I was fat and they were thin. Life is very black and white when you are seven. I cannot remember a time when I felt that I really did fit in. When I was considered one of the gang. When my family looked at me and didn’t see someone who looked different.
I always knew I was adopted. It was just part of who I was and in that respect it didn’t mean much to me. It was just one thing I carried around, like long blonde hair, blue eyes and freckles. But I didn’t look like my cousins, or my mother and father, and I knew this fact from the moment I was included in family happy snaps. They were all stick thin. They all had pointy noses, which they used to look down on me because I was fat.
At family gatherings everything I put in my mouth was scrutinized. Every morsel was commented upon.
“You will be the size of a barn door if you carry on like that.”
“Don’t give her cake, she doesn’t need it.”
I grew a thick skin to cover my fat. I always thought of myself as fat. I always stood in the back of the picture, knowing I was the fat one.
I began to hate my family. It was easy to dislike my cousins, because I didn’t see them all that often as I grew up. My whole life was featured around what I did and didn’t put in my mouth. Food became something I craved. I would sneak out and sit in the apricot tree gorging myself, or eating pomegranates before tea. I became adept at scoffing food and leaving no trace. My family remained thin as I grew. I longed for the day I could move out and eat what I wanted and never feel guilty, but I was only seven.
I didn’t cuddle up to my mother because she was all pointy bones and she felt uncomfortable. My grandmother wasn’t much better. I would study my body and only liked my elbows because they were bony.
Then one day, I was enrolled in Brownies, the precursor to Girl Guides, and my life changed. I wasn’t fat after all. In fact, I was just right, and my family members were thin; not just thin, but skinny. I heard people say they were painfully thin, gaunt, just skin and bones, and it felt good. I began to like myself. Every soft, squishy bit. It was nice to be different. And still is.
-By Kerry Ashwin
PO Box 1382