Soooo…… I started typing this blog a week ago. I wrote, erased, rewrote and erased again. It turns out my story of chubby is a bit longer and a bit deeper than I thought it was when my fingers started doing the walking. I decided we should take this topic in pieces hence the part 1 in the title. Here we go….
I was always a chubby girl…. Well not really but I always felt like a chubby girl as far back as I can remember. My first memories of social situations are around kindergarten age. I remember playing with my friends in the neighborhood who all seemed to be so small and cute. I was the giant one…. or so I thought. I look back at pictures now and guess what I was a perfectly normal sized child. It just so happened that all of the girls I grew up with were just petite little small fries. I was always towering over them by inches, I was even a head taller than a few. I guess it also did not help the situation my grandmother used to tell me on a regular basis that I was destined to be a big girl because both of my parents were so fat. Yup, those were her exact words. That might seem a little harsh to some of you but that was just her way she called it as she saw it. One of the reasons she was loved by so many.
(That’s me at the top with the yellow lei)
THE TEENAGE YEARS
Well for me the teenage years started at age 11, just as I was entering middle school. I was the first of my friends to “start the journey to womanhood”. And let’s just say that for a girl who already felt giant add on two new appendages and now you have your self a serious complex. I don’t think I stood up straight from the time I was 11 until I was 15. My arms were always over my chest and my back was hunched.
(How about that awesome hair too? Yes that is Sun-In induced lightening of the hair)
When I was about 13 years old I spent 3 weeks with my cousin at her families beach house in Ocean City, MD. That is Baltimore’s version of the Jersey Shore 😉 In those 3 weeks I lost two pants sizes. I came home with none of my clothes fitting me. Emily (my cousin) and I had planned on spending the next 3 weeks at my parents house while her family was at the beach. But, Emily’s parents put a stop to that….I bet she does not remember why but I do. Her parents did not want her to stay with us because my family ate out and ordered too much take out food. WOW!!! This was a big Ah-Ha moment for me. I did not realize that everyone did not eat like us….everyone was not as sedentary as our family was. You see my parents were both severely obese. My dad weighed 380lbs and my mom always hung out somewhere in the mid 200’s.
(My mom and dad)
The TV and the refrigerator ruled our house. There was NEVER a time when there was not at least one television on (usually 2 or 3 at a time) and our refrigerator and pantry were always FULLY STOCKED. Friends that I met in my teens all have stories about coming to my house and it being an oasis of junk food, coca-cola, Ramen noodles and TV dinners. Again…. this was all a surprise to me. I thought everyone, for example, bought a couple of large cheesecakes from Price Club a week. In our house when veggies were served at dinner it was always canned corn or canned peas. Both of my parents worked long hard physical jobs along with volunteering at our school and they coached us (my brother and I) on our softball/baseball teams. So more often than not convenience won over nutrition. Plus, I don’t think that they really believed in the whole “you are what you eat theory”. And yes I did say softball and baseball we did play on a couple of the local organized sports teams so I guess it is unfair to say that we were completely sedentary.
(I am bottom Left in the front, #4. I guess this around age 9. As you can see not chubby at all but boy did I feel that way)
I was a teenager when I met my husband and my best friend. They both met my family in the same way. We were just stopping by my house at a random time in the day. We walked in to find my dad, my brother and my little cousin in their underwear grabbing their bellies having a JELLY ROLL CONTEST. What is a jelly roll contest you ask? This is a contest where you grab your rolls to measure who has the biggest jelly roll. Yes, yes, this could be taken from an episode of Honey Boo Boo and yes it was not one the most exciting events in my teenage years. Oh, Oh did I mention that these were on two separate occasions? Yes that is right Leila and Jim both got to see Jelly Roll contests but they were both on different days…weeks apart. So needless to say the belly was not something to be ashamed of. In the Elliott house the Jelly Roll was embraced not an embarrassment. But, like my momma always said, “I march to the beat of my own drum”. So I never really learned to embrace the belly.