This photo was taken at our first rent-house on Merced Street in Des Moines, sometime in 1996 or 1997.
This photo was taken on Thanksgiving 1997; we had just brought Alice into our lives and were wading through the adoption process, and I was getting ready to undergo my first bariatric surgery procedure in about another month. I weighed 265 at this point; I now weigh 125.
I have always looked something like this, although this was my highest adult weight. Looking "skinny" doesn't really register in my mind, even though I know that I do now.
This fat girl is still with me and will never fully leave me. She is an integral part of who I am today. She helped me learn several valuable lessons: first, that beauty is not determined by a person's weight or physical shape... second, that ALL of God's children have issues and that some of them show and some don't. But no-one is inferior simply because they're fat. Or thin.
Oh, and one more thing: I have learned that prejudice goes both ways. There are lots of thin people who look down their noses at fat people simply because they're fat... but there are lots and lots of fat people who automatically do not trust someone who's thin, probably because they feel inferior and perhaps because they've been MADE to feel inferior in the past.
It's a shame that more people can't just accept people for who they are, right now, flaws and foibles and all.
That girl in the pictures up there was just as cool and nice and smart as the one writing this post. AND beautiful.