Wednesday, January 5, 2011

That Fat, Ugly Little Girl

That was me. I was horrible. And to top it off, I never felt like I belonged, no matter what group of friends took me in. Like a homeless, mangy dog, I drifted through my childhood with wide eyes and uncertain steps. First, I worked to avoid the wrath of my parents. Second, I was pretty certain I was invisible. And third, I just wanted to be happy -- which was something I didn't achieve until much later in life.

But boy-oh-boy was I hideous. It's not that I was always ugly. No, when I was three, I was pretty cute. Unfortunately, as I got older and bigger, the Buddha belly grew and my thighs started rubbing together. It was particularly worse when they got a heat rash on them and my mother had to put cream on it to sooth my tubby leg rolls. Of course, to console myself I'd eat sandwich meat with mustard and mayonnaise inside, rolled into a tube. Food in tubes were always my favourite. Licorice, freezes, pixie sticks. All the best foods came in tube form.

Part of me wishes I could blame my parents. I got my father's sweet tooth and my mothers taste for salty things. On top of that, I was told to always clear my plate. Don't be thinking we had dessert either. We rarely ever got sweet treats, which is why, when faced with licorice or chips, I went completely insane around things I knew I shouldn't be eating. But in my defense, they tasted so damn good. To further me down the disastrous path I was on, I wasn't placed into any recreational sports or teams or anything!

What did I do in my free time? I listened to oldies and lusted over Brad Pitt in Legends of the Fall. "Ohhh That Brad Pitt is simply delicious." And he was. At least I had good taste in men when I was twelve. Perhaps my parents shouldn't have put a television in my room. Another one of my most favourite pastimes was reading the dirty parts in my sister's novels. I vividly remember reading a sex scene from The Witching Hour by Anne Rice. Couldn't for the life of me tell you what actually happened in the book though.

Eating poorly and being fat was just the tip of the iceberg. From grades three to seven I don't think I brushed my hair once. Of course, in grade seven there was the lice incident and my father cut my rat's nest off with a knife. There is nothing I can say in the defence of my poor hygiene. I think it just went unnoticed by my family. By looking at me, you would have thought we lived in squalor, but the house was actually pretty clean and dinner was on the table every night. When I got older, around twelve or thirteen, I started cooking family dinners. I really enjoyed mushroom pork chops and honey garlic chicken legs. Thinking about that now turns my stomach. Meat. Gross.

To be honest, I think I flew under the radar because I was the second youngest. My brothers were little bastards who got up to so much trouble that I could conceivably not change my underwear for a month without my mother noticing. Okay, okay. That was a joke, it never got past a week. Although, now that I think about it, I don't really remember bathing at all. Except that one time that I shaved my stomach with my sister's pink razor she left on the bathtub.

Thinking back on the little girl I was makes me cringe. I wore colored jeans, a goofy shirt, never brushed my hair and was always dirty. It wasn't as if I rolled around in the mud outback, but it didn't help that I ran around with my brothers. Here's the truth, I just didn't care. Correction: I didn't know I was supposed to care. I gladly accepted those hand-me-down clothes and wore them proudly. My sister used to wear them, they had to be cool, right?

One would think it got better as I grew into my teens, but the cold, hard fact was that it sort of got worse. Granted, I did start to bathe and brush my hair, but my awkward phase took over. I know what you're thinking, how could this scraggly, dirt encrusted, pot-bellied child possibly get any more awkward? Well, I did. And to be blunt, I did it rather magnificently!

I owned my awkwardness. Pulling into my teens, I had nothing really going for me. I didn't do poorly in school but I didn't do amazing either, I hated gym, my best friend was my dog, Patches, I honestly didn't want to be a part of my family, my friends were ever changing (especially in grade seven when I slapped one of the popular girls...oops) and I didn't understand the importance of flossing my teeth. Rest assured, I do now.

The truth is, I longed to be noticed. Just to be noticed, by anyone really...though it would have been wonderful if it had of been by a boy. I was unremarkable and unworthy. That was, until I hit junior high.

So there I was, thirteen years old, starting grade eight. Green Day and Smashing Pumpkins were playing on my Walkman and I decided it was time to be a little more feminine. Ha. Kidding. Instead of dressing in skirts and tube tops like my fellow classmates, I started wearing men's dress pants and gas station attendant shirts. Yeah, you know, the ones with Ted or Bill or Frank over the breast pocket. I wore a choker around my neck, died my hair with smelly felts and Kool Aid, and painted my fingernails black with sharpies.

