Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Reflection Staring Out

Chelsea posts a selfie on Instagram.

Caption: "Feeling pretty today."



Jenny Jennerson posts a selfie on Instagram.

Caption: "Sick in bed today. I'm hideous."


17 comments, 16 of which tell Jenny how beautiful she is, 1 hoping she'd feel better.

This has been my entire existence up until this point. 21 years of only 8 likes whereas those around me seem to be flocked with admiration.

Are you ready for story time?

Growing up, I was the fat kid. Of course, the fat kid never realizes she's the fat kid until someone points it out to her. In the first grade, some kid pulled my seat out from under me at the computer desk. I fell on my butt and he and my class laughed. He called me a beached whale. Kids can be so cruel.

My weight did not decrease as life went on. In seventh grade I changed over from sweat pants ("only fat kids wear sweat pants") to jeans. I thought it was average that I was a size 15 at age 11. In the 7th grade, on a day that I looked especially pretty, trying to impress the boy that I had my eye on, I got nervous and ate all the food I could in the cafeteria. Halfway through the class I sat next to him, I threw up french fries all over the floor and my clothes.

Later that same year, 7th grade, in an effort to keep with government regulated Physical Education, they weighed every girl in the class. At age 12, I weighed in at 179 pounds and a height of five foot, one inch. I ran the slowest mile in the class, clocking in at 15:39, every step aching my legs. Misery found me. The only days I felt better were the days that I was picked up from school by my dad, with a soda and a boxed cherry pie.

Halfway through the summer after that year, I realized I needed to make a change. I cut out soda. I cut out the pies. I cut and cut and cut. I took my dogs for walks.

I returned to school in 8th grade at 160 pounds. But still that year I was not considered pretty enough to be a lead in the school play. I was Pageboy 3. By the time 9th grade rolled around, I was 145 pounds. Things were looking up, I felt healthier. I got two lead roles that year.

In 10th grade, after suffering a year of depression, I was 125 pounds and my mile was 10:54. But despite all this growth, I was still not pretty enough for the guy that I liked to even pay attention to me. No one told me I was pretty. I was Pageboy 2 this time. Misery again.

The end of my senior year found me at 113 pounds. Five foot, one and 113 pounds and a 9:13 minute mile. No one to love me, still. And no one who admired by beauty.

I remember the first time in my life that I ever felt pretty. It was Senior prom. I arrived in my A-line, black and white ball gown, with my hair up high in a $50 hair style. You could see my shoulder blades and my arms didn't jiggle when I walked. I walked into prom and walked around the second floor with my friends, only to have every eye on me. Five people told me I looked beautiful, and just stared at me with awe.

As if they couldn't believe that ugly little Chelsea could actually look like a beautiful woman.

For the first time in my life, I felt pretty.

That feeling is rare in me.

All throughout my first two years of college, I felt anything but pretty. My weight escalated again, eventually finding me at 135 pounds at the beginning of my Junior year. I had decided by this point that beauty was more than skin deep, something I still wholeheartedly believe.

I am beautiful. Even if I'm not always pretty.

At the end of my Junior year, that's when I felt pretty again. It was a more than average day, a wonderful day. At one point, a selfie was taken of me and the person I was with at the pier at the beach. And when I saw that picture, I was blown away by how pretty I looked in it. How pretty I felt. It's amazing how the people you're with can make you feel as if you're the most beautiful girl in the world.

Since then, the feeling was fleeting from now and then. And then a few days ago, having lost some 25 pounds in the last few months, something happened. I went to work, wearing a new eyeliner and put a smile on my face. The first person I saw just looked at me and said "Wow, you look really nice today." I'm brushed them off as if they were making fun of me, something I'm afraid happens more than not. But, here's the weird part: Every single person I worked with that day called me really pretty. Some tried to figure out what was different about me. And the answer was nothing. I am still me.

But I felt pretty. My ego boosted.

And this happened again the next day. And the day after. For three days in a row, every single person that I work with has called me pretty. And I don't know how to take it.

What has changed with me?

I'm the same old Chelsea.

But for some reason the reflection that I've always seen in the mirror seems to be reflecting outwards. More than pretty, lately I feel beautiful.

I still only have 8 likes, but sometimes life is about more than just likes.

it's about self-worth.

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