a close-up look

A kindergartner plays at recess. She makes a friend at the swing set, and another at the monkey bars. One of those friends might grow up to be a supermodel. But appearances mean little when you're five. In kindergarten, beauty is not the deciding factor of new friendships.

So when do appearances become so important? I started to become self-conscious about my body in middle school. I was pudgy compared to my friends and classmates, which led me to become very shy. Outside school I hung out with girls who were a lot smaller than I was. When I looked at how skinny they were, I thought, "Wait, is that how I'm supposed to look?" Sometimes when I was getting ready to go to a party or an event where I had to wear a specific outfit or bathing suit, I'd look in the mirror and beg my mom, "Don't make me go!" I'd become so upset that I'd start crying with disappointment. So for a few years, I skipped pool parties and events where I felt uncomfortable in front of other people.

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July 20, 2009
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