Trigger Warning: mental & emotional trauma, self-hate & self harm.
The name I was given as a baby, now 19 years old, is Jacqueline Rae. A beautiful name given to an accident, as my family used to say. My baby fat that my parents hoped would blend in as I grew in height turned into a higher number on the scale. When everyone realized I would live my life as a “fat slob”, that’s when the mental torture began.
Every meal my father would watch me eat, counting the bites I ate before I swallowed, making sure I wasn’t eating too fast. If I ever went for seconds I would get a cold “No, you’re fat enough. You should be ashamed.” They would always say much nastier things, but I don’t want to share the grief I’ve had to live with for over ten years. After all the insults and judgments,I would then just stay in my bedroom, alone. I wasn’t invited to family outings because I disgraced the family name.
I couldn’t blame them, I was nothing like them. They were all sport stars and the typical beautiful family.. and then there was me, watching silently and figuring out how to make them proud. I spent the majority of my childhood and middle-school years alone, living through the vivid world inside my head. I was relentlessly harassed and bullied all through school to the point we moved towns. The move was stressful and I gained weight from all the pressure put on my shoulders through the whole move. When I entered that public school, times weren’t as hard, but still pretty difficult.
I flourished like a spring flower in high school, I found people who loved me. During my sophomore year I started asking myself “What if my parents are wrong? What if I’m still beautiful even though I weigh more than others?” I dared not to bring the topic up to anyone, I feared rejection.
Due to more relentless harassment I entered my darkest chapter to my life, my self-harm and self-hate stage. I hated myself, wanted to cut off every pound of excess weight. Wanted so badly to fit in and be accepted. Cutting would be just too easy of a relief for me and I began burning my feet, mainly the bottom of my feet. I would still cut, unfortunately. Sometimes I made them obvious, sometimes I hid them. No one in the school brought it up, or made anything of it. No body cared that I would be limping and whimpering in pain, motivation to keep it going. I knew what I was risking, infection, disease, scars, intense pain, and of course, the risk of being caught. I tried killing myself four times, but something always stopped me. I was too emotionally overwhelmed to see the signs. Now, looking back, I understand that I’m meant for big things and that I’m going to change a lot of people’s lives someday soon. I regret this chapter in my life, and regret is a feeling I almost never have but it was an important chapter, one that helped me reach my ultimate realization. After some time, I knew it was time for a change.
My change came when I left home in New Jersey for college in Maine. I found my true friends, seeing as at home all my old “friends” I had from high school abandoned me. I found a place where I can plant my roots and begin my life. I finally began to see that life should always be seen as beautiful, no matter what eyes are looking at it. I realized I was gorgeous, and all the hate and disgust and self inflicted pain made me fall in love with myself and force myself to become mentally healthy and happy.
Dear god, who ever doesn’t love them self and the body that they host, please find me. Let me love you and see the beauty within you. Each body is too precious to harm, to hate or to leave behind. Cherish every second because you never know when you’re life will turn around. You have no idea how many times something unique and beautiful happens to me and I think to myself “Thank god I didn’t kill myself..” I would have missed out on all the little things that make my soul smile, all the hugs, the smiles, the laughter, the road trips, the life lessons learned, the new cooked recipes. I’m happy I stayed because I deserve this life, as does every one on this planet.
To this day, my family still has issues with my body but because I’ve learned to stand my ground and force my self-love on them, they at least keep it to themselves; but they are trying very hard to work on it. Life has gotten a lot better and my days are much sunnier. My scars have faded and my thoughts have become pure. I’ve even found a boy who loves me, dark past and all. I now live in Maine with four friends and my parrot named Lola and a fish named Gerty. We have the strongest bond I’ve ever experienced and they love me for exactly who and what I am. Their love for me just boosts my now-high confidence.
BE BRAVE! JOIN THE BODY PEACE REVOLUTION!