My journey to a healthier me

Tales of my life


on August 8, 2012

A few months ago a friend suggested I check out a website called Celebrate The Hero. It’s really amazing. I think it was intended to help kids and teens, but it has a lot to teach all of us. Reading the quotes and stories posted got me thinking about those in my life I consider to be heroes. You should really check it out for yourself. And bookmark it too. It’s worth looking at over and over and over. Forward it to everyone you know because as I said, it has a lot to offer everyone, not just kids.

Not long ago, Nick Foley, who is the founder of Celebrate The Hero, posed a question, asking how we define a hero. I, of course, had to answer that. I had two answers actually. The first answer was “a hero is someone who sees someone who needs helps & helps them without a 2nd thought”. The second answer I gave was “a hero is someone who makes the world a better place by making the lives of others better”. I particularly like that one. Nick asked me to write something for the site. I was very honoured. So I decided to write something based on the second definition. It’s called My Heroes and you can find it here. And if you’re a regular reader of my blog, you will know those I wrote about, and probably understand why I chose them.

While thinking about what I wanted to write, I thought about all the people in my life, both past and present, who I might consider a hero and why. And that got me thinking about heroes in general. Anyone can be a hero. There are the obvious answers like policemen, firefighters, military … those who put their lives on the line every day for us. But what about the not-so-obvious. The teacher who sees the potential in us and takes us under their wings. The “popular” kid who sees us sitting alone and befriends us. The stranger who sees us struggling with bags or packages and offers to help. The friend who always seems to know when we need them, even without us saying it. In their own way, they are all heroes. Everyone in our lives has the potential to be a hero, whether we realize it or not … whether they realize it or not. The things we do and say have an impact on ourselves as well as others. And that impact can be either good or bad.

At this point you might be asking yourself what this might have to do with my journey. Well I think it has a great deal to do with it. If everyone I know has the potential of being a hero, then everyone has the potential of helping me along in my journey. And my journey is not just about being healthier physically. It’s also about being healthier mentally. And it’s not just the people in my life now. It’s also about every person who I’ve met along the way.

So who are some of those I consider to be heroes (other than those I’ve already written about)? I’ve had a great many in my life. More than I can write about here. But every one of them is important. Every one of them have helped me to become the person I am and the person I’m becoming. Here are just a few of them:

I would have to say one of my earliest heroes was a teacher I had in high school. Her name was Gloria Mora. She was one of those that saw my potential and tried all she could to help me. She was a great influence on my life. When I graduated, she gave me a beautiful book of poetry. I still have it. I lost touch with her after I moved away. I wish I knew what happened to her. I’m not sure she ever realized how much she meant to not just me, but to a great many of her students. We don’t always appreciate our teachers when we are in school. If you know a great teacher, make sure you let them know how much they mean to you. And if you are a teacher, please know that there are a great many students who value you more than you may realize.

Another hero of mine is also from high school. She was a classmate of mine. Her name is Michelle Hanson. Michelle was one of the popular kids, and I wasn’t. I was the super shy, kind of nerdy kid who didn’t have a lot of friends. But Michelle went out of her way to be my friend. To this day, I’m not sure if she realizes how much that meant to me, how much that still means to me.

This might seem a bit obvious, but my brothers, Jerry and Jeff, I would also consider to be heroes. Both have met life’s challenges head-on and made good lives for themselves. They have shown me what it means to be strong, to be independent, to be capable of more than some might think. While we may not have always gotten along, I love them dearly and I hope they know that.

My friend Matt Tweedy. Watching his transformation over the past several months has been inspiring. Seeing what one person can accomplish if they put their mind to it and put their heart into it is amazing. And his words of encouragement have been priceless. Knowing that he is there if ever I need anything means so much.

My doctor, whom I won’t name, who has always treated me with kindness and respect, has always listened to me and taken me seriously, and who has never talked down to me, never yelled at me, never got on my case about my weight. Not all doctors are like that. I’ve met a few who are not. It means a great deal to have someone like that in my corner.

And every person who has ever had a kind word for me about my journey, who has said how much of an inspiration I am, or said how happy they are to see the changes in me. We may not have met personally, but know that your words and support will stay with me forever. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Like I said, those are just a few of the heroes in my life. There are many many more I could write about. Maybe someday I will.

My point is this, if there is someone in your life that you think of as a hero, TELL THEM! Let them know what they mean to you. Let the world know. I don’t know where I’d be without those around me, helping me along, supporting me and cheering me on. It means so much to know there are people who will fight for you, who won’t give up on you, even if you feel like giving up. Be that kind of person to someone else. Be a hero.


2 responses to “Heroes

  1. dorothy143 says:

    WOW Jennifer… I had no idea! It made me cry! Thank you for the kind kind words. Sometimes we just don’t realize that our actions really do make a difference. I am glad to have met you in high school and have gotten to stay in touch over the years. HUGS!!!! 😉
    Michelle H

    • jenncoleman says:

      You’re very welcome. I wish I had told you sooner. I’m glad we’ve stayed in touch too. You are such a special person and you make the world a better place. HUGS!!!!!!!!

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