Hello everyone! My name is Maryse and I was born in February 1996, which means I am currently 20 years old. Today, I see myself as a person with many qualities. But it wasn’t always like that. For the most part of my life, I only saw myself as “fat”.
This story is not “my” story… because I’m much more than just my weight. But this is the story of how it has been affecting me for the most part of my life.
I can still remember the first time I started to feel conscious about how I look. I was 5 years old. I’d just started school, I remember how much I loved it. I had so many friends and I felt at my place. At that particular moment, I was at the bathroom, washing my hands in front of the mirrors. A much older girl, probably in 2nd or 3rd grade, was doing the same a few sinks away. I looked at myself in the mirror, seeing a young girl with dark bangs. The girl turned to me and said “You’re ugly.” I was 5 years old and still remember this moment, how bad I felt. Somehow I knew I couldn’t let this get to me. So I turned to her: “I know!” and left. That was just the beginning.
In 1st grade, I was in a new school. I had to fit in with people that already made friends the year before. Hopefully, I succeeded to make a few friends that stayed with me throughout elementary school. That wasn’t the problem anymore. It was the bullies. My parents never had a lot of money, so I dressed with what I could. Big mistake. When you’re 8 years old, if you don’t wear the popular brands of clothes, you’ll be laughed at. On top of that, I was a chubby girl. All of that made me a target. Young boys are cruel. I can’t count the number of times I was called “fat” and “ugly” throughout my school years. Maybe now they regret calling me those things, but it can’t erase the fact that these words are scarred on the image I have of myself.
High school was worse. (BTW: Here in Canada, High School is 5 years. Usually, you start at 12 years old and leave at 17.). I was in an International program, which made me believe that the boys would be nicer and more focused on school. WRONG. My first year of high school was a nightmare. A group of boys were always circling me and calling me names. Laughing at me when I was eating and saying that was why I was fat. In these moments, I didn’t say a thing, I ignored them. Even though their words were hurtful, I could never find what to say back to them. I was never good at this. But, oh boy, was I good at listening to people bringing me down.
Hopefully, the leader of that group of boys left the program and I never saw him again. So the daily bullying stopped. But people still talked about me like I was just fat and nothing else. I always was the girl that people laughed at. I don’t know why I never did anything about it. I guess I was just used to it. Do you think it’s normal to make someone feel so bad about themselves that they just give up trying to love who they are?
Also, what I’m telling you here is just one side of the story, the one that the bullies knew. What they didn’t know was that ever since I was 8 years old, I started to weigh myself. Trying to figure out if the numbers meant that they were right, that I was fat. As early as 12 years old, I can remember I was trying different diets to lose weight. Of course, none of them worked. When the bullies told me I was fat, I could hear a voice in my head saying “I know…” I was stucked with that idea that Maryse = fat.
In 2011, I met someone who changed my life. I was 15 years old and fell in love with a boy. He was different than the others though. Daniel. He was my first real boyfriend. I’m still with him today. He’s the first boy that ever made me feel like I was okay. He always told me (and still does) that I was beautiful and I knew he meant it. He wasn’t just saying that. As we got to know each other, he realized how uncomfortable I was in my body. No matter what part of my body I was hating on, he always said something positive about it.
-I hate my big tummy.
-Why??? I love it so much it’s so soft and comfortable!
After almost 4 years of being with someone that loves me for who I am, I can now say that I love myself a bit more than I used to. Sometimes he doesn’t understand how to make me love myself. I always reply the same thing to him. “You can’t. It’s something I have to do by myself.”
College years (or should I say CEGEP) were not as bad. With a loving boyfriend by my side, I was more confident than ever. Also, the fact that no one knew each other made things easier. I could become who I wanted. I could finally be myself without the shadow of my weight being in the way. Also, we were adults. There’s no place for bullying in the adult world (I know that is NOT TRUE, but thankfully I haven’t had that many problems so far). I finally managed to develop the character of the woman I am today. I still have my issues, but I feel so much better about myself now.
So this is the story about my struggle with my weight. It’s something that will probably stick with me until I die. Sadly, it’s a part of me. My body image is something I work on every day. Literally. Now that you know my story, you can follow my journey!
Hope you enjoyed, have a great day!