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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 341 comments. Post your own!

sunshineholly said...
Oct. 13, 2010 at 2:16 pm:
this is sad that u had to do that to fit in/:
 
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life laugh love said...
Oct. 13, 2010 at 2:14 pm:
I really like how your put your heart into your whole peice. it througholy decribes how you feel.
 
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sunshinesally said...
Oct. 13, 2010 at 2:13 pm:
i think that is is sad people have to do that to fit in
 
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jennahater442 said...
Oct. 13, 2010 at 2:09 pm:
This was an awesome article. You described the way girls gossip perfectly. And you made it really easy for me as a reader to relate to you.
 
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Shae E said...
Oct. 13, 2010 at 2:03 pm:
I love it i know how you feel i am actually a small size and no pants fit me. Awww!
 
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darkangle said...
Oct. 13, 2010 at 10:19 am:
ive had those moments except it was with one of my friends and like three of her friends and they were like im a size six can you help me find a pair of pants what size are you and i was like ummmm lets not worrie about me i didnt buy andything cause i was afraid of telling them my size which was a fifteen
 
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michael jackson said...
Oct. 13, 2010 at 10:15 am:
i like the way you shared ur secrets with the public
 
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lamicheal said...
Oct. 13, 2010 at 10:12 am:
I loved this writing i loved the way you werent afraid to share your secrets 
 
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oreo said...
Oct. 13, 2010 at 10:07 am:
that was a good story and i liked how you werent afraid to share it and you seem like  a good writter
 
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carmal23 said...
Oct. 13, 2010 at 10:07 am:
That's a very good story, and I know many people go through the same thing. It's sad to think that people judge others just because of their weight. Nicely written.
 
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Dana02 said...
Oct. 13, 2010 at 10:07 am:
Im so sorry to hear about that but you shouldn't care about your size everybody is diferent in there own way, but i liked the way you expressed yourself.
 
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itsmadieeeeeeee said...
Oct. 13, 2010 at 10:06 am:
I know exactly how you feel. I used to be worried about my size too but now that I think about it, it doesn't really matter. Great writing by the way!
 
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vauldimort said...
Oct. 13, 2010 at 10:05 am:
This is a srtong and shirt story. Very good and motivational.
 
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the keeper said...
Oct. 13, 2010 at 10:03 am:
i'm really sorry to hear your story. its sad but yet motivating. i really love the way you write and how you express youself.
 
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SALT said...
Oct. 13, 2010 at 9:25 am:
I know how you feel.I get scared to tell anyone my size. Your writing is amazing and Don't worry someday you wont care about ur size.
 
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Mike&Ike said...
Oct. 13, 2010 at 9:25 am:
Im very sorry to hear about your story, but you shouldnt feel left out. everyone is made differently and your perfect the way you are. Your story touched my heart and i hope you can feel better about school.
 
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Deadly Alive said...
Oct. 13, 2010 at 9:22 am:
That was a really great story and i loved it. I loved how you explained how you felt and that you weren't embarrased to share that story and that to me shows a great writer at heart and on the paper
 
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tiedyeelaine123 said...
Oct. 13, 2010 at 9:19 am:
It was sad to hear your story, but you should be content with your size, everyone is made differently.
 
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akatheshizz said...
Oct. 13, 2010 at 9:18 am:
Your story was moving. Don't worry about fitting in, because what is best is you being yourself. Not everyone is a size seven, so be strong(:
 
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justme said...
Oct. 13, 2010 at 9:16 am:
I like how you described your dinner and i can relate to that all the girls in my school think the same way just stay true to your self.
 
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