This is What it Feels Like When Someone Calls You Fat- 1 Year Later

Exactly one year ago, I had a story published on Seventeen.com. One year ago, I came forward with all of the issues that I had been struggling with since I was in the fourth grade. One year ago, I unlocked the chains that had been holding me from my true potential.

My article was a first person narrative detailing my troubles with body issues. In a nutshell, I had been struggling with body issues for a very long time, but when I got to college, I promised myself that I would no longer be held back. That was until a guy on my floor decided to say that, because I was curvy and not a size two, I was not a woman.

This floored me, and looking back now I feel that I had every right to be angry at this guy. His words haunted me and made me into a shell of myself.

With help from a therapist and a fantastic support system, I was able to overcome this incident. I learned that the size of my waist does not determine my compassion, intelligence, or sense of humor. I can be awesome if I were to be a size two or a size twenty; it didn’t matter.

One year later, I wish I could say that I have stuck to my guns with this. But sadly, I do not think my body issues will ever go away. There are days when I feel great and that the world is my oyster. And then there are other days where the last thing I want to do is go outside, because then people will see me and judge me.

I have come very far in the past year. I have accomplished some absolutely incredible things and made some even more incredible friends. I have learned more about myself then I ever thought I could.

Writing my article was the best choice I could have made in regards to the issues I still have with my body. But it has also done so much more than that.

My article has inspired me to launch my own platform where girls can tell their own first person stories about the struggles they have faced. Think Ophelia Speaks or Chicken Soup for the Girl’s Soul, but online. It hasn’t launched yet, but look out for the blog You Are Enough!

I am so happy that my story was published. The feedback I got was so inspiring, that other girls had gone through similar things and that we were able to help each other out with our mutual experiences. I got some hate for my article, but the outpouring of love was so much more than the negativity I experienced.

I will never completely overcome my body issues. But I will get to the point where the two of us can coexist peacefully.

” Being curvy does not make me any less kind, any less creative, or any less funny. It does not mean that I am lazy, it does not mean I am a slob, it does not mean that I am not desirable. It does not make me any less of a woman or a human being for that matter. I am a curvy girl, but that does not mean that I am less.” {Carly Cundiff, Seventeen Article}

http://www.seventeen.com/life/real-girl-stories/a30234/how-i-accepted-being-curvy-doesnt-make-me-less-than/

Advertisements

A Kid at Heart

Hi there. I have a pretty big confession to make. On the outside, I look like any other 20-year-old basic white girl. I go to school at a university, drink way too many chai tea lattes, and am a little bit more than slightly obsessed with my favorite red lipstick.

That is not even close to what I am like on the inside.

On the inside, I would probably more resemble an eight-year-old.  I color, play outside after school and sustain myself on Kraft’s macaroni and cheese.

I am not ashamed of this part of me in the slightest.

I love being a kid at heart. It makes me feel lighter and free of some of the responsibilities that plague me during harder times.

Being a kid at heart means that I dream big. One day, I see myself as the Press Secretary for the President of the United States. Think C.J. Craig a la “The West Wing,” but in a classy and stylish pencil skirt. The next day, I am sitting in a classroom surrounded by my students. I am throwing truth bombs about the real world all over the place, and my students are absolutely enthralled by what I am teaching them. Other days, I am at home. I take care of my kids and write novels that are known around the world.

Who knows if these dreams will come true or not? But that is the cool thing about dreams. They are yours and no one else’s. People can step on them, but no one can truly take away your dreams. So why not dream as big as you possibly can?

Because I am basically a kid, a huge part of my heart is carved out and dedicated to all things Disney. As I write this, Spotify is playing my fine-tuned “Dream a Dream” playlist, which is a collection of my favorite Disney songs. And, since you were wondering, it is fantastic.

baymax
Me and the Bae(max)

I have also seen “Zootopia,” Disney’s latest animated feature, twice in theaters, because I am a child.

Being a kid at heart has huge benefits. For example, I love unconditionally. Words are usually my weapon of choice, and I love using them to build people up instead of tearing them down. I love the rain and I love the sun, and I even love the snow (with the major exception of when it decides to come at the beginning of April).

