This is My Story; What’s YOURS?

Childhood – The Earliest Seeds

As an overweight kid, I could never escape the clutches of the Trim and Fit Club! Everyday, I had to report to a designated area in the canteen (in full view of other kids) where I spent recess with other overweight children like myself and the teachers would monitor whatever we ate. 

I was miserable because it was bad enough that I could never spend recess with my friends but on top of that, I had to spend recess with other overweight children in full view of the entire school!!! Even now, I remember crawling towards the Trim and Fit area ashamed, embarassed and feeling extremely small. After reporting to the teacher, I slunked in a corner hoping against hope to escape from notice.

Did this experience leave an indelible mark on my self esteem? Maybe; maybe not. But what I do know is that from a young age, I was different – because of my weight.

This went on for many years but the year I hit twelve years of age, enough was enough. The crash dieting began. Only one meal a day and I started running at a feverish intensity – once in the morning and once at night. Within months, I lost 11kg. Teachers began to worry and my parents were called in. But nothing could stop me. I was determined to do anything to be normal.

Over time, I eventually fell out of the Trim and Fit Club because I was not only no longer overweight but I was UNDERweight. And yes, I got my wish of finally being able to spend recess as a normal kid but it was never the same again. In my heart, I was an ugly duckling who had clamoured its way into the world of the normal. Although many boys started showering me with attention and I was nicknamed the belle of the school, deep inside, I would always be nothing more than an ugly duckling playing swan.

Rejection (s)

Of course other events continued to punctuate my growing up years but if I were to expound on all, it’d be a thesis!!! 🙂 Through it all, though, my self esteem remained extremely low. In secondary school (junior high school), I was actually a candidate for prom queen (surprise!!!) and I was doing well both academically and socially. But sadly, my self esteem never improved.

The huge blow came when I moved into junior college (senior high school) and started falling for this guy we shall name J. He was a very good friend and the feelings grew as we became closer friends over time. By this time, I had gained some of my original weight and was no longer the slim and beautiful prom queen candidate in secondary school. Instead, I was hoping to be loved and accepted for who I was. Fully aware that I was the girl-next-door kind of girl guys enjoyed having as a friend but rarely fell for, I knew better than to betray my feelings for J. Nonetheless, as a streetwise young man, he knew.

One day, I was returning to the classroom after visiting the restroom and only J and his friends were in the classroom at that time. None of them had any idea that I was there and as many normal growing up guys enjoyed doing, they were discussing girls. 

“J, I see you’re quite close to Mariko huh?? Any chance or not?? That you both will be together?”, J’s friend teased. 

Mariko? Oh please. I would never fall for her. She’s not even pretty and what’s more, she doesn’t play sports – So boring. She’s too fat for me too. I like slim girls with big eyes and long hair.” 

Thereafter, I stopped hanging out with J and his friends and I never spoke to any of them ever again. Did they ever find out that I had overheard their conversation? I will never know. But from that day onwards, the crash dieting and self mutilation began again. And till today, J’s words remain deeply ingrained in my heart.

Craving for love and acceptance, when I was slim again after several months of crash dieting, I started dating around and eventually landed myself in my first relationship. It was self affirming at first but the relationship winded to an end amidst violence and cheating after 4.5 years.

Today, I stand alone struggling with a staggering self esteem and a deeply wounded heart that has probably never healed completely ever since that day when I had overheard J’s comments to his friends.

The one important lesson I’ve learnt is : That we should never pin our self esteem and self worth on anybody other than ourselves. Because one day, that very person will disappoint us and we’ll only end up with more pain and an even more damaged self esteem.

Yes, this is my story – unabridged and painfully honest. What’s yours?

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18 Responses to “This is My Story; What’s YOURS?”

  1. Belle Says:

    Hey Mariko, never give up! I’ll stand behind you… Even though we all know that 1st impression marks the kick off of a friendship and may eventually landed into a intimate relationship, but we both also know that a lasting relationship is build with heart and not looks…as looks will eventually fade away as our age comes over us…

    So, no worries…you have the heart & the look! All you need to work a little bit harder is your weight…which I am sure you will have the determination!

    So, work hard and you know I will always stand behind you!

