When I was younger, I was skinny. Not thin. Skinny. I grew up like a weed and not out at all. I ate four breakfasts, a million snacks, a huge lunch and more snacks and then dinner. My mom would joke that I had a lumberjack’s belly. A bottomless pit was also a fave comparison.
I then hit puberty. I thought my body would stay the same forever. I felt betrayed when I found hair in my armpits and would pluck them out. I denied the need for a bra and would tape my breasts to my body. I wanted them out of the way- they didn’t help me tree climb or run faster or bike up hills, so why did I need them?? I distinctly remember a moment in Grade 5: I sat on the toilet seat in school and my hips sat wider on it, my thighs covered more of it and I felt gutted by despair. I was getting W-I-D-E. I wouldn’t be able to run as fast or be the willowy thin girl anymore. I thought I was getting fat. No one told me THIS part of puberty. I was extremely misguided and was friends with a girl who confirmed my fears rather than being honest. So…. I decided to lean in to it. My friend would go home to an empty house, so would beg me to come over. My mom always said yes, because I think she felt sorry for the girl. I would go there and we would watch movies, stuffing our faces with popcorn smothered with Kraft dinner sauce, uncooked ramen noodles or leftover cake. She had the hugest dollhouse I have ever seen (to this day), so we would eat and watch TV, then turn on music from the ’50’s and play dolls. I don’t remember her parents being there. It was no problem for me to stay there for two hours and eat the whole time.
Fortunately, around this time, my metabolism stayed high because I NEVER. STOPPED. MOVING. I was always running and climbing (but not high! heights still scare me) and biking and chasing. I didn’t appreciate how fast I could run or for how long back then. I sure do now. I grew up in to a curvy 13 year old who still worried that her hips made her fat. I wanted to stay looking like a skinny boy. My body betrayed me more every day.
I was popular and tomboyish up until grade 8. My effortless ease with the boys, my tiny waist, and curvy hips made other girls jealous. They turned this jealousy in to hate and began to mercilessly tease me. At the time, I had no idea why I was getting bullied and cut down by everyone. It became so poisonous for anyone’s social status to hang out with me that even the nerds who brought homemade goat milk cheese to school or the teens that had Cabbage Patch-style hair and played Dn’D, and themselves got teased, wouldn’t partner with me during class. (I totally would have played DnD with them…..had I been asked). My curfew was so early that the few misfit kids that did let me in didn’t ask me to anything social outside of school. I was very low on the totem pole. My self esteem took a dive and I spent every night listening to Courtney Love telling haters to go to hell, Tori Amos telling the girls with the nine inch nails she could scratch them too, and Kurt Cobain lament every aspect of his life. I flipped through Spin, Details and Rolling Stone, wanting to be those girls in the 90’s punk and rock bands- or at least the girl who got to write about them. I watched Heathers obsessively, wanting to be Veronica sooooo badly it hurt.
My best friend moved and in Grade 9 I was on my own. I had a couple of friends, but no one I trusted completely with everything. Then I fell in love with a friend’s brother who was one year younger than us. On sight. He seemed to like me too but he also seemed to like a friend of mine. She was 110 lbs soaking wet and that became my goal. I stopped eating lunch and barely ate dinner. No one told me that your body wants to be a certain weight or shape and no amount of starving will help. I didn’t look any skinnier, even when I lost a bit of weight. And it was hard. I didn’t want to stop running or playing outside or anything, but it became harder as my energy level tanked. I also wrecked my metabolism really badly that year.
I put a lot of restrictions on myself that year and it was a difficult one. Hormones and misconceptions ruled my head. School became more tricky to navigate and deciding that eating was my enemy- all of it took its toll. That summer I gave up and focused on eating donuts and reading, with similarly disastrous results.
I think that is a good place to stop for today. I hope someone out there can relate and feels less alone right now. We are not to the positive points of the story yet, and I realize this is pretty depressing so far (especially for a Friday!) but it gets better! The takeaway from this is that after the rain comes the sun, so don’t despair. I want you to understand where I came from and why where I am now makes me so happy.
On a more positive note….
Empowering women to follow on Instagram today!
Look for more of my story next Friday! Have a good weekend.