I was fat for the most part of my life. When I was born, I was born overweight. My mom used to joke telling me that I look like a round little thing with really red cheeks, the biggest baby she had ever seen. I was born overweight, only god knows why because I did not have any disease. I continue to be overweight trough my childhood. I ate a lot, more than a kid needed and I hated to exercise. I also got bullied because of that. When I was around 6 years old, one classmate told me that no one was going to play with me because I was a greasy ball. I hide myself between books in an intent to escape from it. I did not have any friends until I was around ten years old. Before that, none of my classmates played with me, so during break time, my older sister came with her friends to play with me. I remember I did not get invited to birthday parties and other kids approached me just because they needed help with class. Here I guess is when I started to hate my body and think I was ugly. My confirmation came when randomly another kid who had been always friendly with me told me I was the ugliest girl in the class. I have learned kids can be cruel sometimes.
Things did not get better in high-school. The bullying stop but I guess I did not know how to make friends. I was and awkward bookworm. That was I defined myself, there was nothing I was special in, besides being good at studying. Teenager years were painful, seeing how everyone start get confessions, or have their first kiss. I, of course, got none of it. I did not have any tools to navigate this, and my parents, which are wonderful loving people, were really busy to probably notice how hard it was for me. Since I was always getting praise by teachers, they figure it out that was it, I was good. My brain created the narrative I was too fat, too ugly and too tall for any boy to like me. I remember my first ‘quinceañera party’ (it is the latin equivalent to sweet sixteen I guess) and none of the boys danced with me, I was taller than all of them. I just dance in a big group and sit down when everyone got a partner to dance.
In the last two years of high school, things got a bit easier. I two good friends, and I opened to them about how I was bullied during elementary school. I start to be more talkative in class and I finally felt like I was accepted by my peers. I got some comments about my weight, still. Someone told me I look like I was pregnant and I received advice on how I will look prettier if I could lose some weight. I did it. In summer vacation before senior year of high-school, I was left alone for one month with my brother at home because my parents had to travel. I went to the gym everyday, and eat two meals a day. I lost five kilos in just one month. I was so proud of myself and hungry all the time. When high school started I received some compliments. Now when I think back, I am not sure if all of them were compliments, although I am sure they were well intended. For example, one of my male friends told me he was sure I finally got a boyfriend because I put the effort to loose weight. I just say that did not happened, and felt happy because he considered I could finally be liked by someone.
I started university, fell in love and was reciprocated. I got boyfriend and my first kiss when I was nineteen. He was smart, a bookworm, strong and had a healthy self esteem. He was caring and in so many ways and amazing boyfriend. I felt pretty because the way he looked at me, and of course how he told me I was beautiful. I was his first girlfriend too. It was beautiful until it wasn’t. It was beautiful until my head started to tell me he could be cheating on me, because he had so many beautiful classmates. I became so jealous and insecure. I did not know how to be vulnerable so I twisted some of his words, that were not meant to hurt me, to accommodate the image I have of myself in my head, ugly, unlovable and fat. But we did not break-up because of it, although I am sure we would not have last long either, we broke up because I got a scholarship to study my bachelor in the other side of the world, literally. I left my hometown, heart-broken and with a strong desire to just escape. Going to study abroad was not just because I wanted a better education, it was my hidden desire to start over. I believed, like in the movies, that I could go somewhere nobody knew me and change myself physically and this became the ultimate goal of mine, be beautiful, chased by a lot of guys, with a lot of friends and successful. Of course, I believed one I got this, I would be happy.
Abroad I changed myself. A long, painful and wonderful journey. My first year I decided I was going to be skinny. I did not care about my scholarship, and the fact I had to pass a Korean test within the first year in order to keep my scholarships. My mind was just on getting skinnier. I ate less than one thousand calories a day and kill myself for one hour on the treadmill. I became the thinnest I have been in my life. I thought sometimes about throwing up but it was so uncomfortable I did not. I lost almost eight kilos in four months. I was the thinnest, and you can guess, I was not happy. I pinched the skin from my stomach and my back everyday in front of a mirror before showering. I was not thin enough, so I had to keep going. Because I was eating so little, I was always sleepy. I could not pay attention to class and I slept all afternoon instead of studying. It was a hard period for me, I was missing my family, heartbroken in a foreign country, trying to keep a scholarship. I do not know how I kept going. I remember praying to God that the pain I felt in my chest would stop, and I thought I will not, but eventually, it did. Slowly, I began to make friends there, and as always, this saved me. I remember one day I was eating a sandwich and said I should not be doing it. One of friend looked at me perplexed, took a bite of my sandwich and said, it taste really good so I do not see why not. I looked at her and laughed. My closest friends saw me, and saw what I was doing to my body. They never addressed it directly but their love and companionship helped me to feel less lonely and to heal.
It was not linear, and my weight had fluctuated a lot since then. I have been a bit chubbier, and more skinnier after. I still pinch my skin sometimes, but not as often. I still need to work out on my demons. I still believe if some people I had relationships with would had met me chubbier, they would had never been interested in me. It has been hard for me to accept someone loved me, because there is always that voice in my head telling me it is just because I am skinny. I had fucked up relationships because of that. During my years abroad I based my self-confidence on how many guys would try to hook up with me in a bar. I felt beautiful, lovable and worthy when I had male attention. I still do. It is hard for me to separate being skinny, male attention and being worthy. I am still trying. I had shift my mind from working out to become skinny, to work out to feel strong. But it is still a tricky balance and my mind still tries to tell I am not skinny enough. But every time this happens I tell myself I will never be skinny enough because there is not a magic number on the scale that is going to make me feel lovable and worthy. I know I am the only one who has that power, and for now I have to remind myself that everyday, like a mantra.