- Posted February 20, 2013 by
St. Paul, Minnesota
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
Just Another "Fat Girl"
My first concern in life was my weight. I remember the defining moment when I crossed my legs in kindergarten and realized that my pretzel-shaped legs were chubbier than that of any of the other children. The subsequent denial of my increasing body size survived comments from my mother (“You’re growing more out than up!”) and the round face in the mirror until it could weather no more. After being scorned by a group of my classmates, my “someday” desire to be skinny turned into a resolve that happened.
I like to think that my negative self-talk pushed me towards growth, although I can’t say how much positive self-talk would have worked because I never gave it the chance. As I lost the weight in middle school but then continued to berate myself for a lack of perfection, I spiraled into a vicious cycle of anxiety and depression. Every social mistake was screamed out in my head. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, this was far from perfecting my social skills and instead caused me to shy away from people altogether. I was angry at their flaws; I was angry at myself. I drank Ipecac syrup at times when I thought I had binged on too many sweets. I had gone from the phrase of denial of “At least I’m skinnier than THAT girl” to the belief that I had to be skinnier than everyone else. The Yoga that I had begun in middle school began to show some results, but for me it wasn’t working fast enough. It wasn’t until I joined Track and Field in 9th grade and put on some muscle that I seemed to have any results worth counting.
I can’t say how much my obsession with running hurt my social life in high school. It was central to my schedule. I believed that all my problems could be solved by becoming thin. All of my anger and desperation served as a fuel to run farther on the weekends, to stay with the Varsity girls in Cross Country. I careened between the high self-esteem of being “a runner” that some boys coveted and the low self-esteem of being the “awkward girl” that didn’t really seem to talk much or hang out with many people after school. All of my hopes and desires were trapped within the cage that was my body.
I can’t say that there ever really was a turning point within this negative cycle as I went from fat to thin. I am currently a freshman in college and didn’t sign up for Cross Country because I was warily considering the college load of homework that I would have to work under. I think I’ve finally managed to take some joy out of the process of fitness, as my weight lifting sculpts me closer to the shape I’d like to achieve. I can’t say my perception is yet positive. I can say that my weight has always been a big driving factor in my life. It has pushed me to aim higher, so the people I knew could accept my intellect even if I didn’t think they could accept the body it came in.
This is not a story of overcoming negative self-image and of reaching my ideal weight. Rather it is just an account of my journey thus far.
So, in conclusion, I am the happy girl you see in the picture usually only when I can hide my less desirable side. I can acknowledge that I have a pretty face while still hiding the rest of my body behind a sari or baggy t-shirts. I’m not sure where or when my struggle with weight will end. But I have to say that, so far, the process has been a tough one. I think it’ll be a long time before I lose the self-image of myself as just another fat girl.