I’ve been going through boxes of photos while at my parent’s house. It has been fun to see all of the moments from childhood. But I am embarrassed of myself in most of the pictures and it makes me very sad.
I love the photos of me until I turned about 7 or 8 years old. At that point, I went from an average sized child to an overweight child. The pictures of me from 6th grade on are even worse. I can tell that I had zero confidence and can imagine how anxious I felt back then.
Adolescent years are hard for everybody but I think that those years are even harder for those of us with weight problems. Insecurity and not really knowing who you are or where you belong is at its peak in those years, and to feel like you don’t fit in with your peers (or your clothes) is a difficult thing.
My clothes were oversized because I was embarrassed of my body. The styles I had to wear were that of an older woman because there weren’t a lot of plus size options back then.
I went through a phase in 6th grade where I wore black tights every single day because I was embarrassed of my legs and feet.
(After my 6th grade graduation. Notice the baggy mom-clothes and tights.)
A volunteer mother at the school asked me why I wore the black tights all the time—I felt embarrassed and ashamed of myself because she looked at me like I was strange. Thinking back, it was strange—but it was my way of hiding.
It looks like my smile is forced in every picture. The look in my eyes does not reflect the happiness I was trying to show. I don’t know that I hated myself back then as I came to in later years, but I just felt awkward, insecure, and ugly.
To this day it hurts to see those pictures. I flip through them with both hopeful anticipation and dread. It makes me sad about my years growing up.
In some sense, it feels like I never really lived—but at the same time it is what made me who I am today. I felt heartbreak, shame, bullied, belittled, and afraid of people and what hurtful words would escape their lips—and these experiences taught me valuable lessons by which I live by today.
But I can’t help but think of where I am now, at 30 years old. My life turned out better than I could ever imagine. God planned the perfect match for me—a handsome, kind, and generous soul who I now call my husband. And now we have a beautiful and happy little girl. I have all of the things that I ever wanted on an existential level.
But I still don’t like the physical package that I come in and it has weighed on my shoulders like a load of bricks through every life event, from college, to marriage, to pregnancy. It taints every moment and threatens to destroy every happy memory.
I don’t want to go through my entire life being fat. It seems to be a common denominator in my life. I have to do better. I owe it to myself.
I don’t want to hate every picture of myself for the rest of my life. I want to feel good in my body. I don’t want my size to be on my mind all of the time. I don’t want my size to get in the way of living life to the fullest.
I have a lifetime of habits to undo. It feels like a daunting task to try to figure out how to change and to change for good.
Maybe I don’t have to have it all figured out, I just have to take the next step.