He sits alone in his room. In bitter anguish, he recalls their most recent exploits and rues the day he was born. The agonizing banter of their scorn resounds as he curls into a fetal position that he cannot complete due to his over-sized belly.
There is a comfort to be gained by such a disappearing act. Silently, he cries. The tears are inherently a private manifestation of his sadness, and a reminder of his most solemn vow; Never again will they see him cry. They can call him names and laugh at him, but he has learned to laugh with them. He was only 10 years old when he realized that his tears invited heightened onslaughts of verbal attacks, producing multiplied cycles of torment… a personal assignment each tear. He soon realized a sense of power over them as he denied them his tears, restricting their amusement by the sheer act of forced laughter.
Finally, he succumbs to slumber as he prays that tomorrow would not come; That he could escape the morning, because he would gladly trade his very breath to escape the school bell as it ushers in another day. The days of his life have become veiled by despair, and like his own viability, seem nonexistent and void of worth. His memory is absent of joy and happiness as he tries to recollect a smile of pride from anyone that he knows, but he cannot.
He is acutely aware of the fact that he is fat; He has been overweight for as long as he can remember. He had been to several doctors, hoping to finding something…anything to blame, but his prognosis was “the speech” and a diet plan. Every failed effort to circumvent the obvious was met with the cold, hard, truth; His shame and utter blame for this condition. He was fat, and he knew it! Why did the kids at school feel so compelled to remind him with their sneering and name calling?
Was anybody aware of the fact that he could draw? Not even a teacher, from this present year or past, had ever commented on his artwork. He painstakingly drew with such detail, that the final picture became a remarkable resemblance of it’s subject. He drew people. He drew children with bruises, mothers that frowned, and people with empty stares. These were the people by whom he offered a glimpse of awareness of their plight and bitter familiarity of the wounds within the deepest of hearts.
He wondered if anybody knew that he collected baseball cards. For years, he had managed a portfolio which aspired appreciation across the internet. His online profile failed to reveal the real person at the keyboard, which worked to his advantage because online…he was sharp and savvy and popular. He enjoyed trading online and became a worthy contender as his collection could attest.
The one thing that was sure to become common knowledge was the fact that he loved to eat. He consumed food like an alcoholic consumes liquor. He failed to realize that the compulsion was like using a band-aid on a slit throat. Eating became a subconscious attempt to deaden his pain; Pain, so profound…he feared pondering it.
His life had become despondent. A dismal fear, held dear, with such an entangled embrace that he no longer had the fortitude to endure. With the decision made and the method researched, his only regret was that he resented rewarding his classmates their ultimate trophy, the last laugh. Be so as it may, on the eve of his fifteenth birthday, he ended his life.
The heartaches of the wounded children of no regard are unbearable, and it is the responsibility of every parent and teacher to teach their children to be kind to others. At every level of diversity, be it race, creed, gender, and yes, obesity, is the opportunity to expand one’s awareness of others, rewarding one another fulfillment. It is sad that bullying has become so prevalent. The effect of abusive words are such that the cause is lost in a society that has forgotten that charity begins at home. Are we the resulting factor of a generation that has no basic moral standards? Have the baby-boomers been so caught up in themselves that they failed to include “Manners 101” in the rearing of the masses?
As a society, we must commit to re-establish lines that are not to be crossed. Children need to be taught the basic, human behavior which so necessitates kindness, one to another. The result of casual name calling and harmful language is futile; It resembles no good thing. More often than not, the child who bullies has his own identity issues as he seeks empowerment by exploiting the uniqueness of others and, quite frankly, is the lesser of the two and a victim, as well.
I marvel at the rhetoric pertaining to this crisis, yet according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we find that obesity has nearly tripled since 1980 with 17% of our young people from ages 2-19 are clinically obese. The effect that they experience prematurely range from cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure, impaired glucose intolerance/Type II diabetes, pulmonary malfunctions, joint pain, fatty liver, gallstones, esophageal re-flux, and the psychological effects are tremendous. Prevalent social and pathological disorders are associated within the realm of obese children. Suicidal Ideation has become a notable trend among our youth. A staggering 63% of the children who are bullied are also overweight.