Growing Up As The Big Kid Has Some Pretty Big Rewards
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Health and Wellness

Growing Up As The Big Kid Has Some Pretty Big Rewards

A quick glance into the greatness of growing up fat .

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According to the data gathered by the Centers for Disease (CDC), 39.8% of the US population was considered obese in 2015-2016. This is roughly 93.3 million individuals It's no mystery why this is, affordable food is tasty, easily accessible, and insanely loaded with fats and sodium.

These foods are marketed to us pretty much from the time we wake up in the morning to when we go to sleep, and yes sometimes my dreams include a certain celebrity feeding me hot wings with one hand and holding his Oscar in the other*wink… but this is beside the point, this is turning into fan fiction and that's not the direction we are headed at the moment. So, let's talk about why you're reading this article; why I'm glad I grew up fat.

First of all, the word fat is rarely in my vocabulary. It has taken 21 years to not feel my heart quiver and my eyes burn with the feeling of inadequacy. Yes, those three little letters can evoke some deep-rooted emotional response that I am still not fully in control of.

Please be aware of your own vocabulary and surroundings. Being overweight is different from other insecurities in that, this is external insecurity, there is no hiding from it.

This is just tacked onto the list of internal insecurities that every individual has. So now with that out of the way, here's a little background into my life. If you know me, you know my completely overused quote of "I have always been this size" and I thank you for allowing me to beat that horse so far into the ground we've reached the earth's core.

The evidence-- I vividly remember talking with my friends on the playground around 4th grade, and they were all scared of breaking the 100lb mark. I started crying because I had broken the 200lb mark years before this. I have not been conscious of my weight, not been conscious about the eyes on my body, my vessel in this world.

It's pretty much a universal feeling of "bleh" for people's middle school and high school days, but elementary school was the most unforgiving for me. I moved schools between second and third grade and it was a shock.

Let's travel back in time for a moment ( the screen shimmers and melts away, leaving a hallway decorated with Curious George and other books we actually never read but feel nostalgia for.) If you went to a public elementary school, you probably remember having to line up and proceed through the hallways in a single file line behind the coveted "line leader." On the first day, we were walking in our lines, feeling united and safe within the confines of ourselves.

As we passed another class in the hall, I glanced over and there was a boy holding his hands out in front of him and shaking them up and down like he was a jolly Santa, but this Santa's gift was not of joy but rather of self-loathing and the confirmation of my suspicions, they knew and noticed I was fat.

I mean, I immediately told the teacher and that kid got in trouble and cried but this is my story so back to me! That was my first memory of this school. Just to be clear, it was never a surprise to have someone make fun of me or let me know I wasn't skinny, I wasn't ignorant to that fact. While I reflect on this time and write this article, I realize the saddest part, I was always expecting to be the butt of the joke or the elephant in the room.

This next allusion is in reference to elementary PE. If you are reading this and you too were an over-weight, non-active kid, you KNOW the struggle with PE. It wasn't necessarily the activities, it was the judgment and ridicule you received when you put yourself out there and you tried. The swings were my home for recess, glorified sitting meant limited chances to be noticed and picked on.

You would assume the only judgment was from my peers, but you'd be wrong. One instance, forever burned into my mind, had to do with a coach at my elementary school. My school would have the entire grade go to PE at the same time, so this meant around 200-250 kids were in the gym all at once. The entire grade was silent, sitting against the perimeter of the gym awaiting the instructions for the day. This particular coach, with his microphone on, came to me and said, "Come on big momma" and told me to stand up.

He proceeded to tell another boy, who was also large, to get up as well. He then lines us up and tells the two of us we had to race each other around the gym. No other kids had ever had to do this before, his aim must have been horrific because he needed a quite literal, larger target.

As his "little pigs" ran their course, the audience pointed and laughed. This pig then went to the bathroom and cried for the rest of the period. Thank you for the encouragement to get up and move my body; My arms flexed to cover my eyes and my body rose and fell with the sobs.

I could never bring all of my life experiences into a concise little article, there were so many more instances that I was criticized for this body of mine. Even with this adversity, I do not feel that overall I was bullied or socially ostracized. I was generally well liked by my classmates and I had some fantastic friends. I hope this can shed light on the fact that kids being bullied are going through even more injustice than I experienced and it's equally heartbreaking and infuriating.

With the obvious negatives out of the way, let's choose some happiness and positives that came from all of this, and the reason you've clicked on this article.

Being "different" as a kid has allowed empathy to be the main pillar of my existence. I do not judge someone's character by the size of their waistband. I am sensitive to some of the main trigger words for someone who is overweight and can more easily accept the triggers that can coexist with other afflictions. It prepped my mind for the awakening; being aware that life is experienced in infinite facets of possibility.

I feel that my friends were genuine. I never had anyone be my friend just because of my "social status" or whatever we want to call the division we experienced in grade school.

I never had a relationship or dated. As I reflect, I know that love was always possible, regardless of physical attributes, and that this was more a subconscious decision that I was unlovable, at least in that way. This was definitely a struggle at the time, seeing all of my friends have their first dates and kisses and I was just living vicariously through them. I felt left behind in the whirlwind of teenage expression and love. What comes up must always come down, and I do not believe I was emotionally ready to endure the roller coaster of feelings that come along with dating. I had room to learn to love myself.

Not being the center of the Romantic spotlight, I had the opportunity to be as weird as I wanted to be. I could embrace the fun-loving child in my mind for a little longer than the other kids.

If you've made it this far, thank you. Thank you for letting my voice be heard, for letting me express myself, and for opening your mind to another's a unique experience.

This little piggy might not run the fastest, but you're a damn fool if you think she's not going to win this race.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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