www.whyville.net Jan 15, 2012 Weekly Issue

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"Kelly has a very slight build. Rachel and Emily are medium. And Laurel . . . Laurel is 'medium medium'."

'She's just another person being too kind to admit I'm fat', I thought. The four us had to stand up in front of our Sunday school teacher at church to show off our body types because we were doing a unit on keeping our "temples of the Holy Spirit" healthy. I didn't want to stand up, why would I? It was obvious I'd never be skinny like those three. Couldn't she have found another fat girl to pick on?

I've always been overweight. When I was eleven, at about 5'6" and 200 pounds, the endocrinologist told me I had a genetic disposition to carrying extra weight, and that I'd never be a twig. He gave me medicine to help me eat less and sent me on my way. In the next year, I grew five inches and lost thirty pounds. I received dozens of compliments from adults, telling me how I was such a "beautiful young lady" now, some even asking how I did it in hopes that I had some magic cure to obesity. I would blush and thank them, give some little speech about portion control and exercise, then I'd make a run for it to the kids in my age group, the ones who would never comment on my weight to my face. Maybe the thought that they talked about how fat I was behind my back never occurred to me when I was younger. Maybe I assumed the best of everyone. Maybe I was naive. Or maybe now I'm just too jaded.

For two years I was happy with how I looked. I knew I wasn't skinny, but when I looked in the mirror I liked what I saw. There wasn't too much fat, and people do need fat to survive, so I was just healthy. I didn't envision people looking at me and whispering "she's such a cow" behind their hands. I didn't imagine the boys glancing at my butt just before they doubled over in laughter. I didn't think people were staring at me when I was up on stage, wondering how a fat girl could ever be good enough to be put in front of an audience.

Now I'm fourteen. I've gained about ten pounds since last year, putting me at 5'11" and roughly 180 pounds. I still get compliments, people saying I look great or asking me if I've lost more weight. Whenever they say that, all I can wonder is if they're taunting me, trying to remind me of the fact that I'm getting fatter by the day and soon I'll turn into a hippopotamus. How could they flat-out lie to me, when it's obvious I need to lose weight?

Fourteen years old, with a BMI (body mass index) of 25.3. Still practically a child, but overweight. Your weight only increases as you get older, I don't want to be 400 pounds when I'm forty. I want to be as skinny as a model. I want people to look at me and think "someone feed that girl a cheeseburger and fries". I want to be the one everyone calls anorexic. I want to be like Kelly.

Is that so wrong?


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