- 13 years old
- Elkhart, Indiana
- 25 years old
- Salt Lake City, Utah
- Data Infrastructure & Visualization Manager
Junior high felt exceptionally awkward for me, as I continued to grow chubbier instead of growing vertically. My freckles were out of control and my confidence was almost non-existent. The only advantage of being a husky 8th grader was that I had a place as a defensive lineman on the football team. I wasn’t always a starter, but I remember feeling my most confident in school when I got to wear my team colors on game day. One game day, one of our starting offensive lineman broke his collarbone in PE, and news traveled during the day that I would be replacing him as a starter. Instead of feeling excited, my low self-esteem crept in and I became stricken with anxiety, so much so that I made myself sick and ended up in the hospital that afternoon. While my parents and coaches were told it was dehydration, I knew the real culprit: fear. I spent two days in the hospital and the next two years still suffering from severe self-esteem issues. It wasn’t until the summer between my sophomore and junior year of high school that I finally shot up (somewhere between 4 and 6 inches!), slimmed down, and started to feel happy with myself.
Even through these less-than-happy years, I was blessed with a strong, core group of friends, many of whom will be standing beside me on my wedding day in September. They’ve always been there to support and encourage me. In fact, it’s because of the words of encouragement from one of them that I mustered up the strength and sense to ask my wife-to-be on a date.