Growing up, I was a scrawny kid. I weighed 90 pounds until high school, where I ballooned to an amazing 125.
I was below average in height, at 5’5″, which increased to 5’7″, even though I was never supposed to reach a height of more than 5’2″.
My feet were small enough that it was quite tough to find shoes. Size 7.5 in men’s was tough to come by. And if you had a 27″ waist you were thought to be 6′ or better. If you had a 32″ inseam, then you were expected to weigh at least 200. So I would buy my stuff in the youth section. After a while, I realized that I was the perfect size for how I felt, and would buy what I could in the juniors section. This was not easy in the days of Jordache and others, wanting to embellish every article of clothing. But I managed.
Throughout high school, I became obsessed with trying to gain weight. Perhaps it was the non stop mocking coming from both genders while wearing a “muscle” concert shirt. Perhaps it was trying as best I could to fit in with the jocks in school, knowing that no girl paid any attention to the skinny kid, though I ended up garnering more attention for my breakdancing skills and play performance than I ever thought possible. People thought I was funny. I was quick witted, semi-intelligent, outspoken when pushed and known to be the worst student of math in the history of Yorktown.
Despite my size, I also became known for stepping in the middle of jocks who were picking on the few kids smaller than myself, and even the football coach mistreating a special needs student (telling him he should use Nair so he wouldn’t have to shave his face). I remember telling the student, Dave, not to ever try that and then directing my attention back to the coach and cussing him out in front of his “boys” and the rest of the student body that was by the gym.
I drank my home brewed protein shakes, which were really nothing more than every sugar product you could lay hands on, stirred into milk. I took weight lifting, and ended up with my best bench press of 300 pounds, my best squat at 350. I maintained a record breaking 2″ vertical jump but could fly through the peg climb. And at the end of it all, I still weighed in at 125. It just so happened that the coach from the aforementioned cussing out was my weightlifting teacher. Oddly enough, he didn’t retaliate against that stand. I was sure he would. Perhaps I gained a miniscule amount of respect from him, maybe I just wasn’t worth the effort.
As time progressed, and I knew where my life would end up, not necessarily permanently as I thought I could maintain a part time lifestyle with the woman I loved more deeply than life, I began to love my shortcomings. I was below average height and weight for a guy, but for a girl I was slightly above average in height, which some find awesome, while still being on the short side of models who would tower over me at 6′. I was thin, so that leant itself perfectly as well, since clothing lines are made for those women with no hips, though that is starting to change. At 5’7″ I can easily blend in, or to be taken a bit more notice of, I’ll wear heels.
Everything I hated about myself while growing up is now the perfect fit for who I am becoming. Well, except for that damned voice that dropped overnight in 7th grade. Much better but far from where I want it.