99. It Took Time to Love My Hourglass Figure

99. It Took Time to Love My Hourglass Figure

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Curvy & Confident

It Took Time to Love My Hourglass Figure

Our self-respect tracks our choices. Every time we act in harmony with our authentic self and our heart, we earn our respect. It is that simple. Every choice matters.

~Dan Coppersmith

I was seven years old the first time someone called me “fat.” A family member told me that I couldn’t have any dessert and when I asked why, I was told, “You’re already fat. You don’t need any more food.” Little did I know at that time, I had many more years of emotional abuse to come.

At nine years old, a lot of the boys and girls in my grade and the grades above me began to tease me for being “fat.” They wouldn’t let me play with them at recess and some of them even pretended to be my friend so that they could tell the others my secrets. The words and actions of my school peers got worse over time.

I turned to food to comfort myself. I went from chubby to overweight from fourth to fifth grade. And that was when I decided to start dieting. I stopped eating breakfast, and when no one noticed, I started skipping lunch too. I ate one small meal a day, usually two granola bars, until I was twelve years old, but I didn’t lose weight. At thirteen years old, I stopped eating altogether, and if I did eat, I would run to the bathroom to try to “un-do” what I just did.

At fourteen years old I was eating two hundred calories a day and obsessing over models in magazines. I wanted to be skin and bones like them. I thought more people would like me. Despite starving myself, I couldn’t get below a size 10, which I thought was unacceptable.

The high school years were the worst. With the explosion of instant messenger and texting, I became a target of cyber bullying. People sent mean messages to me about how I should kill myself, stop eating, etc. all because I was different than them. I tried so hard to fit in during high school that I strayed far away from who I actually was. I didn’t even recognize myself anymore. And to protect myself, I started being mean to other people. The meaner I was to people, the less they would be mean to me, I thought. It made it worse because I felt so horrible about being cruel to people.

I have learned to love the body that I was genetically destined to have.

The years of eating so little finally caught up to me, too. I began to suffer some ugly side effects of malnutrition. I was always tired, my nails were brittle, and my hair began to fall out. That was my wake-up call. I finally reached out to get help.

My therapist worked extremely hard with me until one day I woke up and accepted the fact that I will always have an hourglass figure and there’s nothing wrong with that. It took many sessions of resistance, crying, and doubt, but, once I realized that my hourglass figure is something to love, it was like seeing a rainbow after a terrible storm.

Asking for help was one of the greatest things that I did for myself. Once I stopped counting calories, visiting the bathroom, and putting myself down, I stopped hating myself. For the first time in years, I was able to eat in public, I was able to be at the beach or pool in a bathing suit without thinking that everyone was staring, and I was able to love myself again.

The journey to loving my curves was a bumpy road, but I have learned to love the body that I was genetically destined to have. I still have my moments of self-consciousness, but I have a wonderful support system to remind me that the extra weight that I carry is nothing compared to the love I can give and receive from the world.

~Nicole F. Anderson

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