This story is fiction, and is meant to bring awareness. This story is copy right 2012, please be respectful of that. Enjoy!
A TIP OF THE SCALE
Let me introduce you to the girl in high school who routinely wears spanks: me. Being that girl, I can tell you that there are always two times of the year that are utterly depressing: Valentine’s Day and P.E weigh-in day. Today is the later, and by the sound of lockers slamming and heightening of voices, it sounds like the measuring devices are being brought into the cement changing room. The only light in this god-forsaken room is a solitary window with bars spray-painted sardonically onto the glass. And I am trapped, standing directly in the shadow jail. And, it looks like my only visitor while in the pen is Dr. Yang: weigh-in time.
You know, it’s not fair. I am the heaviest girl in my grade, so they always weigh me in last. The other, pretty girls are weighed in first. And, the girls in between are neither here nor there. My neighbor is always close to the beginning of the line to be weighed. She is this blonde vision that could put anyone to shame. When we are all in the shower room, I secretly admire her body. She has a long, thin torso with these tight muscles and perfect, lifted breasts. And, she walks around the room in panties and a bra, laughing with all the girls and complaining that her thighs are “just too big!” If her thighs are too big, what does that make mine? Just too monstrous?
Judy Collins, a girl in my fourth period English class, is close to emaciation, and yet, for a New Year’s resolution assignment, she wrote an entire paper about going to the gym, dieting, losing weight. She is third in line. Even Kelly Tran, first in line always, with the best body I have ever seen outside a magazine, pinches at her invisible fat in the mirror. Where do these girls get off critiquing bodies that are clearly damn well made?
I’ve always been on the heavy side, which is unfortunate because I’m tall too. This makes me the ideal jolly giant, and the less desirable prom date. What can I say? Realizing the truth is the first step towards a cure— and losing a couple pounds. Just to let reality sink in, I stand in front of the mirror and count the rolls of fat sometimes. My legs are wide too, my kankles bearing the full weight. Imagine walking in my shoes! You couldn’t, the clunkers would slip clean off your feet. I carry this weight everyday. And, come P.E weigh in day, the weight I bear is the heaviest.
the doctors always try to pamper me with endearing ‘love’s and ‘honey’s,
“Step below the ruler please. Five foot eight. Good, now go ahead and step on the scale, please, honey.”
I step cautiously atop the scale, wondering how humiliating it would be to break the scale. Is it tipping? Shit.
“Can I see you in my office Melody?”
The doctor looks worriedly at me. She gives me one of those pitying glances like I’m a dog with wheels for legs. I can see why…
An apple a day
keeps the doctor away,
but ten apples a day
can keep no one at bay.
“Melody, honey… Do you know what BMI is?”
I nod for confirmation. I wish they could just spare me the humiliation of the talk. I am clearly overweight. What is the point of reminding me of it? God knows I have been reminded of it enough: dateless at all three proms so far, resorting to maternity shops for clothing, sited: whale basking on beach, magazine adds featuring sticks… it’s all so endless.
“Melody, BMI is calculated by dividing your height by your weight squared, and multiplying this by 703. The normal BMI range is from 18.5 to about 24.9. Look at my body,”
She is average: thin with accents of flab on her lower arms and stomach. She looks to be about mmm… 140 pounds. She is sitting down, but I assume she is tall—her height does her weight justice.
“My BMI is in normal range at 23.4. Do you know what yours is?”
I shake my head. I can feel the weight again, as though my bones are covered in layers of thick bread dough. All I can think about is my neighbor and Judy and Kelly. They don’t have to be humiliated with numbers like 30.5 or 38.6.
“Melody, your BMI is 14.9. That 3.6 difference is quite unhealthy, Melody. We keep telling you to eat almonds and peanut butter to gain healthy weight. Your body is not made to be 98 pounds. 98 pounds is unhealthy. Have you been following the list Dr. Strath gave you? I recall it listed all the foods you should be eating to gain weight, as well as different routines to help avoid this. I want you to contact Dr. Cross as well. She sees many young women like you, and would be happy to talk. Here’s her number…”
I can fade them out when I try. The endless coddling, trying to make me feel better about my large physique. I guess it’s the nicest thing they can do. I don’t know why they put so much effort into it though. All I want is to look more like my neighbor, more like Judy, more like Kelly. Is that too much to ask for? Maybe then, weigh in day wouldn’t have to be the worst day. Maybe then, even Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be depressing.
The Woman Behind Unleashed and the Words
I am a Practice of Art Major and Creative Writing Minor at UC Berkeley. My passions are writing and the arts in general. I created Unleashed for the empowerment and enlightenment of women everywhere. I am the editor, designer and contributing writer. I truly hope this magazine speaks to each and every woman. Sasha Martin