I'm not a skinny girl. I never have been. I haven't always been fat, either, but I've never been skinny.
When I was a kid, we had our weight and height checked once or twice a year at school. At the time, we'd also have to bare our backs wait while the nurse checked us for curvature of the spine. It was just more fun than a kid should be allowed to have. By the time we hit the 6th grade they added in questions about our menstrual cycles. I dreaded this time every year.
We'd line up in the gymnasium/cafeteria/all purpose room, and step on a scale while our weight was announced aloud by the nurse while the other adult in the room recorded it. They'd also check our height and ask us whether or not we had started our periods. The questions were embarrassing enough on their own, but then we'd have to take our shirts off and bend over and hold onto our ankles, so they could check our backs.
It didn't matter that there were screens set up for privacy, because there were always areas where the other students could peek in and see you in this most undignified position. I mean, it's not like we could actually hold our shirts over our developing bodies and hold onto our ankles at the same time. It was mortifying.
There was so much about all of it that was humiliating, but the worst of it happened my 6th grade year, when the nurse announced my weight. The thing is, I didn't have an ounce of fat on my body, but that didn't seem to matter a bit when everyone in the gymnasium found out that I was the first child in 6th grade to reach 100 pounds. I was instantly labeled fat by the other kids.
It didn't matter that I wasn't. In fact, I didn't get fat until after I hurt my back at age 19, started having babies a couple years later, and then had the misfortune of bad health that resulted in a broken thyroid and asthma that required dose upon dose of steroids. But in the the world of cruelty that is adolescence my fate was sealed.
It didn't help that my friends were tiny in comparison. In fact my best friends in high school didn't even break 100, so I weighed more in 6th grade than they did 6 years later. The thing is, I was a healthy weight. When I look back at pictures, I wonder why in the world I felt so fat. I know a lot of it stems from the gasps of the other classmates at my weight when I was 11 and the gossip that ensued. My weight was the topic of much ugliness over the years, and I've never quite known how to get past it.
Oh! To be able to talk to that girl I was and let her know that I was perfectly healthy. To get through to her that the girl that called me, "Thunder Thighs" was trying to get past the hurt of finding out that her mom had cheated on her dad. That the boy who sneered and called me, "Lard Ass" was acting out, because he was being beaten by his dad. That the girl who called me a "fat ugly bitch" was trying to cover that she was being molested by her uncle.
I would like to think it would have changed the way I saw myself and the way I saw others, as well. I was a compassionate kid. I could have seen through their behavior to their hurt. Instead, I've carried it around for well over 30 years and still haven't gotten over it. Then again, it didn't help that some of those same kids acted the same way at my 20th high school reunion.
It's really a shame that their lives are still filled with such cruelty towards others, and it's an even bigger shame that I still haven't gotten over the sting of their words. They're probably still hurting. And maybe I could have made a difference, if I didn't feel the need to put up my defenses and shield myself from their barbs.
Compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder that is just beginning to be understood. As a hoarder, I have acquired things over the years with a specific purpose in mind at the time of the acquisition, used some of those items for their intended purposes, forgotten the goal for different objects, but now that I find that they have outlived their purpose in my life I am struggling to rid myself of those same things.
You can read the start of my journey here.