"Dying to be Beautiful"
Juana la Cliker-Rooster
Disclaimer: I do not own Transformers, nor am I affiliated with Hasbro or Cartoon Network in any way.
Hey all! So this story I thought up real quick while reading an article about obesity (one of my real world obsessions) on msn articles. Here's the link to the article if anyone is interested enough to want to read it: articles.moneycentral./Insurance/Advice/WhatIfNoOneWereFat.aspx?page2 It's titled "What if No One were Fat? On msn money. I did not write the article, nor am I affiliated with the website in any way. I just think it's important to share information with the world.
This takes place in Sari's future as a teenager.
"Nnnngh…" She growled at herself as she stood before the mirror, examining her figure for the umpteenth time that day. She had grown; she was no longer the little eight-year old she had been. She was seventeen, interested in boys, blowing money at the mall, going to concerts and sneaking out of the tower at one in the morning with friends. More than once Captain Fanzone had brought her home at three in the morning to her upset, worried father.
A horn beeped outside, and her attention turned immediately toward the sound. She grabbed her purse and ran out, calling to her Tutor-bot that she was going out with her human friends. Her father watched her leave sadly, then dialed a number into his phone and waited.
Sari was a big girl now. She continued to spend lots of time with her Autobot friends, who had been asked by the city of Detroit to remain on the planet as Protectors of the Peace. They had aged not even a year in their own measure of time, which meant she and Bumblebee were teenagers together. They had their fun driving everyone insane, going way too fast on the highway and seeing outdoor movies together. Bumblebee had even been there for Sari's 'first-time', although he hadn't understood what was happening inside his vehicle mode.
But despite her great displays of self-confidence and happiness, she felt awful inside. She hated her body more than anything, and she did everything she could to prevent herself from gaining even a few ounces. She had been a tiny child, and grew to be a tiny young lady. She refused food at home, telling her father that she had already eaten, or was planning to go out for dinner with her friends or whoever was her current boyfriend. He never believed her, and although he said nothing to her, he did have a good mind to ask for help from her closest friends.
"Anor-whatia?" Ratchet asked gruffly as he cocked his head to the side outside Sumdac Tower, "what the frag kinda word is that?" Prowl elbowed him, and then leaned down to look closer at Professor Sumdac.
"Could you please explain what it is? We've never heard of it, Professor." The human nodded and answered,
"It is called 'anorexia'. It is a mental disease that is most common in young girls, such as my daughter. It is where one refuses to eat food, or eats tiny, tiny amounts of food to prevent them from gaining weight. Sari has been showing signs of having the disease, and I am not sure if she will listen to me if I say anything to her."
"But you're her creator," protested Bulkhead, "you should talk to her." Sumdac shrugged and answered,
"Human children do not listen to their parents. They have a better chance of listening if their friends start first. If I asked her, she would run away. She won't run from you, however. If you could do this for me…for her, I would be forever grateful."
"Well," said Optimus, unsure of whether or not it was their place to step into such a delicate matter, "if we do this, will you promise to talk to her yourself?"
"Of course, Optimus Prime. Of course I will. She just needs to know that her friends are concerned before I can step in. That is the way of the teenager."
"…All right. We'll let you know what happened, professor. And thank you for alerting us on the matter. We'll do our best to help Sari."
"Thank you," said Sumdac, relieved and hopeful, "Please, do not let her hurt herself. Young people have died because of the disease. I do not wish to lose my Sari so soon. It is every parent's nightmare to lay their child to rest for eternity."
"Don't worry, Professor," said Prowl, "We'll help her."
"Thank you." He bowed his head in thanks to them before returning to his work. The Autobots retuned to their base, each pondering the dilemma and how to approach Sari about it.
"Are we gonna do some kinda intervention?" asked Ratchet back in their base. Bulkhead shook his head.
"No. She'd be so embarrassed. Or she'd get really mad and run off. We can't do that to her."
"I agree with Bulkhead," chimed in Prowl, "Sari would be hurt and humiliated if we were to confront her about her illness as a group. She would most likely refuse to open up and discuss it with us. Perhaps one of us could go to her first and talk to her? Bumblebee? What do you think?"
"I…I don't know. I just…I don't know. She's not gonna die, is she?" Grief was clearly written all over his face. He was scared for his best friend.
"She won't die, kid," answered Ratchet, "we'll take care of her. Now, on to business. Does anyone wanna volunteer to be the one to talk to her first?"
There was an uncomfortable silence in the room. Bulkhead looked down and shuffled his feet.
"I don't think I'd be very good at it," he admitted honestly, "I might hurt her feelings. Plus, I'm a big guy. She won't want to listen to me."
Ratchet shook his head and crossed his arms.
"I'd probably make her mad," he said, "she and I still don't get along that well. I think I'm more of a grandfather to her than a friend."
"I don't even know where to begin helping her," stated Optimus, "I've never heard or seen anything about this before."
Bumblebee was silent. He dropped to his knees and worked very hard at keeping himself from leaking optic fluid. It was obvious he was not a good candidate. That left only Prowl. He looked at his teammates, then sighed.
