Taking Back My High School Reunion

It’s nothing against my fellow classmates. I was simply trying to hide.
High School Graduation 2005
High School Graduation 2005

It’s something I’ve literally avoided for years. I’ve visited my home town several times since graduating. I’ve even driven by my old high school. But running into the people who used to walk those halls has been a fear of mine since I’ve gotten in settled in college. It’s nothing against my fellow classmates. I was simply trying to hide. I didn’t want them to know what I’d become since they last laid eyes on me. See, I didn’t just gain 20 or 50 pounds like most who grow out of their teenage bodies. It was more like a whopping 80 pounds. Talk about a shocker to anyone who hasn’t seen you in a while.

Looking back now, I had a beautiful body during my high school years. I’ve always been curvy, big boobs, butt and a rounded tummy, but I was thin. Unfortunately, Kim Kardashian hadn’t made her booty an icon yet, so I was seen as (I was literally called this by a “friend” in high school) plump.

The thing was, I wasn’t plump. Boy, if I had the body that I thought was “fat” back then, I’d be dropping jaws left and right. But to the teenage eye, curvy wasn’t in. I remember always feeling so inadequate. I never was asked out on dates. In fact, I remember quite vividly when one of the more popular boys in school said I had fat arms and I should work out more. With junk like that filtering into my brain, it becomes easy to imagine where the roots of my poor body image began to grow.

New Braunfels High School Dance Photo
New Braunfels High School Dance Photo

Last year was my 10-year high school reunion. You couldn’t have paid me to go. There was no way I was going to walk in and basically say, “You were right, I shot up from a size 10 to a size 18.”

Before I started this blog, I was ashamed. Ashamed of my weight and who I was. Ashamed of what I let myself slip into. But things have changed over the past few months. I’m seeing things more clearly, like the blinders have been taken off of my eyes. They were wrong about me and, more importantly, I was wrong about me. I have nothing to be ashamed of. I’m beautiful, and I’m curvy. Yeah, I have still have my pregnancy weight, but I have a daughter I wouldn’t trade for the world. I’m fashionable, and I live an immensely blessed life. And that’s just the stuff you see on the outside. It doesn’t even touch beneath the skin. When I think about it, I can’t believe I let something so petty keep me away from living life to the fullest.

Maybe it’s that I’ve grown up in the past 10 years. Maybe my mind is renewed, but when I got the invitation to go to a high school friend’s baby shower, this time I obliged. Of course, there ran the risk of several alumni showing up, but I didn’t care anymore. Sure, I hyperventilated a little before I knocked on the door, but I took a deep breath and went through with it. And you know what? It wasn’t that bad. In fact, there were only two people from high school there. Baby steps, right?

So when my 20-year high school reunion comes around, I’m going. I hope by that time, I’ll fully love my body, no matter what shape it’s in. But even if I don’t, it won’t matter, because I’m more than just a body and what people decide to think of me.

Jillian Pedersen is a plus-sized mom from Austin, Texas. She is the creator of Thighs and Lows Blog and Thighs and Lows Blog Facebook group, an online community that encourages and empowers women of every size to appreciate who they are right now. Jillian is an advocate for the body positive movement.