I've always had problems with my self-esteem. I distinctly remember the first time I got called fat. I was in first grade, and one of my friends told me, out of the blue, "You are fat." I don't think, as a seven-year-old, I really took it to heart, but it obviously stuck with me. The thing is, I wasn't fat in first grade. I don't even think I was chubby at that point.
My real chubby phase started in about fourth grade. I mean, it's nothing to be embarrassed about now because, come on, we all have a chubby phase. But at the time it was devastating. I could tell that I was bigger than the other girls in my class. I was humiliated when I got my school photos back and was told by my peers on the bus that I had chubby cheeks and a round face. Activities that used to be fun, like going to the pool, were now, in my mind, not an option. The real blow was when I overheard some of my own family members talking about how large my clothing sizes were. I was so embarrassed, and confused. My eating habits hadn't changed, and I was still playing sports and staying active after school. I was very upset and ashamed of how I looked.
In fifth grade, I really slimmed out. I grew a couple of inches and my face and body looked thinner and more mature. But, even though I was thinner, my body image remained the same. Middle school came around, and a few cruel girls made gaining any confidence impossible.
By seventh grade, I had stopped playing sports after school and was instead focused on music and theatre, so I wasn't as thin as I'd been in fifth grade. I remember girls telling me I had kankles (which wasn't true), and one even said "We all know you've always been a little...obese." (Well, actually, she mistakenly used the word "obtuse"...which I can laugh about now, but having someone even attempt to call me obese was a huge hit to my already low self-esteem at the time.) I really began to hate myself. This was my low point.
My lack of confidence followed me to high school, where I began my 9th grade year as a shy, quiet girl who tended to keep to herself (not my personality at all.) Luckily, through theatre and some really great support from friends, I blossomed and became the person I am today. In fact, in many personal letters I received from peers on my senior retreat, I was complimented for my bravery in being myself and rocking my uniqueness instead of trying to hide it. Those compliments will always be dear to my heart.
Today, I have fully embraced my personality, and I love being goofy and unique and totally me. My only lingering problem is the way I feel about my appearance. Though I'm no longer bullied or made fun of, I have gotten a few really rude and hurtful comments from strangers and even family members about being ugly or needing to "lose a few." I have never been extremely overweight or anywhere close to obese, but I have always been slightly overweight or at least at the top of my healthy weight range. I hope that if I get serious about healthy eating and staying active, I'll be able to lose some weight and finally feel good about myself. I try to live by the quote I posted above: Celebrate all the things you don't like about yourself. Love yourself.
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I'm Ellen! I like wearing bows in my hair. I have an amazing boyfriend, Josh, who I've been dating 5 years (since our freshman year of high school!) Besides musical theatre, drawing with chalk is my favorite hobby. I'm an IU Hoosier and on campus I'm involved in the Singing Hoosiers show choir as well as my sorority. My car is an orange VW Beetle I like to call Lola. I'm addicted to wedding shows and Food Network. My cat, Lizzie, is the bee's knees. And my favorite month of the year is October because I love fall, Halloween, and Tim Burton movies. :)