When I was 13 I was different than I am now.
I had pink hair.
I was pretty, but I didn’t believe it.
I hid my body beneath layers of clothing.
I stole a copy of the Atkins Diet from Costco. I lost weight, and then gained it back again.
When I was 14 I stayed up too late, and took prescription drugs to stay awake because the seniors told me it was cool. Also, they told me it would make me skinny. It didn’t make me skinny.
It made me feel powerful. And, ultimately, disgusted.
I wanted so badly to be something that I wasn’t.
When I was 15 I had a girlfriend who lived across the hall. We fell in love. It was terrifying to come out to the people who loved me, to myself, so instead I hooked-up with her brother and a boy who told me that looking out over his family’s potato farm was like looking out over the ocean.
I had wanted to hook up with the boy from across the street, but he had different plans. It hurt and I was scared, but I didn’t tell anyone.
When I was 16 I bought flare jeans, I lived in Germany for six months, and I slept with a boy for the first time, who told me I was beautiful and then kept his shoes on the whole time.
When I was 17 studied abroad in Costa Rica. I got stung by a scorpion.
I didn’t look in the mirror for three days. When I looked again, I liked what I saw, a little bit.
When I was 18 I was rejected from ten colleges, waitlisted at one, and admitted to two.
I thought I was worthless.
At the time, I was the editor in chief of the school newspaper, captain of the varsity water-polo team, and a student leader.
I went to the college that gave me the most money, even though I didn’t know where Ohio was.
At college I went back into the closet, because I didn’t think my friends would like me if they knew I was queer. Anyway, I didn’t really know how to explain what I was, because I hated all the rules.
When I was a teenager I thought that everyone around me had it all totally figured out. I envied their clothing, their shoes, their straightened hair, and their family’s disposable income.
All I wanted in the world was someone who would tell me they loved me during the daylight, in front of other people, and act as though they were proud to be in a relationship with me.
Instead, I was the don’t-tell-your-friends-girl, the girl you made out with when you were fucked up, the girl you lied about having a crush on.
What I want to tell any teenager out there reading this is:
and the adults reading this that have a broken teenager in their hearts:
My fat, the source of all of my deepest ridicule and loathing, protected me, nurtured me, and provided me the space to cultivate my personality without the pressure of fitting in, even when I wanted it so badly.
Love the person, not the gender. Don’t be afraid. Also, come out or don’t come out on your timeline, according to your concerns about safety, and when it feels right to you.
Bad things happen to good people, and that does not mean that they deserve it. You shouldn’t have to deal with it on your own, but sometimes that’s how things happen. I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart about that. Know your own strength. Ask for help when you need it.
You will be able to create a beautiful life for yourself. You will be given an opportunity to re-parent yourself someday, if necessary. Be loving to your fears and flaws – you are doing the best that you can, truly.
I know it feels like you are the only person on the planet to feel this _________ [fat/lonely/weird/queer/ugly/poor/strange/insert horrible feeling here], but you are not alone. My greatest hope for you is that someday you are able to see this.
Someone will love you. They will look at you like you are the most gorgeous thing that you have ever seen, and that there is nothing more important in their heart than making you feel every bit as wonderful as you deserve.
Thank you to every single person who has contributed to Teen Week 2012, I am beyond moved and amazed by your love and support. If you haven’t checked out their posts – you really should, they are phenomenal.
Other Teen Week Posts Up Today:
- Emmanuelle Lambert, I Used to be Fat
- MishMarieG, 10 Things I’d Said to My Teen-Self and Teens Now
- Living a Creative Life, Letter to My Teenage Self
- Weightless, What I’d Tell My Teenage Self About Body Image & Life
- Paranormal Avians, Flowing Like a River, Evolving all the Way
- A Blog With No Name, Little, A Letter to my Fourteen Year old Self
- Bodimojo, Teen Week: Words That Heal
- Golda Poretsky [Body Love Wellness], Teen Week: Fatness, Weirdness, and Other Stuff
- Becky’s Kaleidoscope, Being a Big-Busted Girl as a Teenager [Part One]
- Christine Castigliano, Deeper Than You Know: Letter to My Teenage Self