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Finding Joy – Part 4

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Hello, thanks for joining us today for more of “Finding Joy”.  (This is part of a weekly 8 part series.)  If you missed out on Parts 1 – 3, you can catch up on the website under “A Healthier You” (Testimonies):

My earliest memory of feeling “different” or “fat” was the summer of 1972, just before I was to start 6th grade.  I was the ripe old age of 10 (2 months shy of 11) and my brother 13.  We were on our annual family summer vacation and as Floridians do, heading somewhere North to spend a week together.  Now the only prerequisite was the hotel had to have a swimming pool. 


It was on this particular trip that my brother decided to point out to me that I was fat.  He made fun of my pot belly, especially since he was athletic.  He’d always played little league baseball and was starting football in the fall.  He laughed hysterically when I’d have to put on my white bathing cap, a rule strictly enforced back then when in public pools. He threatened to write “GE” on top of it saying I looked like a big fat light bulb.  As he chuckled at his jokes, so did I (to keep from crying).  Who had my hero/brother become?  If he felt this way about me, then it MUST be true.  If he thought I looked like this, other people must think that way too.  Right?!  And so the seed of self- doubt was planted.  Now the world would see me as FAT and worthless.


Sixth grade was a turning point in my young life.  To alleviate school overcrowding, bussing began.  They pulled all 6th graders from Elementary schools and put them in a separate school.  They pulled all 7th graders from Jr. High schools and did the same.  The 6th grade center was several miles and a long bus ride from my home.  My parents made the decision to put me in a small private school.  It had only two 6th grade classes, and we were the oldest students in the school.  I loved it there, but it was during my 6th grade year that I would go through “the change” of puberty, and I then realized why my body had gotten so round.  It still didn’t erase the damage done by those harsh words.  Of course, my brother was just being a silly boy, never trying to inflict harm.  I’ve never shared this with him, even today as adults, because I’d never want him to feel responsible for any of my pain.  I love him too much.


Now that the seed was planted, I needed to water it. I started to look at all my girlfriends and fellow classmates. They had thinner bodies, thicker hair, prettier smiles, cooler clothes, etc. Most of the boys were dorky, but I still wanted them to like me. Now, in my 11 year old mind, how would I get the boys to like me if I don’t measure up to all the other girls? Oh, I know, I’ll bring candy to school. Yep, that’ll work. It did and so friendships were formed and all was well with the world … or was it? … not really!

More to come next Monday!  See you then! 



Clare is a 57-year-old fun loving Italian-American self-proclaimed “Jersey Girl” who believes, “Life ain’t easy street. Life is one of those crazy little city streets, complete with potholes that could swallow your car.” With one foot planted in fun and the other planted firmly in her Christian faith, Clare enjoys making people laugh while helping them navigate life’s “crazy little city streets”. Clare has raised two girls (now grown young adults) with her husband, Michial, Clare is ready to take on the challenges of making new friends through her blog, Life Ain’t Easy Street. With an aim to entertain while addressing topics important to women, Clare’s focus on the positive power of good stories, good friends, inspiring women, and strong faith will have you looking forward to reading the next post. Clare is a freelance writer who lives a real life in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.

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  • shamira West says:

    Comparison is the theif of joy! I am going to have to read your first three post to get caught up.

    • Clare says:

      Yes, so true – and as kids comparisons are tough! Yes please get caught up and thanks for stopping by…. see you next Monday!

  • Kids can be so cruel. This is so touching. I am going back to catch up with the start of it.

  • Cara says:

    I’m really enjoying reading this series of posts you have, Clare! It’s funny how things that occur in our childhood have such a strong impact and stay with us even into adulthood. I certainly have things from my childhood memories that stick out to this day.

    • Clare says:

      Yes, good and bad occurrences oftentimes carry with us into adulthood and have such a strong impact! So glad you are reading and enjoying the series… more to come next Monday! 🙂

  • Unaiza says:

    awww cute memories 🙂

    • Clare says:

      Yes, Joy has some wonderful childhood memories and I am glad she is sharing them… more of her journey next Monday!

  • angie says:

    childhood memories are the best, sometimes we recall things that make us smile, think and often cry. The lessons we learned have traveled with us through the years and looking back we know what we know and how we feel and how we felt. Thank you for sharing I loved reading about your way back when
    come see us at

    • Clare says:

      Yes, those childhood memories are oftentimes carried with us into adulthood! Joy’s journey is very moving and encouraging…. especially the upcoming weeks! Stay tuned!

  • Some of our deepest scars come from our childhood — careless words, hurtful actions. Thank you for sharing so honestly, and I pray that healing comes through this series!

    • Clare says:

      Yes, healing does come later on in Joy’s life and wow! So glad you are here today with us Samantha – and we will see you next Monday for more!

  • Bev says:

    I grew up with Joy and I always envied her! I can remember sitting behind her in class and brushing her long gorgeous hair. I also thought she dressed impeccable and wished I had clothes like hers:) She was always very popular in elementary, Jr. High, and high school.
    I never knew she felt the way she did:(
    I have found, over the years, we all had demons we were fighting! Mine was that I was molested by a family member when I was in 2nd & 3rd grade. None of my friends ever knew.

    • Clare says:

      Aw – so sorry for your journey…. Thanks for sharing and please do follow along with “Finding Joy” and the rest of her story! (See you next Monday for more)!

  • comparison is the thief of joy. It starts so young too. My 9 year old son is going through this right now too with a pot belly. It’s hard to see your kids hurt when they compare themselves to others.

    • Clare says:

      Right – I truly agree “comparison is the thief of joy”! Awww – so sorry for your young son! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your heart – I hope you will come back next Monday to continue with “Finding Joy”!

  • I think what most adults begin to realize when looking back at their childhoods is that most everyone was insecure about themselves. Even those girls and boys that appeared to be the most confident of all! Especially during puberty seeds of self doubt would grow ugly little weeds of discomfort and create emotional insecurity. We all started comparing ourselves to our peers. I don’t believe anyone was untouched during those years. I’m not sure if it will bring you comfort now – but know that you were not alone! We all struggled with accepting ourselves and our changing bodies during those early formative years.

    • Clare says:

      So true, I don’t believe anyone was untouched during those (often dreadful) “puberty” years either! Yes, it’s been a struggle for a lot of people. Thanks for sharing this insight, Denay, and thanks for stopping by!

  • Paola says:

    Such cool and cute pictures!

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