'I've come out of my shell'

I didn't think I was cool enough to notice or talk to. That was my view of myself. As with most of the kids my age, what other people thought about you was so important. And at Medfield High School, in Massachusetts, where I graduated, we were no different. Those last three years of high school weren't easy ones, but through some tough experiences—and a lot of prayer—I grew more confident and came to appreciate myself. 

At one point, I was the biggest girl on our high-school cheerleading squad. There were girls on the team who were thinner and shorter, who just didn't understand what I was doing there. Fortunately, our coach was more interested in what you could do than in what you looked like or how much you weighed.

But there were lots of times, mostly during high-school basketball games in the winter, when some of the fans made fun of me, sometimes incredibly harshly. During football season, we couldn't always hear their comments because we were outside, far away from the fans in the bleachers. But during basketball games, we sat in the bleachers in the gym with all the other high-school kids when we weren't doing our cheers. And when we went out on the basketball court to do a cheer during a time-out, some of the fans would scream things like, "Get the cow off the court. Go back to the farm." There were times when I wanted to quit because I was so humiliated and hurt by their comments. Pretty much every game became such a challenge that I would go home crying.

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Through a Spiritual Lens
January 10, 2005

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