The fact that I’ve always found it easy to hate myself is something that has always disappointed me. It seems like it’s against instinct. Surgeons always talk about how we have two instincts: fight or flight. Life or death…
So why, when it comes to self-esteem, can we never choose ourselves?
One usually regrets their decisions standing over a toilet…waiting for, well, you know. For me, the toilet was my diary…my sanctuary…my way out.
I grew up with great parents – but preparing me for high school was the only area where they really failed.
I had a hard time in elementary school – being Asian is a hard rap. But I found that twinkies (ironic, I know), McDonald’s and sweets were always there for me. I used to make funfetti cookie pops and go through an entire tub of Betty Crocker’s Rainbow Chip Icing at least once a week. Needless to say, by the time I entered high school, I was 5’2″ and two hundred pounds.
I went to an all girls Catholic high school on the North Shore of Long Island because my mother thought I would do well without the distraction of boys. And to tell you the truth, I was really excited. My mom told me that there would be other Asian girls there and it would be a fresh start to make some new friends…yeah, I know.
My mom had also bought me a new backpack – except that it wasn’t a backpack…it was a Kipling suitcase on wheels for all my textbooks. “Lauren, I got you this one this way you won’t have to keep running to your locker for your books and it has compartments for all your stuff.”
I’ll be honest – I fucking loved that bag. It was awesome. I was like hell yeah, going to put all my stuff in there and wheel around the hallways. Don’t judge me.
That first morning, I practically ran to the bus stop after putting my uniform on…wooly sweater, white polo, and skirt that I wasn’t aware I was supposed to roll up (that would soon change after my altercation with Christina Finelli, but we’ll get to that).
I saw bus #73 come around the corner and nearly pissed myself I was so excited…I ran onto the bus and I felt life slowly draining from my body only to be replaced by fear…
All I saw was a sea of blonde ponytails, Jansports and girls with CD players and I suddenly felt like a Lord of the Rings extra. I was short…fat…Asian…and had a fucking wheely bag. I was fucked.
…so fucking fucked.
My first day of high school was probably as bad as it gets. I sat in the back of the bus because I didn’t want to sit next to a stranger. I didn’t know there was a hierarchy to bus seating arrangements.
It was an hour bus ride from my house to the school and, like everyone else, I fell asleep. To teach me a lesson, the seniors put all their pieces of gum together and put it in my hair.
I was making my way to the locker room when I noticed I seemed to be the center of attention. Not the good kind of attention though – that Am I missing something? kind of attention.
I ran to the bathroom to see a huge multi-colored ball the size of a jawbreaker clinging to the right side of my hair. I tried to wash it out but it had already solidified and the parts that were still malleable were spreading.
I bolted from the bathroom up to the third floor where the nurse was located. She also attempted to wash it out but said the only way we were getting rid of it was a pair of scissors. I begged her not to cut my hair – I had finally gotten it down to my waist and prom was two years away.
She cut off a huge chunk of hair on the right side of my head so that it was now only up to my ear – about six inches. She told me she didn’t want to cut my hair evenly across off since a hair salon might be able to salvage it. However, she told me I couldn’t stay in her office all day and that I had to go back to class.
I walked into my first class and sat in the only seat available – the very front row. I could hear the girls snickering behind me. Several girls postulated that the reason I was late was because I got so easily winded going up the stairs.
It was no wonder that I decided to eat lunch in the locker room – I had already called too much attention to myself anyway.
The seniors from my bus had heard what happened to my hair and found me to apologize. They seemed genuinely sincere – telling me they never thought it would go that far and they would all chip in for my haircut. They opened their arms to me for a group hug and I, being the gullible ass that I am, went in.
They screamed, “Sugar shock! Sugar shock!” as they poured cold soda all over me.
It was shortly after this incident that I retreated to food more and more. By the time my freshman year had ended, I was two hundred and fifty pounds.