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The Girl Who Wished To Be Skinny (2011 Watty Award Winner)

Dedicated to
Vanessa (1994-2008)
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I wrote this story in early 2011. This is the story behind why I wrote it: When I was 17, I was hospitalized in the psychiatric ward for depression. I befriended a fourteen year old girl named Vanessa. I wrote her this story, The Girl Who Wished To Be Skinny, hoping it would make her feel better about the way she looked. Sadly, she was discharged before I could give it to her. We lost touch on the "outside." Two weeks later, I learned from another friend I'd made in the hospital that Vanessa killed herself. I didn't, and still don't, want any girl to feel the way Vanessa felt. I can do what I can to make girls feel happier about themselves, and life. I can do something. Writing is that something.   


...

Ugh. Look at me. My hair is a mess. But that’s why I have a brush. I can fix that. There, my hair is brushed. My teeth are crooked that’s why I don’t smile but I have braces. I just have to survive another year of being called Brace Face and Metal Megan. Then I can finally give my mother school photos where I don't look like christmas was canceled.  The problem is my body.

I am so fat. Just look at my thighs. Cellulite all over them. I have chubby cheeks. My dad says that they are cute. Squirrel cheeks. Yeah, dad, it’s easy to say that when you aren’t in the 9th grade and you don’t have hormonally unstable teenage boys with overwhelming amounts of zits on their foreheads staring at you like a fat kid would stare at a plate of ribs through a window.

And you compare me with a squirrel. Great. Thanks. Fantastic. Compare me to something that has fur all over its body. I mean, you’re right in a sense. Look at my arms. They are so hairy. Look at my legs. And my mother really feels the need to ask why I wear pants to school every day? They are hairier than a gorilla’s. If anybody saw them I would have to make something up.

Probably tell them that I am suffering from a recessive family gene that was engineered at birth. It gives me the unfortunate ability to grow gorilla like hair all over my limbs. I could also tell them that it was a terminally ill disease.

At least they would think that I was actually going to die and wouldn’t make fun of me. If they knew the truth I would die of shame anyway. Okay, so there is nothing I can do about how fat I am.  I mean, I’ve been skipping lunch for two weeks now and haven’t lost a god damned pound. The scale hates me. That must be it. Or maybe it is just getting revenge on me for standing on it and breaking every bone in its body. I don’t blame it really.

If I was skinny the guy that I like would actually see me as more than the girl who loves the smell of new library books and lighting Bunsen burners because it turns her on like only a set of hot abs could.

Boys would ask to switch to my coed P.E class just to get a glimpse of the babe in the blue short shorts. I would actually be able to fit into them then and not feel as if they are suffocating around my thighs.

Sigh. I wish that I was skinny.

   Suddenly the mirror glowed bright. Brighter than the autumn sun. What the heck was going on? Did the physics lab install solar panels in the mirrors again? Damn nerds. Wait. I am one. Crap.

A moment later the mirror stopped glowing and in a flurry of sparkles and rainbow glitter a fairy appeared in the middle of the bathroom.

    She was plump like a plum and had angelic wings. Her wand was long and silver and looked like a unicorn horn. She was garbed in a long dress made from white dragon scales and polar bear fur. The hem of the dress nearly touched the ground and every time she moved glitter and sparkle fell from the dress and dissipated in the atmosphere.

I asked, “Who are you?”

She smiled. “Why I’m your fairy godmother of course.”

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