The Choice is Yours

Society demands many things from us. Society takes things from us. Society tells us how to act and how to look.
As teens, we all suffer under the pressure of society’s eyes. We all are subjected to the watchful gaze of our peers and are forced to accept the fact that anything we do will be judged. As a teen myself, I have been subjected to the unwanted voicings of not only my peers but adults.
My life has been an experience that some share, but few are as comfortable as I am to speak about it. The events I have been put through are different from my peers simply because I am a different size.
I have been denied medical help for actual conditions I have, based on my weight. Doctors have said to me, “if you lose weight this problem will go away,” even when I simply broke a bone. Since I was fifteen years old I have had complications with menstruation that caused extreme pain. When I had gone to doctors, professionals in their fields, I was told that if I had lost weight, my period would return to normal. It took three years to learn that I actually had PCOS, a genetic condition that causes irregular periods. If only the doctors I had seen when I was fifteen had looked past their judgment and had looked solely at me. If only they had looked at me, a frightened teenager, in pain. If only they had looked at me, a person.
It is not only doctors that refuse to see past the exterior of my person, but people who claim to be inclusive, yet still enforce norms. Those who make clothing for plus sized people such as myself still force us to fit into a cookie cutter mold. To be classified as beautiful in the plus sized community, you need to look or dress a certain way. If you do not have a bigger chest and small waist with curvy hips and a flat stomach, you are ridiculed. If you do not dress yourself in skin tight clothing with low cut tops, you have no place in their community. How can a group claim to be inclusive, yet ostracize a large portion of the group they claim to belong to? Most plus size people do not fit into many of the categories mainstream clothing companies cater to, and are pushed out of the communities where they rightfully belong.
My peers, by far, have thrown the most hurtful criticisms my way. Sports are a thing that most children are introduced to at a young age, but I was never one of those kids. My mother never signed me up for the neighborhood soccer team. I never joined track and field when I was in middle school. Being in a sport does not define if you are healthy or not, however many students my age believe the opposite. Unhealthy diets and workout guides have been our lives since kindergarten; How could they know any different?
When I would come crying to my mother, telling her about the things that people said she would always say, “people are mean, and there’s nothing we can do,” followed by “you should lose weight.” It’s true that people are mean, but there is something we can do. Society should move away from caring about what other people look like.
We love judging other people. We were conditioned from a young age to carefully observe those around us and judge their every move. We see it in movies as children where the mean girls, without fail, make fun of something the protagonist does. We see it in the drama shows our mothers would watch when we got home from school. The media we consumed defined our judginess.
Despite our hate, we can choose to love. We know how to love, as humans we have that capacity. Extend your love, look past the outer shell and into the people we are instead of becoming those mean girls from our youth. Prove my mother wrong and show there is something we can do.