A Fight With Weight and Teasing

NathanSince I was young, I’ve been overweight (as you might see in the picture). This never became much of a problem until I hit middle school, that was when I started getting made fun of. I was harassed in PE, was made fun of for my creative Halloween costume (a more realistic version of Aladdin), and even had my shoes ridiculed (can you believe that?).

I thought things would look up when I moved on to high school with my friends; obviously I was wrong. While I had made new friends as a freshman, I was still harassed for my weight and my newly developed pizza face. I even had to change PE classes because of a particularly bad bully.

Things started to look up, though, during the summer before sophomore year. I started losing weight, a LOT of weight; the weird part was, I hadn’t been doing any exercise or diet. All I had been doing was drinking a lot of water and sleeping a lot. Seeing that I was losing weight, I didn’t care for the reason. Then about a month into my sophomore year, I threw up the morning after eating some ice cream, so my mom took me to the hospital. It was then that I found out why I had lost so much weight, and why I appeared very pale. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, a condition that I have to live with for the rest of my life. Luckily, I was able to manage my disease, and I was 30 pounds lighter than the year before. However, this was not the end of my troubles.

Though I was no longer made fun of for being overweight, I still got some criticism; this time it was from a much more painful source. I often went on outings with my brother and dad, usually to the movies or something. However, as the years went on, I found them making fun of me more and more. They always said they were just teasing me, or as my rather surly brother put it, “We’re trying to make your skin thicker”- so I wouldn’t be as affected by teasing. This might have been a good plan, had my brother not been the person I looked up to. This kept me from being confident for a long time.

Just a couple of years ago, my dad suddenly came up and hugged me, asking if he had been mean to me in the past. I said yes, and he quickly apologized for all of it; and just recently my brother has made a turnaround from being surly and criticizing, to being more accepting.

However, the damage had already been done; my confidence was all but shattered. I couldn’t do anything  new or adventurous for a long time, in many ways I still can’t. Now, just recently I had even considered suicide several times, feeling that I have no direction or goal or purpose. I even had a job where I could interact with other people my age and have fun with them… It took me four weeks to even work up the courage to have fun with them.

Luckily, I stumbled across a self-help book by well-known nerd Chris Hardwick, and slowly I’m rebuilding my confidence. I’ve had a bit of a relapse lately (not getting hired sucks), but after hearing this song, I’ve just made another big step in accepting who I am, imperfections and all.

— Nathan

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