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What Being the Fat Kid in Elementary School Taught Me

Spending 10 years at the same place definitely provides you with some sort of experience. I’m someone who has always been known for saying that my life lacks experience and is essentially a blank map. Although this is somewhat true, I do have experiences: some mediocre, somewhere I can say I had great memories where a Polaroid was needed. And unfortunately, there are other experiences where crawling up in a ball and bending my knees to pray would be the only thing that could help me cope with certain struggles.

Weight is always a struggle for anyone to discuss regardless of the spectrum they lie in—for women, for non-binary individuals, and for men. Puberty also doesn’t help, because although it seems to be a simple definition process inside our health or science textbooks, it inevitably comes true. Puberty is not a magical, quick process that turns you from that scrawny or chubby kid to this societally beautiful and intelligent being. It’s continuous and takes an average of five to six years, and there are various end results. Your common popular girl may seem to be blessed by it, while the boy who unfortunately did not have the best diet in the world seemed to be destroyed by it.

Particularly for me, I resembled that boy. The only difference was that I was a girl. 

Because of this, I remember experiencing multiple hardships. Some of these hardships included getting called pregnant in elementary school because of my bigger size and even having kids say that every step I would walk would cause me to break the floor. Another was being the last student to finish the mile run in school. 

In the second grade, I remember having to complete the mile run. It felt endless, and it seemed like the repetitive hell Misty from "American Horror Story: Apocolypse" was feeling before Michael Langdon freed her. My throat was dry and I was sweating heavily when one of my skinnier peers ran alongside me. I got a boost of confidence, thinking that I wasn’t the last one to finish. I uttered some words to her, despite my heavy breathing, and asked how many more laps she had left. Turns out she was simply there as a form of encouragement. The pressure I felt was atrocious because if I didn’t hurry it up, I would think that everyone would continue to look at me with disgust. I remember feeling like my weight was a setback and the reason the class couldn't go back inside.

Although being a bigger size made me feel inferior because I didn't compare to other people, experiencing these struggles made me push harder. I worked on things such as not being the last kid in the mile. The next time I ran the mile, I finished third to last. It wasn't the best, but still, it was an improvement. 

My experiences taught me that at the end of the day, all I can know are the perspectives I went through. I only know the words that were spoken to me or how the words I decided to take to heart made me feel. I don’t know about the experiences of the people who said those words to me felt. I don’t know if they were dealing with their own personal demons or if it was only a simple joke. I can definitely say the same for myself if I decide to put myself in the shoes of those who said or displayed rude attitudes towards me. Painting a picture of innocence removes a true revelation of this situation called life, because we all have done something negative. Some things are more criminal while others are minuscule, but they still exist and have impacted someone, despite us thinking it only impacted ourselves.

I guess that’s where the saying, "there are three sides to every story" holds truth. There’s yours. There’s the other person's. And finally: there’s the objective truth. We may never know the true legitimacy of a case, and we may even experience disbelief, but we can always strive to listen to someone’s personal truth.

Trading long winters for long summers, Deborah has been living in the Sunshine state to complete her education. Deborah currently attends the University of Central Florida where she double majors in political science and psychology with a minor in journalism studies. Her hobbies consist of singing, gardening, writing, reading, and playing on the ukulele. If you want to find her outside of studying, you’ll see her at the local coffee shop reading a DC comics book.
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