Small

Reads: 91  | Likes: 1  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

A heavy truth.

It began once I was born, just over six pounds.

Six.

My grandmother looked at my squishly little face and glanced over to my mother, who was healing from labor yet. She asked her why I looked so big. From that point until I was age twelve, my grandma was a constant reminder of how I was overweight. ...Even before I ever was. When my grandmother was a child, her father nicknamed her, "Pudge." The reason for which being that she was 120 pounds around age 12, when at the time 110 was medically recommended as healthy for her height and age. She never let that pain go.

Growing up, my earliest friend (and neighbor) was my second family. As adults, we do remain friends and have a permanent bond that I do so cherish greatly. As a child, though; she was another intense pressure on my mental health. She was always heavier than I, but she frequently told me how I was fat, and that I weighed more than her. One toxic example? She and I were walking through our extended shared driveway when we were around seven years old or so. She looks at me and says, "No offense Emily, but you're kind of fat." I had already felt this way for years. Naturally without cruel intention in the moment, I responded. "No offense, but so are you." The difference between her and I in this particular frame was that I felt nothing new from her statement, but her response to mine affected her enough to notice visually. Her emotion ran cold and she told me to go home. That event caused a slight strain in our friendship for months. (We were used to that type of fight - ask me about the last ticket at the county fair when we were kids sometime.)

At 12 years, I celebrated my birthday as I did every year - at the water park with my grandmother. My twin cousins used to come with, but that changed after one of them passed. I substituted with two friends. This year only one had made it, if I recall correctly. At the time, that friend was more thin than I. While we walked side by side at the park, my grandma began laughing as she followed behind us. I looked at her, and she said, "It's funny how you walk so rounded compared to her." Even my friend understood what we had just heard, and looked over to me in shock. I continued walking in silence.

Age 14, same water park, my grandma had prepared halved sandwhiches, turkey cut into triangles, and ham prepared the same just as she did each year. I had eaten a turkey sandwhich and about five or six potato chips. She pulled a large birthday cake out from her ice-filled cooler, placed candles atop, and she, along with my best friend and boyfriend, began chanting the ever-so-unpleasant tone of "Happy Birthday." Once I made a wish, blew out the flame, and went to grab a piece...my grandmother stopped me. 

"Do you really think you should be eating cake?"

I stood from my seat slowly, went to the table adjacent to ours, and cried - while eating a piece of my birthday cake. I wished I was skinny. My best friend did not come to my side to console me, my boyfriend did not either - as he in particular thought I needed to lose weight.

The same year I went to a new level of self-hatred. The exact kind that causes people who despise you to be awed by your very presence.


Submitted: May 08, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Emily Johnson. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:


Facebook Comments

More Memoir Short Stories