In life, you tend to go through some situations that may always be impossible to evade. For instance, in my case, my father was a chef, so we often had fantastic food in the house. They technically count as healthy, but then I also have an Italian mother who usually said that we looked too thin for her liking. As a result, I turned out to be one of the biggest girls in class.
What’s It Like To Be A “Big Girl” Growing Up?
Being considered a “big girl” had its ups and downs, of course. The primary advantage that I noticed was that I was often the first pick in contact sports, especially when it’s dodgeball or rugby, and you needed brute force to win the game. Others might have been offended by it, but I was not.
Another perk was that people would typically think twice before making fun of me. Although I had never bullied anyone, I got that my size could be pretty intimidating. Some kids might have thought of joking about it, but the moment our eyes would meet, they would shut up.
Despite that, it did not mean that I did not leave high school emotionally unscathed. While most bullies did not dare to go against me, I came across some popular – read model-like girls – who made it their lives’ work to belittle anyone who did not look like them. And since we were practically opposites, they always tried to find a way to get their snarky remarks through my kindness shield.
I must admit that the mean girls succeeded a few times. They would never call me fat, but they tend to toy around words like walking refrigerator, talking 12-wheeler, etc. Those things made me conscious about my body and want to eat less than usual.
Luckily, I had parents who seemed very aware when my confidence level would take a dip. They used to say, “Did the body-shaming bugs try to get to you again? Pay them no mind, honey. Such girls act mean towards others because there’s a part of them that’s jealous of you for being able to eat anything you want.”
My parents’ wise words sounded like an actual counselor was a genuine treat for me. They got me through high school, and there was never a time when I felt the need to keep my head down low. For sure, the bullies lurked in the corners – sometimes, they’d be brave enough to come right in front of me – but their antics never bothered me too much.
How Can You Make It Happen, Too?
Gosh, I wish I could tell you that there was an exact formula to ensure that the bullies could never get to you. I also wish I could say that the bullies would leave you alone forever once you showed them that you did not care for their words. However, that’s not possible since there would always be a denser person than others in this lifetime, and their job was to challenge your emotional stability.
If you really want to get through high school like a big girl without needing counseling, though, I would suggest accepting yourself from the beginning. Accept your size; accept that you will never be size 0. That is so much easier than using drastic measures to lose weight immediately.
Also, remember what my parents told me: some people could behave ugly because they were jealous of you. Back in the day, I observed what the mean girls ate during lunch: three sticks of baby carrots or a lettuce leaf. No, they were not actual rabbits, but they ate like one. Meanwhile, my dad would always pack healthy gourmet meals that I could share with at least three kids. Once I realized the massive difference, I felt sorry for my bullies.
It would not hurt to gain your family’s support either. Especially when you come from a family like mine where being big is expected, you will undoubtedly find someone who had been made fun of due to their body. In that case, you could hear their perspective on the matter and learn from their experiences. But even if you are the only oversized family member, knowing that your parents and siblings were proud of you could do so much to boost your confidence.
I understood that I got somewhat lucky in the bully department because my bullies only tried to hurt me verbally. As I grew older, I found out that some mean kids went as far as shoving their victims against lockers or hitting them physically. In such instances, I would genuinely encourage you to get counseling because those experiences could be super traumatizing.
Still, assuming your high school bullies were more like mine, try my tips above. The change in your heart would not happen overnight, yes, but building your confidence and resilience would help you get through life even when high school is over.