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Fitting In This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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I wouldn't ask for a dressing room. My mom always asked for me.
The evening before I had repeatedly risen from my seat and piled on excess noodles suffocated in meat sauce. Then I licked my bowl with the buttered garlic bread, leaving no evidence of the four servings I had inhaled. In the morning I would be forced to lie on my bed and suck in my stomach just to button my jeans. I dreaded school shopping. The sale rack, with its slender size markers, knew my number continued to bloat.

I learned how to eat from my dad: fast and without thinking. In our house, the dinner table involved battle, with the children on defense. One false move and our dinner would be snatched off our plates without warning and gobbled up by our father faster than we could blink. We soon learned to keep a hand up while devouring our chicken strips, and if Mom decided to cook that night we needed to hurry and get seconds before it was gone.

Only one pair of jeans I tried on fit. I lied and told my mother I could button every pair but only needed the jeans that lay guarded in my hands. We walked to the checkout.

I kept my head down as we passed a group of girls. They whispered. I glanced up only long enough to know my place. Their eyes cut at me, hands cupped over their mouths in secrecy.

***

The recess bell rang and I followed two girls in my third grade class out past the monkey bars to the fenced grassy area. We all wore the same clothes that year: khaki pants and polo shirts. Everyone was the same, or that was the idea.

“I like your pants. Where did you get them?” Marcy asked Alicia. I nodded in agreement, thankful they had removed their cupped hands and I could hear the conversation.

“Really? I like yours better,” Alicia replied.

“We should trade. What size are you?” Marcy asked.

“I don't know …” Alicia said, finding the tag in the back of her pants. “Seven.”

“Me too,” Marcy said.

***

I hid in line as I held the jeans, tag folded in so nobody could see the number inscribed on it was 12. I am not a size seven.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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This article has 343 comments. Post your own!

nana.riley. said...
Apr. 28, 2009 at 4:15 pm:
i like this story because im goin through something like that right now. Dont feel ashmed of you size..Be glad of what you have..Dont look at the negitive.....look at the positve.. :)




Nana.. :]
 
KallieAllieBingbong replied...
Jan. 26, 2010 at 11:11 am :
Yeah I also agree dont be ashamed of what is in front of you holding back whatever it is just be glad that you can be that tall or too short Im short and I dont let that hold me back:]
 
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Katie S. said...
Apr. 18, 2009 at 1:16 am:
wow(:
This is very good, I felt as if that was me.
 
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Crystal R. said...
Mar. 3, 2009 at 12:24 am:
I love this story i hope that there will be more.. i completely understand you and how you felt. I've gone up and down the weight scale yeah it's not fun but who cares it's not about the size jeans you wear it's really about the person inside then once you see that person you can look on the outside. But yes i loved this piece!<3333
 
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menotu said...
Jan. 30, 2009 at 11:24 pm:
AWESOME WORK!!!! is it kid 7s or juniors i am a 14-16 in kids (im like 5'3) or a four-6 in juniors
 
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Cutie111 said...
Jan. 20, 2009 at 7:48 pm:
I thought this story was really good beacuse i am not a 7 or below i'm a 14 and sometimes i wish i was a 7 but sometimes i like being a 14
 
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Sofiaforevers said...
Jan. 20, 2009 at 5:58 am:
I am not a size 7 either. I am a size 14 today and have always struggled with my weight, although I have never been considered overweight by anyone around me except my mother. Like you, I have known the struggles of never being able to find a pair of jeans that fit me right. I used to think of myself as ugly because I see myself as imperfect, but this year I have made the effort to see myself in a better light and focus on my good qualities. I think everyone, but especially girls, should do that... (more »)
 
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sleepy390 said...
Jan. 19, 2009 at 10:48 pm:
i luv how you wrote this..its really good!! 'but never mind wat hataz say..ignore them til they fade away.!'
 
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Searching4More said...
Jan. 18, 2009 at 10:08 pm:
You have a lot of talent, this is a very good piece of work. But I want you to know, and everyone else reading this, that no matter your size, you are beautiful. I truly mean that. Not just on the inside, but on the outside too. Only one defines beauty and that is God, He created you with no accidents. You are beautiful, don't let anyone ever tell you diffrent :)
 
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sharpy said...
Jan. 18, 2009 at 8:39 pm:
I loved your writing. If i had to rate on a scale of ten, it would be an eleven. I could totally relate to this piece because when I was in third grade I was over weight. At times I did feel alittle self conscience but over the years I lossed the weight and now feel very confident of myself.
 
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Emily123 said...
Jan. 18, 2009 at 6:01 am:
Oh wow. This is excellent! This is so relatable to so many people, and leaving the third grade part until the end created an awesome twist. You have great talent! Keep writing!
 
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LoveYourself said...
Jan. 17, 2009 at 11:48 pm:
I love it! I mean, come on, though, third grade girls obsessing about weight??? What has this generation of kinds come to??? I may only be 14, but I mean, how did this all start? How did 3rd grade girls even become remotely INTERESTED in how much they weighed???? And I'm not critizing ur piece, if that's what it sounds like...I didn't mean it that way. Sorry if it sounded that way.
 
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Cuppacoffee said...
Jan. 17, 2009 at 1:08 am:
It was well written, although weight is a bit of an overdone topic. Yes, a lot of girls struggle with weight and fitting in. We know. Society is conditioning girls to obsess over weight. We also know.
 
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Akpp said...
Jan. 17, 2009 at 12:44 am:
I am a size 7 also i like this story but the girlz could be nicer though but w/e'z
 
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Haley said...
Jan. 16, 2009 at 10:13 pm:
OMG!This is a really good 1!
 
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Joy said...
Jan. 16, 2009 at 1:00 am:
This piece was heart-wrenching and beautiful. I know how it feels for those scenes to take place in a third grade environment. Looking back on it, I'm disgusted by what our society has turned young girls-- children-- into. Third grade girls obsessed with weight. You're a beautiful writer.
 
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spaznkool101 said...
Jan. 9, 2009 at 5:17 pm:
I could totally see this happening. But it's kind of sad that some thing like this would happen in a third grade environment. I really hate the standards that society has set on girls that they have to be a certain size to look good. Can't they just look good where we are. To see third graders ridiculed like they're in high school really shows you how much they really see in our every day world. The sad part is what they pick up from all of it.
 
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thefirstday said...
Jan. 8, 2009 at 1:41 am:
This is brilliant. I'm a size 7 but it doesn't feel good enough.
 
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Nerdgirl993 said...
Jan. 19, 2009 at 6:57 pm:
This really good. u really have some serious talent! i cnt wait to read the rest.
 
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BIGVision said...
Jan. 1, 2009 at 2:01 am:
Great expression...so vivid I felt as if I was there. Lets keep up the great work.
 
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