Growing up, I have always been a little thicker than other girls. While I am perfectly comfortable blaming this on Friday night Happy Meals I sometimes got as a kid and the pão e manteiga I got from my avó; in reality, I know that it has everything to do with how I was treated because of my weight and how I chose to handle my emotions. I was always self-conscious about how my clothes fit and how I looked in them because my thighs were thick and my belly maybe hung over my jeans a little, but I was never so big that it was a concern for my health as a child. I was just bigger than what I “should have been”.
When an adult that is close to you and is supposed to be supportive, is saying things like “you’re too fat, you’ll never be able to get a boyfriend, you would be so beautiful if you lost a little weight.” why would a kid growing up think any different? I grew up, and I never thought any different.
I thought of myself as those comments, and they controlled my life.
If this one negative person in my life sees me this way, everyone around me must also, right? To cope with the hurtful comments, I would self-sabotage and eat my feelings until my stomach was so full that that fullness was all I felt. Looking back at pictures of myself when I was younger I caught myself thinking I wasn’t big at all, I was beautiful. The above picture is a picture of myself around 16 years old, you’re probably wondering why I would post an old, pixelated, not so great photo of myself for everyone to see. I remember the day this was taken. I was heading to the park with my cousins and my younger brothers and they wanted to bring my new camera. I offered to take pictures while they played baseball because I didn’t want any pictures of myself, I wore a sweater on top of a t-shirt because I knew they would try to take pictures of me and I didn’t want to look fat in them if they succeeded at getting the camera from me. This photo represents a version of my young self that was stressfree, even if only for the moment my eyes were closed to the world around me. Imagine, if this negative person was never in my life and I never had to deal with those hurtful comments. Maybe I would have passed the camera to someone else and posed for some photos with my family, maybe I would have found a love for baseball that I don’t know as an adult, maybe I could be an all-star, super famous baseball player right now! Okay, let me calm down and be realistic- I can’t sit through a baseball game to save my life. The point is, if these nasty comments weren’t constantly swimming in my head throughout absolutely everything I did, maybe I would have taken more chances and had a little more fun. Maybe I would have stayed a carefree kid for just a little longer.
As what some would call an adult, I am still thicker than other girls. What has changed with age is that I now refuse to allow that negative energy into my life that once smothered and consumed me. Granted, I can’t sit here and say that I don’t still think about these things and have these worries. I can sit here and say with complete honesty that I am stronger than the opinions of the misguided, sorry people who speak without thought, and I do not allow opinion to be mistaken for fact. This is something I will never apologize for.