I want to know how the world works and why some things happen. I want to know the motives behind actions and how those actions effect others. After all, isn’t asking a million questions better than asking none at all?

Today’s society forces kids to grow up so fast. And while this is happening, I think that people lose some of what is great about being a child: loving unconditionally, creativity, curiosity. Kindergarteners today are getting homework. When I was in kindergarten, I can remember getting off the school bus and running around outside with the rest of the neighborhood kids until the streetlights came on. That doesn’t happen as much anymore.

Being a kid at heart does not mean that I am scared to grow up, however. It just means that even though I will be an adult, I will still find time to let my inner child out.

We all have a kid inside of us. It’s the part of us that gets excited when we see puppies or cupcakes or Lizzie McGuire. It’s the part of us that looks up at the sky at night and wonders about what could be out there. It’s the part of us that sees a person and doesn’t judge them by how they look on the outside, but how they are on the inside.

I encourage each and every one of you to embrace your inner child. Watch Hercules on a rainy day instead of Saw IV. Go to a local park and fly a kite. Skip around your rooms, dancing to some of your favorite songs.

You would be surprised at how happy you feel when you let go just a little bit.

“Adults are only kids grown up anyway” {Walt Disney}

An Open Letter to my Father

Hi Daddy.

The first memory I have of the two of us together is when I was three years old. It was “Bring Your Father to Dance Class” day, and I was all dressed up in my little pink tutu. You were understandably uncomfortable, like most of the other dads were, but you still took the time out of your day to lift me up and spin me around.

And you have lifted me up every day since then.

You worked so hard to give Danny and I a good life. I cannot imagine the strain it had to take on you, getting up at four in the morning to deliver newspapers just so that we could have food to eat.

I know that in the past we have had our disagreements. I know that I wasn’t the nicest to you when I was in middle school. I had all of these emotions and problems that, in true adolescent fashion, I thought that you just couldn’t understand. I mean, after all, I was 13 and knew everything in the world.

But you loved me through it. You loved me every time we fought and every time I put you down. You trusted me that I would work through my angst on my own. Looking back, I don’t know exactly what I did to earn this trust, but I appreciate it all the same.

After my whole “I am so much smarter than you and you know nothing” phase, we became so close. Running to the door when I heard you come home is something most girls outgrow, but I still happily greeted you every day until I left home for school.

You were there for all of my dances, being a goofball. You embarrassed me at every single store we have ever been to, but I have never resented you for it. You are quirky and weird and sometimes on a three second delay, but it’s all of what makes you, you.

dad
Me and the (not so old) man

I have cherished our Bachelor Monday’s, NCIS Tuesday’s, and Survivor Wednesday’s. I look forward to drives home from school when we jam to country music, even though neither of us can carry a tune. I love going to Cavs games with you; it doesn’t matter if they win or lose, because we are all together.

You believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. You have constantly been my soldier, always believing in me even if I didn’t believe in myself.

They say that girls marry people like their fathers. Well, my future guy has some pretty huge shoes to fill.

Someday, you are going to walk me down the aisle, and we are going to dance to one of those songs that I can’t listen to without crying like a baby. You are going to help me move into my first house. You are going to be in the hospital when I have my first child, who you can then embarrass at every store you take him or her to, just like you did to me.

I am so looking forward to it.

I love you, Carly

“I am not a princess because I married a prince. I am a princess because my father is a king.” {Anonymous}

To the Friends I Don’t See Everyday

Hello.

I know that we haven’t talked in awhile. Some of you I haven’t spoken to or seen in months. But that’s okay.

How are you? I know you are probably super busy with jobs and school and everything. Trust me, I get it. I really do.

It’s okay that we haven’t spoken in awhile. It really is. Life gets in the way sometimes. But whether I see you every single day or only on super special days, please know that I still love and treasure you.

I have been friends with some of you for years and years, but different schools have pulled us apart. The cool thing about our relationship though is that we don’t need to speak to each other every single day to maintain our bond. I know that if I needed you, you would be here in a flash, and vice versa.

friends
We clean up pretty good.

