What’s in a name…
Someone asked me what I would do if people made fun of me? If they started making mean comments on the website or facebook? I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at the thought of that! I responded with a “Really?” I used to weight over 600lbs, there is nothing anyone can say to me that would come close to the things I have been called, the names, the comments, the hateful jokes, the humiliation. ” Go ahead, knock yourself out if you think you can rattle me at this point.” That is the response you will get from me with the “walls up”, defensive attitude of “screw you”. The reality is in a second I can think back to one of a hundred moments in my life when I was uprooted, shaken to the core because of the cruelty I suffered being obese.
“Lardass”, “When is the baby due”, “Did you eat your brothers and sisters?”, “How do your parents afford to feed you?”, “You are disgusting, you make me want to puke, but then you would probably eat it.”, “Damn you’re fat”…those were some I remember off the top of my head. I was younger, but as I got older and as I grew bigger the snickers and looks of sheer disgust were far far worse than what was actually said.
I was groped, I was spit on, I had food dumped on me. I was humiliated by teachers who hated me because of my size. Yes, Mrs. “English teacher”… I know you hated me and you refused to let me sit in another desk but made me squeeze into the small wooden one. I bled every day that year, from forcing my over-sized body into that desk, it rubbed the skin open on my right side. I still have the scar. I got stuck in a turnstile once and was forced to stand there while they tried to figure out how to take the whole thing apart in front of everyone. A group of kids once sang the LaRosa’s Pizza theme song when I walked by them. I was cussed at by doctors, told I was gross, that I would be dead in a year and I was wasting their time, and that the sight of me made them sick.
I was just a kid, really.
Don’t think I did not have friends, quite the opposite, I was well liked in both high school and college and still have some of those great friends. They could not protect me from everything. Most of the things I mentioned above, no one knew about.
I am not writing this because I want you to feel sorry for me, or feel bad for where I have been or what I have experienced. I want to be honest. I need to be honest. I want to put it out there, to lay it down, to not carry it with me anymore. In order to forgive myself, I must be willing to admit that things could not have been any different. The experience was mine to live through. It was the path I was meant to walk and what I learn along the way is part of who I am. In a world where bullying and harassment runs rampant and kids are killing themselves in record numbers I hope this will offer a different perspective and some insight. Perhaps make compassion the choice over ridicule if anyone reads this and knows someone who could use some understanding and kindness.
What’s in a name? Everything.