When I was in eighth grade we were all told to line up and march over to the nurses' office and dutifully did so. Then we were assembled for a surprise weigh-in. Each kid came and went and I sweat more profusely as I got closer to the front of the line. I was a big fat target and the teachers turned a blind eye on such a regular basis they could moonlight as football referees.
My turn came and with it was stomach churning dread. But the nurse had a special treat for me. As I left her office totally humiliated, she stepped out into the hall and announced with a triumphant smirk, my weight to all of my remaining classmates. The following day, in science class, one particular comedian christened me with a nickname that would last all through high-school, Jupiter. In case you don't know it, it's the largest planet in our solar system. The teacher, a veteran of eating disorders herself (unfortunately for me at the other extreme of the scale) thought that was JUST CHARMING.
Life was hell for many years. High school was not The Best Years of My Life or my Glory Days. I can actually relate to bullied kids hanging themselves or lashing out in horrific news-worthy tragedies. I can't excuse or condone it, but I do sadly relate.
But along the way, something happened and a lot had to do with the fact that while both of my parents were insecure and communicated with each other exclusively via screaming, they were both fat and other than a few strange discussions with my dad (mostly projecting his own poor self-image), home was a very safe place. We were all fat so it was a non-issue. I didn't have to be afraid to speak up (and I did often, to their dismay) I could look in the mirror and think, 'ya know, I don't care what anyone thinks-I AM beautiful,' and picked up a 'fuck you' attitude pretty early on. I developed what my dad calls a 'hot mouth'.
Until episodes like that in school and being approached in public by strangers, I didn't even know I was fat, and if someone mentioned it, I never knew it was a VERY BAD THING. Boy was I surprised! But the tables did indeed turn when I exercised that hot mouth. I had power and woe to the fool who crossed me.
Not only that I was blossoming into a serious beauty and all those mongrels who spewed spitballs at me were suddenly secretly liking me. They began to call me 'Joops' almost as an endearment. I had an inkling about the tide turning in school and it was later confirmed by confessions on Facebook by former classmates looking me up and apologizing. I'm mostly over all of it except when there's talk of a reunion or a past offender emails me and brings it all up again. Then I'm 15 again and being following by a clown screaming 'fat' in my ear and throwing my books to the ground. Now I'm writing books. Tables turned? Naaah...I don't want to be angry anymore. I consciously choose not to stew and wallow in rage, but it doesn't hurt to use those memories for good (and profit).
Now that I'm older and wiser, I've long grown to love my beautiful body. It's all mine. I love my jiggles, curves and roles. My chubby cheeks (both sets) boobs and thighs. I love fat on others and will readily admit I favor the fat kid. I hang out with people who love their bodies no matter the size and respect others and not judge them based on their shape or weight.
They have their struggles like everyone else but they strive to be true to themselves, to not be so hard on themselves, to forgive themselves and forgive others and to love. I've come to believe through them that people who judge others harshly are truly judging themselves and that knowledge alone can be a big step in healing, self-acceptance and self-love. And when you can love yourself, you're capable of freely and fully loving others. Those are the people I like to associate with.
And, I've come to love that planet Jupiter too. I think it and its beautifully named moons are the most spectacular bodies in our solar system, not unlike..... mine.