Dear younger me:
If twenty-two year old me could go back in time and talk to myself thirteen years ago, I would say “don’t worry, you won’t be fat forever.” I’m referring to an awkward phase I was painfully going through at the time.
Thirteen years ago I had just begun to learn how cruel kids my age could be. At the ripe age of nine I unfortunately entered into my awkward phase. It was not pretty, and the other kids had no mercy. I was teased and made fun of on a daily basis. I couldn’t go a day without someone making fun of my weight. Suffice to say, life was not kind to me at that age.
This unfortunate phase in my life lasted about four years. Around the age of thirteen I discovered the gym, salads and the self-control. The insults turned into compliments, and soon enough, I was no longer the fat kid. Though It took years for the emotional trauma I endured to go away. Becoming so painfully aware of my body at that age is something no nine-year-old wants to experience.
If I could go back in time and talk to myself thirteen years ago, I would have tons of advice to give younger me. The first one would be, “go tell those kids to fuck off.” The second would be to tell myself I have a lot to look forward to. High school won’t be so bad and college is going to be the best four years of your life. You’re going to meet some of your best friends and learn how to drink cheap beer. You’re going to do so many cool things, and this time right now doesn’t matter at all. In a few years you’ll have a new wardrobe in smaller sizes. You’ll start getting highlights and the boys will take notice. Yes, there is so much advice I could give my younger self, but hindsight is 20/20 and thankfully I came out of that phase gracefully.
I entered into high school with a whole new mentality, a mentality that still holds strong today. At the age of twenty-two I have all but forgotten that fat little nine year old girl, a girl who endured what today they would call “bullying”. In fact, if I were in middle school in 2014 I could probably sue my middle school for pain and suffering. But nonetheless, it made me into the strong, independent and confident person I am today. And in a weird way, I am thankful for what I went through.
There were several good things that came out of all this, and one was the thick skin I rely on so heavily today. I had heard every mean comment and insult there was. There are very few things someone could say to me today that would offend me. I’m able to laugh most things off and I try not to take life too seriously. Whenever something bad happens I think, “hey, I could be a nine year old fat girl, life could be worse.”
My thick skin serves me well today. Especially as I begin applying for jobs with thousands of others applicants. Most of whom have the exact same, if not more impressive credentials. I have been told no and rejected countless times, but that does not deter me. As usual, I will work my ass off to get to where I want to be. Things never came easy to me, and I don’t expect them to. Having to work so hard as kid gave me this relentless work ethic and thick skin that no one can break.
No doubt most people have gone through an awkward phase, or if they were lucky like me, an awkward and fat phase. It’s okay, twenty-two-year old you won’t even remember what it was like in those days. All you’ll remember are those little assholes who made fun of you and how today those same assholes are surprise, surprise — losers.
So dear younger me, keep your head up kid….and maybe put that Twinkie down.