Words affect one’s perception of themselves, of others.
Age 3 or 4: At a concert with my parents and older sister. Someone boosts Chantele onto their shoulders so she can see. I hear someone offer to pick me up, and then hear my mother say, “She’s too heavy, don’t worry about it.” I stand throughout the concert staring at the adult butts in front of my face. I never saw the band.
Age 3, I'm in the pink tights
Age 7: My mom puts me on my first diet.
Skating with friends, age 7. I'm wearing the red pants.
Grade school years: Family refers to me as "a big girl".
Jr. High: A boy in my drama class calls me Big, Fat & Ugly.
The annual sister cheesecake picture.
I'm on the left, wearing red.
Jr. High years
High school: I don’t date anyone from my school. I’m a wallflower. The friend of the popular, cute, tiny, cheerleaders. Taller than all my girlfriends, taller than the boys until sophomore year.
Senior year of high school: My best friend’s mother tells me confidentially she never thought her daughter would be fat. My friend had recently gained weight. For the first time, we wear the same size.
College: My best friend becomes bulemic, she starts snorting cocaine. She gets very thin, and receives a lot of positive attention about her figure. She is a size 4.
1992: I read a medical report listing me as obese. I am 5’ 10”. At the time, I was wearing a size 10.
1992 with my sisters.
I'm on the right.
Late 90's/early 2000's: My friend, whose mother referred to her as fat and who then became bulemic, has children. Three of them are girls. I hear her tell her oldest daughter she is fat. She isn’t. The cycle continues.
2010: My friend’s are all slim. My face seems to be getting rounder. Technically, I wear the same size clothing I did in high school, although my body sure looks different. I still tower above my friends.
And I still try to make peace with my size.