You know that saying “Sticks and stones may brake your bones, but words could never hurt me?” Does that ring a bell from your elementary and middle school days?
Well, as I’m sure you have learned by now that words… will pretty much be remembered forever. In this blog post I will not use names, but will say all of the things that I can remember that has stuck with me since I can remember. I’m sharing mostly to vent, but also to let you know, you are not alone in how it affects our mind and body in the process.
First the words, then the process…
“Hah”, after walking in with make up too white for my face and a new haircut.
“What smells?” “Probably Rachael”
“You need mental and physical help for your weight”
After my friend donated her old Aberocrombie and Fitch jeans, I try them on and they didn’t fit “Maybe take this as motivation”.
“You would be so pretty if you lost weight”
“Do you stuff?”
Two of these statements were stated to me by friends, two were by the same person and one by a parent. None of it was said to hurt my feelings specifically (well maybe the first two were), and they probably didn’t know I heard them say things.. Either way, it has been apart of my journey and identity to this day… Okay.. It has been apart of my identity until about 5 years ago.
As we go around in life we pick up identities that we may or not intentionally create for ourselves. One for me was fat. Not just the identity that you were fat, but that being fat was bad. Being fat was gross, unhealthy and something that no one wanted to be.
The funny part was, I wasn’t that fat. No one talked about me being different at the time, I just got this idea that I was because I was so much taller and bigger than everyone else. I was 5’10 in the 7th grade and probably a size 12-14ish. I was probably the right size for my size, and the poor naive girl that I was didn’t even know what stuffing meant.
But because I had all of these people telling me that fat, not even fat, but being big was bad, I hated myself. I isolated myself, ate out of loneliness and well, eventually I became fat and became that person they hated and I hated myself even more.
I never threw up, or starved myself, it never really appealed to me. I did though remember thinking about food a lot in high school. I remember eating soy beans and thinking that they would be a good snack to help loose weight. That’s when I found out that I was allergic to soy, beans. They made my tummy hurt so bad, which was incentive to eat more, because then I wouldn’t want to eat at all.
The past 5 years I’ve spent undoing this damage. Undoing this “I hate myself” mentality. People like me and i’m starting to embrace that, and have started to like myself as well. It has taken a lot of time, and a lot of patience with myself to get to a healthier place, but it is possible.