Growing up, I hated doing the normal things girls loved to do. My step sister would always be the one painting her nails while I would struggle to even trim my nails. I eventually learned to love being a girl the more I grew up, but not as a child. I always favored hanging out with my brother over my sister. I always felt uncomfortable being a girl and doing girl activities. The activity I hated the most and what drove me to my lowest point, was shopping.
I hated shopping for numerous reasons, but most importantly because I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin. As a kid, I didn’t appreciate the body I was given. My sister was always the pretty one, and I felt that I had to look like her. She had long straight blonde hair, a constant glowing tan, long legs, and a ocean sea blue eyes. I was a chubby redhead as a child, and just could never compare to her. My stepmom would always take her and I shopping and I would ultimately dread those days. We would shop for jeans and while my sister would always look for the smallest size, I was nearly plus size at the age of 8.
“It’s just baby fat” they told me.
“you’ll lose the weight when you get older” they said.
The comments never helped me get through such a rough time. Every time my sister and I would go shopping she would always tell me I looked good, but then threw my weight in my face when we’d argue. It was like she’d wind me up like a jack in the box just to explode at me in the end. It felt like that with everyone at the time, I began to give up. I felt that I would always look this way and I’d always get treated with this type of hatred my family brought upon me.
The older I got, the more I realized I hated my body and who I was. I would go buy dresses for dances with my friends, and would want nothing but to go home and cry. I always questioned why I couldn’t wear the things they could, why I couldn’t look as good as they do. For our 8th grade formal dance, my friends and I went shopping at Debs for the perfect stunning dress. We racked up as many dresses our dressing room would allow, we were like little kids in a candy shop. Every dress my friend would try on looked perfect. She could pull off strapless, long sleeve, tight, loose, she could wear anything. I didn’t have as much luck as her. I tried on a white and black dress, flowy at the top then tight when it reached the torso. It had lace and tons and tons of gems, I loved the dress, but I was told that it didn’t look “appealing”. Something that was supposed to be so much fun, was always a complete nightmare to me.
I always used to hate shopping with my parents, and I sometimes still do. My mom would always tell me to size up because tight clothes on big girls aren’t appealing. My dad would always assume that I was an XL in everything. They made me feel like I was so much bigger than I really was in reality. I would always look in the mirror in the dressing room, and picture a cow looking back at me, I was disgusted with myself. Every clothes shopping trip would end with puffy red eyes and tears streaming down my face. I would always look at girls shopping with their mom having a blast, and I could never relate. The “it’s just baby fat” my mother always told me turned into “big girls can’t wear those types of clothes.”
Throughout middle school I always felt at war not just with my family, but with my body. I felt like I was constantly being sucked into the darkness of my thoughts.
You will never be good enough.
You aren’t good enough.
You deserve the hate.
I tried to fight my thoughts, I gave my everything to make them go away but they just wouldn’t. I felt like I was in a battle with them 24/7 and one day, I just got too tired. Too tired of fighting them, too tired of not giving in. The hatred I had for myself and how I looked is what controlled me. Days would go by, and I no longer had an appetite. No longer felt the need to eat, or to live. I would no longer feel happiness, I barely had the energy to go on with my day. Weeks and months passed and I turned into a completely different person. I’d look in the mirror and no longer recognise the person reflecting back at me. My skin lacked color almost as if I was sick, my ribs began to stick out of my skin, I looked so fraile.
“Emily dinner's ready” my dad said.
“I already ate” I lied.
Within only 2 months, I had lost 50 lbs. I knew it wasn’t healthy, I knew I wasn’t healthy but I didn’t care. My sister would no longer insult my weight, but compliment me and tell me she wished she could look like me. When we would now shop together, we would now look for the same sizes, and I would no longer end up crying every time I looked in the mirror. I felt so happy but also, so weak. I knew I had to quit doing this to myself but I didn’t know how to stop. I felt like I was on a road that would never end and if it did, I’d end with it. I hit rock bottom that year. I went to hell and back and never thought i’d get out.
I thought it was the end, that i’d never get better. I was about to give but then, God sent me a miracle. It sounds peculiar, but he did. He gave me the strength to keep living when I had none left. He placed people in my life that made me hold onto mine, so I wouldn’t fall. I was so close to death yet I feel like I wouldn’t be who I am today without that experience. Every time I felt myself fall, I could hear god whisper in my ear “keep going, this will all make sense in the end”, and it does now. I went through this experience to become who I am today. I had to reach rock bottom to raise myself higher. This experience taught me to love myself. If god can love me even when i’m at my lowest, I can love myself too.
That was a lesson I couldn’t have learned without going through what I did. My parents continued to say those things, bring me down, but I no longer let it get to me. I no longer let the weight on my shoulders bring me down like I used to before. I would no longer cry when I looked at myself in the mirror. I was given the strength from god to get out of the darkness and I would never let myself go back. I am a new person, and I believe everything happens for a reason. f I wouldn’t have gone through that time, I wouldn't be who I am today. If my sister didn’t tell me “quit eating oreos before you turn into one”, I wouldn’t be me. If my mom didn’t say “big girl can’t wear that” I wouldn’t feel as good as I do now wearing the clothes I used to feel so insecure in. If I wouldn’t have gotten so much hate, I wouldn’t have so much love for myself like I do now. I wouldn’t be who I am today, a self-loving shopaholic.