I have a terrible memory, in that I remember random bits of information rather than specific events and stories. I have a friend that tells funny stories from school and childhood. I don’t seem to have that sort of memory. But that’s not the point of this post, lol.
Drudging through my memory, I came across a snippet I had misplaced. It’s a curious one, that seems to play a role in my current situation. When I was very small, maybe 4 or 5, I had a children’s workout video. This was 1989-1990, workout videos were popular. Mine was all children, in their tights and leotards and leg warmers. My dad was an early riser, and I didn’t sleep much, so I was up with him. I would get up every morning and do my little workout video, maybe thirty minutes of easy cardio. This routine seems unusual, given my age.
However, this was also the time when I was refusing to eat meat, but chewing and sucking the juice out and spitting out the meat. I also said salad was my favourite food, and never ate junk food like cookies or candy bars, I would nibble but never finish. I was a very skinny 5 year old. My parents sent me to a Catholic school in Savannah. My uniform was custom made because the uniform company didn’t have anything that small.
It wasn’t until third grade that I began to feel self-conscious. I realised I didn’t wear the same cute matching sweatsuits (#GrowingUp90s) the other girls wore because I was chubby. I didn’t know what to do about it but I knew I hated how I looked. I loved mayonnaise and jelly sandwiches at this time in my life. I have always struggled to make friends, especially as an only child, and we moved frequently during this time. Consequently, I was a loner. I had no one to talk to or share with. I have always retreated inward.
At some point I began cutting food from my diet. Things I no longer cared for, despite previously enjoying those foods. In middle school, 6th grade age 12, I decided to go vegetarian. My family supported me and bought me several cookbooks. I recognised that I was part of the chubby girls group. My friends were chubby and awkward, we clicked. But I wanted to be a cheerleader, more than anything in the world. My life had been 100% ballet and that was no longer happening (I’ll make another post about this). I wanted to stop eating meat for the animals, but I have always used the excuse, I never liked it much as a kid.
I was bullied at this time, and dismissed by my peers and teachers. I was routinely called another name, we looked alike–fat and blonde. My attempts at changing myself began in middle school. I changed my hair colour and updated my wardrobe. I was still ignored by everyone around me. It was as if I didn’t exist.
Somehow that first memory, of a small child routinely working out, plays into WHY I am this way.