Katheryne Spencer

I’ve been on the heavy side for as long as I can remember. I didn’t mind it when I was little and neither did the other little kids in my pre-schools or kindergarten class, or first grade class because what little kid focuses on another kids appearance? For the first six years of my life I lived in a small town where all the kids went to the same school from elementary to high school. I was a happy, carefree kid that had many friends and loved meeting new people. I never met a cruel person when I lived there. But that changed when I moved to the city. Going from a small town to a big city was a huge cultural shock. The kids at my new school weren’t as welcoming like the ones at my old school. I didn’t transfer in the middle of the year, I finished first grade at my old school so I had a fresh start the new school year. My second grade teacher was really nice and welcoming but the students, they were more standoffish than anything. I didn’t understand why I played by myself during recess when the other kids played with each other. Even at a young age, they had their own groups that carried over from first grade and younger.

I didn’t make my first friend until the next year in third grade. We were seated next to each other since our last names were next to each other in the class list. Hers being Saeed and mine being Spencer. She was (still is) an excellent drawer at a young age. We first started talking when I complimented her drawing and she offered to teach me how to draw the same character. After that we were (still are) attached at the hip.

The depression didn’t set in until I got into middle school. It’s been my dream to attend this all girl private school so I took the entrance exam and got accepted. My parents couldn’t afford it, but since I was the baby of the family, they somehow made it happen.

It was just like second grade all over again except this time it was a bit worse. The girls came from rich, white, suburban families and I came from a middle class, inner city family. That kind of created distance between me and the other girls, not to mention the girls grew up with each or went to the same elementary school and back then I was a tomboy and was all into skater shoes while they were into skirts and dresses.I never heard anything rude, but I saw the judgmental stares and how they excluded me a lot. The only thing positive about this year was that my niece was born.

Middle school was when I started to self-harm. I always wore long sleeves or a hoodie to hide the cuts. At the end of the year, my parents have transferred me to a public school that my older sister attended. At that school I heard the insults. The “fat ass”, the “how are you and Brandi related? She’s pretty, you’re not”. I heard it all. The self-harm got worse, but I did make one friend.

Middle school soon became high school and in ninth grade my older sister found out about my self-harming. She told my parents and we sat down and had a talk. There was a lot of crying. After ninth grade I started to focus more on making myself happy, I made more friends and a drift happened between me and my first friend. I believe she didn’t like the idea of me being happy or making new friends, but then again she did have separation issues. She later became clingy, texting my sister or mom to find out where I was or what I was doing. We slowly became distant.

Our friendship was strained, but we still manage to hang out and talk with each other. That was until our junior year that she got a boyfriend. In our junior year, our friendship was only being held together by dental floss. One wrong move and that would end it. I was happy that she found someone and was happy because she deserved it, but our conversations soon became one sided where I had to send multiple messages just for her to send a one word reply. Her boyfriend later inboxed me and told me to stop talking to her. I didn’t listen and kept talking to her.

It wasn’t until the middle of our junior year where our friendship fell apart because of him. He started a fight on Twitter, where I immaturely fought back. He somehow got my friend on his side and she basically told me to never talk to her again. So that’s what I did. I left her and her boyfriend alone and grew closer to my other friends.

I never talked to or about them, but her boyfriend seem to make it his sole purpose to always start trouble with me and it was always over Twitter. Our last fight, he told me to kill myself. But I clearly didn’t listen because I wouldn’t have written this if I did. That didn’t bother me as much as the fact that she told him basically everything I told her. That hurt because I never told anyone any of hers.

But now, I’m happier. Her boyfriend now lives in Florida and they aren’t relevant in my life anymore. I no longer care about what people think about me. I’m no longer scared of wearing certain clothing like dresses, skirts, tanks, and shorts. I reconnect with an old friend and life couldn’t be any better. :)

-Katheryne Spencer (Cayuga), age 17, is from Rochester, New York and is passionate about her heritage and empowering Native youth to be proud of who they are.
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