I wore thick glasses, awkward bangs, and clothes that were way too big. Most of all, I was overweight. I still remember those dreadful middle school years, my awkward years. I can still recall the snide remarks some of my peers made in regards to my weight. I hated P.E. because I was slow at running and dreadful at sports and always got picked last on teams. I still remember this one instance when I fell while running, and some horrid boy snickered that it was because I was fat. And I remember thinking, if I were only thin and pretty like a perfect princess, that boy would have helped me up instead of laughing at me. (But probably not…we were at that age of cootie shots).
Thankfully, my mom never said one word about my weight and declared that I was wonderfully made by God. I think I could have been much worse if I had different parents who were much crueler about it.
By high school, I had naturally lost weight because of a growth spurt, but I still wasn’t satisfied with what I saw. Just before entering college, I was determined not to gain the freshman 15. I lived on apples and applesauce and refused to eat much more than that. Then I discovered the gym and made sure not to skip even one day.
I did lose weight, but how I did was definitely not the healthy way. I lacked energy, had headaches and blackouts all the time, and got sick easily. I eventually did start eating more, but still made sure to workout everyday without fail.
I’d like to say I’ve learned some great lesson since then, but if anything, I think my weight issues have actually carried over to now.
My job requires me to work with food. I create new products and taste each one to improve upon it. What made me choose this profession, I’m not entirely sure. Perhaps I’m a masochist. Point is, I know how terrible some of these products are in terms of fat and salt and calories, but I’m forced to taste test them. An extra hundred calories everyday.
That’s why my lunch consists strictly of the following: Carrots and hummus. Yogurt and granola. Fruit. Water.
However, when I give into the occasional pastry, cookie, or donut at work, I immediately berate myself. When I miss a day at the gym, the voice goes off again. “You’re a failure. You’re fat and ugly, and you can’t do anything right.” .
And that voice no longer just limits itself to my weight anymore. One mistake at work, and there it goes. “You’re such an idiot. You can never do anything right.”
A friend gets annoyed at me for something I forgot to do. “No wonder you’ve always been so unpopular. It wouldn’t surprise me if all your friends abandon you one day. Loser.”
I look into the mirror, and sometimes it’s hard to see the real me because that voice is so damn distracting.
“You’ll never be good enough.”
“You’ll never find love.”
“You’ll always be ugly.”
This is probably why I’m such a people pleaser. I’ll apologize for everything, even things I don’t need to be sorry about. But this is an issue for another day.
Yes, I still struggle with tampering down that voice. Instead of trying to lose another pound, it’s a struggle to remember to enjoy food, to not eat with regret.
This December, I’d like to savor a Christmas cookie instead of calculating how many minutes I’ll have to run later. I’d like to enjoy an elegant meal with friends and relatives instead of letting that voice point down to the muffin top I’m accumulating around my waistline.
Most of all, I’d like to dispel that voice by remembering who I really am.
Not a fat and ugly weirdo, but a weirdo with a kind heart.
Not a masochist, but a Food Scientist whose job is to produce safe, nutritious products. (Though I do wish my current projects were more healthy…might have to change jobs for that one).
Not a voiceless phantom, but a writer whose goal is to use her words to touch souls.
Not a wallflower, but the daughter of God, the King.
We are all beautifully and wonderfully made.