“The demon raised its monstrous head and stalked
its prey until it grabbed and swallowed it whole.”
I’m not the type of girl guys fall for. Never have been. Never will be.
Is it hard?
It can be.
Looking at all the happy couples—even if it is a façade some of the time—rubbing their relationships in my face, isn’t always the most pleasant thing to experience. For the most part, the feeling dissipates as quickly as it fogs up my mind. Then, there are the moments when I’m standing in front of the mirror, looking at myself and seeing the real me.
All of me.
I know I’m never going to be like them. I’m never going to be able to experience the exhilarating sensation of having someone love me for me. Why? Because that kind of life is for the lucky, the rich, the fictional, and the pretty. And that’s just not me. I’ve never been lucky, I’m far from being rich and neither are my parents, so I don’t even have a fat trust fund to use. This is the real world, and in the real world, people like me don’t get a happily ever after.
I’m not pretty. I’m… I’m what most people would call the duff of the group, or designated ugly fat friend, most groups have one. The person that everybody befriends, and think is a really nice person, it’s the kind of thing you hear most people say about ugly people. When people ask, are they hot? Their response is automatic, ‘they’re really nice with a great personality’.
I’m the one all the boyfriends have no reservations over and trust. I’m the one all the girls—even those with major insecurities—feel comfortable hanging out with.
I’m no threat to them.
Guys don’t look at me like they do my friends, who are all basically Victoria Secret models in comparison. All exotic, from varying backgrounds: Czech, Italian, Swedish, Turkish. Countries that have some of the most exquisite women in existence, and they’re all. My. Friends.
Don’t get me wrong, I love them all to bits because they’re always there for me, attempting to make me feel better and laugh. Most of the time, they succeed, however, there are moments when even they can’t exorcise the demons that lurk deep beneath the surface. They stick up for me, basically threatening anyone who messes with me, with their life. It can get scary. They’re my sisters and would do anything and everything for me. This. This, however, is not something they can help with. Because they don’t know. They don’t know how it feels to look at themselves and know that the hurtful words people throw at them are true. Knowing that no guy is ever going to look at them the way they do others. Knowing that loneliness is all they have to look forward to in the future and accepting that it’s their fate.
How do you even begin to tell your friends that all the ugly, duff, fugly, a face even a mother couldn’t love, and that I needed to be cooked a little bit longer in the oven because I was still raw, hurt? You can’t. Because people who look like them, glamours in their own right, can’t tell someone of a lesser attractiveness value that they are pretty, that everything is going to be okay, and that someone will want me.
Because in truth, the reality is clouded by their rose-tinted irises. A vision impairment that has them seeing something different, as if they’re in an alternate universe.
The words they speak, the reassurances they give, are all just a way to comfort me into believing something that isn’t real. And for what? All just to make you feel better. Even if it’s for a brief moment.
I can see through their lies. Through their soft and placating tones, because I know that no amount of whatever is ever going to stop this feeling of worthlessness in the pit of my stomach.
Especially not four drop-dead gorgeous girls.
It hadn’t always been this way. Back in the day, I was rather content with myself. Had no idea I looked like I had been rammed by a bus into a brick wall. I was blindly and blissfully unaware of the attraction I lacked until I stepped into the animal kingdom. The one place that judges you, not based on merit, academia or your personality, but by your looks alone. My eyes were opened to it the moment Stephanie Brynsworth pushed me into a set of lockers and announced to the hallway of St. Mary’s Catholic School that people so damn fugly shouldn’t be allowed to breathe in the same air as people who actually had looks and mattered.
I had stupidly asked my parents if I was ugly, and as supporting and loving and utterly hopeless as parents are, they told me I was beautiful. They were lying of course, and I knew it, because what respecting and loving parent would ever tell their child they looked like they were the spawn of the ugliest dog on Earth and a mutated gorilla? None. That’s who.
As soon as I looked into the bathroom mirror, I saw exactly what Stephanie saw. Unruly curly hair that had a mind of its own, static-y bits sticking up all over the place. Freckles were scattered on a too pale face which became more noticeable when I was emotional for some weird and stupid reason. Eyes that were too big for my damn head.
When the barrage of insults, taunts and physical altercations started, that’s when things changed. To everyone else, I held my own and let the insults wash over me, ignoring the sting of the jellyfish that would strike me with their spindly fingers. I was way too proud to show them that their venomous tongues had any impact on my mind.
No, I wouldn’t give them one ounce of pleasure or satisfaction, so I suffered in silence. I didn’t want to burden anyone with something that had nothing to do with them, and for something they quite frankly couldn’t help with. What was anyone going to do? Tell me everything was okay, tattle on the kids responsible—which was practically the entire student body—to the headmistress? It was never going to work because the school’s headmistress was none other than Jacqueline Brynsworth. That’s right, mother of the biggest bully out there. She practically owned the school and the town, and was the head of the PTA.
