What If I'm Always The Fat Kid?
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Health and Wellness

What If I'm Always The Fat Kid?

What if my weight follows me all my life?

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What If I'm Always The Fat Kid?
Huffington Post

For a long time I’ve been thinking about writing this article, but every time I started it, I lost my words. And if you know me, you know that words are one of the things I rarely lose – words are my way of expression, my art, my passion. But when it comes to self-esteem and issues of weight, I’ve always been at a loss. How do you explain to someone who’s never been overweight what it feels like to grow up that way? How do you explain to someone of average size the stigma of being fat?

But I decided I have to try. Because I’m a relatively healthy, moderately confident, obese 22 year old girl, and in our society, there’s no bigger sin.

The first time I felt bad about myself because of my weight – at least, the first time so deeply engraved in my brain that I can’t forget it – I was in 7th grade standing outside of math class. A girl in my class who was known as a bully was making fun of my best friend. Today I’m a quiet person, pretty reserved, but back then I was practically mute I was so shy. If you know me, though, you know I’m also fiercely loyal and if I love you, nothing is going to stop me from standing up for you (even my personality). So I made a comment back at this bully. A pretty rude comment. It may have included a swear word or two.

This bully turned her fiery glare on me, and said something I’ll never forget probably for the rest of my life: “Well at least I don’t need to go on Weight Watchers.”

Oh, I was so embarrassed. My face flooded red almost instantaneously. Nothing came of the fight – we walked away, because I’m not physically confrontational – but I’ll never forget that comment because I actually was on Weight Watchers. I’d actually lost some weight. And in that moment, I knew nothing I ever did would make me good enough.

Now, I’m not saying I was bullied in middle and high school regularly. People, in general, liked me well enough. I was quiet and unassuming; smart, but not rub-it-in-your-face smart. I had my group of friends and I pretty much stuck to them. For the most part I was a pretty happy kid, and while I was always overweight, I tried not to let it bother me much.

I joined and quit Weight Watchers more times than I can count, honestly. I joined and lost weight and gave up and gained it all back (plus a little extra) and joined again. Kids didn’t make fun of me, but I was always so deeply disappointed in myself. And of course all my friends were twigs – they just didn’t get it. Every day I looked in the mirror and hated what I saw. It was demoralizing. It’s no wonder I constantly gave up. I never really thought I’d make it.

You see, I didn’t need other kids to make fun of me for my self-esteem to plummet. I didn’t know why people would ever like me. I was so terrified of scaring people away that I never even got to be myself. Every once in a while I mention this to people, but I actually lost the sound of my laugh for a long stretch of time – I hated the noise so much I just stopped making it. I was an angst-ridden teen, granted, and to some degree I know every kid goes through some kind of identity crisis, but mine was partially weight related, and I was always so embarrassed about it.

Another experience I’ll never forget is my senior class trip to Six Flags. I went to ride the Superman roller coaster, stood in line for a long time for it, and then couldn’t buckle the seat belt. I had to leave the coaster in front of my whole senior class, mortified. Honestly, most people just felt bad – they weren’t mean or anything. But I was disgusted with myself.

Suddenly I had to wonder: what if I was always the fat kid? What if, no matter what I did, I was always big? Now I know that that is actually, to some degree, true. I’ve gained too much weight; my skin has stretched in ways it’s not supposed to, and while losing fat through hard work and healthy eating is possible, losing skin just isn’t. No matter how much weight I lose, I have this deep fear that I might always be that sensitive, scared kid standing in front of that math classroom trying to be brave, but inside screaming insecurities.

So, though it took me long enough to figure it out, I’ve decided something: I’m going to love myself no matter what my size. Sounds logical, huh? But it took me a long time to get to that decision. It took a lot of people looking at me and saying they love me no matter what for me to really believe it.

I’m on a weight loss journey (in fact, I’m again on Weight Watchers), and this time I’ve lost 50 pounds. I’m on a long plateau right now, but I haven’t given up. For once I’m not trying to lose weight to fit in; I’m trying to lose weight to be a better me. My blood pressure has decreased; my cholesterol is getting back to normal. I can finally shop at stores other than Lane Bryant and Catherine’s for clothes. I sleep better at night and breathe better during the day. Even my circulation is noticeably better – my fingertips don’t go numb so often anymore (which was an issue I used to have, believe it or not).

And, although it’s a physical thing, I love looking at my smile in the mirror now and seeing the slightest sign of a dimple. It’s been so long swallowed by fat that I didn’t even know I had it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m nowhere near skinny. Actually I think my BMI still classifies me as “Morbidly Obese” (though according to my doctor, I’m less morbidly obese than before, so… that’s good, I guess?). But I’m happy now.

Maybe inside, I’ll always cling to a piece of the “fat kid” mentality. Maybe I’ll always feel a little guilty for eating a snack size Milky Way (even if it is a special Halloween treat). Maybe I’ll always hesitate slightly before suggesting plans to someone, insecurely believing even my closest friends will feel bothered by me. Maybe that’s just how it’ll be for the rest of my life.

But maybe not. Because at one point I thought I’d never get in a kayak again, but I did the last time I went camping. And I used to believe I’d always have to huff and puff up stairs, but now I can do a flight without my heart pounding in my chest. And once upon a time, I thought that every time I went into a car I’d have to internally panic about a seatbelt fitting around my stomach, but I don’t have to anymore.

I might always be a fat kid, but then again, I might just surprise myself.

If you struggle with your weight, your body image, your self-esteem, I just have one thing to say to you. You’re beautiful. Big or skinny, short or tall, it really doesn’t matter. One day something is going to click inside and you’re going to see and understand that your body is worth loving, with all its lumps and curves. You don’t have to be the fat kid forever. I’m still struggling with that every day, but I really do think I’ll be able to get past it one day (and if I can do it, you can, too).

Bottom line: You’re beautiful. I hope I’m not the first person to tell you that, but if I am, know I won’t be the last. Take it from someone who struggles every day with their weight - you’re going to be okay. And you don’t always have to be the fat kid.
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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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