I got it all. The snarky comments, the mean jokes, the slick questions — even from the people I love.
I've been overweight my whole life. I got comments like "If you eat too much, you're going to explode," "Why is your stomach so dark," and "Suck in your belly," usually accompanied by, "Why does your belly look so big?"
I never knew what caused my obesity. I was an active child and still consider myself an active person. The doctor that I had since I was born was totally mean and disgusting. She always made me feel terrible for being obese. My diet was not the best, but I ate what my parents cooked and I had my fair share of vegetables and fruits.
I always felt like I wasn't pretty enough, or worthy enough because of my weight.
I'd often compare myself to others and be damaged by the comments that people made about me. I constantly felt this battle between how I looked and what society demanded of me. I never was one to eat a lot, but I started starving myself in high school, shortly after joining the softball team. I remember instances of fainting on the train after practice. I also remember fainting on the train while on a date with my then-boyfriend.
It was terrible, I couldn't eat without feeling like I shouldn't be.
However, in my 11th grade year of high school, things started changing.
I always had heavy periods but my periods felt like they were twice as bad. As a pre-teen, I suffered from severe cramps. Once, it was so bad that I brought a bag of painkillers with me to my summer program. I once felt a pain so bad during my junior year of high school that I wanted to jump onto the train tracks. Enough was enough when in my senior year of high school I bled out the whole backside of my khaki uniform pants. I was so embarrassed and had to leave school early. The blood was so noticeable that a stranger helped me adjust my hoodie around my waist to cover the stain. Before that, while riding the train home with my then-boyfriend, the blood seeped through my overnight pads and onto the train seat. In middle school, I started growing facial hair, but it only got worse and worse over the years. The culmination of these events caused me to finally urge the doctor to do something. After years of her judging me, I convinced her that something was wrong.
The test results proved I was right.
I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, also known as PCOS. I felt relieved but scared. I felt sad and alone. My facial hair until this day makes me feel so self-conscious and some days I run past the mirror to avoid looking at myself. My experience taught me that people can be unkind, but it is up to me to love myself and be accepting of myself.
There are so many reasons that people are obese, not just because of the overconsumption of food.
To whoever is reading this, I urge you to be kind, caring, non-judgmental and understanding to those you do or do not know. You never know someone's story.