One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident


What you’re telling yourself is just a story.

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Last Saturday during the competition I was standing behind a woman with a tattoo of a quote on her shoulder. I couldn’t see the whole thing because it was cut off by her tank. She was watching and cheering on a friend so I din’t want to interrupt to ask.

All I could see (well, remember) was “Just a story” and “figure out who you’re going to be.”

I did a little research online to see if I could find it but all I kept getting was variations of this:

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 11.25.01 AM

And although I love that quote it wasn’t what I found so powerful in that woman’s tattoo.

I kept searching.

That’s when I discovered this:

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 11.28.39 AM

Ahh, Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club (one of my favorite movies.) Now I had a name so I did some more digging and figured out the quote is from the book Invisible Monsters .

I really wanted to know the context of this quote. So I bought the Kindle version of Invisible Monsters.  I searched for the quote and pulled out the dialogue from the character who said it. Here’s the full text:

You can’t base your life on the past or the present. You have to tell me about your future.  Now, you are going to tell me your story like you just did. Write it all down. Tell that story over and over. Tell me your sad-assed story all night. When you understand that what you’re telling is just a story. It isn’t happening anymore. When you realize the story you’re telling is just words, when you can just crumble it up and throw your past in the trashcan then we’ll figure out who you’re going to be.


How powerful is that?

As much as I don’t want to admit it, I’m still a person who lets my past define my future. I hold on to the things people have told me and let my self-definition dictate who I think I am or what I think I can do.

Am I a runner?

In the past 6 years I’ve run countless 5ks (at least 25), 5 half marathons, a full marathon and 7 Tough Mudders and I STILL have a hard time calling myself a runner. 


Because someone told me once I couldn’t run?  I used to think runners were crazy?  I’m not fast? It didn’t come natural to me? I started too late? 

Hitting the pavement or traversing a new trail is one of my favorite things to do on a Sunday morning.

I am a runner.

Am I an athlete?

I’ve been consistently weight training for 3 years, CrossFitting for almost 2, and have competed in 4 competitions, yet I still feel really uncomfortable defining myself as an athlete.


Because I hated gym class? Was never good at sports? Started too late? Don’t want people to think I’m crazy? 

All I dream about now is making it to the CrossFit regionals as a Master in the next few years.

I am an athlete.

Taking this in a slightly different direction, I’m writing this right now yet I shudder when someone calls me a writer, even though I’m currently publishing a book!

Speaking of, I was having a conversation with The Husband about the book and I told him I felt like it will finally legitimize what I’ve been doing all these years with my business.  He looked me square in the face and said, “Umm, I’m pretty sure the conference did that 5 years ago. You do know you are the reason 300 people get together once a year.”

I am in a constant game of tug-o-war with who I was and who I want to be. 

The story I tell myself is that I’m a chunky, awkward girl who isn’t particularly smart or talented. I’m definitely not a writer. Sure, I’m kind of good at a few things (I can kind of cook, kind of take pictures, kind of build web sites, kind of design) but not good enough to find real success. I’m definitely NOT an athlete. I couldn’t even make my high school softball team for Pete’s sake! Nope, I’m just a poor girl from a broken home who doesn’t really deserve much out of life.

OK,  Now I’m crying. That came from a really deep place. For whatever reason I have a hard time throwing away my past. I want to speak and share my ideas without doubting myself or my abilities or worrying about what anyone else thinks. I want to be a successful author. I want to be a competitive athlete. I deserve to be those things.

I’m tired of feeling like an impostor.

I’m throwing my old story away.

I know who I want to be.

Well, this took a much deeper turn than I thought it would. That quote really struck a chord with me because I can see it in myself and I bet if you dig a little you’ll see it, too. Everyone lets their past define their future in some way, but what if you did throw your past in the trashcan? What could you be? 

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There are 17 comments so far.


    September 26, 2014

    WOW! You are so amazing and such an inspiration to so many. I wish it
    was that easy to just crumple up the past and throw it in the trashcan. It is just so hard not to focus on the past.


      September 26, 2014

      Of course it’s not that easy! I’ve been struggling with this for years and this post is yet another attempt by me to do just that: throw it in the trash.


    September 26, 2014

    One of your best posts ever! Thank you!

    Melissa Dickenson Cupit

    September 26, 2014

    I agree. One of your best posts ever. I’m bookmarking this one for sure.


    September 26, 2014

    This is an interesting post. I have never understood why some people hold on to the past. What is the point? What does it get the person? I’ll admit, i didn’t come a broken family, or lose a parent, but I have had some misfortunes…just as probably everyone has. What makes one person hold onto the past and another person let it go? I know people who don’t let a day go by without letting someone know they had this or that happen to them, and then others who had more traumatic things happen to them and you would never know it because they are so happy living in the present. I am beginning to think that I don’t thank God enough that I don’t live in the past, and I’m going to quit taking it for granted!


