Things that are Just a Number

by: Ashley Roman

We love to put people and things into categories. That person is smart, funny, fat, beautiful, passionate, lazy, crippled, perfect, etc. We let these categories define us. I've realized there are two categories I've been defining myself by for almost my whole life: my age and my weight.I'm learning andconstantly being reminded they are just numbers.

Age Lately people have been saying this phrase to me: "Oh, you're too young to be feeling/doing/experiencing [fill in the blank]."

"You're too young to be stressed."

"You're too young to be married."

Even my dentist said to me, "You're too young to have this issue with your teeth." (Whattt?!)

Since when do all these issues have an age limit?! (I realize marriage does have legal age limits, which are necessary.) I find it frustrating because it feels like all these people are trying to make me wrong for something I'm experiencing-things that are completely out of my control. It feels demeaning. I do not believe those who talk like this are trying to put me down, but it's hard not to see that way. Has any one else ever had a similar experience?

I could go on and on about how these people do not know my life experiences. They do not know the cause of my stressors. They do not know the careful thought and years I put into making the decision to marry the man of my dreams.

Sometimes I feel judged.

But if I'm being honest, I'm only judging myself.

People who make comments about me being too young for these things don't even realize the depth of what they are saying to me. They don't know my past or even my present. I can't find them in the wrong.

Why does this upset me?Does part of me agree with them?

I've always believed that certain things happen at certain stages of your life. High school is supposedly the best time you'll ever have. Was it for me? Nope. College is suppose to be a crazy party, full of fun, all nighters, and great memories. While I had some of these, many times are overshadowed by the weight of getting good grades and balancing my personal life and professional life.

I matured at a young age, started working at 14, and spent a lot of time while I was younger caring for my sisters. I've never fit into the mold. I've never 'acted my age' or even been treated my age.

For most of my life I've loved that, but sometimes I despise that quality about me. I wanted to have those care-free youthful years. I feel robbed. I wanted to have a great experience in high school, didn't happen (I'm sure I'm not alone on this one). I don't want to have all this anxiety to work through.

Maybe that's why I'm so sensitive about people telling me I'm too young to be experiencing whatever it is I'm experiencing. I want them to be right. I feel like I am too young for this. I want to go back in time and be carefree. When will I be old enough to experience these things?

I'm experiencing life. You never know what will happen. There is no age limit. Some children have experienced more than I will ever experience in my lifetime.

I have friends now who are in their thirties and forties. It's awesome. I never thought I could have friends so 'old'. But we have so much in common! They don't see me as a younger or inferior person. It's helped me to push past many of the labels I've put on age limits.

I don't know how I'll react when the next person tells me I'm to young to be doing/feeling/experiencing whatever. I just hope I can learn to understand age is a number. It doesn't define me in any way.

Weight Do you weigh yourself? Do you ever look at the scale and think, 'that can't be right...'

Do you define yourself by the number you see on the scale? So many of us do that. It's a good day if you're 2 pounds down from last week. If you're 2 pounds up, your day is ruined.

Or perhaps you never weigh yourself. I use to do that. Avoid the evil scale at all costs.

Maybe you have your own method of measuring.You look in the mirror and notice your weight. Maybe you notice how your clothes fit. That's mostly what I do. Last fall when the weather started to cool off I brought out all my pants and sweaters from storage. I switched out my summer wardrobe for my fall one. I took a nice shower, got all ready, and attempted to put one of my old favorite jeans back on. Then I realized- they're too tight. I mean, I could probably wear them if I wanted to be super uncomfortable and constantly reminded that my hips were larger. It upset me for a while. And by a 'while' I mean like months. I'm just about over it now. Thank goodness!

Why do I [we] care so much about our size?! That little number on the scale or on the tag on our jeans has so much power over our lives and our hearts.

The scale goes up and down, clothes get smaller and larger, we are still who we are. As one of my favorite artists says:

'What lasts longer in this life; character or rock hard thighs?' -Kendall Payne

I've been so mean to myself trying to attain my ideal of beauty and the ideal weight. I realize something now, I'll never get there! Even when I was at my thinnest I still struggled with loving my body. The time is now. We need to rise above the battle of our weight issues and realize how insignificant they are in light of life and eternity. How do we want our future children, our future daughters, to think about their weight and body image?

Age and weight are JUST A NUMBER. They don't define me. I am defined by my Creator and the inescapable love he has for me. What defines you?


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