Well, “body shaming” for me began at a very young age. Little did I know, it would be something I would battle with for most of my younger years leading up to my teenage years.
I remember being ten years old and being picked to participate in a little league football team that my elementary school’s gym teacher was coaching at the time. When it came time for try outs, all I could remember was hearing several peers shout out “skinny”, “lurch”, “tree”, and anything that came to mind pertaining to my slim frame. I was confused because I never experienced that before, kids standing around calling you out your name for no reason. I tried not my best to not let it get to me, but it most definitely did affect my self-esteem.
I refused to take my shirt off around anyone because I felt like it would just be an open invitation for my classmates to make fun of me and make me feel like I wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t much I could do at ten years old, I couldn’t go to a gym to workout. I didn’t even know what working out was, I just knew I had to think of something. The body shaming went on for the remainder of my elementary school years, and I really didn’t talk about at all. The thought of going to school, only to face numerous people who made fun of how I look wasn’t the easiest.
When entering middle school, it wasn’t as bad until I grew almost six inches over the summer break during my eighth-grade year. It felt time was going backwards. The only difference was I stood up for myself, but it still ate away at me. I started running with my friends and even tried to lift weights in school, but nothing happened. I was still stuck inside this tall and slim frame with no one who could identify with the same issue at the time.
My freshman year at high school is when everything took a turn for the best. I remember walking into my new homeroom class and meeting my new classmates and all of my male peers kept saying “I want to be tall like you”, “Do you play basketball”, “Let me have some of the height”. Could this be true, so being tall and slim is not so bad after all? At that very moment, I embraced All of ME. I had a heart to heart with my twin sister later that week and she said “You are my twin and don’t let nobody make you feel lesser than you are”. I didn’t know what she meant at the time, but I knew it felt amazing. This experience has taught me that you must embrace all of you, the good and the bad. I’m very comfortable in my own skin now, I hope to be an inspiration to anyone who’s dealing with the same.