Conversation with your “Skinny” Friend

“Girl, I am so out of shape. I have never been this heavy since I was pregnant with Jake. I feel so fat.”

“Oh my goodness. You are not fat. You have never been fat. You don’t even know what fat feels like.”

“Just because you don’t think I’m fat, doesn’t mean I’m not.”

Sigh with an eye roll

“I’m serious. Fat means ‘having a large amount of excess flesh’.”

“Exactly. I don’t see any excess flesh on your body. A little weight isn’t bad for you. You could use some weight.”

“Ok, but that does it mean I can’t be upset about it? Or be upset that it is only landing on my stomach and thighs where you don’t see?”

“Well if you ate better and exercised, you wouldn’t have anything to complain about. You have spent your entire life not having to worry about weight. You have no idea what it feels like to struggle with weight.”

“Is that what you think?”


“I have always been the ‘skinny’ friend. All of my life people have been telling me to enjoy being skinny because it won’t last forever. They said I would gain weight in college, or when I had a baby, or when I hit 25, 30, 35, 40…none of them were true. The most I have ever weighed was 138 lbs and I was 9 months pregnant.”

“See what I mean?”

“Do you see what mean?”


“You say I have never struggled with weight, yet my entire life, I have been seen — sometimes judged — by how skinny I am. People, a lot I don’t know, have something to say about my weight.”

“I think you’re making a big deal out of this.”

“Am I? If I told you, ‘Wow, you’re so obese. I bet you eat a lot and never exercise’…”

“Well, that would be rude.”

“Would it? Why?”

“Because you’re making assumptions about my body you…oh..”

“Yeah. ‘You’re making assumptions about…?’”

“…my body you have no idea about.”

“Right. Just because my struggle as a skinny person looks different than yours, doesn’t mean it’s less of a struggle.”

“I’m sorry. Let’s have a do-over…”

“LOL. Ok…Girl, I am so out of shape. I have never been this heavy since I was pregnant with Jake. I feel so fat.”

“I’m sorry you feel that way. I don’t think you’re out of shape or fat, but if you feel that way maybe I can help you be accountable for changing it. Maybe we can work out together.”

“Girl, I don’t need all that. I just wanted to complain about how fat and out of shape I am.”

“LOL. Ok, well if you do decide you want to start working out, I got you.”



I am the “skinny” friend and often wish I could have the do-over conversation instead of the prior one. Lately, I have been told I complain too much about my weight gain and should just eat better and exercise. I don’t know if I’ll eat better, but I did walk 4 miles today. It’s a record for me. I thought my Apple Watch was going to explode…

Help! I think I’m Racist!

When you grow up thinking a certain way how do you unlearn that? I am now discovering several things my mother taught me at a young age are not right. And when there are layers and layers of childhood trauma, you can only deal with them one trauma at a time, unless, that is, something happens that you can’t avoid.

I should start by saying both of my parents are/were Puerto Rican. My dad is dark-skinned and my mom — she passed away over 30 years ago — was light-skinned. Several years ago, I realized that many of the things my mom embedded in my brain could be considered racist. For example, when I was little, every time my mom styled my hair, she would tell me to make sure I married a white man so my kids would have “good” hair. Years and years of that indoctrination became part of my truth. It was hard for me to describe black babies as cute because of their “bad” hair. I was mainly attracted to white guys because, well, my mom — even though she was dead — told me I should. I eventually did have a son with a white man, and my son, indeed, has “good” hair.

I should explain what my mother qualified as “good” hair. Now, I am not completely certain, because she never came out and said it, but I assume it is hair like the one pictured below which I found in an article called “The Cutest 90s Haircuts & Haircuts that are Trending today”.

90s Hairstyles Google Search

Unlike my hair which would take my mom hours to style. It wasn’t until I was 10 years old when I had my first relaxer (chemical straightening treatment) that she was less critical of my hair. It still took (and takes) a long time to style, but with a relaxer, it was much easier to manage. After she passed when I was 14, was when I realized the “chore” it was to do my hair. For years I worked hard to keep my hair As. Straight. As. Possible.

Me, pre-relaxers.

I did, however, wear my hair in braids in the late 90s, when it was cool and in style to do so.

My 90s look!

Otherwise, I have always wanted the unattainable, easy-to-manage hair that mainstream America has made popular. Sadly, I never realized this was wrong thinking until the social unrest hit the fan in 2020 and I made the following post on Facebook…

I felt God was working out the junk of my childhood programming as He was doing for many others. Shortly after I made the above post, I received a private message from an old coworker who said I had offended several years prior.

