Too many hours were spent in tears, and this was before I was supposed to know pain. Too many hours were spent in distress, during the time where I should have been only playing and laughing. Because I never felt right at such a young age, the uncertainty followed me, and I was cursed with self-doubt for years to come.
I wish I’d known that I wasn’t fat. I was bigger than the other girls in my grade. I was about four feet ten and one hundred and fifty pounds when I was nine. When I look back at old pictures of me, I didn’t even look that bad. I had a moderate case of the childhood chubbies in only my worst photos. I couldn’t comprehend that I was a healthy weight for my size. I’m now about ten to fifteen pounds lighter than the weight I mentioned above, and I’m really proud of myself for losing, but I finally see that I was fine before and I should have been proud from the beginning.
I wish I’d known that I’d get a boyfriend. All of my friends had boyfriends, usually a new one every day. None of the boys liked me in my school (probably because I was bigger than them, too). These two circumstance put together made me cry myself to sleep at night with the fear that I would die alone. In seventh grade, when I started having access to social media, I started “dating” any boy that looked cute on Instagram. I gave up on boys when I became a freshman, and coincidentally, I found my boyfriend right around the same time. If I hadn’t been so worried about boys when I was younger, I could have focused on more important things, like dancing. And reading. The right one came along, just like mom always said.
I wish I’d known that school wasn’t a big deal. I had test anxiety starting in sixth grade. Every single paper I wrote on had to be perfect. If I didn’t get an A, I immediately became worried that colleges wouldn’t accept me. That’s right, I was worried about COLLEGE at eleven years old. Now I’m in high school, and I’m exhausted and burnt-out already because school stopped being fun way before it was supposed to. I don’t worry much about my grades now, and I’m still a student with a 4.o GPA. For that reason, I wish I wouldn’t have made school drool back when all I had to do was color pictures and make powerpoints.
I had my childhood ripped from me. The world is expecting everyone to grow up with such haste that kids feel like they can’t be kids. I started to feel insecure at seven years old because of my premature exposure to the world of teenagers on YouTube. This was back in 2007 when the internet wasn’t as widely used as now. That means that kids are probably being exposed to a lot more now than I was. The best thing someone can do to protect their child from the insecurity I’ve struggled with is not sheltering. Rather, it’s imbuing the child with a high sense of self-worth so they feel happy with who they are.