Every teenage boys dream gal. Yep. That's me. The fellas just LOVED me.

Not really.

I'm not going to lie, there's no point now, people thought I was a boy. I didn't sound like a boy, I suppose I may have looked like a boy, but my name was feminine! That should have been enough of a hint. During my years in high school, I never came into my own. You know how there's that Ugly Duckling story that turns into a swan? Well, I read that story and it gave me hope...

...unfortunately, I am still waiting to turn into a swan.

The only positive thing I can say about being a beastly little girl is that I really got the chance to develop my personality. In some respects, I am thankful for being the ugliest kid on the block, for being the fat friend, for always being two feet taller and fifty pounds heavier than everyone else, because I was able to perfect who I am. While all the girls in grade twelve were scrambling to figure out who they really were, I already knew.

I was the girl who never smoked or drank or did drugs. I was the the girl with the razor-sharp wit and self-deprecating sense of humour. Emerging from high school, I knew what my strengths were and my weaknesses and I knew that I never did something just because everyone else was doing it. Sure, I was different. And sure, at times it was hard. I cried many tears into pillows and spent countless hours ridiculing myself, but I have character! I have awesome comebacks and a thick skin! I am a good judge of character! Not to mention, I have three binders full of the most angst-riddled, depressing poetry any teenager has ever written. One day, I might share it with you!

Now, even though my breasts stick out further than my belly and I don't have to shop in the plus size stores, and I can actually stand looking in the mirror, I am still that little girl. I am the butterball, the boy, the weirdo, the geek, the nerd, the bitch, the jerk, the girl at the back of the class, the one who has the snide remarks and the one who just doesn't care. We hold onto who we were as kids because the things we went through and the things we did molded us into who we are.

And when I think about it, that fat, ugly little girl was pretty fucking cool.


Sessha Batto said...

I, too, was a totally socially awkward little outcast . . . who grew into an adult hermit. Thank kami for the internet, it may be late but I'm finally learning to interact with people ;)

Leigh said...

There's a fat ugly little girl in most of us. And I think it's the fat ugly little girl that gives us the drive to be better, fast, and more succesful. So keep using her to your advantage. Funny, your post is a smidge linked to my blog post today, well interms of the giving the popular girl a slap that is. Wayhay for you. And keep that fat ugly little girl inside you happy, alive and well.

John said...

You sound like the typical writer to me. We all need to compensate for our inability to mix as children.

The difference between us is that I stayed ugly all my life and acquired fat in later life when I gave up cigarettes.

You became wonderful

Annikka Woods said...

Yes, I'm still the little ugly fat girl I was in high school. Sadly, I'm actually heavier than I was back then. Losing weight sucks...but I finally am losing it. It took me years even after graduation to finally figure out who I was, so I think it's awesome that you already knew by the time you were through with high school. And I agree with Leigh. The little ugly fat girl who was always downtrodden, ignored and/or bullied is a part of us that has helped shape us into the fantastic women we've become as adults.

Loralie Hall said...

I'm pretty sure you went into my head and stole large chunks of my childhood to write this. I'm a little disturbed by that, but at the same time fascinated.

Gabe said...

I don't know how what you looked like back when you were a kid, but as a regular watcher of your vlog, I have to say you're gorgeous. Gorgeous AND smart, which is a huge plus! And the way you write, the way you talk... I'm sure I'm just one out of many, many people with a crush on you!

I hope you surround yourself with people who tell you all the the time how wonderful a person you are. For what is worth, I think the cute woman you become is pretty fucking cool too!

Anonymous said...

Wow ........ This was some read for me !! Funny thing is I never saw you that way. I always saw a Cute Smart Honour Student who was always very popular with lots of friends. The same good friends that you still have today. I agree it was easy for you to Fly under the radar .... your Brothers were Both little Bastards and did take up most of the time. My one big regret is that I always worked nights and missed all of your school plays. I did make it to the one that you wrote but as you well know I might have dozed off for a few seconds.
Anyways ...... " I Love You to Pieces and I am proud of you !! Yes you did march to a different drummer " You Still DO" it`s called being "Unique"