Doglover 101 asks: My mom’s always been the athletic type since she was my age (12,maybe even younger) and she has always tried to make me do at least one. But in P.E everyone literally hates me, I’m always last, and if someone does pick me to be on their team it’s because they’re trying to be polite/friendly and there’s always someone groaning and saying “Ugh, why her?” They always tell me “Oh my god, at least try!” and when I do, “Pft, what was that?” and cue the laughter. Popularity in my school is based on your ability in sports (it’s so unfair if you ask me.) And well all of the popular kids, except like two, hate me. I’ve been bullied by most of them, but I got around that when I finally made some good and real friends. I keep trying to tell my mom that everyone’s just too competitive and mean when it comes to sports but she just won’t have it. She says I need to lose some of my fat and I agree. I’ve even looked up the average weight for a girl my age: 41 kg. A friend of mine says it depends on your height (I’m about 5’3) so I asked another of my friends who’s just a few cm shorter than me and she says she weighs 56-8 kg. I’m bloody 61.8kg! I’ve never been insecure about anything until this year, my stomach’s HUGE and mom says that it’s a little longer than normal. I hate my body and just want to be skinny, like all the other prettier girls. It’s not just that: *I have blackheads all over my huge nose and chin *I have tan lines from my glasses *One eye’s a little bit more closed than the other *I have the deepest voice out of all of the girls *Since I’m blonde, I practically have NO eyebrows *I have the darkest bags under my eyes even though I get 9-10 hours of sleep *My deodorant always comes off and I stink through out the day. *I always slouch *I have these brown spots, like beauty marks ALL over my face (I’m pretty sure it’s because of my ethnicity, I’m from Lithuania) *This one rep spot has been on my nose all year and it’s the sort of spot that you can’t pop, it’s like a part of my face. * My stomach fat is just the main problem with me. *I always have dandruff! So, I’ve been trying to find a sport and key word being ‘trying’. So I can at least have a better stomach but all of the sports just seem too boring and competitive. I want to actually enjoy a sport and not have to worry about people laughing and hating me. Sometimes I just feel too fat to belong in this world. How can I find a sport I like Shirelle? I’ve been trying and trying but I have the worst aim and strength. I’ll try anything except soccer (way too many people play that in Ireland), swimming (I don’t know how), and ice skating (no, just no). Help? Sincerely, Doglover 101.
Hi Doglover 101 –
Oh I am so sorry! I have always been enormously athletic (enough that lots of humans were frightened of me when I was younger – I wasn’t fierce or mean, but they were terrified of all my friendly strength and energy!). But my friend Handsome was just like you. Except that he was tall and thin, so he looked like he should do well in sports, while being awful in all of them! He was usually the last one picked for anything (even over the shortest or, yes, chubbiest, kids). And so, just like you, he hated P.E. – even though it ought to have been fun to get out of class and do something active instead of listening to a teacher drone on about whatever.
So there is nothing I can do to make you enjoy being treated badly by your classmates. The more of them you befriend, the better chance they’ll treat you better, but I know that’s hard to achieve.
But I do have an idea. And, of all sources, it came from that dorky guy I live with! You see, once a person reaches age – oh, I’ll say 25 – they start thinking about all the things they wish they’d done differently when they were young. And they start talking about it to themselves. Most often in the shower.
So I’ve always liked to sit outside the shower when Handsome is washing, just because I like being near him, but also because he sometimes sings and I like that, and because I never know if the day might come when he walks out of there with a plate full of fresh-baked cookies and it slips out of his wet hands and they go all over the floor and…!
And do you know what I hear him talking about most of the time when he’s in there? (When he’s not singing some love song from seventy years ago with all the lyrics changed to be about me? Oh this guy is sooooo good!)
He talks about what he’d do if he could go back in time.
And most of the time, he talks about what he’d do about his pathetic athletic ability.
So I’m just going to steal from his silly rants, and give you his suggestions.
First of all, at least for now, skip out on anything competitive. You feel bad enough already, and any criticism from any teammate or coach is just going to feel like all the mean-kid insults. So instead, just exercise for yourself.
– Go for a run first thing in the morning. Do you have a park near you, or somewhere else you can do a nice run without dodging cars and puppy poo?
– Stretch. Lots! Stretch out every morning and every night. If you don’t know good ways to do that, I’m sure you can find some online, or even ask your PE teacher for some.
– Join a gym and start working out. Start slowly (if you can afford a trainer, that’ll be best). And build yourself stronger and stronger. You won’t be the strongest person there, but you’ll be amazed at how much people who use gyms respect the people they see consistently going in, regardless of what they achieve.
– If you can, take some non-competitive classes. Yoga, dance, spinning… these are all GREAT. You won’t be great, or even good, at most of these when you start, but that’s fine – you want to find the things you can enjoy and improve at.
– and my favorite: Swim. I know you said you won’t, but I really suggest giving it a try. Swimming is superb exercise, and works your whole body in amazing ways. And of course, your getting good at it can save your life or someone else’s someday!
Now while you’re doing these, you will wish you were losing weight super-quickly, but most likely you won’t, at least not as much as you’d like. But you can help that process along. Don’t worry about eating less, but just eat better. Cut down on the sweets, the junk food, the (if you do it) alcohol. Eat more vegetables and fruits. If you eat meat, try to stick to the leaner ones and have less fat. One nice trick is to avoid eating carbs (that’s breads, potatoes, rice, etc.) after a certain hour in the evening. Carbs create quick energy, so if you have them before sleep, they just turn to fat.
And here’s my biggest trick for this, Dog Lover 101: Don’t Tell Anyone At School You’re Doing This! If you can do it over a few months during a school break, that’s best, but even if not, just put an hour of your day into exercise while you eat better, and you will CHANGE.
When Handsome was in high school, a boy he knew did this. He wasn’t bad in sports like Handsome, but he wasn’t super-exceptional. And one summer, he devoted himself to bodybuilding. When he came back at the start of the next year, he had arms about as thick as his thighs! He looked amazing. And from then on, that was how everyone thought of him, as the big bodybuilding guy (Later, he even became a policeman. Now I wasn’t anywhere near born yet, but I’m guessing he never needed to pull a gun or a club on anyone, because once they saw those triceps they surrendered immediately!).
Now did that guy, the one who later became a cop, suddenly do great in PE? I have no idea. It didn’t matter – everyone thought of him differently. And this is what I wish for you. Change your body, and you’ll change your school identity.
And if you’re still not the skinniest one there, or the best athlete, or the strongest, or the whatever-est, it won’t matter. You will have taken the view that others have of you today, and changed it. And from then on, you will have more control of their opinions than you’ve ever had.
Prejudice, of any sort, is ruined by someone proving it wrong. All the racists in the United States (and we sadly have many) can never again argue that a black man can’t be President. And everyone who says they “know” about you will never be able to again once you prove you can be something else.
And most importantly, YOU will never again be able to argue that you aren’t amazing and wonderful. Once you prove that you are.
So go for that run. Do a crazy dance. Jump in that pool. And do it for yourself, with no competition with anything but your past.
My friend, your new life is just beginning.