Ok, so I’ve been 5’9” since 5th grade, no joke and skinny as a bean pole (I know, I know). I was just thinking, because I was asked to speak to a group of high school kids about body image and bullying and I was thinking about how all the factors in my childhood (most espcially getting picked on) have led me to this crazy, beautiful place where I am today.
By second grade, I towered over all the boys. By fourth grade, kids were calling me and my friends “Jolly Green Giants” and “Mopstick and Broomstick” and ‘Beanpole” by fifth grade I was a “Freakazon” (clever, right?). Middle school was weird, because middle school is weird. I got made fun of for not being “black enough,” for being too skinny, for having good grades, for being born with legs too long to meet the hems of my jeans. I got picked on for my hair, my skin, my voice. People made fun of me because I liked to read and I was into “weird music,” (I got suspended from school because I had the Surfer Rosa album cover in my Trapper Keeper). I got made fun of for living in the country (yeah, I know, that’s dumb, but I got called “farm girl” and “cow girl” even though I’ve never actually lived on a working farm).
When I turned 13, I got scouted by a talent manager and I went into development to become a fashion model. What I had come to think of as awkward, undesirable things about myself quickly became the most useful assets I could have imagined. Tall and skinny? Teach her to walk the catwalk! Teach her to pose! Put her in front of the camera. In all, I’m glad everything happened to me because it inspired me to work hard to become something I can be proud of, regardless of what other people are saying.
Out of morbid curiousity, what kinds of mean shit did kids do to you growing up? Do you think it made you better?