The Day I Discovered That I Was Different Pt.1

When I was eleven, I discovered that I was “different”, and that “different” was apparently an appalling thing to be.

That was the year my size ballooned like a marshmallow in a microwave, topping out at 220 lbs. I wore a size sixteen in jeans, and I wasn’t able to shop in the junior’s section because I was simple too large. And with a loving mother and a family who believed that I was still holding onto my nearly 100 lbs of “baby fat”, I never necessarily disliked myself. I was ignorant to the upturned noses of the department store employees or waitresses or peers, simply unaware of not only the discomfort but the disgust my sheer presence brought to them. Really. Yeah, I knew I was big, but I had never given it much thought beyond that. As far as I was concerned, life was pretty damn good. I had not a care in the world. In fact, I prided myself on being “big, blonde, and beautiful“, preaching everywhere I went on how “inner beauty” was invincible and trumped all! Well, it turns out that I never knew the profound weight of my words, but I did later discover that while I was ignorant to others’ displeasure, I was by no means immune.

Unfortunately, that all changed in 7th grade. Thanks to my good ol’ buddies at school, that was also the year I discovered that I was fat. And ugly. And gross. And in retrospect, it’s rather difficult to put words to the overwhelming humiliation I was put through. Perhaps it’s because I’m lacking in writing ability, which is definitely possible. Maybe, and more than likely, it’s because my mind has repressed these memories in fear that, if reminisced upon, a side of me that has been locked up for years now will be released and given free reign to torment me into ultimate submission. The most poignant memories, however, I have never forgotten. No, I have never for one nanosecond forgotten the most belittling and disastrous of them all, and unfortunately, they’ve never benevolently forgotten about me either.  They never did let me forget what it was like to be “the fat girl” in middle school.

I remember.

Guys and girls from all grade levels mooed at me in the hallways, or when I got up to turn a paper in during class. Mooed, since I was a cow, get it? They were too clever, those little rascals.

I was tripped on the way back to the locker rooms after P.E., then laughed at because I made it “earthquake.” Original, that line was.

One gentleman even snickered during class one day,”Dang, two of me could fit into only one of her, easily.” His name was Nathaniel and he was blonde, one of two identical twins. To this day he doesn’t know what wildfire he sparked. I think we’re actually friends on Facebook.

Needless to say, I fell apart. Not all at once though, not like the Twin Towers, but more like my pseudo-self-confidence eroded over time. A Grand Canyon of sorts slowly formed in my mind, with plunging chasms like deep scars on my psyche. Each and every day I went home a little more crestfallen, my world a little bit darker, my spirit dimmer and dimmer. The change was so subtle and gradual that nobody noticed the shift in my demeanor, and I was completely and totally okay with that. Over time I let myself get dangerously low, sinking deeper into this comfortable sadness that swaddled and suffocated me like a woolen blanket. And as the months passed by I retreated further and further into myself, and while I was physically present at home and at school, I most certainly was not “there.”  My conversations became so mundane and generic, and I guess nobody noticed they were on a loop. I was in survival mode, you see. I was only ever concerned with making it through the day. Miserable. Desolate. Volatile. And this was only the first year. For three years I would suffer the consequences of someone’s careless actions.

I was only eleven years old.

Is it too much to ask for?

Road

Could I just have someone to be there for me? Someone who would cradle my head on his shoulder after a rough day at school, someone who would just let me cry if I wanted to cry, no questions asked, and would be there wholeheartedly and unconditionally to support me? Someone who wouldn’t mind sitting through three seasons of Sex and the City while eating apple chips and peanut butter, solely because it makes me feel better? Someone I could be my truest self with so that I wouldn’t have to put up these ridiculous “super woman” fronts day in and day out? Just someone to share everyday life with, a loyal companion that I can depend on, sans four legs and body fur? Someone I can, dare I even say it, trust?

Is that really too much to ask?

Apparently.

Days like today, where you can barely keep your head above water, make me painfully aware of that fact. Nobody sees you struggling, it seems, no matter how obvious it is, no matter how clearly distress is pasted across your face… Outsiders are simply blind to the wrinkles that emerge on your forehead, or the reflective sheen that suddenly washes over your eyes. And whether or not this dismissal is intentional or not, I’m not so sure; however, one thing I do know is that there is no single act more degrading, more belittling, and the worst part of it is that nobody even realizes that they’ve done so. Sooner or later, you walk away from the situation feeling alone, overwhelmed, and feeling like you’ve got nobody to turn to that you can lean on, much less trust. Even numbness seems like a distant oasis, teasing you with its blissful, lulling sedative.

I feel like this wouldn’t happen, or at least happen to the extent that it does, if I just had somebody. Boyfriend, best-friend, girl, guy, the format it comes in couldn’t matter less. As long as they can offer loyal and compassionate companionship and are willing to do so for the long run, I don’t care if you have one eye or a triple-tit. Honestly. Life is a long journey, and I’m desperately searching for someone to ride shotgun. Simple as that.

I’m so familiar with this yearning that we’ve basically been on first name basis since practically fourth grade. It’s just one of the things I can’t seem to bypass, no matter how hard I try; I just can’t find a way around it, and I really can’t figure out why.

I mean, why is the world so lonely? It seems like a paradox when you think about it, the loneliest generation also has the most friends, so why can’t we find someone who will stick with us in the long run? Why must we?

Loneliness, the most universal sensation on the planet, remains a truth about life that I’ve tried repeatedly to wrap my head around to no avail, and it leaves me feeling strangely suspended. And fed up.

Someone, anyone, please. Be wholly and unconditionally mine.

Is that really too much to ask?