Designated Ugly Fat Friend

by Naima Elmi 2 years ago in humanity

Growing up with low self-esteem is difficult no matter the reason behind it.

Designated Ugly Fat Friend

D.U.F.F = Designated Ugly Fat Friend

Whether they knew it or not, it was something that I was aware of and the cause of my self-doubt growing up.

Everyone wants to be seen as attractive by the opposite gender when they are teenagers. It must be the feeling of being wanted or accepted, I guess. Throughout secondary school, I kept my head down and tried my best not to draw attention to myself. Boys constantly teased me about my weight and would go as far as to throw things at me. Some classes were worse than others — the ones without my friends, I skipped every week and sat in the girl's toilets.

All my friends were thin and fair, completely opposite to me. As we grew older, they received more positive attention while I continued to miss lessons and starve myself. My self-esteem was extremely low and I often sat in my room after school crying. There were plenty of days that I would binge eat out of anger and other days I would not eat anything due to the same anger. The end of secondary school could not have come any quicker. I was so happy to finally leave such an environment. I know you are probably thinking if it was that bad why not just leave, but I feared change more than I disliked being made fun of.

I was finally going to start a new school and despite all my friends going somewhere else, I was feeling positive. The trip I took that summer to Canada and America was the reason for this newfound optimism. I started at a school a family friend was already attending because I did not want to start somewhere I did not know a soul. I tried a new approach, which was to hide my insecurities with humor. I made the jokes about my appearance before the others even got a chance. This, in its twisted way, built up my self-confidence to speak up and no longer be shy. However, I soon realised that the criticising eyes were always there. One guy in particular that I was interested in would only talk to me when his friends were not around. As the months went on, I would get mixed messages from others and from him. Eventually, I realised it was not worth the effort and decided to forget about it all. It still hurt knowing that someone likes your character but is too embarrassed of you due to your physical appearance. I honestly started to believe that I would never find someone who would accept me for me.

Then came yet another opportunity to start fresh in a new college. This time, I took the I-don't-give-a-shit approach. I did care, though, but people did not need to see the fragile me, the me that is still battling to love herself. This was the new me for the next few years and during university. I had already told myself that if I find a good guy, then that'd be great, but I did not think it would happen. During my second year of university, that all changed when I started talking to this guy from Toronto. We were just friends for a while and at the start I would make jokes about my body type. He told me to stop doing that. Finally, I felt like I did not have to hide myself. I was able to breathe and be me unapologetically. After about a year and a half, that guy from Toronto became my husband alhamduliah.

It's funny how acceptance and self-love pushes you to be the best version of yourself. After about four years, I saw all those guys that used to make fun of me and that one guy who was embarrassed of me at a wedding. I'd be lying if I did not feel fantastic. I was glowing and I knew that my personality matched my appearance. Growing up with low self-esteem is difficult no matter the reason behind it, but it is all part of growth. I have learnt many things about myself, discovered many hidden talents, and most importantly appreciated who I was. Society may have labeled me the designated ugly fat friend but I grew up to be much more than what I look like. That is why the DUFF no longer carries the same meaning.

D.U.F.F = Defined Unique Funny Friend.

How does it work?
Read next: 'Chocolate Kisses'
Naima Elmi

I am a twenty-eight-year-old Londoner. I a mother to my beautiful daughter. I have been writing poetry for over a decade now. My passion is sharing my experiences through words. 

See all posts by Naima Elmi