Portraits of the jersey shore Carpe Diem-

Carpe Diem

“I always wanted to be the punk rock, tattooed, pinup girl, and that is not always accepted in society. But over time, I just got to be like, ‘You know what? I don’t care! I have to be who I am, and if you don’t like it, move on.’ I have ‘Carpe Diem’ tattooed on my arm to always remind me that life is too short to care about what other people think of me. I feel like I am more me than I have ever been, and I just want everyone to feel the way that I feel, and be happy with who they are.

“It took me a long time to get to where I am at. I recently lost a fair amount of weight, and I am still adjusting to my new body, and feeling pretty. Most of my life, since I was a young teenager, I was overweight. I never knew how to do hair, I never knew how to do makeup, I had a really bad sense of fashion, I was just doing my own thing. I used to be one of those people who didn’t think I was worth taking care of myself. When I was heavier, it was very hard. I was picked on a lot. Not just in school, but in public too, people would say things because of my weight. I would hear the comments and the snickering, and it really hurt. As I got older I would want to date, and the way people made me feel made it really hard too, because I felt so self-conscious.

“Not long ago, I had come out of a very long relationship. It ended amicably, there was nothing bad that happened. Then last winter I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes, and that also kind of scared me to get my life on track. I am low enough on the scale that I can reverse it with eating right and exercise. That’s when I started to come into my own. I started running again, which is huge for me, and the weight just started falling off. I know I don’t look it, but I love to run.

“I used to run all the time when I was in middle school. I got away from it for a long time, and I just got back into it again for the last 6 or 7 months, and it makes me so happy. It makes me feel so good and keeps me in shape, and puts me in a good mood and in such a good mindset. To see your body changing, and to see the results, just reinforces what I am doing. It just gets me excited to get up every morning and run, whether if it is raining, snowing, or a thousand degrees, I am out there, getting my exercise. I am actually doing the 5k in Seaside Park next month.

“In the last year I have finally become who I always want to be…physically and mentally. It took me a long time to get there, but now that I am here, I wouldn’t trade that for the world. If someone says I have inspired them or motivated them to exercise, then my job is done.”

~ Lavallette

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