Numero-freaking Eleven

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I stare at my phone, tapping my pen on a blank page in my journal. Can't stop shaking my head at Jax. He's an idiot, but he did apologize. So... I guess we're friends now?

My phone lights up, buzzing.

I struggle to keep my cool as I pick it up, secretly hoping it's Jax telling me about what he meant. I can't just text him and ask about what he'd said on the bus, that would mean I was thinking about him and that's the last thing I want him to think about.

It's Carla. Strangely, I'm slightly disappointed and irritated.

Carla: I made something in Photoshop.

My phone buzzes again, an image popping onto the screen.

My eyebrows pull together in anger as I take it in. It's a picture of me from youth group and a picture of Jax that looks hastily taken by someone, stitched together with a single word between us: Jally.

I call her.

"You loved it, didn't you?"

"What the frick?" I respond to her as she laughs loudly, snorting. "When did you take that picture of him?"

"Today," she sings. "I had an idea for a ship name for the two of you and wanted to put it down."

"Why would you—"

"It was either Jally or Kellax. But then I thought of that Pokémon Snorlax and thought I should go with the first one."

I groan. "You do realize that we don't like each other and we aren't dating."

"Uh huh," she says, sounding distant and distracted. "Yeah, hey, what did you get for the homework?"

"Don't change the subject," I snap gently. "You're gonna delete the picture, right?"

"Uh huh," she says again, sounding just as distant as before. "I think I wrote mine down wrong. Hey—what do you think about me getting contacts? I think getting rid of my glasses will make me look pretty."

"You're already pretty," I tell her.

She scoffs. "Yeah, tell that to the girls that tell me I'm way too skinny and need to shove a cheeseburger down—"

"Carla, shut up. Don't let people tell you you aren't pretty."

"Well they're right," she says, a bit dejected. "Or at least that's what I think about myself with no one's help. I want to be someone I can be proud of. Besides, you do it all the time, don't you?"

I frown. "I doubt that many people rag on you for being too skinny. That's what everyone aspires to be now a days, right? Too skinny? No one wants to be the fat girl, so whatever, right?"

Carla sighs heavily on the other side of the phone, sounding irritated. "Don't belittle my issues by throwing your own at me. You can change it just the same as I can."

"I can't change it," I snap. "I've tried a ton of things."

"You haven't tried exercising for more than a week and diets don't work, Kel," Carla pushes, her voice a bit on-edge. "Maybe you can try something else to—"

"To what, Carla? To change how I look so I can fit into society better? Is that your point? You're lucky to be the skinny girl. You can fit into anything and guys will actually give you a chance."

Carla scoffs. "Try again, Kelly," she says. "Everything is either too big or too short, and when I'm walking with someone else, like with you, you guys get all the attention."

"Yeah, because I'm the fat girl. Everyone's laughing at me. Jessica called me the Dog Queen today—did you know that?"

"No, and I'll knock her upside her head for doing so, but I think you should be more positive about the way you look—"

I snort, interrupting her. "What, why? Because you're complaining about your fatless body and saying you're not pretty because of it? Yeah, okay. Either way, it sounds like I'll never be happy with myself, so why even try?"

"Kel, stop it. I was just saying—"

"Yeah, I get it," I spit, my voice harsh. "Your problems are worse than mine in the beauty department because you're skinny and I'm the Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters, so I get more attention because of it and that makes you feel insecure. By Carla. I'll talk to you tomorrow."

I bring the phone down, hearing her voice ramble on the other side as I end the call. I toss my phone on my bed and rest my head in my hands, pressing on my eyes as tears climb and press against the backs of my eyeballs.

I can hear my phone blowing up. She'd better be apologizing.

We've had one other fight like this before, but it got smoothed over rather quickly. Carla was complaining about how she looked, which made me shower her with compliments she didn't take, thus making me mad and feel insecure about myself.

Knocking at my bedroom door startles me and I spin around in my seat just as my dad peeks in with a sheepish grin.

"Hey, Kel. How was school?"

I shrug and force a smile. "School was school."

He gives a small smile, seeming to want to talk more but not know what to say. "Dinner's ready. I made lasagna. Well, frozen lasagna."

I smile gentlly. "Okay, I'll be right down."

He nods and closes the door and I take a deep breath to recollect myself. Standing up, I glance at my vibrating phone and decide to leave it here. I'll apologize to Carla for overreacting later. I just need to calm down first.

I head into the kitchen, the smell of the lasagna filling my senses and making my stomach grumble. I swallow hard as I walk up and grab a plate, my dad making small talk. I smile and act like I'm wholeheartedly listening, lifting the spatula and cutting a small piece for myself, slapping it on my plate.

"That's all you're getting?" My dad asks as he takes about half of the family-sized lasagna. "Not hungry today?"

I shake my head and look down at my mostly empty plate.

"Yeah," I tell him. "I had a big lunch."

Maybe Carla is right. Maybe I should try something different.

+ + +

Author's note:

So sorry for not updating yesterday. However, I do want to make a note about some of the things in this chapter. Sometimes we say things we don't mean, and sometimes we are flat out hypocrites. Also know that no one is perfect.

That being said, if you have difficulty with seeing yourself as beautiful, please do not starve yourself or stuff yourself, please do not alter your body through surgery to fit an idealized version of the human body by Hollywood, and please do not live unhealthily.

That leads me to this.

Everyone's body is different. Everything affects everyone differently. I want you to look in the mirror and humbly love yourself for the way you are, the way you look. Don't look through other people's eyes because they don't matter. Look through your own. Your life is in your hands and it's you who should gently mold it. Don't be hard on yourself—be gentle.

And what I mean by humbly love yourself—I mean recognize you have flaws; know your body isn't perfect but love it anyway. Accept these flaws—if you can change them naturally and if you want to, then do it—but if you can't change it, embrace it. Because you are beautiful, male or female.

One last note, we always talk about body images for girls. Guys get a lot of flak too, so to the guys out there, I'm talking to you too during this author's note. You are perfect the way you are, just as the girls are. I know you guys don't hear that enough, but it's true. I promise.

I hope you find it in you to love yourself if you don't.

Have a wonderful day.

- K.

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