For most of my life I had always been on the bigger side, especially when I was baby, and I’ve always struggled with seeing myself as beautiful in the skin I am. It didn’t help that my parents, especially my father, were always taking digs at my weight and always telling me to ‘lose weight and be more like my sister Valerie’. Not to mention that my sister was always making snide remarks about my weight as well and always talking bad about me on the phone with her friends.
Because of this, I’ve always had a low self- esteem and it caused me to sort of hide my body through clothes during all four seasons. Fall and winter gave me an excuse to wear baggy clothes that hid my body, but I dreaded when the spring and summer months came because it meant that I couldn’t hide under bulky sweaters and sweatpants, but that didn’t mean I would stop trying to hide my body. No. It mean that I would do everything in my power to avoid things like shorts, tank tops, or anything fitting that showed off the fat I had on my thighs, the stretch marks that I hid behind jeans during the winter and fall, and breasts that I tried so hard to keep tucked away from prying eyes. Did that stop the people who were supposed to love and accept me from criticizing me? No. They continued to say whatever they wanted about my weight while I just sat there and listened before to my room to lock the door and cry about it.
Aside from my terribly judgmental parents and sister, the only people in my life who actually accepted me for who I am are my grandmother, my aunt Jocelyn, my best friend Kimora, and my other best friend Sadia. Those four people were the only ones who would assure me that I was beautiful inside and out and that my parents and sister were wrong. They always encouraged me to be confident and to not let their words get to me, even though I do allow them to, and they make sure to put a smile on my face no matter what, especially Kimora and Sadia.
Today was like any other Wednesday morning, which meant that I had to get up and get ready for another day at school. Honestly, I dreaded going to school because everyone there was much worse to me about my weight than my parents, especially since they all get physical, and this includes my sister and her cronies who live to see me miserable. The teachers barely did anything about it because they were too busy turning the other cheek or blaming me for the actions of others when others feel the need to lie on me or when they see the tail end of the bullying happening. It really made me dread having to go to schools, but what could I do? I couldn’t tell my parents because they’d just justify it by saying,
“Maybe if you weren’t so stubborn and lost weight, they wouldn’t bully you.”
And they have done this before, sadly, and it’s painful to just see them act so nonchalant and uncaring about how I feel when they make comments like that. They make me feel low and unwanted, which is no way for a child to ever feel and it sucks. I can’t wait until I’m off to college and just far away from here. I don’t think I can take living in this house anymore with these people. It would only be a matter of time before they drove me to the brink of insanity.
“Wake up, Leah. It’s time for school,” My Mom called from outside of my door.
“A few more seconds and I’ll get up,” I softly said to myself, “Just a few more seconds.”
“One.” I swung my legs over the edge of my bed, then head to my bathroom. As soon as my foot touched the dark gray tile, I jumped back in surprise almost. Damn that’s cold. I placed my foot back on there and headed towards my shower. I turned it on hit just it would warm up the bathroom a bit before I got in. I walked out of my bathroom and grabbed my slides just so I would have to touch the bathroom floor with my bare feet. I stripped out of my clothes and put them in my hamper, then walked into the bathroom to take a shower.
After my shower, I dried off, moisturized with lotion and vaseline, and put on undergarments. Since it was cold outside, I put on a pair of vintage jeans I had, a Cosby sweater, and a pair of Timberlands. Although I hide my body, I still liked to look good at the very least. My hair was taken out of its twists and pulled into a half up, half down style. I put on a pair of diamond studs and then placed my phone into my back pocket before grabbing my backpack and house keys. The thing with my keys is that my parents won’t even buy me a car because they feel that I should walk to school instead of driving a car or anything. They gave my sister a car, even though she doesn’t use it. and she taunts me whenever she has the chance as she sits in the car with her friends. My parents know that the walk to school is at least thirty minutes, but they don’t care. They just want me to get the “exercise”. My aunt doesn’t like the fact that I’m being forced to walk to school and has tried to get me one, but I’ve refused because I don’t want her wasting her money when I can just ride the bus to and from school, or occasionally get a ride from either Kimora or Sadia.
