I was someone who swore the "freshman 15" wouldn’t get them. I’ve always been pretty tiny and had a small frame I just assumed it would stay that way. I walk many miles a day, up hills and stairs. I drink a lot of water. I’m conscious about what I eat.
And yet, there it was. Maybe not quite 15lbs, but the extra weight is visibly there.
I probably wouldn’t have noticed honestly. I’ve been really busy trying to get everything accomplished. Plus, all I wear is leggings and Nike shorts, so it’s not like anything was getting too tight. I was feeling really good about myself for the first time in a while. There isn’t a pressure to be a certain way like in high school and everyone is doing their own thing. Everything is moving too fast to notice what others are doing.
It wasn’t until I went home for Christmas when my grandmother told me I was “getting big.” It surprised me to hear it that loud and clear. And it was even worse hearing it from someone I’m close to and love. I was so hurt. I had been so proud of myself for just finishing a semester of college. I was becoming an adult and I was getting the hang of being on my own. It wasn’t always easy and I still did it. I was actually doing quite well and she didn’t care about any of the good things.
I didn’t let my grandmother’s sharp criticisms affect me going into the second semester. I went back to school for another six weeks and worked harder on myself. Not just my image, but everything as a whole. I wanted to be the best version of myself and feel accomplished. Not for my grandmother and her loud and irrelevant opinions, but for me.
It was finally time for spring break and I went home but had no plan on telling my grandmother I was back in town. I didn’t feel like she deserved to see me. My self-worth is important to me and she attempted to tarnish it. I knew there was a chance she’d make me feel even worse and I wasn’t going to risk it.
She found out I was back and not even a day later, she called my dad while he was at work and asked if I had “gotten any fatter.” Maybe he shouldn’t have told me about it, but he felt it was better so that she wouldn’t bombard me with rude questions herself. I was happy he did because now I know who I don’t need around at this crazy and eventful period in my life. I have plenty of people in my life who are cheering me on and making me feel like everything is OK and that’s what I really need right now.
She won’t get to hear about how great things are going for me. It’s a privilege to be able to see me thrive and she didn’t earn it. I could be doing a lot worse than just gaining a few pounds. I could have flunked out or formed a drug addiction. But instead my GPA is still good enough that I can relax knowing my scholarships are intact, I’ve made friends, and I’m genuinely happy. If thick thighs are the worst of it, then I’m proud of myself.
Weight should never determine worth. Size doesn’t determine how great a life is. Happiness and progress determine those things. At the most important times in our lives more than ever, we should be encouraged to do well and cheered on for whatever we’re accomplishing. We can’t let anyone take away our pride and happiness for little things that don’t matter and can be improved.