Updated: Oct 7, 2019
Middle school is a terrible place.
It certainly didn’t help that I was nearly as round as I was tall, my chubbiness emphasized by the big blonde mushroom on top of my head. For whatever reason, until I hit puberty my hair color looked as if I had bleached it, combined with that, my affinity for white T-shirts quickly gained me the moniker ‘snowball’ — a gold mine for the bully community of my school.
It only got worse from there, while changing in the locker room they called me ‘Tons of fun’ and would slap my stomach before yelling ‘Ride the waves!’ a concept I am still confused by. At lunchtime It was sport for the prepubescent douchebags of the seventh grade to throw unwanted food at me, bologna, broccoli, and carrots being the main projectiles.
With this constant onslaught, it was difficult to make friends…The potential of friendly fire too great a risk. Being the fat kid sucked, but being the friendless fat kid was even worse.
One day, fresh out of the shower I stared in the mirror determined to change how I was treated. Why was my belly such a problem? How could I get people to stop bullying me? I felt trapped in a persona that I never wanted and I had to find a way out of it.
With a roll of the belly, I laughed, imagining that my belly button was a mouth. With some practicing, a character developed and I decided that I would draw a face on my stomach, with a sharpie. Naturally, the mouth was the belly button and with the addition of a beret, the name had to be — Pierre.
As lunch the next day approached my anxiety rose, I was nervous…but when a particularly large carrot landed beside me I knew it was time.
I jumped up on my table and lifted my shirt.
AHUHUUUHAHAHA. I AM PIERRE, WATCH ME AS I EAT DIS CARROT!
I shoved the carrot in my belly button and jiggled the fat — Pierre certainly looked like he was eating that carrot.
Outside of the locker room, my fat white stomach had never been seen and the looks on my peer’s faces were a priceless combination of impending vomitus and shock.
It was clear, they all believed I had finally snapped. As I fed my belly button the carrot I started to believe that maybe I did lose my mind.
But it was too late to hold back, I continued showing that Pierre also enjoyed smoking carrots. The snicker of the bullies mixed with the roaring laughter of students and eventually I started laughing. It was the first time I had ever laughed with my peers.
Someone tossed me a Cheeto, another a cookie, and as that lunch break continued Pierre ate from every food group that makes up a seventh grader’s lunchbox.
The character that was my fat belly only lasted another month or so before it got old.
I retired Pierre but it was not a sad goodbye because I had formed a small group of friends. With my creation of a glutinous Frenchman living on my stomach, I went from fat loser to school comedian.
Breaking into summer, having survived that first painful year of middle school. I had a greater sense of who I was and it was a destruction of the ego that got me there, I will forever be thankful for the mean spirited kids of the seventh grade.