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Teen Fiction: Of Dentists and Diets

Hadassi Shachar

One day I looked around the classroom and finally faced reality. That’s when my weight started to bother me.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Photo: Shutterstock

"Ee al o at?” asked Shira with her mouth wide open. I peered inside. What was I looking at again? 

It was ninth grade, and one of my friends was showing me the inside of her mouth during recess. “So the dentist said...” Shira continued with a bunch of jumble I didn’t really understand, then, “basically I’m going to have to go back weekly and get a whole host of treatments for the next two or three years! And the treatments kiiiiiiill!” 

“Oy, poor you!” I said. 

“You must not really get it,” Shira commented at my reaction to her pain. 

“I don’t,” I admitted. “I mean... the last time I went to the dentist was like... two years ago?” I couldn’t actually remember the last time I was at the dentist. 

“So how do you deal with your cavities and stuff?” she asked. 

“Cavities? I’ve never gotten one! I actually don’t really know what a cavity is... uh, what is it?” 

That was the day I realized I’m a rare being. 

I grew up on soda and candy; my parents let us have what we wanted and our pantry was always stocked with sugary cereals, chips, and cookies. I was pretty thin, too, for a person eating that much junk. But eventually it caught up with me. When high school came around, I went through some rough times and it showed on my waistline.

Photo: Shutterstock

I tried eating healthier but it’s hard when you’re the only one in the family trying to do so. Although everyone else in my family was putting on the pounds too, it didn’t seem to bother anyone else. My friends accepted me as I was, and they never shamed me for how much I weighed. I considered myself a bit overweight and was in denial about the fact that I was pretty much the heaviest kid in my class up until a few months ago. One day I looked around the classroom and finally faced reality. That’s when my weight started to bother me. 

But it’s been a while since 9th grade. I now live in a different town and have different friends. I was shopping with my good friend Michal a few months back, at the beginning of 12th grade, and while she was trying desperately to find something that wouldn’t make her look like a stick, I was desperate for something that didn’t make me look like an elephant. I kept asking Michal if something made me look fat and she would answer honestly. 

“Hadassi,” Michal said at some point, “it doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside, what matters is what’s on the inside.” 

“Says the one whom is like an XXS!” I claimed. 

“You know,” Michal said, “it’s hard being an XXS, too. How many times has your mom asked if I’m okay?” Michal asked me as she leafed through another rack of skirts.

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