    September 27, 2014

    I don’t have to label myself anything…runner, triathlete, open water swimmer, hiker, mountain runner, mountain biker…although I am a woman who does all these things and more. Just call me by my name, or call me “mom” or a term of endearment. Don’t need to define myself by what I do.


      September 29, 2014

      But you do/did feel the need to list those things didn’t you? And I thought you weren’t reading my boring blog anymore?


      October 1, 2014

      shhh-you are the only one that knows!


    September 27, 2014

    Wow Roni – that’s the first thing that comes to my mind – simply WOW. (Apologies for all caps emphasis throughout :-)… Amazing & beautiful connection as you delve deeper into the meat of the post & it just gets better from there. Although I am mostly one of the lucky ones (who does NOT feel excessively controlled by my past) – just like most everyone else – I DO feel that in some ways (less so about body & intellect & capabilities, more so regarding money/security, ability to be loved & whether I really get to be one of the “happy” ones with a good life).

    I am also forwarding this to a few people who I love dearly who live in the past practically ALL DAY EVERYDAY – I so wish I knew of some way to pull them out of that trash can & into the present & into realizing that they can & HAVE TO create their future or else it will likely be as disappointing as their past. (I guess NOT being that way & leading by example is the best/only route…who knows?) THIS message – that it’s your life your future & YOU HAVE TO MAKE IT WHAT YOU WANT IT TO BE – is the most important message that I give to every high school & college student I talk to – and the Chuck Pahlaniuk quote & what you are saying to elaborate it just reminds me that no matter what – no matter what HAS ALREADY HAPPENED – we have to hopefully learn from it — but then LET IT GO & MAKE A LIFE – make it now & every day – make it what we want it to BE & be proud & glad that we were lucky enough to figure that out. You are a prime example of that & that’s why you are the only blogger I’ve found so far that inspires me just about every single damn post!

    Thank you – simply awesome Roni. Thank you <3

    Jules Biggirlbombshell

    September 27, 2014

    What could I be? I am looking forward to finding out. My whole hiatus this year was devoted to just this thing! Stories, myths, old definitions….I FINALLY posted today about being willing to confront the void and here is a quote…stemming from your own idea that you can tattoo in your heart when your doubt appears……….. #wycwyc became what I can, to honor what is right with me, whenever I can

    Joy @

    September 27, 2014

    So much wisdom in that quote and the realization that the stories we tell ourselves–sometimes unconscious stories–will define our lives if we don’t become aware and change the script. I tell myself a bunch of things about myself that may or may not be true and fail to serve me regardless. Thanks for this important reminder. It’s a crucial thing to keep thinking about!


    September 28, 2014

    I like this quote. Funny that last night I was driving and thinking about my past but in a much different way than you’ve posted about. Anyway, good quote that I need to remember. Oprah always says “you are not your past.” So very true…

    Danielle Hughes

    September 28, 2014

    It’s funny how we hold onto our past as though letting it go means letting a piece of ourselves go in the process, when in reality we’re allowing the room it took up within us to be given to something else bigger than we are, something that will cause us to grow as a person ever more, to reach goals that we couldn’t have before, weighed down by the past we dragged behind us like a shackled ball. That quote is amazing, I can’t see myself getting that entirety posted on my body, I’m too big a chicken but I see the power in those words.


      September 29, 2014

      Yea, it was long but I loved what the quote stands for.

    Sarah Deman

    September 29, 2014

    It’s great to let go of those things that are holding you down – throw them away! We did a similar exercise at a weight watchers meeting recently – we wrote down a bad habit, folded it up and threw it away to symbolize that the bad habit was no longer going to hold us back! It was cheesy, but made a bit of an impact!


      September 29, 2014

      I’m embracing the cheesy! :)

    Melanie Deardorff

    October 6, 2014

    Oooh-whee, I got a bunch of stories, too, Roni. I’ll probably never call myself a runner because I like walking fast, that works for me, and I’m gettin’ O.L.D. and running kinda makes me sore. The other reason is that a boy made fun of me in elementary school saying I was a funny runner (funny weird, not funny ha ha ha). And he wrote that lovely sentiment in my yearbook, too, and don’t you know I still see it in there when I flip through the yellowing pages! I do try to balance out the negative stories with the positive ones, like I know I’m a great friend. I’m very creative. I know heckuva lot about marketing. (There, I feel better already!)