A journey towards self love

Taylor Nieboer

received_1185139898219628 received_1185139921552959“The biggest part of the bullying was on the middle school bus. It was normally when I was getting on and off that I would be targeted. I tried my best to sit away from my attacker, and for privacy sake we will call her Sally. But Sally would always stay close to the exit. The only time I can remember clearly is when I was getting off to the bus at school, and Sally started to make fun of me again. But it seemed to hurt more than usual because she started to talk about what I looked like and smelled like. I remember this part clearly where someone else, someone I didn’t know, told her to stop. It took someone else to stand up for me to get Sally to stop, but the damage was done, and that’s the day I started to care what I looked liked and smelled like,” Sr. MacKenzie Vesper said.


  Most of her life, Vesper has struggled with her weight. Vesper was bullied for her whole middle school career. Being overweight always lowered her self-confidence and made her self-conscious about what she wore, ate, or did. Vesper always believed she was different than everyone else. To her, it was pretty obvious when all she saw when she looked around seemed to be pretty, stick-thin girls that play sports.


   Last year, Vesper finally decided to do something about her weight. It started off with the “Are you beach ready?” question. Vesper didn’t know if she would be “beach ready” in time for bikini season. Even if Vesper looked good, she wondered if she would still wear a bikini. These thoughts scared her and made her want to change her weight and how she looked. “To be blunt, losing weight became a serious addiction,” Vesper said.

   Losing weight consumed her thoughts; Vesper became aware of every calorie she ate and every pound she lost. Vesper would constantly compare herself to models and other beautiful people on social media. Her struggle with her self-image became so bad that Vesper did research on different ways to get skinny. Vesper started off by running, but the next day when Vesper looked in the mirror, she was not satisfied with what she saw. She would convince herself that because she ran yesterday, she didn’t have to run today. “Working out is hard, it was not something that I enjoyed,” Vesper said.    

  Vesper, hastily looking for a remedy, remembers looking up the possibility of starving herself. While doing research, Vesper saw many different responses to Anorexia Nervosa. There were the people who did starve themselves and guaranteed that it worked great, and that they were “so happy with their body.” Then, there were the people who said that was not the way to lose weight and that in the end you wouldn’t be content with how you looked.

   Vesper ended up going back to just working out and watching what she ate by eating small meals throughout the day. Each and every day was a struggle. “The mental battle you have to deal with in order to get skinny and trying to “fit in” is ridiculous,” Vesper said. There were times when Vesper would “cheat” on her diet and go out to eat or eat a bigger portion than she would usually have, and she would be so upset and angry with herself for giving in so easily.

  As Vesper continued to lose the weight she started to see some differences in herself. Finally fitting into one of her brother’s t-shirts was a turning point, and it certainly made her proud of her progress. Vesper also remembers noticing how she could see her collarbone and could feel her hip bones. She remembers feeling happy because even though she didn’t see a change in the scale, Vesper saw a change in her body.

  Not only did Vesper see changes in herself, she also saw changes in other people – but what she was now noticing wasn’t always positive. She started to notice positive things, such as others who were also losing some weight; however, although she hates to say it, Vesper noticed some people were gaining weight, too. Losing weight gave her so many high expectations, she was now under the assumption that one had to look a certain way that’s seen in body type researches and quizzes and social media.

  Vesper, like many others who have been victims of bullying, had the thought in her head that if she lost the weight she would be treated differently; that she would be popular among her classmates. When Vesper first realized that wasn’t true she got angry and upset because she really thought that if she lost some weight she would be more liked. Vesper remembers when she posted a status on Facebook saying how she lost about 55 pounds, waiting and watching for all of the likes and comments to start pouring in, but they didn’t. Of course Vesper got a lot of likes and encouraging positive comments, but the reaction wasn’t to the degree Vesper was hoping would happen.

  Further into her weight loss journey, Vesper still has her on and off days, but the bad days are not as frequent. Vesper stumbled across a quote that really had a big part in how she mentally felt about her weight loss: “Yesterday’s home run doesn’t win today’s game,” a quote by Babe Ruth.

   Along with this quotes and her friend’s encouragement, she says that drama club and theater played a big part in gaining back that confidence that she felt she lost. Now, Vesper has lost the weight she wished and has come to some big conclusions. No longer does she worry about how she is viewed in the eyes of others; she realizes that she is beautiful in her own eyes. That what society believes to be beautiful is unrealistic and stupid. “West Ottawa is very diverse and we should embrace our uniqueness,” Vesper said.