I will never forget that fateful day back in fourth grade when I stepped on the scale (my least favorite activity of any kind) and I was floored by the number that appeared.
At nine years old, and standing just under five feet tall, I was nearly 140 pounds.
I couldn’t even fit into most junior section clothing, even though I was still at that age and sleeping with a nightlight. I was no longer a cute little kid with chub, I was borderline obese.
It wasn’t until I began middle school and went through a crazy growth spurt that I finally lost the fat, but also my own personal control over my self-image.
My body had changed, but my self-confidence had not.
I still saw chubby even when I was underweight, something I’d never been anywhere close to in my entire life.
I remember one summer when the obsession became its worst — I spent my sacred schoolless days hiding inside my house, weighing myself more times throughout the day than I actually ate. When I did muster a meal down, it was unbuttered toast or popsicles. I really don’t remember doing much else throughout the summer except holding myself prisoner to my own self-misery.
I look back at pictures from that time and I can’t even fathom how I saw fat. I was so skinny that I looked ill.
My skin was white as paper, and just as fragile, too.
It wasn’t until eighth grade that I suddenly stopped caring what anyone thought, and just wanted to be myself. Looking back at pictures from then are also horrifying, but for humorous reasons, like dying my hair bright red or sporting Batman shirts. Despite how much of a fool I probably made myself, it was still one of the happiest times of my life.
I was so sure of myself that I didn’t need the approval of others, even if I was rockin’ firetruck colored hair and little boy superhero shirts.
It’s been almost 10 years since my journey with body image first began, and it has certainly been a rollercoaster of a ride.
Even now, being 19 with the womanly figure I envied for as a little girl, I still have days that I just want to hide inside because of my insecurities, but I also have my fair share of days where I want to strut down State Street.
I don’t think my journey toward complete confidence will ever be over, but at least that’s something I can still be confident about in myself on my most insecure of days.
If there is one thing I’ve learned other than needing to chill on the Doritos from time to time, it's that you can’t love anything without caring for it first, including yourself.