Weigh Me Down

Felix Kalvesmaki, Staff writer

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I never really liked how I look. I’ll start off by putting that out there right off the bat. I never liked how I wasn’t skinny, or how I didn’t have a six-pack, or how I didn’t have tons of muscle. I never really liked that I had to think about what I ate, compared to people who could eat an entire grocery store, bricks and all, and not gain weight. I never really liked that I had tried multiple times to lose weight, and didn’t see results. I never really liked that I’d be wheezing in last place during a race.

I’ll say it right now. I’m not skinny. I’ve got some fat on me. I wear XL t-shirts and hoodies. Sometimes I find myself stretching out my tops to make them more comfortable. Is that a good thing? Not really. Should I aspire to get myself to a healthier weight and make some changes? Yeah, I should. And I will. Later on. I’m a teenager right now, I have better things to worry about. Right now, I look how I do. Is that perfect? Toned? Nope.

But that does not, in any way, give you the right to make fun of me for it.

I stopped taking any offense to fat jokes a long time ago. Before middle school, I think. It just didn’t bug me anymore, I was used to it. By the time I was 12, I became used to that ridicule. I was used to kids picking on me because of my appearance. Before the eighth grade.

You can’t possibly tell me that isn’t just a little bit twisted.

But it’s where we are in society. Boys have to have muscle, a chiseled jawline and be built like Zeus. Girls have to have an hourglass figure and weigh under 125 and fit into a size 0. It’s the way we’re told people are attractive. And if you don’t fit those constrictive, difficult-to-achieve beauty standards, sucks for you! Have fun living your life as an ugly trash can!

There’s something very, very wrong with that. There’s something upsetting about kids not feeling comfortable in their own skin because it’s different than what our society tells them it has to be.

I can tell you for a fact that something’s wrong with this society, because two summers ago, I skipped out on pool parties because of my low self-esteem. I can tell you there’s something wrong with this society when during my freshman year of high school, I never wore a single pair of shorts, and I never went a day without a hoodie or a flannel around me because I felt that without layers I’d look too fat. I can tell you there’s something wrong, when I couldn’t change in a locker room at age 12 because of how afraid I was of being judged by others due to how I looked.

But none of that matters to me anymore.

I went to pool parties last summer, and I had a blast. The only reason I bring jackets to school this year is because Allen High School is colder than most parts of Antarctica, and I’ll take it off confidently, if one of my classrooms happens to be at a temperature that couldn’t turn me into Frosty the Snowman. I haven’t had to step inside a locker room since eighth grade, thank God for that, but I guarantee you I’d have no problem doing so now.

This way of acceptance doesn’t mean society’s problems are fixed. But it’s what you have to do when you’re fat. You have to learn not to let other people step on you, you have to learn not to take business from anyone, you have to learn that you’re worth twice the amount of every ounce of love than what you see on the scale.

Because here’s the thing about body-shaming. No one really cares about how you look. No one cares that you don’t meet society’s standards of beauty. People care when you don’t care. People care about someone being comfortable with their body when they think they shouldn’t be. People hate a fat kid with body positivity. People hate a fat kid with confidence.

That’s what causes body-shaming. That’s what I’ve learned, anyway.

Except none of that matters to me anymore. Body negativity is an insignificant, pathetic blip of a thought that no longer even crosses my mind. Because I’ve learned to love myself. And it’s truly low of someone to believe that loving yourself is somehow a negative thing.

But I don’t hear their jokes, or acknowledge their mocking. Because it’s too low for me. My life is in the stars right now. I’m floating in an astral realm of happiness and self-esteem. And if someone on the ground wants to jeer at me, let them. Their irrelevant self will move on eventually.

I never really liked my body. But I’m proud of the fact that it, or anything else, can’t weigh me down anymore.


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