This gracious interaction has remained with me, but to be honest, I don’t know how to undo what I have been taught since childhood. I mentioned this is part of a long strand of childhood trauma, mainly from my mother, which I am working with an amazing counselor and the Holy Spirit to undo, but sometimes things hit so hard that I just need to write and work it out.

Mid-last year, I stopped applying relaxers to my hair. The transition has been a difficult one. I love natural-looking hair. I love the natural waves and curls that I believe my hair has, but have no idea how to get them back.

This weekend I had an appointment with my stylist and I told her that I wanted to embrace my curls, but because of the relaxers, my hair is stunted and doesn’t know how to curl. She recommended until my hair grows out completely, I should braid my hair regularly to encourage it to curl. We decided we would start the process with her braiding my hair. I let her decide how to best do it. She decided to do cornrows. This made me so nervous because (I am being fully transparent) I consider this a “black” hairstyle and wondered how I would be perceived.

Again, all of the negative talks from my mother and our culture rushed into my head, “I can’t go to work looking like this. What will they think?” I plan to keep the cornrows in during the Holiday weekend and take them out on Tuesday before going back to work so my hair can be the curls I desire. But I wrestle and think should I wear the cornrows just to see the reaction, if any? Would I be treated differently? Would I be told (although I believe it is discriminatory to do so) that I can’t wear my hair like this? Disclaimer: I don’t believe any of this would happen, but it is where my brain goes.

I also wonder, what does this say about me? What is wrong with me? How can a woman of my age, be so ignorant?

What I am looking for from this post? First of all, grace. Many people have biases but they are afraid to share them for the fear of being shamed. Be gracious, please. I am admitting my bias is wrong and I am seeking change. Secondly, am I alone in this thinking? Am I the only that struggles with reprogramming my brain to think ALL hair is beautiful and no matter what I was taught, my hair is beautiful, too?

My poor therapist…please pray for him!

Me, today.

Is The Abundant Life Meant For Me?

Sometime late last year, Jenny, a dear friend of mine prayed abundance over my life. The word stirred something in me. I felt honored, but also undeserving. As someone who has suffered from complex trauma, I have a hard time receiving compliments or any accolades for that matter. But for some reason, this word has stayed with me.

Towards the end of the year, I was introduced to a special way of praying for my friends. I would ask 52 friends to provide me with a verse. I would then randomly assign each friend one week of the year to pray over them. It’s a pretty ingenious idea that keeps in the Word and my friends at the forefront of my mind.

Because I love definitions, most days, I read the particular verse and study a word that pops out to me. One of the very first verses a friend shared was John 10:10. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”.

By definition, abundantly means “in large quantities; plentifully”. Not satisfied with that definition, I turned to my Tony Evans Bible Commentary and gleaned the wonderful definition: to be fulfilled in His spirit, His blessings, and His purpose in my earthly life (paraphrased).

When Jenny prayed the word abundance over my life, she was not praying for extravagance (in case you are curious of its meaning; lack of restraint in spending money or use of resources) as some could interpret the word abundance to mean. Specifically, she was praying for the day when the cost of living wouldn’t be a burden.

God desires the same for us! Tony Evans says it best in his commentary of John 10:10, “Jesus doesn’t want you merely to possess eternal life but also to possess the full experience of life. Following the Shepherd leads to blessing and joy and a growing experience of eternal life. It allows Him to rebuke and reverse the enemy’s attempts at blocking the blessings, purpose, and spiritual fulfillment God has for your life.”

So, yes, I/you don’t deserve to live extravagantly, but because of Jesus, we are called to live abundantly. And there is nothing wrong with going after it, which I intend to do.

Can Joy and Sorrow Coexist?

For weeks, I have been avoiding depression. My therapist says it’s more fear than it is avoidance, but for years fear has kept me on the road paved with joy. It may sound strange but go with me here. No one likes a “Debbie Downer”; that person that is ho-humming through life. I don’t think any of us choose to be that person, but in this world, and all its efforts to suck the life out of us, sometimes it’s just hard to avoid. So, I have chosen to be intentional to stay on the road paved with joy. And fear, for as long as I can remember, has been my friend. Fear has protected me from falling off the embankment by placing white lines, rumble strips, and guardrails along the way. Every precautionary measure to prevent even nearing the edge to leading to pain, discomfort, and eventually landing in a deep pit of sorrow and depression. And I have gotten very good at staying between the lines.