  2. potbelliednick Says:

    Hi Mariko, thank you so much for the comment and encouragement! I feel inadequate with writing these blogs, but I do have a lot of knowledge to share, and it is only day 1, I will get more confident.
    Your story is very thorough, thank you for sharing it with everyone. It is unbelievable that your school was able to segregate you among your classmates like that. I honestly, can not relate well with that, I was always encouraged to eat all that I pleased!
    You are quite intelligent and very pretty, I am sorry that you have encountered so much judgment in your life.

    I will begin working on my story, thanks to you!
    Nick

  3. SG Says:

    Hey Mariko,

    Thanks for the comment you left on my blog!
    First of all, I must say, bravo for sharing your story. And wow – you look gorgeous! Not at all overweight in any of your pictures! Are you sure you were actually overweight or just by some skewed standards?
    When I started gaining weight, I went online to check my BMI and apparently I had been underweight before. But I suppose BMI for asians might be measured a bit differently.
    What J said was absolutely horrible. If it had been me, I’d probably have stormed in the room and kicked him in the nuts. He should be told that that kind of judgment shouldn’t be passed on you. Argh, just thinking about what he said about you makes me angry! :@

    Anyway, thanks for giving me your link and keep on blogging!

  4. notjustskindeep Says:

    Hey Belle!!!

    Thanks so much for your encouraging comment 🙂 🙂 :).

    I sure do agree with you that a successful and lasting relationship is built on heart, and not looks. And that’s certainly true especially for girls. Because girls are emotional and at the end of the day, we crave emotional intimacy.

    Nonetheless, I question if that applies to guys as much as it applies to girls, you know? We’re all created and made differently after all. And I’m sure most of us would agree that men and women are very different from each other. What I do know is that while women are more nurturing because of their roles as mothers, men were made to be more sexual and visual because that’s the only way to ensure the survival of the fittest (which usually meant the most beautiful in nature).

    I hope I don’t sound too jaded. But I honestly do want to hear your point of view on this. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Because from my own experiences, although at the end of the day, lasting relationships (even for men) are built on friendship and an emotional connection, most times, the girl still has to continue maintaining her looks to a certain extent or the man loses interest.

    So, while I agree that what you said applies to girls, my question is – does it really apply to men as well???

    Do share what you think alright??? 🙂 🙂

    *Hugs*
    Mariko

  5. notjustskindeep Says:

    Hey Nick!!!

    Hey! I’m so glad you dropped by and yessss, please do continue writing your story because you already have one avid reader here!!! 🙂 🙂 I will definitely drop by frequently to continue to encourage you and to share my views on your posts!!! That adds fun and excitement to blogging yea? When you get to hear and share views and opinions on whatever you have blogged about!!!

    As for the segregation issue, I guess Asia is a pragmatic place so the segregation was perhaps the most efficient and practical way of monitoring the obese children’s diets. They failed to think of the emotional repurcussions though and I am sure I am not the only one who was scarred by that lack of consideration.

    And if you’re saying that I’m pretty because of the photo I’ve posted in my post.. That was taken several years ago, so the avatar photo is the most updated, really. Still, thank you for your complimentssss! To be honest, it’s not easy for me to believe that now but I hope I will in time to come 🙂

    Do keep writing and dropping by Nick!
    Mariko

  6. notjustskindeep Says:

    Hey SG!!!!!

    So nice to have you drop by toooo!!! You can be sure that I’ll be dropping by your blog likewise!! 🙂

    Oh no no, I am overweight at present at 75 kg even though I am only 1.6m. That’s really quite overweight. The photo in my post was taken some years ago when I wasn’t overweight yet.. 😦 😦 In the past few years, because of a painful relationship, I turned to food for comfort and ballooned resultantly. 😦 😦 I’m paying the price now because I’m fighting hard to shed off those extra fats.. and of course there is the emotional scarring from being looked at differently because of your weight.

    If you were underweight before, then I’m really happy for you that you’re gaining some weight. Don’t be too skinny okay? It’s always good for a girl to have some weight so they’re more huggable and cuddly!!! 🙂 🙂

    As for J, you know, I don’t blame him, really. I guess he was the product of societal expectations and ideals. Don’t you think that in Asia, being overweight is deemed as a huge crime or sin? And I’m sure he’s not the only guy who would not consider an overweight girl as a girlfriend or partner.

    I don’t know if I’m cynical but to me, looks play a huge role when it comes to guys. They were built that way… and although friendship and emotional connection do matter, the looks department remains salient and their girlfriends have to be someone they’re proud to introduce to their families and friends.

