She is powerful and gentle. She is a classroom hero. A doctor, a nurse, a waitress, a teacher, a custodian, an artist, writer, singer, or poet. She is a mother, a granny, an advice giver.

“You’re fat.” That’s what a classmate told freshman, Cassidy Torres, in P.E. class. A boy said it. And it’s too bad he didn’t get his hindparts worn out.

It all happened in a gymnasium. Students were standing in a single-file line. They were doing body-mass-index calculations with calipers and measuring tapes.

Cassidy’s numbers were higher than the recommended baseline. You can only imagine the laughs and animal sounds that followed.

The aforementioned boy made a comment. Cassidy was in tears.

Amd you’re probably thinking what I’m thinking. Which is: “Great, just what every insecure freshman needs. Calipers.”

Well, not that it matters what I think—because it doesn’t—but I don’t think measuring the bellies of high-schoolers qualifies as gym class.

What ever happened to good old-fashioned P.E.? I’m talking sadistic American games like dodgeball, unsupervised rope-climbing, and of course, lawn darts.

But measuring body fat in public? I wouldn’t wish that experience on even the worst IRS agent—let alone a shy freshman.

Anyway, to dig up more answers on this matter, I interviewed noted expert, and acclaimed commentator on adolescent issues—my friend’s daughter, Kayleigh.

Kayleigh is your typical sophomore. She’s in chorus, math club, and on a volleyball team. She likes Dr. Pepper, Cheese Nips, rap, Labradors, and she thinks she’s fat.

I asked Kayleigh why she thought this. She had a lot to say on the matter. Her answer:


My guest today has been Kayleigh Williamson.

The thing is, Kayleigh is as lean as they come. And she can bench press her bodyweight. Her mother has a theory.

Her mother points to the magazines on Kayleigh’s nightstand and says, “Those dumb magazines are messing with her mind.”

Kayleigh shows me one such beauty magazine. The cover model features a young woman who weighs less than a rice cake in a water shortage, with abs sharp enough to grate parmesan.

Kayleigh’s mother asks her: “Is THIS what you wanna look like?”

Kayleigh doesn’t answer, and I don’t blame her. But her mother asks again. Kayleigh’s face turns red.

“MOM,” she says. “I just don’t wanna be ugly. I wanna be one of the hot girls.”

Well, I’ll be dog.

Listen, I know it’s hard to believe, Kayleigh, but there is no such thing as a “hot girl,” or a “hot guy.” Not really. There are only human beings, and we all run about 98.6 degrees.

Besides, a real girl—if you ask me—isn’t a pop-star with green hair and a bathing suit made from recycled dental floss.

A real girl is herself. Brave enough to use her mind, her voice, and her will. Strong enough to act unique, and wise enough to be humble.

She knows how to love. How to smile. Within her DNA is pure instinct. The instinct to raise children. To rear them.

She has the heaven-sent ability of striking fear into the hearts of rowdy little boys, using nothing but a hairbrush.

She is powerful and gentle. She is a classroom hero. A doctor, a nurse, a waitress, a teacher, a custodian, an artist, writer, singer, or poet. She is a mother, a granny, an advice giver.

She’s a cashier at Piggly Wiggly—raising a family of three. She’s a fry-cook. She’s calm during crisis. She’s a sturdy post during hellish times.

She is confident—not in a wardrobe, but in herself. Because she knows who she is. And she loves what she sees in a mirror.

At least, that’s what I hope for you, Kayleigh, Cassidy, and anyone else reading. I hope you love your own reflection. Because you’re worth loving.

You’re not just a girl, a woman, or a lady.

You are the greatest idea God ever had. I don’t care what the scale says.

You’re not fat.


  1. candyalso - March 15, 2018 8:47 am

    I love you, Sean Dietrich!

  2. Cathi - March 15, 2018 10:32 am

    Thank you Sean…more girls need to hear that from boys!

  3. Steve - March 15, 2018 11:11 am

    Lots of girl’s minds are are being messed with thru those fake ads and figures in those girly magazines.

  4. Elizabeth Royal - March 15, 2018 12:07 pm

    Thank you, thank you Sean. I love that you wrote this!

  5. Gabe - March 15, 2018 12:08 pm

    My wife is a hot girl. Especially when she weedeats, hoes our garden, trims the shrubs, cooks for my family, cleans the entire house….. alone, gets the groceries, puts them away, supports our children, but she’s mostly hot when she Smiles about it. I think I’ll get her some lemonade.

    Girls with ripped up abs are cool until it’s supper time. There’s usually no fried chicken, cornbread, fried taters, bologna, or spam in sight. Man can’t live on vinaigrette…. why in the world would anyone want to.

    Girls, eat and be merry. Any dude who says your fat has no upbringing and doesn’t deserve you anyway!!!!

  6. DeeDee - March 15, 2018 12:17 pm

    Thank you, Sean. I could really relate to this, as I was once that slightly overweight girl in high school.

  7. Suzanne - March 15, 2018 12:57 pm

    More boys need to hear from their fathers that depth of character and spirit is far more important than looks will ever be.

  8. Tawanah Fagan Bagwell - March 15, 2018 1:13 pm

    Thank you so much for this story! It needs to be shared.

  9. Jack Darnell - March 15, 2018 2:00 pm

    “I’ll be dog…” said Johnny. WE were in 80 degree weather in Florida. Wife gets a call fro Detroit, Ypsi to be exact. Johnny is dying. being mobile we left within the hour, drove all the way thru. Johnny was in a coma. Days went by. John never married, saved that money and retired from GM. Johnny had lived in a boarding house since 1956 when he went to Detroit to build cars. He came out of the coma, he says in a weak whisper. ‘Jack go check my room, I have $6,000 dollars in my leather Jacket, better go soon.’ He closed his eyes back in a coma (or something) The next day he came around again, I told him there was no money anywhere in his room. He only said, ‘I’LL BE DOG..’ No exclamation point just a quiet ‘I’ll be dog.’ Johnny did not die. My wife nursed him back to health, but Johnny got an apartment. He never mentioned the money again. Sorry to be off subj, but that southern statement sent my mind wandering.

