“You’re fat.” That’s what a classmate told freshman, Cassidy Torres, in P.E. class. A boy said it. And it’s too bad he didn’t get his hindparts worn out.
It all happened in a gymnasium. Students were standing in a single-file line. They were doing body-mass-index calculations with calipers and measuring tapes.
Cassidy’s numbers were higher than the recommended baseline. You can only imagine the laughs and animal sounds that followed.
The aforementioned boy made a comment. Cassidy was in tears.
Amd you’re probably thinking what I’m thinking. Which is: “Great, just what every insecure freshman needs. Calipers.”
Well, not that it matters what I think—because it doesn’t—but I don’t think measuring the bellies of high-schoolers qualifies as gym class.
What ever happened to good old-fashioned P.E.? I’m talking sadistic American games like dodgeball, unsupervised rope-climbing, and of course, lawn darts.
But measuring body fat in public? I wouldn’t wish that experience on even the worst IRS agent—let alone a shy freshman.
Anyway, to dig up more answers on this matter, I interviewed noted expert, and acclaimed commentator on adolescent issues—my friend’s daughter, Kayleigh.
Kayleigh is your typical sophomore. She’s in chorus, math club, and on a volleyball team. She likes Dr. Pepper, Cheese Nips, rap, Labradors, and she thinks she’s fat.
I asked Kayleigh why she thought this. She had a lot to say on the matter. Her answer:
My guest today has been Kayleigh Williamson.
The thing is, Kayleigh is as lean as they come. And she can bench press her bodyweight. Her mother has a theory.
Her mother points to the magazines on Kayleigh’s nightstand and says, “Those dumb magazines are messing with her mind.”
Kayleigh shows me one such beauty magazine. The cover model features a young woman who weighs less than a rice cake in a water shortage, with abs sharp enough to grate parmesan.
Kayleigh’s mother asks her: “Is THIS what you wanna look like?”
Kayleigh doesn’t answer, and I don’t blame her. But her mother asks again. Kayleigh’s face turns red.
“MOM,” she says. “I just don’t wanna be ugly. I wanna be one of the hot girls.”
Well, I’ll be dog.
Listen, I know it’s hard to believe, Kayleigh, but there is no such thing as a “hot girl,” or a “hot guy.” Not really. There are only human beings, and we all run about 98.6 degrees.
Besides, a real girl—if you ask me—isn’t a pop-star with green hair and a bathing suit made from recycled dental floss.
A real girl is herself. Brave enough to use her mind, her voice, and her will. Strong enough to act unique, and wise enough to be humble.
She knows how to love. How to smile. Within her DNA is pure instinct. The instinct to raise children. To rear them.
She has the heaven-sent ability of striking fear into the hearts of rowdy little boys, using nothing but a hairbrush.
She is powerful and gentle. She is a classroom hero. A doctor, a nurse, a waitress, a teacher, a custodian, an artist, writer, singer, or poet. She is a mother, a granny, an advice giver.
She’s a cashier at Piggly Wiggly—raising a family of three. She’s a fry-cook. She’s calm during crisis. She’s a sturdy post during hellish times.
She is confident—not in a wardrobe, but in herself. Because she knows who she is. And she loves what she sees in a mirror.
At least, that’s what I hope for you, Kayleigh, Cassidy, and anyone else reading. I hope you love your own reflection. Because you’re worth loving.
You’re not just a girl, a woman, or a lady.
You are the greatest idea God ever had. I don’t care what the scale says.
You’re not fat.