Others of you I have only known for about year, and you are now traveling the world, seeing new sites and learning new things. Please know that I relish seeing your SnapChats and Instas, because I am literally living through you. So if you are ever questioning whether you are posting too many pictures, you are not. Keep ’em coming!

skating
What you don’t see in this picture: Me clinging to my friends for balance as I do a pretty poor attempt at ice skating.

For the rest, even though we haven’t known each other for very long, I’m pretty sure you know that you are stuck with me now, because I have flat-out told you. I cherish every moment we are in contact, because then I get a brief, fleeting moment of our time face to face and all the memories we have created when we talk.

princess
Move over, Cinderella. It’s our castle now.

 

Just because we don’t talk everyday or see each other all the time does not mean that you are not incredibly special to me. It’s actually quite the opposite. You are so special to me, whether you are 5 minutes or 12 hours away.

And if you ever need anything, do not hesitate to ask me. When I make friendships, I invest in them. I will never be too busy for you guys.

Love you all to the moon and back.

Good friends are like stars. You don’t always see them, but you know they are there. {Christy Evans}

Here’s to the Next 20 years

Last week, I turned 20. I know in the grand scheme of things 20 years isn’t exactly a huge deal, but it got me thinking a lot about all of the milestones of my life.

Five-year-old Carly loved to draw and listen to music. If you would have asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, she probably would have said artist or singer or actress or something else in the entertainment industry. She loved her pretty pink skirts and lacy socks almost as much as her mother loved dressing her up in pretty pink skirts and lacy socks.

At 10-years-old, Carly had just written her first short story. It was called “Going to Paris,” and while it was small and rife with grammatical errors, Carly was so incredibly proud of it. It was at this time in her life that she knew she loved writing. It filled her with a sense of purpose that was new to her. But she knew that she liked it.

10
Me and the BFF at age 10. Please ignore my snaggletooth.

By the time she was 13 and in the throws of adolescence, Carly had her first thoughts about being a journalist. Traveling around the world and writing seemed like a pretty good deal to her, and a heck of a lot easier than writing the next Great American Novel. During this year, Carly found herself an absolutely fantastic group of girlfriends that would go with her to middle school dances, the movie theater, and a water park for her 13th birthday, making unbelievable memories along the way .

put in bay
We thought we were really cool with our Charlie’s Angels pose, even though none of us had seen Charlie’s Angels. This also became a standard pose for every single group picture we took at dances.

At 16, Carly was very involved in high school. Furthering her journalistic ambitions, Carly was on the high school newspaper. She was also involved in her high school’s color guard, and in a few short months she would be named captain. This was also the time that Carly got her license, and with it, her first car, which she named Roxie. This allowed Carly more freedom to go places and to get her very first big-girl job at a frozen yogurt restaurant.

frogen
Fresh, Fabulous, Frogen! (which was neither fresh nor fabulous)

Soon enough, Carly turned 18 and was finally an adult. She had been accepted into her dream school, was editor-on-chief of her high school newspaper, and again was surrounded by friends who made her feel special. It was around this time, however, that Carly’s career goals changed. Slowly, she realized that she wanted to become a teacher and write books on the side.

graduation
*cue to graduation music*

Now, at 20, I look back at the goals and dreams I have had in the past. Some of those goals, like to win “American Idol” and become a famous singer, sadly went on the back burner when I learned what “tone deaf” meant. Others, like becoming an author, still linger in the back of my mind, latent until I have a burst of creativity that I can’t contain.

But I have done so many things that 5-year-old me never could have dreamed of accomplishing by the time I was 20. I have graduated high school. I have been published in Seventeen Magazine. I have worked for Disney World. I have made so many incredible friends during every single point in my life that I sometimes sit back and think, “How in the world could I have been so blessed?”

It’s not to say that I haven’t had hardships. Graduating high school was necessitated by the need to get a scholarship so I could afford college. My Seventeen Magazine article came to be because of my body issues. Working at Disney World came to fruition because, at the time, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and I needed time to figure it out.

You take the good with the bad, the ups with the downs. The bad moments make you appreciate the good moments, and the good moments make you appreciate the truly great ones.