    Anyway I feel the same way about the danged magazines that FORCE the girls to want to be slinky rails, instead of themselves.

  10. Connie - March 15, 2018 2:25 pm

    Yet another reason I love you. I know your momma is proud of you, and Jamie surely knows she’s loved. You are a rare man who sees past body size to what’s important. Thank you.

  11. Arelene Mack - March 15, 2018 2:47 pm

    I know physically beautiful people who are not beautiful on the inside and what comes out of their mouth is horrifying. I also know beautiful people who do not have perfect physical bodies but they sure are beautiful to me!

  12. Beki Denison - March 15, 2018 3:13 pm

    yes yes yes!!! And as a Mom of a teenage boy who also doesn’t fit the into the government standards on these “tests”I can tell guys have feelings as well that get hurt when they don’t “fit” into the “standards”. Wounds are made early in life and often lead to years of scars. My kid may not be what the US govt deems as the appropriate BMI but he can fix fence, show animals, compete on his schools debate team, open doors for girls, say yes ma’m and no sir, offer his seat to an older person when he’s seated, and pay his respects wehn a loved one dies. I’ll take that over the correct BMI any day of the week.

  13. Diana - March 15, 2018 3:18 pm

    Bless you, Sean!

  14. Edna B. - March 15, 2018 3:21 pm

    More kids need to see and hear this. They are all beautiful. Just the way they are.

  15. lizzabeth2014 - March 15, 2018 3:43 pm

    How sad that these beautiful children feel that they have to keep up with the looks of others when they are just as beautiful as a cover model.

  16. Marty from Alabama - March 15, 2018 4:25 pm

    Wish I had read something like this back in my day. I was always fat, at least that is what others thought, and sometimes wore glasses! Double whammy in those days. But you know what, I survived, grew up and eventually married and have a family to include grands and great-grands. I volunteer, attend a ladies’ Bible class once a week, church every week, all the things that are normal for me. Oh, I have been known to go to events where all you do is sit and listen to some redheaded, bearded young man that is brilliant, because he talks about life – REAL life. Thank you for your writings, and your talkings. They are second only to my daily Devotionals. Have a great and wonderful day!

  17. Charlette Voss - March 15, 2018 5:19 pm

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I shared this on Facebook and I hope that it’s printed out an handed to every adolescent girl AND boy. My best friend’s daughter died from complications of an eating disorder – just trying to fit in with what she perceived as perfection in everyone else. She was beautiful, athletic, musically talented and brilliant.

  18. Lynda - March 15, 2018 10:09 pm

    You would have made a GREAT dad!

  19. Dale Head - March 16, 2018 2:35 am

    This really strikes a chord! I am 71 years old. I was a FAT kid – and freakishly I remember certain years by my weight such as 3rd grade – weight 103; 5th grade – weight 110; 7th grade – 180’s; 12th grade – 225. My adolescent weight still plays into my concept of self today – remember I’m 71 years old! in third grade [weight 103], we were weighed by the teacher in front of the class. Now, the teacher did not intentionally share each student’s weight BUT the students in the front row [nearest the teacher’s desk] could easily SEE each student’s weight. Later in the year, when there was a “vote” on girls in the class [remember this is 1954!], the vote was ORAL. The boy who sat in the front seat by the teacher’s desk voted for “#103 – then he had to clarify with my name – which was how much I weighed – the FATTEST kid in the class. That has affected me all of my life. Fortunately, I have been successful in my weight control and at present I weigh half of my highest weight and have for many years. But I still feel that derision that I felt as a child when I was teased because I was FAT.

  20. Janet Mary Lee - March 17, 2018 5:56 pm

    Bless you for writing this.. It is so important and not said or felt enough. Being fat is a stigma not matter how hard you try not to be. And damaging at any age. I love when people see me, and love me anyway because I am a real person and have learned to love me in spite of it all. But I am blessed by people whose eyes see thru that. Thank you for caring…

  21. unkle - May 26, 2018 3:25 pm

    Lawn darts , what a way to spend an afternoon, in the ER ! uk

  22. Annette H. Bailey - May 26, 2018 4:02 pm

    As a PE teacher, I’d never embarrass a child. Most hate to exercise as it is. It’s my job to encourage exercise…not because I want kids thin…I want them healthy. They need to get up and move. They need to move because if they don’t, they will have problems at a far younger age than myself and many other older folks. I want kids to be healthy but I teach them how to be happy with themselves AS themselves. No…don’t ever embarrass a student…that’s too detrimental and I watched as a sorry, sorry, teacher did that to two guys in my Kinesiology class in college. He took two boys…one played football and was ripped but the other wasn’t and the teacher made both take their shirts off. He pointed out the good of one boy versus the bad of the other. I disliked this teacher intensely and would have dropped the course except no one else taught the class and I needed it to graduate as a PE teacher. He made the class so hard that most of us failed. He died two yrs. later and I took the class under a new instructor and passed easily. He shouldn’t have taught a class where young freshmen in college were still shy and impressionable. Sadly, kids listen to what other kids say and hate themselves. I was one of them only I wasn’t fat…I just wasn’t pretty. But later, I changed. I want kids to know that they will not always be in this awkward stage, so I teach self-love along with being healthy. It can be done! Thanks Sean….you are a welcomed voice in people’s lives!


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