even ran to the mailbox multiple times a day in hopes that maybe Hogwarts was in cahoots with the US Postal Service.Read More »

How I Escaped Childhood Obesity

 

When I was fourteen years old, I weighed 194 pounds. I was only five and a half feet tall, but my size-12 jeans left prints on my belly, and there was no way I could ever shop at any of the same stores as my friends. I hated going to school because there was never any doubt I’d be the token fat girl in class, and as soon as I came home each day, I went straight to the pantry or the fridge to find some comfort. I was in a bad, dangerous place with no hope of finding a way out.

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The scary thing was, I didn’t understand why it had happened. I knew I was big when I went to the doctor’s office and weighed in at 143 pounds as a 12-year-old, so I started battling. Mom bought me a “Slim Kids” membership and told me I’d get a prize for every five pounds I lost. I ate only whole-grain bread that my mom baked from scratch. I ate brown rice with chicken because it was healthy and good for me. I ate so much of every diet food that I managed to gain fifty more pounds in two years and was absolutely baffled as to where I went wrong.Read More »