At the age of 14, my mom died of cancer. When I felt the rumble strips cautioning me of my closeness to the edge, joy reminds me I will one day see her again because of the assurance we both found in Jesus. At 19, I found myself a college dropout and homeless. Once again, I used joy to make the necessary adjustments to see that while I was indeed homeless, I was never shelter-less. Years later, when I was a 23-year-old, divorced single mother, fear and joy worked together to ensure a good life for my son and me, regardless of any sacrifices I ever needed to make. Blow after blow — some self-induced and some not — those precautionary measures put in place by fear kept me from pain-filled descent to sorrow and depression.

Through therapy, I have learned to be grateful for fear and those protective measures, because there were times that I saved from experiencing any further trauma. Truly, fear has been a dear friend to me. And, as all good friendships, we must learn to grow and adjust. To mature and recognize that sorrow doesn’t always lead to pits of depression; joy and sorrow do not always have to be independent of each other.

How we do this is by closing our eyes and visualizing it. The scene doesn’t look the same for everyone. So, as an example, I will use my road visual and share with you what I see as I close my eyes…

As I stand on one side, I see a single-lane road, a white line, rumble strips, and a guardrail preventing one from falling over the edge. I don’t know much of what is on the other side. However, what I do see isn’t very inviting. A descending forest of tall wanna-be trees, so thin they can barely hold on to their leaves. The ground is less inviting with its rock-laced dirt like an unappealing slide waiting to happen. As I set in my mind that is not the place I want to be, I see on the other side of the guardrail, Jesus. Not only is He standing on the very I side I have been doing everything to avoid, I see His outstretched hand, inviting me to join Him.

“Um, Lord? I know You know this, but it’s not safe over there.”


“You know, I don’t do risky things and that edge You are on is risky and unpredictable. If I go on that side with You, I will surely lose my footing and slide down into Go…well, You know where.”

Do you believe that I would lead you towards danger?

“Possibly. I mean, if You think it will help me in the long run You would.”

I won’t let anything happen to you. Take My hand. I will guide you down.

“Yeah. About that. See, I am not the most steady person. So, I could see myself slipping, tripping, losing balance, falling on my face, and then will I not only be sad but also hurt.”

Ok. Jump on My back and I will carry you down. (like He’s reading my mind.) Unless you don’t believe I am strong enough to carry you?

“Ummm, yeah. I believe You are. I just know me and may cause You to stum…”

Trust Me. You won’t.

I reluctantly accept the offer, jump on His back, and trust Him to carry me down. Still trying to make sense of this senseless trip, how the road above was so much more smooth and easier than this, I see how My Heavenly Porter skips from rock to stump, to ground without any effort. My trepidation dissipates into awe of His gracefulness and unshakable confidence even with me on His back. After landing a rather wide jump, I find myself giggling. How can I be giggling? Isn’t this supposed to be scary?

As we reach the clearing of the trees, I am gently placed on the rock-laced, flat ground. I take a few steps and see the most beautiful, peace-filled scenery. I look back to see nothing but a steep uphill forest. I inspect my arms and legs, not even a scratch. There is no way I could’ve done that alone and come out unscathed.

I turn again to see what is ahead of me. Peace found in a flowing river filled with shiny, smooth boulders welcoming me to come to sit and enjoy the surrounding beauty. As I make my way through the cold water, the abrasive ground reveals all of these were once sharp, jagged boulders and how time and the combination of water and sand have made the inviting scene I see before me.

As I sit and watch the water crash and flow through the rocks, I see how joy and sorrow can coexist. The refreshing, cool water symbolizes the joy that smooths out the sharp and jagged edges of sorrow. I look on to the shore and see the steep and dangerous downhill trek that leads to this tranquil spot. A trek I surely would not have survived on my own.

I now realize fear was not keeping me from the edge, it was more heeding the potential danger on the other side. Caring for our mental health is similar to the descending forest on the other side of the guardrail. If we aren’t careful, we can lose our footing and painfully fall. We may reach the beauty on the other side, but at what cost? When I trust my Savior who is also a capable Porter, He can lead and even carry me through the most dangerous terrain.

I am still working through my current emotional state, but I don’t see it as a struggle or an avoidance anymore. I see it more as an invitation to work my way through the scary to get to the serene.