I’ve always been fairly chubby. I have also always been athletic, swimming every day for a few hours intensely as a child, competitively Irish danced, and played soccer at different intervals in my life. But I have the puffy face syndrome. When I smile my cheeks look like a chipmunk and my freckles protrude immensely.
The puffy face syndrome comes from eating and DNA. I love food. It’s a problem, I know. I eat salads and fruits probably more than the skinny boned girls, but I also retain weight and it’s hard to lose. That problem came from my mother. I can’t remember a time when my mother wasn’t internally cringing when I was eating. I know she doesn’t want to “see me end up looking like her,” but hey it’s in the genes!
My father was worst when it came down to body image. I will never really know if he realized how damaging his words were. And they came straight from media jargon (my dad loves comedies and the awesome fat jokes that come along with it). My father enjoys calling people fat and ugly. He regularly enjoys cat-calling in the car, but not for reasons you think. He LOVES pointing out the “chubs”. He calls my neighbors down the street the fat twins. The lady who is cutting him off in the car (he’s a very aggressive driver) is the fatty. And the best is the conversation he had with my then 12 year old sister about a “WOAH that women is ugly” and how she was to never date someone who is fat and ugly. She promised. Which is why she is gong to marry a One Directioner.
Edit: WOAH this way way longer than I intended, but I wanted to say all of this. Adding a cut.
He also pressured me quite often about my weight. I remember being at a dance competition, getting my dress zipped up and having my father whisper in my ear loudly, “we going to work on losing some weight?” He embarrassed me so greatly I felt like crying during my entire time on stage, which had been an important competition that I ended up losing. Later that same day he asked my sister what “we were going to do about Erin’s weight.” This was even more embarrassing to me because it was my sister, my friend and confidant. All I could think after he said those things to me and my sister is, so you see me the same way? Can you not even associate with me because of my weight? Do you judge me based on my physical assets rather than intelligence?
My question should have been, why do I need to lose weight? Because you don’t see me as perfect? Why does it even matter? But my problem was that I believed the fat thing to be part of my identity instead of something on the outside that didn’t make me who I was. Looking back, my “puffy faced moments” helped me to figure out that your looks or figure don’t define you, and that makes all the difference in the world. Angelina Jolie, Megan Fox, Halle Berry, they’re different people, with different personalities and different lives. They’re beautiful in their own ways, but so am I. Looking like them isn’t going to change anything for me. I’ll still be the same person, I won’t be a celebrity and have immediate wealth. So why would I want to look like them? Why does the media want me to look like them? WHO CARES? I’ll still be hanging out with my friends on Saturday night.
I may still look in the mirror and see the puffy face, but I embrace it! It’s the reason I get carded at rated R movies when I am on the verge of being 21 years old. So when everyone is thirty, I am probably going to still get carded. And when your 40 I will pass for 35. Because I have beautiful skin and adorable chubby cheeks. And guess what, I will LOVE IT.