As long as I can remember, I’ve thought I was fat.
I first realized my fatness when I was in the third or fourth grade. Now, I wasn’t really what one would define as a “chubby” kid. I really started putting my weight on in the early teenage years. But I was bigger (and taller) than a lot of the kids in my classes…and I was quite aware that I weighed more than them.
This tragic day, we were in groups and making those human pyramids in gym class. (A fat girl’s nightmare!) Secretly, I wanted to be on top, but some skinny little 9 year old girl decided we should choose spots by how much we weighed. I had the same panic one has when getting on one of those tiny little airplanes and they ask you your weight. If you lie, the plane crashes. If you tell the truth you imagine them discussing your giant ass at break time or worse…not let you on the plane.
Did I lie?
I knew I weighed over 100lbs and my 9 year old self was suddenly horrified at that three digit number. So I lied about my weight, but I apparently didn’t lie enough and I was still demoted to the bottom tier…with the boys. (Oh, the shame!) There were other times in my childhood where I would realize and panic about my fatness. Pool parties, clothes shopping, and the dreaded presidential achievement test day in gym class. (what a horrible torture device that thing was) I used humor to laugh most of it off, but I realize now that I was starting to have a fat complex and I didn’t even know it.
Food was always a happy thing in my life. My mom can cook. No, seriously, she can REALLY cook. Ask anyone. She was a stay at home mom for me and my sister and was home everyday after school…meaning that I usually walked in to the smells of homemade chocolate chip cookies, banana nut muffins, or something equally scrumptious coming out of the kitchen. (right out of a Norman Rockwell painting, I know…but believe me…I lived it) We never bought lunch or even had frozen dinners. In fact, I can barely remember a night we didn’t eat dinner together as a family. My life was full of good times…and food was always involved.
So the weight came on, slowly but surely. It was almost a game: how much food could I eat without getting caught. Second servings? Large portions? Sneaking food? Guilty as charged. So starting at about age 14, I would gain and diet…gain and diet…gain and diet. But I could never get to look like the “skinny” girls I was friends with.
Regardless of how much I weighed, I always knew I was fat and definitely ugly….and I thought everyone else thought that too. In order to make up for this huge defect, I decided to be perfect in every other realm of my life. Honor roll student?…check. Creative and imaginative?…check. Singer? Drama star? Student Government President?...check check check. I enjoyed doing all these things, of course, but I wanted to distract people from my fatness by making them pay attention to how utterly fantastic I was.
And I lived my life this way. For a very long time. In the last couple of years I flirted with the idea of a lap band or a gastric bypass, but always thought that surgery was waaay to drastic a choice for me. I mean I’m young. I don’t have any other health problems. And really- who wants to eat a tablespoon of mush for the rest of their life, right?
Until the day I decided to get surgery. And what an interesting day that was.