Targets of Conditioned Responses

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The other day, I read a few words about obesity and obesity-related health problems. It was mentioned as a growing threat and a rapidly spreading disease among teenagers which made me remember my childhood. 15 years ago. It is kind of heartbreaking to reminisce those days. Given the fact that 15 years ago I was an overweight girl who was experiencing puberty, I had a pretty hard time not only dealing with myself but also dealing with others. As we all enter puberty and go through similar stages of life, I believe we all have an average idea of what it is like and what it is not like. Such intense years…Extra intense, especially when you’re not feeling comfortable in your own skin. So I am going to share my journey today. From being an overweight girl ( “fat” according to many ) to a healthy slim girl.

I was a very dynamic energetic little girl. My mother used to call me “The Tasmanian Devil”. It was so hard to stop me from climbing a tree, running insanely fast and playing soccer with friends. At this point, I think I should let you know that I was a little bit of a tomboy. I started putting on weight and the weight gain accelerated in a few years. When I look back at those days, all I can say that it didn’t happen in two ticks. I actually put on weight gradually in an uncontrollable way. I was not playing indoor games, I lost my interest in running, there was a lot of noise at our home, I was being dragged into misery. Then I met video games. I literally quit moving. If I was to make a move, It was only for two reasons. I needed to go to the bathroom or I was hungry. It’s my understanding that as a kid, I was at a loss in terms of investing my energy into things that could help me know myself better, build my self-confidence and trigger my creativity and my parents were inexperienced to help me. After a short while, that funny cheerful and playful girl disappeared. I became the very nightmare of every single mother and father, a cheerless impatient kid who loses her temper quite easily. I became unhappy and was feeling unsatisfied with my life. So, I got fat.

Years went by and I started middle school. The first days of school seemed fun. It was all about meeting new people, making new friends and chatting. I didn’t know that my appearance was going to be used as a tool/a weapon to embarrass and insult me. I knew that I was not thin. However, I had no idea that I was going to be mocked for the way I looked until one day I was called fatty. It was not just that. I was called fat, I was called ugly, people would call me many mortifying names. On the other hand, my grades were kissing the ground. School became a circus of torture where I was not taken seriously as an individual. So it was a unique life lesson to me that my body, my own figure was too ridiculous for people to be taken seriously. That’s when I felt the burden that people are conditioned. I was fat and I became a lazy student but I never gave up on my thoughts. You’d be surprised to know how often I was humiliated by some of my teachers. Some of them would deliberately hurt me and some of them would just watch when I was bullied. The saddest part was, even though I was way too younger than them, I was well aware of the fact that they could be so much more than that. So, that way I discovered that titles had nothing to with becoming a good person. You could be a teacher yet you could waste your lifetime acting like a careless ignoramus as well. When you’re a fat person during puberty, there are so many dimensions of the matter. You like boys and they feel ashamed for being liked by a fat ugly girl like you. See? The fat ugly girl, this was who I was. There were too many annoying ways to label people and they somehow managed to label me twice. I could be either fat or ugly, but nope! It was obviously not enough to crush me. So, this is how I grew my insecurities. I rarely left the house. I remember praying to the stars with my wet eyes, ” Please, help me be a thin girl.” My sentences, my expressions, my questions…etc They were being slammed by conditioned responses and reactions.

Therefore,  to be loved and to be taken seriously, I wanted to be a thin girl.

In the summer of 2007, I lost the weights I had gained due to many reasons ( thanks to the swimming pool we had in the backyard) and reached a slimmed down figure. It was a whole new chapter in my life. Swimming for two hours a day became a passion of mine and it took my whole energy and recharged my batteries. I went back to being the girl I used to be- funny, cheerful and playful. Why I got rid of my weights was not a desperate call or need to fit into other people’s norms. I wanted to know, I wanted to feel and see how it would be like to be thin. It was more like a personal discovery. So, I ran into many old male classmates and friends and surprisingly, I was asked out for a date by many of them. And I did go out for a date with them. None of them listened to me during lunch and during dinner. It was more likely that they were interested in the way I look. They wanted to spend time with my physical appearance not my personality at all. Contrary to my old male friends, I turned out to be a girl whose ideas and opinions were worth listening to. Were they really listening? or were they just watching?

People are merciless and a great deal of them are pathetic. There are many inspiring stories out there. We read them, we hear them and we watch them. So many unhappy souls were guided by the spark of specific people. You may call them pathfinders, advisors, guiding spirits or even mentors. In my story, I was the pathfinder, I was the advisor, the guiding spirit and the mentor. I waited until 2007 to take an action toward building and recovering my real self regarding who I used to be- a happy little girl -and who I want to be as a young happy woman. I needed a spark so I looked for somebody who could help me. Eventually, I made up my mind. I refused to be the chosen victim of people who see other people in such a limited way as if they were flawless. Many of us fall into the trap of sacrificing what they might become and what they wish to be in order to be accepted. Why do we get stuck on poor point of views?  If today I am a happy woman, it’s because I struggled for it for a long time. The truth is that for the sake of reinventing yourself you should at least try for once, just make the effort. Have you ever thought that you are the help you’ve been looking for?

It is not easy to rebuild wounded parts of your personality, flashbacks will haunt you all the time. Whatever you’ll do, do it yourself and do it for yourself. Once you inspire yourself, you’ll inspire many others. Seeds of hope grow strong whereas words of bitter mouths fade in eternity. Live your life the way you are comfortable with it as long as it makes you happy.



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