What highlights in my mind as I reflect, however, are the incredible relationships I have made with my parents, my little brother, my friends (Wadsworth, John Carroll, and Disney included), my neighbors, my teachers, and my coaches.

I am so excited to see what the next 20 years might bring. Be it happy, sad, angry, or loving, I cannot wait to see.

photo

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. {George Bernard Shaw}

The Final Chapter: The Disney College Program

It’s been over a month since I have left the magic and sunshine of Disney World and returned back home to Ohio. It’s been a month since I’ve been able to ride Space Mountain or see the roommates that have become my sisters. It’s been a months since I’ve been forced to say “Howdy y’all! Welcome to Pecos!” or make beef burritos.

The Disney College Program is an experience that I will never forget. Was it hard? Oh yeah. Would I do it again? 100 percent.

Disney World exists in a sort of alternate universe where everyone can be a kid. Magic is real and a mouse signs my paychecks. Time stops when you are down there.

For four months, I was away from home, away from school, away from my family, and away from my friends. I missed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and spent New Years Eve working past midnight. And I wouldn’t change it for anything.

The people I met are people that have changed my life. Looking back, I cannot believe that our time was so short, because our bonds grew so deep. I opened up to the people that I have met in ways that I usually wouldn’t be able to in such a short span of time.

13107
PC13107

I learned what hard work truly is. I learned how to shop for my own meals and pay bills and rely on public transportation. I learned how to grow up.

Disney taught me that I can be an adult, that I can live away from home and rely on myself to survive. It taught me that I am outgoing and personable, something I never thought I was. It taught me that the most magical times in a persons life can sometimes come when you least expect it.

As I sit in my dorm room, watching the snow fall outside, I think about my friends from work who stayed down in Disney, and I think of what they are doing. Are they watching Wishes? Are they riding Expedition Everest? When does the Festival of Fantasy Parade start again?

All of the memories I have made will stay with me as I travel through life. I am so incredibly happy that I went down to Florida, and who knows? Mickey might just see me again someday.

seeya
Yes I will.

If you can dream it, you can do it. {Walt Disney}

Why I Write (and Why You Should Too)

Some people sing. Some people dance. I write.

To be fair, I also sing and dance, even though I am tone deaf and have as much rhythm as a piece of damp plywood.  The point is, even though I am not at all good at singing and dancing, I still do it.

It shocks me when people say that they do not like to write. When I ask them why, most of them say that it’s because they think they aren’t very good at it.

Well I have a voice that could wake the dead, but does that stop me from singing?

The answer to this question is a resounding “no,” much to the delight of my roommates.

Writing is not about creating the next great American novel or the long lost eighth Harry Potter. Writing is about getting emotions and ideas down on paper. It doesn’t have to be good. Hell, it doesn’t have to be spelled correctly or have every period in the right place. There is no need to dot your i’s or cross your t’s. You just need to express yourself in a way that is comfortable to you. Mine is writing.

Writing produces a feeling in me that I assume is the same for professional artists. I feel absolutely invincible when I am writing. I can feel the words flowing from my imagination, down my arm, into my fingers as I write or type the words that are appearing in my head as if by magic. Sometimes what I write is a load of nonsense. The sentences blur into one another in one long, incoherent string of words that, when combined, only succeed in confusing the reader.

Writing doesn’t even have to be read. It can be for your eyes only. I know someone who, once she writes something, burns it if she doesn’t want to keep it. Simply getting the ideas down on paper is enough.

I think one of the reasons that people hate to write is because of school. In school, all we see are word counts and page numbers and formatting necessities. We do our research, write out the bare minimum, and finish it off with a works cited page to show we tried. Somewhere along the line, writing became less about the flow of ideas and more about deadlines.

Writing in it’s truest form doesn’t have word counts or have to be in 12 point Times New Roman. True writing can be on a napkin while waiting for your morning coffee or while sitting on a rock by a hiking trail. True writing happens whenever you feel the pull of words that needs to come out.

We need to get back to the point where people like to write again. In order to do that, we need to be able to write without restraint, imagine without intimidation, and create without criticizing.

writer
And you can be, too.

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
Ernest Hemingway