Lately, I’ve been feeling a plethora of things. In order to avoid talking about some really personal things (which trust me I wrote a whole blog post on a very very personal aspect of my life, but decided not to post it because it involved people other than myself), I want to talk about how growing up as a “fat kid” affected me. As an aside, I’m only going to use the phrase “fat kid” in this blog post, but in real life I try to avoid saying fat. There is a negative connotation associated with it, and I have experienced the repercussions of that phrase quite often.
Up until about age 7, I was actually relatively thin. I used to be extremely skinny. In fact, I remember once when I was 7, my neighbor said she weighed something like 60 pounds, and she was younger than me, but much taller than me. I only weighed about 45 pounds. The fact that I was older and weighed less just didn’t feel right to me at that age. Boy, was I wrong. After that I started binging, and I ate so many Doritos and started gaining weight. I was in second grade when one of my dresses didn’t fit me anymore. It was too tight. Since then, I was fat.
People don’t realize how growing up as a fat kid affects your mentality. It causes depression, low self-esteem, and body dysmorphia. This Buzzfeed video really illustrates how growing up fat affected me. It wasn’t so much growing up fat that affected my mentality. Rather, it was the constant remarks by friends, family members, boy I liked, and gym teachers that really made me suffer from low self-esteem.
I would never tell a boy I liked that I liked him/had a crush on him. But I would very often tell my friends that, and they would go on to tell that boy the same secret they promised to never tell. I guess I should have been hurt that my friends betrayed me and broke their promise. But what hurt me the most was the fact that the boys who I crushed on wouldn’t like me because I was fat. Also, the fact that I was Pakistani, had darker skin, darker hair, and different features also deemed me unwantable. But see, this stuff only happened up until about age 13. After that, I simply stopped telling my friends which boys I liked because I could never trust them again. Now, at age 20 almost 21, I have the mentality that if a boy doesn’t like me solely judged on appearance, then eff that, he isn’t even worth it. I’m hot by my own standards and that’s all that matters to me. Love yourself before anyone loves you.
Whenever I went shopping for clothes, I would hate having to try on clothes and not having them fit. I was an average height girl, but in terms of width and circumference, I wasn’t average. I would often have to buy clothes that were size 14/16 even though I was only 10 years old. Sometimes, I’d have to hit up the women’s section of stores and buy clothes that I used to call “old lady clothes.” Jeans wouldn’t fit. When I bought jeans, they’d be size 13/14, but because I was average height, they’d be really long. I’d always have awkward looking clothes. Let’s just say fashion was a disaster back then.
Since we’re talking about clothes, let’s talk about Pakistani clothes. Anytime I needed to get shalwar kameez stitched for me, the tailors would make fun of the fact that at age 14, my waist is 39 and hips are 42. They’d ask if they were making dresses for a middle aged woman. I remember one instance particularly well. My aunt, who has now passed away, was a seamstress; she was going to make a dress for me for her daughter’s wedding. We couldn’t even attend the wedding, so I suspect it was just a way to suck up to us. But she said that there wasn’t enough fabric to properly make the lengha suit for me. Then she went around and told everyone that my proportions and measurements were similar to hers. But they weren’t. I suspect that ill-fitting clothes and rude tailors have a lot to do with my hate for all things shopping (except shoes).
Any remarks by people concerning my weight and appearance made me feel upset. These, in particular, contributed to my low self-esteem. People would always tell me “Oh Komal, you’d be so gorgeous if you weren’t that fat” or something along the lines. Why was my beauty something that my fatness concealed? Because of that, I can never truly feel pretty. I may think I’m gorgeous sometimes, but deep down I will never feel that gorgeous.
Every word, comment, and remark affected me. Each remark pierced my heart. There were times when I wished that I would get so sick that I would lose 40 pounds in a month. Can you believe it? I wanted to get that sick that I wanted to completely destroy my body. I never suffered from anorexia or bulimia. I know people have it worse, but that doesn’t mean growing up as a fat kid didn’t affect me. It still affects me, even though I am nowhere near the weight I used to be. I still don’t think of myself as skinny or hot. I still hate shopping because I’m afraid that I will once again have to go up a size.
Your words can affect a person more than you can imagine. You may think you’re helping someone by saying they’ll look prettier if they lose weight, but in reality, you diminish whatever self-esteem they had. You get rid of their confidence. I was lucky enough to not go to extreme ends, but someone else may end up becoming anorexic. Someone else may take on a more devastating approach. It’s 2015; accept everyone’s body regardless of size.