When I reached downstairs, I saw my parents and sister eating breakfast together. The air smelled of pancakes, bacon, and eggs. My mouth watered at the scent of the food that I probably wouldn’t even receive.
“Morning,” I said. My dad looked up from his paper and took in my appearance. He made a face of disapproval before going back to it.
“That sweater makes you look bigger than you are,” He simply stated. A frown came upon my face while Valerie snickered. I walked over to the fridge to grab a bottle of water and an apple or something. My phone buzzed in my pocket and I saw that it was Kimora texting me to say that she was at our usual spot where she picked me up from school.
“I’m leaving,” I announced.
“Marley, I sighed you up for that gym that’s twenty minutes away near that mall. Why don’t you head over there after school?” My Mom informed me.
“How am I supposed to get there?” I inquired.
“Walk,” My Dad gruffly responded. Mentally, I sighed to myself.
“Okay. I’ll go there after school,” I mumbled.
“I’m surprised you didn’t sign her up sooner,” Valerie remarked, “It’s not like she was going to lose it on her own anyway.” I bit back the tears at her statement and walked out of the house. I didn’t understand how my family could be so cruel. What have I ever done to them to warrant this type of behavior? They were such terrible people and they didn’t care to even realize how much their words have cut me deep over the years. Sadly, I don’t think they ever will care. I sniffed and kept it moving to meet up with Kimora.
When I arrived at our usual meeting place, I saw that our friend Sadia was sitting up front with a pretty new hijab on her head. A small smile came into my face as I broke out into a jog. Even though I had been upset earlier, it was actually nice to see two people who had my best interest at heart. I got into the backseat and I instantly smelled food.
“Good morning, guys,” I grinned.
“Good morning, beautiful,” Kimora replied smiling at me. Kimora was a mocha skinned girl with shoulder length ebony hair, almond shaped eyes with dark chocolate brown eyes, full round lips, a toned and curvy body, and high cheekbones. She always made it her mission every single day to compliment me no matter what. She said it was her way of building up my confidence and it was very nice of her to do it, although I didn’t really take them to heart.
“We got you breakfast,” Sadia informed me as she passed a Chick-Fil-A bag my way along with a drink. As for Sadia, she had golden brown-skinned girl with long black hair that she kept tucked away in her hijab, well rounded lips, high cheekbones, brown almost black eyes, a slim nose, and thick eyebrows.
“Thank you,” I smiled broadly.
“You’re welcome. We knew your parents were probably torturing you this morning with food that they wouldn’t give you,” She told me. Sadia always made it her mission to buy me breakfast in the morning because she knew that every morning my parents wouldn’t give me anything my mom cooked, and if they did it would be very small portions. I always paid Sadia back, even though she didn’t like it because I appreciated her doing this for me.
“Just so you know, I bought you two of the little minis to fill you up,” She added, “We can’t have you starving now, can we?”
“Thanks, Sadia,” I beamed.
“No problem. Just make sure you eat all of it before get there,” She said.
“I will,” I nodded. Kimora started the car and drove off from our spot.
“You know how my dad kept getting upset because my bank account would have charges from different food places?” Sadia asked.
“Yeah,” Kimora and I answered.
“Well when him and my mom confronted me about it, I told them the truth,” Sadia informed.
“Oh. What did they say?” I inquired instantly feeling guilty.
“They were actually pretty understanding and said that they were fine with it. My mom said that any time you’re feeling hungry you can drop by,” Sadia explained.
“Really? I don’t want to impose,” I said.
“It’s quite alright with them. My parents love you after all,” Sadia assured me.
“So do mine,” Kimora remarked, “Well they probably love you more than me.” Kimora rolled her eyes while Sad and I laughed.
