I was 12 the first time someone called me fat.
My friend Rosalyn lived in a neighborhood along the school bus route, and my group of pals were headed to house after school one day. It was one of my first times riding the school bus. I was always a carpool kid. The process was all new to me, having to listen for our route and bus number and handing over a handwritten permission slip from my parents to the school secretary.
My friends and I plopped down in the back of the bus, and immediately, one of the 8th grade boys starting messing with us. I knew this kid, but never spoke to him or even looked him in the eye before. I was scared of him. He was good looking, smart, and popular, but also a total jerk.
He started picking on one of my friends about the seat she chose, claiming she wasn't cool enough to sit there. He was being really mean to her, and I was furious. I turned around and boldly said "she was there first!". He looked at me, gave me a huge grin, and then said "shut up, Porky".
I wish I could tell you that I turned around and punched the twerp in the face, or that I yelped a badass comeback. Instead, my whole body went numb and I sank into the stinky leather bus seat. Tears began to form in my eyes. I just wanted to disappear.
When we reached our stop, my friends and I shuffled off the bus and began to walk toward Rosalyn's house. I kept my head down as my friends continued chatting, putting the bus incident behind them. But I couldn't move past it. I was still stuck on being called Porky. Was I really THAT fat that the hottest guy in school, who didn't even know my name, would point it out? I didn't think so. I was bigger than my friends, but I never thought I was fat, and certainly didn't feel like a pig. Until that moment.
As we sat on Rosalyn's trampoline, Some brave soul brought up the bus ride. I went silent. Someone else, and I honestly can't remember who, giggled, and said "he called Megan porky!". And my friends laughed. They thought it was funny. Which had to mean it was true. I felt so betrayed. Even if they thought it was funny, couldn't they have pretended like it was God awful? Shouldn't they be defending me and promising me I wasn't fat?
Maybe so, but they didn't. And I can't say I would have acted any differently if someone else had been called Porky. Because as a 12 year old girl the only way you know how to react to things is either to cry or laugh. They chose to laugh.
This wouldn't be the last time someone would call me fat. But it was the first, and as the rhyme goes, the first is the worst.