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Back in the day when I was young enough to be thrown into the tub with several other girls my age and get scrubbed down by the resident mom, I remember feeling ashamed of my body.

There was a girl named Laura Marrow. She was tiny, blond, and extremely pretty. I saw her, sitting next to me in the tub, and I started to cry. I jumped out of the water, grabbed a towel, and sat in the corner between the door and the sink. I refused to come out and get cleaned up until everyone else left.

No one understood what I was doing. I couldn't speak my thoughts aloud and be laughed at. I was a chubby kid. The fifth graders at school always compared me with my friends, Tara and Nicole, at our assigned lunch table in the cafeteria. They wondered aloud to themselves - quite loudly, in fact - how someone like me could have skinny friends. They were the older popular girls, the ones who already had steady boyfriends and shaved their legs and curled their hair every morning. At that point in time, my life was absolutely miserable. I stopped eating lunch.

I had to see a counselor before I was eight years old.

In seventh grade, we had swimming lessons. Everyone had to change into her suit in the same room. I huddled behind my towel, waiting for everyone to leave before changing. When I finally worked up the courage to step out onto the pool deck, I remember Anne telling me I looked fat.

If only these people knew the impact their words had on my life. The months spent in hospital beds, the endless doctors and IVs and nurses poking me with needles. The scales, never-ending trays of food, dietitians, the mirror. But in the end, I can only blame myself.

They still got the last laugh.

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