I remember when the Internet was just beginning. I was a fifth-grader who was constantly on AOL Instant Messenger. I was just 10 years old and this was my primary way of communicating with classmates.They would say pretty cruel things to me that can still haunt me today like “you’re fat” “you have big ears” In sixth-grade I remember admitting to my crush that I liked him. He told me that I was “fat and ugly.”
I battled with image issues for years after all of that stuff. I am not all innocent either as I retaliated against those classmates at times and even went through my own phase of being a bully when I was a teenager. I wasn’t that “fat, ugly” girl anymore. I was getting attention from boys and I was on some kind of hormonal power trip. I was full of anger, hurt and rage. Then some drama with a high school boyfriend went on. After that I remember making a mental note to myself that I was going to keep on eating and eating. No one wanted me now, and when I get bigger there will definitely be no one who really wants me. So I went down that road for my late teenage years.
When I was in community college I actually had a girl tell me that I’m a lesbian, but I just don’t know it yet. I had another girl I had recently met tell me that I needed a makeover. Something needed to be done about my hair and my clothes (by the way, this girl was no prize either so I have no idea why she felt the need to judge me …). It was always some kind of criticisms about the way that I looked. Never being pretty enough, never being wanted by men but oh I was “sweet” and “nice” and “genuine” but I was also an outcast and “odd” or a “nut.”
After transforming into a new woman at 21, losing 50 pounds, I became obsessed with my appearance. I was known as “the hot girl.” I could go out to a club and every time I would always get a dance partner that would stay with me the entire night. I would always kiss boys when I drank. I based my entire existence on the way men felt about me. For the first time in my life I actually felt beautiful and desirable, and I was FINALLY pretty. But I still couldn’t find love and that was so painful for me at that time. Most people were on their third or fourth boyfriends and I was there with what felt like nothing. An emptiness, a hole in my chest. I became obsessive about the foods I put into my body. I had to get down to 132 pounds. That was my goal weight. I wouldn’t let myself slack on my diet because if I gained even one or two pounds I was bringing the old Katrina back. The old, fat, ugly Katrina who nobody liked or wanted. The one who always got made fun of. No. At age 21 I needed to be “skinny, gorgeous Katrina,” the one who got attention from boys.
I’m no longer 132 pounds. But I am still beautiful Katrina. Only this time I’m beautiful on the inside too because I’ve stopped with the self hate. However, people still judge me. They think I’m aggressive, crazy, too much. I still hate to be vulnerable. Every time I meet a new guy my anxiety levels fly through the roof because I feel like they only want me for one thing. When I figure out that they don’t genuinely want to get to know me I overreact, sending those boys running for the hills. Then I judge myself and take all of the things everyone says about me to heart. Then I beat myself up and say if only I were still 132 pounds … if only I didn’t have such a strong personality … if only I could just dress better, be more feminine, be more attractive, more successful, then I would have it all. Then all of the hurt and pain would stop. But it never stops. It will never stop until you shut the worlds opinions out, realize you are special in your own way. It doesn’t matter what other people think of you because you know the true you, your family and friends know the true you and you don’t need to prove that to anyone else who can’t open their eyes to see it. That is their problem, not yours!