    What’s your take on this, SG??? 😛 😛

    Cheers,
    Mariko

  7. amal Says:

    ouch , thats so sad, i have beend dieting all my life , im not fat , im overweight and i hide it very wel , especially when u have a thin fsce like mine , u would assume otherwise , I am about 20 pounds overweight . Its really bad what your school did , by putting you guys in a monitor , thats very bad for ones self esteem .

    what j said is a common things guys that age say , you do not need a man who is only looking for looks . i think you need 2 do some exercises on yourself , on improving your self esteem , mine has improved a lot , instead of insulting how i LOOK I focus on all the good aspects and I take care of myself , I can never let go of myself , its just me . I REALIZE I AM NOT UGLY , all those yrs I was comparing myself and telling myself I was .

    Due to your low self esteem , you attracted an idiot , work on your confidence and you will get the right attention , looks sadly does matter to an extent , but personalitys is what brings ppl together or moves ppl away from each other .

    I recommend this book by Brandon bays , called ‘the journey’ very good book, I want to get the casset for it as well , still have a lot of issues need 2 sort out . By the way your not ugly , and from what I can see you have a nice figure . 🙂

    work on losing weight cos its healthy and FOR YOURSELF , i love exercising personally , food is my problem , see why your eat , often overeating makes u fat , not what u eat . But healthy food , does wonders for your soul , how you feel and view yourself .

  8. DR Says:

    Wow

    That post was raw.

    I commend you on being able to speak about your experiences so candidly. While the past year or so has seen me become more in tune with my thoughts and feelings, I still don’t feel comfortable spilling everything. To myself or to the world.

    I have always been that typical, “shove all your emotions down,down,down” type of guy. Now I practice every day becoming more mindful & aware of my thoughts and feelings.

    I still struggle daily with my weight At my leanest, I am 225 with 7-10% bodyfat. That condition is REALLY hard to hold. By body feel ‘normal’ at 235-240 now. That’s a long way from the fat 301 lbs. I weighed at 19 yrs old.

    I look forward to your posts. I am adding your feed to my reader

  9. maeg Says:

    Whoa mar, I had no idea that sg did that. Do they still do that? If they do we should go write to the MOE ’cause it isn’t right at all!

    I have to say though that I still think your beautiful – inside AND out! Never forget that you have your friends here for you. I may be miles away, nonetheless I’m here (and there) loving you. =)

    ciao bella! baci!

  10. notjustskindeep Says:

    hey maeg!!!!!

    *hugs* thanks babe for dropping by!!! and yes, i think they still have the trim and fit club. in fact, many schools these days are fanatic about lowering the obesity rates because the obesity rate counts towards their achievement of the national fitness award!!!! but i have to agree with you that it’s not “right” in the sense that they should seriously consider the emotional impact on the kids yar?

    and thanks dear for your support, encouragement and compliment!!! the dove study got it right in a sense yar? that women need support and encouragement from their friends.. especially when their self esteem is down and they’re feeling extremely low.

    i’ll always try to be there for u best i can, pretty babe. *hugssss* luv ya!!!!!

  11. notjustskindeep Says:

    Hey DR!!!!! :)))

    I guess the reason why I am so raw in my entries is because I truly believe that that’s the only way to really speak to the hearts of my readers. I truly do hope to make a difference (no matter how small the difference may be) by sharing my own personal experiences, spreading awareness about self esteem and body image issues and posting inspirational pieces (be they songs, writing or self-help articles/tips).

    But I know what you mean about finding it uncomfortable sharing so openly on the web. Don’t you think that with the prevalence of the internet and social media such as blogging and facebook, the amount of space and privacy that people need is changing? In the sense that most people are more comfortable or at least more accustomed to less privacy and personal space now that it is widely acceptable that personal information be posted on the web??? 😛 It’s interesting, isn’t it? How technology changes us down to the way we think!!!

    I am honored DR that you’re adding by blog to your RSS feeds.. I really hope my posts will help you in your struggle in some way.. And do share your feelings thoughts and opinions whenever alright?? Always welcome.. :))

    Take care DR!!
    Mariko

  12. notjustskindeep Says:

    Amal!!! 🙂

    Thanks so much for your advice and encouragement… I have no idea what you look like but from your blog and your comments I know for sure that you must be a really lovely person – so understanding, empathetic and wise :)).