“It’s not funny. How would you feel if your parents possibly love your friend, who’s not even their child, more than you? You’d feel some type of way,” Kimora complained. All signs of joy left my face at the mention of that and an awkward silence filled the car once she said that. Valerie, my sister, and I are our parents’ biological children, there’s no doubt about that, but it kind of cut me deep when someone mentioned the slightest bit of favoritism.
“Maybe that wasn’t the best choice of words,” Sadia said.
“Yeah. I’m sorry, Marley,” Kimora murmured.
“It’s alright,” I smiled weakly, “I understand what you’re saying.”
“I’m still upset that. I’m her child for crying out loud!” Kimora cried out. Sadia and I laughed again.
“Well maybe she doesn’t like you because you and your dad keep roasting her every chance you get,” I said.
“So what if we roast her? She shouldn’t take it so seriously,” Kimora replied.
“And that’s why she doesn’t like you,” Sadia said.
“Whatever. Her sensitive self needs to get over it,” Kimora huffed.
“Ooh! I’m telling,” I teased. A panicked look came over Kimora’s face, but she played it off with a chuckle.
“I ain’t scared of her,” Kimora said. Sadia and I gave her looks that said “bitch please”.
“Let me just call her right now,” I teased. I took out my phone and Kimora quickly reached back to knock it out of my hands. Sadia and I cracked up.
“Y’all are so damn annoying,” She hissed.
“You’re the one lying on your mom,” Sadia chortled.
“Whatever,” Kimora grumbled. Sadia and I continued laughing.
“Sadia, I noticed that you got a new hijab,” I said.
“Hm? Oh yeah my brother got it for me when he was visiting Dubai. He says that it’s a late birthday gift,” She chuckled.
“Well that’s sweet of him,” I smiled.
“It is,” She smiled back.
“I wish my brother bought me stuff. The most he’s spent on me is like two dollars and that was for some candy,” Kimora muttered.
“It’s not our fault your brother is a cheapskate,” I said.
“Oh and what about yours?” Kimora inquired. Other than Valerie, I had an older brother named Kyle and he was kind of a weird guy, but he was cool. Kyle had light brown skin, a round nose, low cheek bones, chocolate brown eyes, short black hair, a black beard beard that he kept short, full lips, a frame that stood at a height of 6′1, and a taut build. Kyle and I had a closer relationship with each other because like my friends, our grandmother, and our aunt, he didn’t judge me for my weight and he always made me feel like I was beautiful despite our parents’ criticisms.
“Kyle will only spend a minimum of forty dollars on me,” I answered.
“What? I thought it would be like twenty and below,” Kimora replied.
“Listen here, son. We’re not like you and your brother,” I told her.
“Oh shut up,” Kimora hissed.
“Speaking of Kyle, is he coming to visit any time soon?” Sadia asked.
“I don’t know. He’s off in Mexico being weird with his friends,” I replied.
“Attractively weird,” Kimora remarked. Kimora had a crush on my brother and he had a crush on her. It’s kind of cute and annoying at the same time because when they’re around each other they get all happy and shit, but they’re annoying when they don’t even want to fucking make it official or anything.
“When will you two stop being stupid for once and date?” Sadia asked.
“When he stops hanging around that bitch,” Kimora answered. Sadia and I sighed loudly.
“You two just love to piss each other off,” I said.
“Don’t rope me into that mess! It’s him!” She cried out.
“Yeah sure,” Sadia sarcastically said.
“Oh get bent,” Kimora responded. We finally arrived at the school and I had finished my food. I spotted the car of my sister’s friend and I ducked down quick so she wouldn’t see me and tell our parents.
“I wish your parents weren’t such horrible people and would allow you to get a car,” Sadia said.
“Me too, but you know how they are,” I replied.
“I’m sorry you have to go through that,” Sadia said.
“Me too,” Kimora nodded, “If I could, I would definitely let you stay at my house for the rest of the year.”
“Me too,” Sadia spoke up.
“Thanks, you guys,” I said.
“You’re welcome. Now let’s head on to that shit hole we call school!” Kimora exclaimed. Sadia and I laughed.