My Oh My | Teen Ink

My Oh My

December 6, 2021
By ArlinC BRONZE, Tirana, Other
ArlinC BRONZE, Tirana, Other
4 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Once you've met someone you never really forget them. It just takes a while for your memories to return"- Zeniba

         I never cared about my body or how much it weighed. I was on the chubbier side, and I did have an obvious round belly that would poke out from time to time, but my family members and my peers never commented on it. Whenever I was around my older female cousins, I remember them always complaining about the way their body looked, and how they were self-conscious about it.  I couldn’t understand why they were so concerned about their body-image. Why did outer beauty matter so much to them? Wasn’t inner beauty more important? I never thought in a million years that I would be in their position, just because of a comment my own family member made.  

         It was a Saturday night, and I was at my grandmother’s house. Her house is small. The rooms are packed in together and sometimes it feels like the walls are closing in on you. Even though it is so tiny, my family members have never complained about it. They made it feel like it is a safe environment to be in, which is why I spent so much of my time there growing up. My grandparents and my uncle were always welcoming. They always feed me so much food that by the end of my visit I am reminded of the fact that I do not have a bottomless stomach. Even though there is great food it is extremely easy to get bored. So, whenever I finished my meal, I would always visit the neighbors. 

         My mother’s uncle lived next door. When I heard that my second cousin was visiting his house, I decided to pay her a visit. I ran out of the house and eagerly knocked on the door. My heart was racing, and my palms were sweating. I hadn't seen them in a year. The door creaked open, and her mother greeted me.  “Oh, Arlin! It’s you. Come in, come in.” she said avidly.  

        “Hi, I hope everyone is doing well!” I replied. I sat down on the nearest couch and greeted my cousin. She had gotten taller than me and her hair was shorter than ever. It complimented her round face shape. She offered me a candy and I politely refused. Her mother sat down in front of me and said,  

        “My oh my Arlin, what have you been eating?” 

         Her daughter responded with, “Yeah, tell me as well I want to get chubbier.”  A roar of laughter erupted. It was all too sudden I had just arrived, and I could feel a hot stream of tears rolling down my cheeks. I couldn’t understand why it was so funny to them. I tried to tell them to stop, but it was impossible to without stuttering. I ran out of there and to my grandmother's house. The frigid air stung my cheeks, it felt like there were woodpeckers pecking at me. I couldn’t understand why she had said that to me. She had a nephew of her own. He had a belly too; in fact, it was bigger than mine. She never said anything about it though, especially not in front of all her family members. I was only eight years old, and that comment made me hate my body.  

         I was so embarrassed of myself, how could I let myself get so big? I found myself questioning my beauty for years just because of this one incident. I tried to eat less thinking that if I ate the whole plate, I would just gain extra weight that would turn into fat. Skintight clothes terrified me. I was too afraid to speak my mind when I was around certain people. I thought they would not take my opinion seriously because they did not like my appearance. 

        Sometimes I couldn’t look in the mirror without saying something awful to my reflection. I was disgusted with myself. I thought of making myself extremely exhausted so that when I woke up I would be 5 kilo’s lighter. Looking back, I was my own bully. After years of being unbelievably self-critical I realized I can’t please everybody. My body image does not define who I am. Just because someone does not look the way society wants does not mean they are ugly individuals. The beauty standards we have set for people, especially women, are very unrealistic. We value outer beauty more than inner beauty, and in most cases, we will not talk to someone unless we find them attractive. Instead, we will judge them and make assumptions on their character. It took me a while to accept the fact that not everyone is going to like me, and that’s okay. I mean after all, I can’t please 7.5 billion people. 

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