Overweight (part 1)

You can’t do it. It’s impossible. You will not be able to do any of that.

Impossible. Impossible. Impossible.

I sit on the bed at the doctor’s office.

“She’s overweight,” the doctor tells my mother.

I look at her, but she does not face me. I go to a medical high school. We learned how even children can respond to doctors and that doctors should address children. We learned that teenagers want privacy. We learned we could speak for ourselves.

I’m seventeen.

Why isn’t she speaking to me?

“Oh,” my mom says though she knows that’s been what the doctors say about me since I was in third grade.

“She’s right here – 167. She needs to be at 120. So… about 50 pounds overweight.”

“Oh,” my mom says as she nods her head.

It’s at that moment that I know my mom isn’t listening. She can’t hear very well, and for anything that she doesn’t really understand, she’ll begin nodding her head or saying yes over and over again.

“So,” the doctor says as she looks at me with a smile.

I smile back. It’s common courtesy.

She turns back to my mom and makes small talk while she hands me a paper about nutrition and diet.

It’s funny. People think you can educate and teach and dictate what someone should do or say, but not everyone follows that advice.

The doctor leaves for a moment. My mom turns to me.

“What did she say?” she asks.

“I wasn’t paying attention,” I say. My mind is filled to the brim with thoughts about the world.

My mom scoffs and looks at the paper.

“What did she give you?”

“Food and health and nutrition stuff,” I say.

“Mm-hmm,” my mom nods her head.

Impossible. When you grow older, you grow more horizontally than vertically.

My father’s words.

It’s hard. You’re getting overweight. You need to lose some weight.

It’s hard. Impossible. You’re not growing taller anymore.

Impossible. Impossible. Impossible.

In sixth grade, I weighed 149 pounds. I maybe grew a half-inch or so. But that’s it. That’s all. In sophomore year, my weight started increasing.

Too much food. Too little time. No exercise.

I flip the pencil around in my hand, a blank sheet of notebook paper in front of me.


“I’ll prove you wrong,” I whisper in a fake conversation to my dad. “I’ll prove the world wrong. Because anything is possible.”


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