Monday, June 21, 2010


(Another post from a book I am reading for the project...)

There is a fat kid who is laughed at solely because he is fat.  Every day he is made fun of, and every day he goes home crying.  He is fat.  He admits it.  He tries to lose weight, but nothing works.  He has zits and shaggy hair.  Kids call him lard face, doughboy, and fatso.  He acts like it doesn't hurt him at all.  He walks by, eyes down, mouth closed, never turning, never responding to any of the taunts.  On the outside, it looks like he doesn't care, but on the inside his stomach knots and his throat catches.  Every time he is called a new name it slices like a paper cut.  But he's become quite good at suppressing his emotions.

When this kid goes home to his trailer park house, he goes right to his computer, the gateway to his santuary, where he doesn't get ridiculed because of his physical appearance.  If you were on the outside, looking in, you might think this kid is kind of weird - antisocial even.  But he's really just a regular kid, who wants some friends, or just a friend, who might pick him for a team just once, or not groan and roll his eyes when he's assigned the seat next to him, or might ask him to his house to skateboard or play computer games...or might just call me by my real name for once."

- Owen A.

This piece really hits home.  I've bolded some phrases that resonate with me.  Can you relate to any of these?  What is harder too is when I see my students who suffer from lower self-esteem because of body image issues.  I want to be as uplifting to them as possible.

1 comment:

ChiTown Girl said...

This made me sad to read. Although I've been overweight my entire life, I was lucky enough to grow up and go to school with some pretty wonderful kids. I don't ever remember being teased or ridiculed by anyone as a kid. Actually, the only thing I really remember being teased about (although I didn't figure out until I was an adult that it WAS teasing!) is my olive skin. We grew up in a neighborhood that was almost ALL Irish Catholics, and we were the only Italians around. In the summer, we were TAN! There were some teenaged boys that lived at the opposite end of the block, and one of them used to call me Brownie. Now, I was only about 6, so I of course thought he was talking about the dessert. I used to call him Cupcake in response! When I look back on it now, I just laugh!

Reading this made me think of my son, though, and the fear that I've always had that he would be THIS boy. Luckily, he also had some great friends. However, when he was in first grade, there was a particularly vile little girl in his class who we found out was teasing him and calling him fat. We only found out because he stopped eating lunch at school, and didn't eat much at dinner at home. In a matter of a few weeks, he lost about 10 pounds, which is HUGE for a 7 year old! I still remember how I felt like I was socked in the gut when we put all the pieces together, Ugh, it's making me tear up right now just writing about it.