When I was 13 years old I was insecure about how I looked. I was tall for my age, and I had a strange hormonal imbalance at the time that caused my under-arms to sweat profusely. Because I was already insecure about my body, I decided that wearing a thick, heavy jacket year round would serve both the purpose of hiding my perceived physical imperfections, as well as my sweat problem. The jacket didn’t solve my problems though. I was teased for never taking off my jacket, even in classes like p.e., and it made me miserable. I would cry every day before school begging my mother not to make me go. I would purposefully sit closer to classmates who sniffled and sneezed with colds, in hopes of catching their sickness myself and thereby getting to stay home, if only for a few days.
Soon the insecurity spead like wildfire and I eventually began wearing my hair up in a tight, unflattering pony- tail everyday along with my thick, heavy jacket. I refused to take my hair down, even at home. I felt ugly and unloveable. I avoided mirrors and any reflective surfaces at all costs. And while my friends were getting boyfriends, and growing breasts, and wearing makeup and shopping in the women’s section of stores, rather than the girl’s, I felt completely and utterally alone. i spent most of my nights crying and praying for a miracle… And if a miracle wasn’t possible, I prayed for death.
I recall one instance where I realized how cruel kids can be. one day I went into the girls bathroom, and forced myself to look into a mirror to fix my mangled and greasy hair. I had been yanking and pulling at my hair for a little while, trying to tame it, when a pretty girl walked into the bathroom. She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, and batted her eyes at herself in the mirror in self-admiration. Then she turned to me, looked me over, watching me struggle with my stringy, flat hair for a moment, and said with a cruel smirk: “don’t even try, it will look ugly no matter what.”
I soaked my pillow with tears from the moment I got home tithe next day, when I had to pour myself out of bed, rub my red, raw eyes and head off to another day in hell.