Carrie's Story: Turning a negative message into a positive

Carrie's Story: Turning a negative message into a positive

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - You've likely either heard about the now-viral Facebook post by WLOX Chief Meteorologist Carrie Duncan.

Using the social networking site, Carrie shared a venomous email she received from a TV viewer regarding her weight. Thousands of people came to her defense; resulting in international attention.

While it initially caused pain and anger, Carrie is moving forward and focusing on what's most important in her life. She hopes that sharing her message will help others learn to do the same.

She remembers very well the moment she opened the email back in June.

"It was as if someone sat down and said 'I want to write the meanest thing I can say to anyone ever,' and that's what she did."

The email not only attacked Carrie's weight - it attacked her hair, clothing, and even brought her children and husband into the fray.

"I shouldn't have read that. No one should. It's not constructive, it's not helpful. It's pure hate," said Carrie.

Carrie chose not to reveal the person's identity; even though many of her fans encouraged her to do so. Retaliation isn't part of her plan.

"It does bother me, but I'd rather take the high road," said her husband, Dan. "There's not much you can do or say to people like that. I think they're more miserable with themselves and they try to drag people down with them. Their opinion doesn't matter. They just want you to be miserable, too."

Carrie says that kind of attack is hard to comprehend.

"When they're that mean - I almost feel sorry for her," said Carrie. "She has so much hate for someone she doesn't even know. I can't even fathom that much hate."

Ironically, the email came at one of the happiest times in Carrie's life. She and her husband Dan had recently welcomed their second son, Carter, into the world. Their first born, Bradley, is almost 3.

"Sitting at 40 years old now, I'm not where I want to be. But, I'm more comfortable in my body than I've ever been," said Carrie. "While my body is bigger than I want it to be, it has grown two beautiful boys and they're my life."

Despite the fact that she says she's at one of her heaviest points in life - something she wants to change - Carrie knows what's most important. Her family life helps put things into perspective.

Because she and Dan got a later start than some couples - marrying in their mid-30s- they are especially thankful for their two boys.

"I couldn't ask for anything better than the way my life is right now with Carrie and the two sons we have. It's what I waited for," said Dan.

Carrie added, "I have two healthy babies and that's a miracle in itself. So, I'm so thankful. When you're a thankful person, it's hard to be a hateful person."

She hopes sharing her post will encourage people to think before they speak.

"You're not telling someone something they don't know. Like, news flash - 'Oh, I'm overweight? I had no idea. I don't see myself in a mirror every day; I don't have to dress this every day.' I know what I look like."

And while the email may be the most hateful, it's unfortunately not the first Carrie has received in her more than 15 years at WLOX. As many people on television know, viewers are quick to say what they don't like about on-air personalities.

"When I first got here I had someone say, 'Send that fat lady packing.'" That was one of the first emails that I got, and I was much smaller then than I am now. People say if I could just go back to that weight when I first thought I was fat, I would be so happy", Carrie said with laughter.

Her weight is something she's working on improving. Juggling a busy schedule, Carrie works out with a personal trainer three times a week.

"I'm not doing it for anyone but me. I'm trying, and it's a daily battle," said Carrie. "I think there are more people than not who are the same way - up and down. So if we can be more encouraging to people, then maybe it wouldn't lead to their being so depressed that they have to go home eat a sleeve of cookies."

The latest experience has helped remind her just how much support she has in the community; which helps her move forward.

"The people down here really stood up for me and that was heartwarming. Primarily from South Mississippi, but also from around the world. They overwhelmed me with emotion," she said.

The viral post made internet headlines across the world from Yahoo in the UK and Canada, to national headlines right here at home. Now, she hopes her message will encourage more people to spread kindness.

"Spread compliments, spread positivity. It's easy to find the negative in every situation, but there's positive in every situation, too," said Carrie. "If you can find the positive, that's when you're going to be winning."

It's a message Dan says needs to start at home; a message he tries to instill in his two sons.

"If I can raise them to take the high road and offset some of the meanness, that's how they're going to be raised."

As she rises above the hurtful moment, Carrie hopes everyone takes away an important message: "Live your life in a positive way. Just be nice. Kindness matters."

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