Too thin! As an small underweight child I was dragged to doctors by my mother who was convinced I was just not a healthy child. God forbid a Latina child who is thin! She was convinced I had anemia, tapeworms or some awful illness that kept me thin. American and Dominican doctors all told her “there is nothing wrong with your child, she has a fast metabolism.” That did not stop my mother from giving me cod-liver oil and forcing me to sit at dinner with an adult portion of food on my plate. I had no problem with eating, just ate until I was full.
At school I was bullied and physically beaten for being thin and small. I dreaded PE classes, I was not picked for teams because I was too thin and too small. I grew up feeling too thin and to small to do anything. Never played a sport.
As an adolescent, I was still bullied and ridiculed, even by my sister. When I was growing up, there was no size zero or one. Only one store called 5•7•9. had sizes 5,7,9. My mother put huge seams in my pants so they would fit. I went to a local drugstore to buy a product called Weight On so I could gain weight. It was an awful banana-flavored liquid you mixed with milk that was supposed to help you gain weight.
Did not work.
I never went to prom. I feel that maybe by then I was so self conscious of being “too thin” it affected me in many ways. I remember going to my first gym when I was 18. It was called “My Fair Lady” and I thought, “wow maybe I can get muscles! My mother said don’t do that you will start looking like a man!”
I went into adulthood again body shamed for being too thin. Today everyone is dying to be thin. Go figure! While at Florida State University Nursing Program, I did fitness-related classes as requirements and was still too thin. Once I started work as a nurse a patient’s husband said to the wife after I left the room, is that skinny kid really your nurse? The wife laughed and said that to be an RN I had to at least be over 18. I was 25 at the time.
In graduate school at the University of Florida one professor watched me like a hawk at lunch. I finally realized she thought I was binging and purging, because I possibly couldn’t eat that much and stay “too thin!” Ha! I ate pastries every morning before lectures, because there was a great bakery on the first floor but still I stayed “too thin.”
I would come home from college and my dad would say, “Wow you are so thin that if you swallowed an olive, you would look pregnant!” Of course I was hurt.
Why are we defined by how we look? I struggled my entire life with being labeled “too thin.” A few years ago at a supposed friend’s party, she said that all of her friends were “concerned that I was “too thin” and must have anorexia issues! Obviously people who really don’t know me and are not “true friends”. Even to this day I hear the talk — to my face and behind my back — about how I am “too thin” and need to gain weight from family and those who I don’t see as true friends.
When does it end?
I decided it ends when I say so! So this is my journey, my story. I found an amazing gym, with an amazing trainer, coach and program. He convinced me that I was not “too thin”, and gave me the confidence to accept my God-given body. Using great nutrition, discipline and exercise I now can say to all those who bullied, body shamed me and ridiculed me, “I am enough and love myself the way I am.”
This is why competing in this NPC show is the scariest thing I have ever done! I wanted to prove to myself that I am not “too thin” for my husband Mark who loves me as I am and I am thankful for the friends and family who know and love me and accept me the way I am.
Editor’s note: Isabelle Trapp lives with her husband Mark in Boca Raton, Florida, and Angel Fire, New Mexico. She says, “I just wanted to share part of my story so those who do know me or think they know me will understand why I competed in the NPC Diamond Classic.
“This applies to anyone who has been bullied. Male or female. Women and young girls are now body shamed for being overweight! When does it end? We should accept and love ourselves and not let other’s opinions cause so much emotional pain.”