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Beauty

A Fat Girl in a Skinny World: A Journey to Self Love

Since childhood, I have always been one of the bigger girls in class.  Though I tried my hardest, I was always the one struggling to fit in physically and emotionally. I knew from the media, from the looks of others, and my own brain that I was not the size I was supposed to be. Even now at 240 pounds, I know that I am not what I am supposed to be, but I am exactly perfect the way I am. I still struggle with body image and self-love, but today I am better than before. Although  I would like to say that the progress to my current mindset was quick and easy. However, I’d be lying if I said that it was not a long and tiring journey.

Starting in elementary school, I noticed that everyone was super fast when running and I always seemed to be out of breath. My asthma definitely was not helping, but I was not that much different from them, and yet I seemed to fall behind. I remember distinctly after school one day going up to my mom and asking her how to be smaller. Little did I know that my mother had gone through the same battle and sympathized. That is how I started my first diet, though in reality it was a family diet and it was beneficial to all of us. However, despite losing a couple pounds, I still faced the fact that during recess my friends always made me play the ugly character because it “just fit.” 

In response to this, I began to show everyone how strong and athletic I was because I did not want to be seen as the ugly one but rather the fit one. So, I began to pick up people for fun and played four square like no other, but nevertheless I was still the “bigger one.” Not long after,  I had to stop wearing Justice for Girls and moved into wearing blunkier less fitting clothes because someone my size couldn’t find anything that fit in cutesy clothing stores anymore. I did not let it stop me from loving myself, but I knew I had to change my looks by modifying my habits. I remember looking into the mirror as a kid and saying, “I want to  be tall and skinny with blonde hair and pretty eyes.” I got the pretty eyes and the slight height, but the blonde hair and skinny was never to be found.

By middle school, I became fully aware of how I should look and why I did not fit in. My family tried everything from diets to exercise every day, yet nothing really changed for me. I tried to fit in with skirts, but my proportions told me not to, and my jeans always rubbed out in the inner thighs a lot faster than anyone else. By then I was already 140 pounds which to me was gigantic as I knew I was at least 2 sizes bigger than the other girls in 7th  grade. I did not want to change in the locker room for  P.E. class because I knew I would stick out. I remember always being self-conscious of the size of my gym uniform and my pants, but nevertheless I reminded myself that I could always change. Even when a girl started to call me “piggy,” I knew that they were simply words of an angry person. Deep down, however, the words hurt and I began to compare myself more and more to those around me. My stomach stuck out, my arms were a little flappy, and my footsteps were a  little too heavy.

When I reached high school, my own mentality multiplied my weight problems as I continuously compared myself to others and the media. High school to me was a sea of beautiful people and me, your local fat friendly gal. Every girl was as beautiful and perfect as the last and I was happy to have so many great people. Both good on the outside and on the inside, and I envied them all. I tried so hard to become like them, from diets to extreme exercise regimens. None of it worked. I tried joining a sport, but all they had was archery. I joined and I loved it, but I began joking that the only reason I liked this sport was because all I had to do was stand. By junior year, I realized that I just needed to be happy and began to think that maybe, just maybe, I could love what I looked like because constant self-doubt was tiring. I wanted to stop feeling so drowsy and avoidant just because of how I viewed myself. That’s how I ended up making #IAMME, a body positivity campaign, with my friend Khristine for a school project. My friends made me realize that I needed to love myself and that no matter what I looked like, I was beautiful. However, by the end of junior year, I fell off the self-love wagon and back into self-hatred and doubt. As personal incidents arose, I found myself eating at my emotions which led to weight gain, and my self-image deteriorated. I knew when I went to a friend’s house, there would never be any clothes I could borrow. I was the only one my size, but at least I was huggable. By the time high school came to an end, I tolerated my size knowing that in college I could change and start anew with a better body image.

As I sit writing this reflection I still find myself critiquing my looks during my final year of college. I started freshman year by developing an eating disorder which led to unhealthy weight fluctuation–up and down like a boat in a stormy sea. I was lucky enough to recognize how horrible I was treating myself and how dangerous it was after a couple of weeks of feeling as if my brain was constantly lagging and my body seemed drowsy all the time. So I reached out for help on how to modify my habit and how to better myself both mentally and physically.  I realized what the disorder had done to me. I was then put on antidepressants and I started to focus on my well-being. My friends were the ones that encouraged me to act confidently in myself and to try to dress up to embrace myself. That is how I discovered crop-tops, and they were the key to my self-image turning around. I realized that it did not matter how big I was, I looked cute, and if I thought I was cute that was all that mattered. As I became more confident, I realized people were attracted to me, even as big as I was, because I was attractive, beautiful, sexy and worthy. I went on dates and had flings, and I realized, even though I was single all of high school, that a lack of a relationship did not mean that I was unattractive. I was hella attractive and I just had to discover that myself. 

Even now I struggle from time to time with my self-image, but I have gotten stronger and I know that I am beautiful no matter what size I am. I love myself and I have to keep working on loving myself through every moment of my life. This is my body and I am happy even though sometimes I struggle to accept myself at times. Body image is something that is an ongoing struggle for me, but I will continue to work to love myself. I may be a bigger girl in a small world, but that does not mean that I am ugly. For any girl out there experiencing body issues, there are brighter days but it is up to you to discover that no matter what, you are beautiful. 

Becca is a graduating senior Communication Studies major with a focus in Public Relations from the University of San Francisco. She is currently located in Las Vegas, Nevada due to the pandemic and enjoys consuming too many true crime shows and obsessing over her dog. She aspires to be a public relations professional specializing in political campaigns as a speech writer or campaign manager in the future. For now, she is enjoying finishing school and figuring out what all she wants to do in life besides work.
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