At first, I believed in my bravery and I exuded it perfectly, but then, the more it happened, the more I allowed their words, her words, to embed themselves deep into my skin, burrowing comfortably into my bloodstream, my heart and my brain, the worse I became. Unable to look at myself and see something that was no big deal.
Because it was a big deal.
They had officially and successfully taken the one part of me I held so dear and never thought they would be able to take from me.
The theft of my soul is what broke me.
I started to look back on all the times I was ignored, looked over, had guys befriend me to give them the details of one of my very attractive friends, and knew that nothing I did was going to change any of that, short of spending an exorbitant amount of money to change my appearance. So why should I care anymore? About me? About trying?
So, I turned to food.
My security blanket.
I’d always been an emotional eater. If I got angry or down or stressed, I would eat. I wish I was one of those people that stopped eating when they struggled with life, but I wasn’t. Slowly, pound by pound, I stacked on the weight like I was trying out for the Olympics in competitive eating.
I got to a very unhealthy weight, so bad that my parents became worried and recognized I had a problem. I was exceptionally good at hiding my problems from the world, and they took it as me just stacking it on because my weight fluctuated all the time. They were used to seeing me putting on weight, shedding it and then putting it on again. I had never gotten this bad though. And as the pressure and bullying increased, so did my weight.
In the end, I found myself at a heavy and unhealthy 243 pounds. They would continue to ask me what was wrong, and I would continue to tell them that there was nothing wrong. It was a weird game of cat and mouse, where they chased me for answers, and I ran off to avoid them. Eventually, they booked me in for an appointment with a therapist, Dr. Krystal Rose, which I accepted and went to see. Because if I didn’t start shedding the weight and stop pushing my parents into a hurricane of worry and anxiety, they were going to end up having a heart attack at the ripe old age of forty-five, and I couldn’t have that.
As it turned out, the therapist was pretty good, having gone through the same thing herself. She suggested ways that could help me combat the demons I had living inside of me, in order to get my life on track. She understood that it wasn’t just about losing the weight like my parents seem to think in the beginning. She recognized and understood the psychological issues that started it. Why was I putting on the weight? Why had I failed to lose it all, like every other time? Why had the ability to take care of myself been wiped clean with the angry tide of the ocean?
Three grueling years later, I managed to go from two-hundred-and-forty-three pounds, down to a healthy one-hundred-and-thirty-two. You would think that losing it all and being thin, yet still managing to retain my curves, would make me feel better. That’s how it was supposed to be, right? It’s what everyone kept on telling you. The media, the entertainment industry, friends. Everyone. Except the thing about that is, they were wrong. So damn wrong.
Sure, I no longer felt like my heart was about to escape my chest every time I got out of bed. I wasn’t at risk of dying or becoming a diabetic, but it didn’t scrub away the scars that once started as emotional and morphed into physical. The ugly stretched tracks that glistened when the light shone onto them, like a fucking beacon. My body had become riddled with them, and I was uglier now then I was before I had put on all the weight.
Most of the cellulite had gone away or at least wasn’t as noticeable anymore, and surprisingly I didn’t have as much excess skin as you would expect. I was lucky in that regard. However, every inch of my body was a constant reminder of what I had gone through. The agonizing pain of my weakened state. I hated myself more now than I had before, because even though the weight gain had been caused by the bullying, now, I had to really confront the reason I ended up like this. If only I had stopped, and handled the whole situation better, I wouldn’t be like this. The only difference from now to then was that I was better equipped to deal with my own self-detestation.
My hatred ran deep in me, it attacked every ounce of light I had fought so hard to contain and keep. The precious light that had been the only speck of hope I managed to successfully sustain. If I had the slightest chance of anybody loving me at all, I had eviscerated it the moment I set fire to the fucks I had remaining for myself. My once cavernous Scrooge McDuck sized tank of fucks had been bled dry.
They say that the spiderweb scars a person holds enlightens you of their journey. Their story. Most of these stories pertain to women having given birth, and the men—their husbands or partners, the father of their children—loving them because it symbolized the struggle of childbirth, the beautiful and wondrous home they provided for their child. Nobody ever speaks of the brave warriors who had survived a traumatic event in their lives, and how beautiful the scars were to show that they had gone through the bleak and blackened tunnels to come out the other end alive.
Only mothers were beautiful and thought of with such adoration.
It had taken intense therapy to overcome the battles I had. I hadn’t fully healed, because I never would, nothing could erase the chorus of peers that shouted their disgust and hatred at just being in the same room as me. Nothing could erase the loud voice in my head that agreed with them. I was still able to hobble along and face the day with a smile on my face—albeit fake—and make everyone believe I wasn’t one to be coddled over. To pity, because that’s the worst thing someone could ever feel for you.