People Are So Much More Than Their Appearance, And It’s Time We Recognize It

woman before and after losing weight

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“I gained 15 pounds during Covid. I worked full time at home while being a full time single mom of three. It was hard. And lonely. I found myself knee deep in my favorite coping skill – eating.

Everything.

All the time.

I had already gained 25 pounds of ‘life weight‘ over the course of three years. I went through a separation, having a baby, selling a home, moving into my mom’s, domestic violence, and eventually moving into my own apartment. It was a lot.

Again, I ate my feelings.

Woman struggling with domestic abuse and divorce gains weight from 'eating her feelings'
Courtesy of Jacqueline Waxman

I have ‘accomplished’ a lot in life.

My ex left when I was 4 months pregnant with our third child. I conquered being pregnant and alone while having a toddler and an autistic child.

I have two master’s degrees. And, a career.

I have been published on numerous sites all over the world with my writing.

No one has ever said how proud they were of me, how hard I must have worked, etc.

No. One. Said. Anything.

Ever.

(There’s a point, I’m getting there. I promise.)

Over the past few months I lost approximately 40 pounds. I needed to get rid of the excessive 40 pounds to be healthier as a human.

This story originally appeared on Love What Matters.

Single mom of three takes a mirror selfie, showing off her weight loss and smile
Courtesy of Jacqueline Waxman

My friends (sorry guys – still love you all), friends who all know everything I went through, started reaching out to me.

‘You must be so happy. You look so good.’

What? Why would how I look have anything to do with how happy I am?

‘You look amazing. You can tell you put in the hard work.’

What work? I raise 3 kids alone while working multiple jobs. That. That is hard work.

‘I’m sorry everything seems so hard right now but lets talk about the important thing. You look fantastic.’

Again, what? This summer has been the hardest summer of my life. That is the important thing. I would rather be happy and heavier. If the two had anything to do with one another – I would pick happy. Without a second thought.

Here’s the uncomfortable truth I have told every person above and now the world:

I can’t control anything in life right now. Not Covid. Not work. Not my kids. Not people coming and going in my life. Literally nothing. I have zero control over anything. The only thing I can control is what I put in my mouth.

And, that can become extremely dangerous.

But, what is equally as dangerous is society’s reaction and judgment of people based solely on how they look.

Remember, no one was ever proud of me for walking through hell. They only went out of their way to express their pride when I ‘looked pretty.’

Single mom of three takes mirror selfie in white tank top and jeans
Courtesy of Jacqueline Waxman

I’m not magically happy because I weigh less. There is no causation or correlation between the two.

Overweight people aren’t miserable and sad. Not overweight people aren’t happy and joyous. That thought process is ridiculous. And dangerous.

I’m all for people being healthy. But, I’m also all for people being happy.

Support your friends where they are when they are there. People, and their life journeys, are so much more than the appearance of the outer shell that hosts our soul. Also known as our body. Please recognize people for more than how they look.

Often, the outward appearance was the easy part.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jacqueline Waxman of New Jersey. You can follow her journey on Facebook.

Single mom of three takes bathroom mirror selfie in a blue floral dress
Courtesy of Jacqueline Waxman

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