Middle school wasn’t as easy for me as elementary school was. I was capable of getting good grades but I stopped applying myself. I was still somewhat active in school activities, and I was involved in a few clubs. I had a few friends, all awkward like myself.
Several of the kids I grew up with also went to middle school with me, but it wasn’t necessarily a good thing. When popularity became important to many kids, others were left behind. Several of the kids I grew up with were part of the popular crowd, and very quickly created a distance between me. Being associated with an unpopular kid isn’t very socially acceptable in the power struggle known as middle school.
I struggled with kids that made fun of me. I often wore my brother’s hand me down clothes and never acted very girly, so the other girls loved to make fun of my clothing and hair, and lack of any style what-so-ever. It was difficult to feel like I mattered or was worth something. I thought that if so many people said the same mean things, they must be right, and I really was just a loser. I had that mindset for a very long time.
My parents started to get frustrated with me when my grades started slipping. My mom just couldn’t understand why I didn’t work harder. She told me that my life was so easy, and that I needed to stop being lazy. I started feeling like no matter what I did, I wouldn’t impress them, I used to get good grades, and they didn’t care so much then?
Some of the girls who lived on the street were popular, and a year older then I was. I had been friends with them for a while, and we hadn’t gone to school together until then. I went to them and talked about the problems I was having at school and with my family. They told me they would help me, but I couldn’t talk to them at school, or everyone would know they were helping. I was obviously a pretty gullible child, and thought they had a great idea, and would really help me out.
One night the girls decided to doll me up and take me out. I remember them telling me I would be so pretty if I wasn’t so fat. Some friend’s right? I thought it was a compliment and tucked away the fat part for later thought. I let them put make-up on me, and do my hair, it all went really well until we tried to find something I could wear. These girls were tiny, and I had some meat on my bones, so everything they tried to put me in looked terrible. Every time I looked in the mirror packed into one outfit or another, my heart broke a little. I felt huge. I had never felt like there was anything wrong with my body before then. Clearly I was wrong if I couldn’t fit into anything cute right?
I ended up wearing some silly wrap dress that would accommodate my size. We had a fun night in the neighborhood, hanging out with other kids we grew up with. I was just the girl they brought along, that sat quietly out-of-the-way while the popular kids were hanging out. I still felt pretty and I thought I had a good time. It’s funny what you can convince yourself of as a kid.
After the girls made me over that night, I felt like a different person. Not because I looked different on the outside, but because I felt like I was finally starting to see myself. I thought I was a fat, ugly girl, with no friends. For years after this I struggled with image issues, I still do.
I know they probably meant well with their comments, and make over, but it only reminded me how different I was compared to them. I started comparing myself with other people I looked up to, and I felt like I always fell so short. Why couldn’t I be pretty, thin, and have friends too?
I know so many beautiful women who have some serious issues about how they look, or how big they are. It is so sad to think that society helps beautiful people feel validated by putting down people who are different. People come in all shapes and sizes for a reason, and no one should ever make another person feel like they are not just as beautiful as anyone else.
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