    I’ll certainly continue to visit your blog.. You too okie?? Because I really do want to know what you think and feel on what I write..

    Meanwhile… till I hear from you again.. Take care Amal!

    *hugs*
    Mariko

  13. amal Says:

    I want to be a counceller one day , my experiences in life shaped me to be the way I am , by the way I am a muslim ,dont know if you noticed from my blog . The difference with being a muslim woman is I have one less stress , I wear a scarf and cover when I leave the house , which has tuaght me to love ‘myself’ , It has in a way given me value , but I still I suffered with this whole obsession with being ‘fair’ and lovely is more attractive its just like that in the east . Very narrow view of beauty .

    by the way sorry about all the miss types . 🙂 😛

  14. yixiaooo Says:

    hey mariko,

    back in secondary school, an a-hole once scored my looks 3/10 and i’m pretty sure he wasn’t kidding. in smu, someone once said i had trotters for legs..

    but i have since learnt it’s very tiring to live in the past and nearly impossible to stop your detractors… so now i just constantly remind myself “living well is the best revenge” (wise words from George Herbert)

    =)

  15. notjustskindeep Says:

    Hey Yixiaooo!!!!

    Wow, I’m surprised that you received such comments because to me, you’re REALLY pretty! :))) Yes, I agree with you that we shouldn’t live in the past!! I guess I’m trying to move on now.. But perhaps, it’s gonna take time. Still, the sheer difficulty of something should not deter us. That’s the whole thrill of life yar? To strive for something better always!!!

    Do pop by more often babe! I will pop by your blog too!! Now that I have the link :)))

  16. Fae Says:

    I HATED TAF!! It was so mortifying to have to run around the school during reccess. urggg….

  17. yixiaooo Says:

    oh yar, speaking of which, i was in taf club too. haha

    MARIKO! Ganbatte!

  18. Ruthie Says:

    I found a link to one of your blog posts (specifically the about how standards of beauty have changed) in a discussion about what people perceive as attractive. Some of the posts, especially the videos made me cry (in a good, touching way, not in a depressing way). My story is this:

    Since I was about eight years old, I’ve been kind of heavy, and because the way my back curves it tends to make my stomach stick out, which makes me look even heavier than I am. I was home schooled up until high school, so I didn’t really notice or think anything of it. My freshman year of high school, though I received some unpleasant comments on my appearance (specifically girls asking if I was pregnant). Another thing that wasn’t exactly great for my self esteem was what I called “the stupid dating joke”… Guys would come up to me in a joking fashion and tell me that their friend liked me, their friend would, of course, protest. Or they would say in the same joking fashion that they liked me and were my boyfriend. I felt that I was much too young to date, and this made me really uncomfortable. And, I wondered, do they think this is funny because there’s no way anyone would want to date me? Luckily my family was supportive and (excluding the jerks I talked about before) the vast majority of my classmates were nice, so it never affected me as much as it could. My junior year, I took a health class and decided that (for health reasons) I should try to lose a little weight. I lost ten pounds over the course of about five months, and I found that, although I was still what society would consider heavy, I was happy with how I looked (it probably helped that beginning my Sophomore year, I started to develop, which made me look much more proportionate). Now, I’m about 170 pounds (77.112 kilograms) and rather curvy and I’ve learned how to dress in a way that looks nice on me and works with my body. This year at my senior prom, some people even said that I looked beautiful. Ultimately, though, you’re right, what others think of me isn’t what really matters, what matters is that I like myself as a person (and for my character, not my physical appearance), and I think (even though I get a little annoyed at my self sometimes) I do. I try my best to be a good person, and a lot of the time I succeed. I do worry about living up to the expectations of others (especially regarding my morals), but I think given time I’ll be able to accept myself for who I am, flaws and all.

    I think it’s a wonderful thing for you to start this blog and to share your experience with everyone to hopefully bring about a change in attitudes. You seem like a very nice person, and you have a very sweet face, and it makes me sad that people are so caught up in stupid social games and narrow definitions of beauty to see you for who you are. I think that REAL beauty or ugliness isn’t in the way that we look but in the way that we treat each other, and maybe one day, humanity will learn that.

    I hope that you have a wonderful day :).

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