My parents are moving, so all of the things that have been collected over the years (and there are many, many things) are being torn from their hiding places and considered for sale/giving/abandonment. Yesterday, mum asked me to go through the piles of old school stuff they have for us, so I sat down and started reading through old report cards (I can't just look and say "Ok, don't need a report card from grade three" I have to read the whole report card first, then it can go to recycling.) In a lot of elementary school, and most of highschool, I was a notoriously bad listener. I honestly didn't care for the subjects being taught, so I thought about things that interested me. Which, as a kid, was "Fantasy Land" a place my friends and I had made up (I say this nonchalantly, but it was a big deal back then), and in Highschool was Angel and Ophie letters between missingiris and I. So as I was reading report cards, I was kind of laughing "Doesn't pay sufficient attention in class." "Homework impeeded by out-of-school activities." Yeah, sounds like me, and I'm still getting As in English, SS, Art and Drama...it's just Math and Science I suck at. At the same time I was looking at old pictures and thinking "Why did I think I was so fat and ugly? I wasn't fat and ugly!"
Then I came across my grade nine report card, and went through the comments section from my teachers, I found out two things:
1. In grad 9, I got an A in gym class at 91%
2. My P.E. teacher wrote on my report card that my body impeded my participation in class.
From her comment, it sounded like I was failing, but clearly this was not the case. The truth is, when I was younger and no one had told me to be ashamed of my body, I used to be a runner. I competed in (and my team came second in one year) the cross-district tri-k. I loved to run, it was nice, it felt good, got me places. I actually played on my school's basketball team as well. And then I hit the beginning of puberty and at the same time as I started to grow breasts, someone told me for the first time that I was fat and ugly. And running died, and sports died, and I started to do the only thing I knew how to do to cope with being so hideous and awful, which was slowly withdrawing into myself.
I realize now that I really saw my body as paradoxically distorted as my gym teacher did. On one hand, it was clearly not impeding me in doing things I loved (including getting fresh air and exercise!) but because it was fat, I believed that it was inherently wrong and hurting me. So even though there was evidence there that I was doing well, not really that hated at all, not horribly disgusting, I still saw only what people had always told me was the problem: being fat.
I really want to go back and shake myself until I come to my senses- my behavior these days is still dysfunctional, but I'm trying to figure that out with some help. I just wish I had learned sooner that what I was feeling about myself was NOT the truth.