I Can't Wear Short Sleeves...

By , Lemont, IL
It was such a perfect day that it was hard to believe that summer was coming to an end. The air was clean and smelled like fresh cut grass, while the birds chirped in the sky, flying where ever the hell they wanted too. The flowers were in full bloom and the bees were buzzing as they worked. My long blonde hair whipped behind me as I flew past on my bike. I wasn’t going anywhere in particular; I just liked to ride and be free, to feel the wind in my face. However, that was then, and this is now.

My story begins in 8th grade. I was walking in the hallways with a slight spring in my step and my ponytail swinging because I was very happy. It was already two months into the year, and I loved it, so far. I was on my way to lunch with my two close friends. We talked about our outfits and how “cute” they were. I remember what I was wearing like it was yesterday. A vibrant, bright pink shirt paired with the jean shorts worked nicely on me that day. We walked up to the lunch line and made our purchases. This was back then when I actually got a lunch. I was chatting and giggling as we sat down when I heard, “Are you seriously going to eat all that?” I looked up to meet the eyes of HIM. He looked disgusted and shocked. Now, I can’t remember what I got, but it wasn’t a lot because I wasn’t that hungry. Me, being as dumb and juvenile as I used to be, responded with, “Yeah, why?” I was confused, and my little brain couldn’t figure out at the time that it was an insult he just threw at me. He gave an eye roll and went back to his business, whatever that was. I dismissed that hurtful line, not thinking anything of it. I was fine; in fact I was cheery, until that day. That isn’t even the worst part, because he did not stop.

He seemed like an average teenage boy. He wasn’t ugly or dumb. He did well in school. That is why it puzzles me to this day why he would choose me as his target. He didn’t have anything to be insecure about. He had a good life. Another thing I wonder is, ‘Am I the only one?’ I hope I am, because people don’t deserve to be treated like crap. We are who we are; we have both flaws and perfections. The most important thing is we all have feelings, even him, who doesn’t ever show them. I would prefer that he insult me actually because now I know how to handle situations like that. The insults and comments continued throughout my 8th grade year. I would be called terrible names, such as fatty, fatso, big one and obese. It hurts me to this day even thinking of any of those words. Whenever I read one, it feels like he takes a knife and puts another gash right in the middle of my heart. I ended up exchanging my short sleeve bright tops for dark colored jackets. I had to wear long sleeves to always keep my flabby arms covered. My childish ponytail disappeared, and my ratty hair covered my huge, fat, exploding face. The spring in my step vanished that year. I walked and looked like a misplaced, lost, depressed soul. My pinks and yellows turned into black, grey and dark blue. But yet, he still hasn’t realized what he has done to me. He still doesn’t know that he put a deep, bleeding cut right in the center of my self esteem. A wound that no matter how many times you try, you cannot fix.

I have to say, 8th grade wasn’t terrible. Each insult that he gave me I brushed off with ease, because they didn’t hurt me at the time like they do now. God gave me a gift that year. His name is “Pepper”, and he is an absolute angel. He saved me last year from what could have been the end of my life. If he didn’t step in and show me what the real meaning of happy was, I could be lying 6 feet under right now. He made it easier to ignore my abuser. He healed some scars that lie deep within. I thank God for him every day, and I look forward to going to school each and every day, just knowing that I would be able to see his bright face. He is honestly the light of my life, and I can’t imagine living without him.

I had to make it stop. I had to do something, for the sake of my self esteem and my mind. So what do I do? I shove him into a locker, hard. I took all the strength I had for every insult he called me and used it against him. How he responded isn’t important. I turned away and went home. That day was the first that my “eating disorder” occurred.

Every time I was finished sticking my finger down my throat and gagging, I took a big long look in the mirror. One time, it ended with my knuckles bleeding. I had punched the mirror because I was ashamed of how ugly and fat I am. He’s right, I am obese. I stopped bringing food to school altogether. My friend was terrified that I wasn’t eating and she tried to force me to eat something. I would consider it, and then look at HIM and then decline the offer. I didn’t talk during lunch, unless I had to. I was on a schedule because I couldn’t eat too much or I would completely blow up. My schedule was breakfast, no lunch, come home and binge and purge and then dinner. I guess I wouldn’t really call myself bulimic, because I only threw up purposely three times. I was ashamed every time I looked in the mirror so I stopped looking completely. I really didn’t give a damn what I looked like anymore. My hair was scraggly, my eyes were dull and saggy and my walk was weak and lazy. I tried my best to hide my depression and my true feelings to my best friends, and most importantly, my bully. I did a good job, because I always laughed. That is my way of covering my pain, by laughing even if something isn’t funny at all. So, don’t ask how I survived 8th grade with the name calling. I was extremely rebellious and not really myself though. I ditched class a lot and I failed some of my classes, and lastly the biggie. I ditched school one day and ended up getting caught so I had to serve a Saturday detention. That rebellion ended up staying for a little bit, through my freshman year. I just didn’t give a shit anymore.

I never did anything about him, and he never seemed like he regretted all the pain he put me through. When you read this, be aware how much just one insult can affect a person’s life. I was called names endlessly, and I am still depressed to this day. I still can’t look in a mirror and I hate taking pictures of myself or being in them. I still don’t care what I look like, and I have no positive self esteem. I cut myself a few times and you can still see my scars. I cover myself in baggy pants, jackets and I haven’t put my hair up since 8th grade. I am carrying this unnecessary load on my back, all because of one cruel human being….

To be continued…





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