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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!

Graysay48 said...
Jun. 9, 2011 at 8:32 pm:
This removes the cliche view on heavier people. Everyone has a story. It's not always their "stupid, lazy...." If everyone had to go through emotional trama like the horrid family situation described in this, everyone would be overweight.....
 
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ExpRESsY0uRselFThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jun. 8, 2011 at 8:22 pm:
This story is amazing. Its so heartbreaking about how girls make hurtful comments all the time, without even noticing it. Loved this piece. Also, if anybody has time, please check out and comment my poem, The Girl Inside. Thanks!
 
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jonasqueen said...
Jun. 8, 2011 at 6:50 pm:
Really good story... plus very true for a lot of people even if it doesn't have to do with being a little over weight it can be anything that "doesn't look good"
 
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amberw25 said...
May 25, 2011 at 2:02 pm:
Good Job. Sorry you have to go through that. The key to a happy life though is loving yourself. Once you love yourself others will learn to love you too. Keep your head held high and don't let anyone bring you down.  Size 12 or Size 7 it doesn't matter because you will still be beautiful.  We are all creations of God and are beautiful because of him.  Allow people to look at your heart not your weight or pant size then they will know the real you. When you look in the mirror say '... (more »)
 
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SmileyFace13 said...
May 17, 2011 at 8:04 pm:
i am like shocked at how many people say that they are treated like that. My town and school must be very friendly cause though once a year a kid may be seriously made fun of it doesnt happen often and it usually ends in a fight and the peolple that fought become best friends. =) i love my town ....i am real sorry for what has happened to everyone
 
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tikapeek97 said...
May 17, 2011 at 2:38 pm:
Really good. I think a lot of people can relate to this story. Just rember it is not about how you look it is about how you feel about your self. If you are happy about the way you look then no one can tell you different.
 
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FYITY said...
May 17, 2011 at 5:56 am:
I can't say that this wasn't well written; it can certainly 'relate' to many people out there, and part of your message was pretty encouraging, but the way some have interpreted it, I think was wrong. Of course, love yourself first, but if you truly love yourself, you will not let yourself become obese, you will not shorten your life span, you just also won't stoop to becoming bulimic to lose some.
 
casper replied...
May 17, 2011 at 1:27 pm :

just because she's a size twelve does not mean that she will become obese. I'm a size 14 and I ain't obese.

Keep strong Sagechime. No matter what size you are, it's just a number, not who you really are.

 
FYITY replied...
May 19, 2011 at 4:06 am :
did i direct that to her specifically?
 
bookwormjunkie replied...
Jun. 4, 2011 at 8:29 am :
Y'NOW?u cant always "JUST STOP BEING OBESE"its a life changing jounory that is VERY emotional. i mean u cant "NOT LET YOURSELF BECOME OBESE" ! seriously!!stuff happens and the mind does NOT work like that!!
 
DisicpleofChristandJesusEnthusiast replied...
Jun. 8, 2011 at 2:23 pm :
Same. I wear a size 14 jeans and i'm not obese.
 
DisicpleofChristandJesusEnthusiast replied...
Jun. 8, 2011 at 2:23 pm :
I just have big hips and i'm short. (p.s)
 
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someone said...
May 11, 2011 at 4:16 pm:
i'm pretty sure that if you switch clothes you get cooties...just saying
 
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ijok said...
May 4, 2011 at 9:49 am:
thats really sad :(
 
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Bambie1314 said...
Apr. 28, 2011 at 4:25 pm:
It was great! I know how you feel. I was larger in 3rd grade too, and I still am. Your essay was really touching.
 
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blwblw1This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Apr. 25, 2011 at 7:57 pm:
browneyedcat is right size dosent matter. i go through this everyday of my life............the whispering, the laughing, its not going to change just like yourself for who you are. trust me 12 is nothing...................try being a 16................
 
SarahW replied...
May 4, 2011 at 1:51 pm :
try a 24 on for size
 
blwblw1This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
May 4, 2011 at 6:36 pm :
the girls that arent skinny just gotta stick together.....we got each others backs:)
 
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belldandy said...
Apr. 25, 2011 at 2:47 pm:
i can relate  all the girls in my grade  are minature  martha  stewerts  so perfectly  fit well with cloths  it makes me mad because they look at me weird and iam NOT   fat .
 
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browneyedcat said...
Apr. 25, 2011 at 10:21 am:
Look, size twelve may seem like a big number but lets be honest. A number is a number people. size does not change a person's personality and spirit. Don't feel bad for being who you are. Very beautiful story!!!!
 
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