This is quite an extremely personal post. I am sharing my personal experiences and feelings how it felt like growing up being obese and overweight. Because of that, this post will contain personal references to people and/or times in my life which affected me in some way, some good and some, well, not so good. If you are a friend or family member of mine, proceed with caution and please bear in mind how much I love you while reading this post. This is no way meant to hurt anyone or to make you feel like you did something guilty. You didn’t. I’m thankful you.
Being an overweight kid hurt me then and having been an overweight kid sometimes hurts me now. Ever since I can remember, I was heavy and I am heavy. The majority of my life was spent being obese and overweight.
As I grew up, I started getting tougher and adopting defence mechanisms to help me cope, not only with how others treated me but how I felt about myself. I learned really quickly not to be too sensitive to comments made about me. By the time high school was in full swing, I had taken on the “I’m so tough, I don’t care if anyone doesn’t like me” kinda attitude. I developed a finely tuned sense of humour and became well versed in sarcasms.
Us fat kids figure out early on not to rely on getting anywhere by being pretty. We learn to compensate with being funny. With being smart, with being good at being a friend. With being friendly or even, sometimes, with being mean. I took on a version of all of these at some point in time in high school. I was lost for being myself because of the judgement I received from others. Putting yourself or someone else down first seems like a good way to prevent others from having the chance to do it to you. I was compensating for my weight by being a person you wanted to be around regardless of my appearance.
It mostly worked, too. I had a good core group of friends who are still my friends today. I did fun things and had plenty of normal experiences like any other kids did. I was, for the most part, well liked.
They didn’t do much in the way of making me feel out of place with them, it was my own insecurities that did. I was always the fat friend, the biggest one in the group. I avoided doing things with them. I sat quietly while they discussed boys. I pretended to browse when we went shopping because I didn’t fit into anything at the same stores they did. I skipped every single school activites. I sat out of these things, I wasn’t forced to because I was mistreated to that extent.
I just knew I’d rather avoid any situations where my weight would be a source of embarrassment than willingly walk into them. That mentality became part of my “inner fat kid” mentality that’s proved to be hard to shake even now that I’ve lost the weight. I sat on the sideline of my life growing up because of that insecure little girl who made a home inside of my heart and rattles around in my mind, telling me I don’t belong here, or there, because of my size.
Being the fat kid gave me life lessons I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I am who I am because of it and because I had to overcome it.
It taught me to be observant and perceptive, of not only other people’s feelings but of my own. I know what it’s like to be treated unfairly and I’m now accepting and kind to all people, regardless of who they are or what they look like. I taught myself to understand nutrition and health and why it’s important, things I might not have “had” to do, had I grown up without a weight problem.
I wanted to change for the better and I wanted to stop feeling afraid of failure and insecure about my future. I wanted to seek for a ‘constant companion’ – self-confidence, to walk through this life with me. I knew in my head and heart that this was that I wanted.
When I left high school, I began to hate how others were seeing me. I tried to avoid people I recognised from afar and turned to walk in a different direction if I saw them approaching. Some friends teased me openly but relatives were the cruellest. Every family gatherings began with them stating the obvious about my appearance.
I punished myself mentally and emotionally, berating myself for the way I looked. I grew jealous of my girlfriends who could fit into tighter, prettier clothes. Their shapely figures allowed them to wear varieties of clothing while I was stuck with loose, baggy shirts untucked over my rubber sporty pants. I loved dresses and skirts back then but I couldn’t fit into one. Some of my friends began dating. I watched their boyfriends slip an arm around their slim waists and thought of the guy that I liked. But of course, HE DIDN’T LIKE ME BACK!
Depression over my weight triggered a new sense of low self-esteem. There is no underestimating the power and influence of popular culture and the media’s portrayal of beauty over girls. My battle with low self-love raged internally for years.
I’m conscious of how my words impact people, after being the target of cruel words said by others. I can find humor in just about every situation and I rarely take anything personally. The little things don’t bug me and I have a deeper appreciation for the people I love and who love me. Most importantly, I grew up into a more compassionate, less judgemental adult. All of these experiences helped to form the person that I’ve learned to love today.
Thank god I have come this far,because in every family reunions,my loud relatives no longer exclaim with widened eyes, WAHH YEEEE,SOOOOO FATTTT AHH!!? WHERE GOT PEOPLE WANT YOU?? HOW TO LOOK FOR JOB?
After some years on this journey, I am still flabby and thick of course. If you touch my stomach,arms and thighs,they jiggle like jelly.I am definitely not toned nor close to ideal physique still,which I would really some day like to be,after I work all these fats off. However long it takes, I hope,pray and would like to believe, some day I will get there.
But with my very bad habit of munching snacks in the midnight ever since I started my life here on top of the hill, how to meet my ideal weight!? *cries*
I may not be a role model to you,by the way, I can be your companion.I shine the light on the path and we struggle along together.I keep the tone to my page very lighthearted because trying to eat right and stay fit can put a lot of pressure on a person.If you can learn to laugh through your journey,it relieves some of the stress and it can help you stay more in control.
The harsh truth and reality of the world,if you’re huge, you will be judged and you will be teased. I want readers to leave this page informed,inspired and a little bit giggly.
I feel, I just don’t say. I pain, but I don’t complain.
More stories on my next post ; stay tuned.