An Open Letter to Curvy Teens
When I was in high school, I was always one of the biggest girls in my class. I wasn’t huge, but I was big, I felt massive, so much bigger than I actually was. My self worth came from the way that others saw me. I tried to make the most of high school, I joined clubs, had friends, people to sit with at lunch, but I never really trusted those relationships. I didn’t feel that I had people who I could really trust to be there for me when the chips were down, or who would miss me when I was gone. I didn’t think that I was worthy of that type of friendship. I felt like the fat girl finishes last.
Recently, I re-read an old journal entry from that time, in which I was talking about when my Mom asked if I was depressed. I wrote that I didn’t think I was depressed, I was just bored. And here’s the thing: high school IS a boring place for kids who are different. It can feel unsatisfying, boring, frustrating, maddening. It can leave you feeling totally alone. For many people, high school fucking sucks, you guys. It did for me and it did for many people I love, of all different shapes and sizes.
High school is run by the popular people, the attractive, extroverted, conventional people. In my school, it was a group of mean girls and their boyfriends who ran the show. Most of the time, I did my best to run in social circles away from them. Sometimes, I would find myself at the butt of their jokes. In grade 9, occasionally they would throw pieces of their dissections at me in science. They called me names and actively worked to make me feel less than. They succeeded. A lot of the time, I felt like shit.
I’m not going to tell you not to let someone else make you feel less than, because I’m not going to placate you. Words cut deeper than fists, and beautiful, skinny, popular high school girls are probably the among the cruelest subgroups of people on the planet. In my high school, people feared their wrath and their power. What I can tell you, is that high school will end, and when it does, things will change.
When I got to university, suddenly, the prettiest people weren’t the ones with the most friends, the smart, funny, nice people were. There were groups of friends that formed, of course, but it wasn’t based on appearance, but rather, personality and interests. Leaving high school, for me, meant finding happiness. I formed friendships with people who would be upset if I wasn’t coming out with them, because my presence mattered to them. No one cut me down anymore because of the way that I looked. No one cared!
My experiences in high school made me introverted and shy. I didn’t trust people. Throughout high school, I watched my friends get boyfriends, while no one wanted to date me. I thought no one ever would. While there are some good high school boys, most of them are scared shitless about what other people think of them. So, while curvy girls certainly can get boyfriends, it’s often harder for us in those years.
After high school, I dated many people, I have loved greatly, and so will you. There will always be superficial assholes out there, because fat-shaming is a real thing in our society, but there are also many people who will see you for all your beauty, kindness, intellect and generosity. People will be drawn to your light.
High school will end, I promise. And you know what? You don’t want to peak there anyway. When you don’t peak in high school, it means that you have SO many more years of your life that aren’t high school to enjoy. You have more to strive for; you look forward, instead of back in longing. Wonderful things will happen in your life, and if they didn’t happen in high school, that’s really okay. Some of the most successful, talented, attractive, interesting people I know hated high school. They look back and think “that sucked, so glad I worked my ass off to get myself out of that place, and to create the life I wanted”. You can too.
High school can be ugly, but the future can be great. These years will not define you, though they help to form you. Be yourself, be brave, work hard, and expect the world. It is still coming.