Sometimes, people look at you, but they don't know what you're going through. Only you do.

  The girls in the school did not like Giselle. At first, she was sad, but after a long time, she came to the conclusion that she was just not like them.

  She was fat.

  Giselle loved dancing since young. She loved it so much that at the age of six, she had decreed it to be the career for the rest of her life. Ballet became her companion, her lover, her everything. She couldn’t do without ballet.

  Since she was a child, she was aware that she was chubbier than the other children, that she was not as pretty as them. While the girls her age were lean and petite, she was clumsy and oversized. Her cheeks were rounded, her waist was non-existent, and she had always known that she was fat. Nevertheless, it didn’t stop her from dancing, for she loved dancing more than what other people thought of her. Who cares if they think I’m big, she would think to herself everyday. That will never stop me from dancing.

  But deep down inside, she cared very much. She hoped that by her continuing to dance, she might lose some weight, and people might accept her then.

  That never happened.

  No one talked to her in her class. Day after day, Giselle would do her best to try and ignore those pointed stares, those murmurings, those glares; they all sent her a single message that was as subtle as a helicopter landing: She did not belong. She did not deserve to exist in the beautiful world of art and dance, the world of skinny girls and long limbs. She was an outcast, rejected by the sheer cruel prejudice of physical appearances.

  But still, Giselle continued dancing. She continued to harbor this secret hope that one day, she would be accepted. She wished that those unpleasant, gut-wrenching feelings would go away, and she would finally have friends. That day would come, she had believed. She would work harder to improve her technique so they would admire her, and the thought of that made her feel better. So, she would stay back after class to practice, and she would eat lesser. If she ate lesser, she would lose that unwanted, extra hated weight that haunted her everyday.

  For a period of time, it seemed to work. The dancing and the abstaining of food made the rejection easier for her to bear, and sometimes, she would feel almost happy. Almost. No matter how good she became, of how much she tried to slim down, she was still an outcast because she was different. She would be an outcast because she was fat.

  One day, while Giselle was in the toilets, she heard a group of girls enter. They seemed to be talking about someone, and when she leaned in closer from behind the cubicles to listen, she realized that she was the source of their gossip.

  “Did you see her today? She looked terrible!” One of them sneered.

  Giselle felt her heart clench, and she tried to control the tears the welled up in her eyes. No matter how hard she tried, she was always too big, too overweight, too fat.

  “I know! She is nothing but skin and bones, and she still doesn’t eat! It’s a miracle that she’s even alive.” Another girl added.

  Skin and bones? Impossible, Giselle thought. She wished it so. She was fat. End of story. What were they talking about? She waited to hear a response.

  “Can’t you tell? She is anorexic. It’s kind of sad actually.”

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