"Very well. I will talk to her. When she comes over later tonight, I want everyone out. If she and I talk, we will be better off talking alone. Go out for patrol or something like that. We don't want to risk pushing her away from us." Optimus nodded.
"Good plan. She'll probably come over around eight or nine, as she often does. Around that time, before she arrives, we'll leave."
"Good," answered Prowl, "I am going to go read up on this disease for a better understanding of what we're dealing with here." He looked down at Bumblebee, who was still trying to keep himself from leaking optic fluid, kneeled down and patted him on the back.
"Don't worry, Bumblebee. Sari will be all right. We'll take care of her, the same way we cared for her when her father went missing." Bumblebee clicked sadly in reply, then returned to his feet and said,
"I need to be alone."
"All right. Are you going to be okay?"
"Yeah. I just wanna think for a while. That's all."
"Very well. Don't worry, she'll be fine." Bumblebee walked off, leaving the older Autobots to talk amongst themselves. Prowl left as well to find information on the disease. No one was expecting this to be easy in any way.
Later that night, around eight, Optimus, Bulkhead, Ratchet and a very sullen Bumblebee took off, leaving Prowl alone in the base to confront Sari about her illness. He waited silently in the social room, television turned off, lights turned on and a few pillows from her old room during her time there on the couch. If she wanted to cry and scream into them, she would have the option to do so.
Eight-thirty rolled around, as did nine o'clock. Still no sign of Sari. Nine thirty came and went, until ten o'clock hit, and the sound of heels hitting concrete echoed into the room. Prowl turned to see her enter the base, wearing a huge smile. Now that he was aware of it, she did look thinner than ever. She looked almost like a twig. She could have snapped in half at any time. The image of her body snapping sent a shiver through his circuits.
"Hey, Prowl!" she called, 'What's up? I just saw the coolest movie EVER! Where's everyone? I gotta tell them about it!" Prowl off-lined his optics for a moment and sighed mentally, preparing himself for the inevitable. He hated to take away her current happiness, but this needed to happen. He on-lined his optics again and answered,
"They're not here, Sari. They're all on patrol."
"Oh," she said, "Okay! Then I can tell you about the movie!" She ran over to him and jumped on the couch next to him, landing on her knees and staring into his face. She was being very silly tonight, and it was going to break her heart to have to be brought back to reality so soon.
"Sari," he began, somewhat nervous, "I'd like to talk to you."
"What about?" she asked, bouncing on the couch.
"About you." She stopped bouncing. She gave him a dark look.
"Why? What'd I do?" Her face suddenly lit up. "Do you have a crush on me, you silly ninja?"
"Sari, take a deep breath, all right? I want you to be comfortable. Can you do that for me? I do not have a 'crush' on you. Are you comfortable?" She nodded. "Good. Sari, I want to talk to you about something…serious. Something very serious and I need you to be very honest with me. Can you promise me something?"
"Like what?" she asked suspiciously. Prowl answered,
"Promise me you won't run off."
"Sari," he said firmly. She rolled her eyes and said,
"Yeah, fine. Whatever. Now what is it?" Well, he thought, here goes….
"Sari, how do you feel about yourself? Do you like yourself?"
"Well, duh," she answered rudely, "I'm the coolest girl in Detroit. Everyone likes me. I hang out with the Autobots. How awesome is that?"
"This is about you, not everyone else. Now, be honest, do you like yourself? How do you feel about your body?" She eyed him oddly, and then sudden understanding dawned on her face.
"Don't you dare," she growled viciously, "Don't you fucking dare. Leave me alone." Her sudden change frightened him—the only other time he and the others had seen her like this was when she hit puberty and began to deal with what she called 'girl business'.
"Sari," he continued, "you've been losing a lot of weight. You're not eating, am I correct?"
"Fuck you," she spat. She was shaking—never before had she spoken to him, or any of the Autobots like this. She hated it. She got up to walk away, but Prowl gently grabbed her arm and pulled her back down. She hit his chassis, but he barely felt it. She had managed to only hurt her own hand. Sighing, Prowl held her arm firmly but gently and asked her,
"What's going on? Please tell me. We're all worried about you."
"I don't care," she yelled, "Just leave me alone! I don't wanna talk about it!" She tried in vain to pull her arm out of his grip, but it was to no avail. Defeated, she dropped back down onto the couch and began to sob.
"Just leave me alone, you bastard. I'm fine!" She grabbed one of the pillows with her free hand and sobbed loudly into it, and Prowl waited patiently. After several minutes of watching her cry, he pulled her against him and held her gently.
"Please tell me what's the matter," he said softly as he rocked back and forth, "Tell me why you're hurting yourself this way. You're a beautiful young lady, there's no need for you to starve yourself. Did something happen? Did someone say something awful to you?"
At first, there was no response. She was silent, struggling every few seconds to break free from him, but he held her without even trying. She gazed at the floor sadly, angrily, scared…hopeful.
"S-some guy at school," she whispered, just barely audible.
"What did he say?" Prowl asked gently. Sari answered,
"I asked him out. He said he didn't date fat chicks." Prowl was silent for a moment, processing the awful comment though his CPU. What a terrible thing to say to someone, especially to Sari! He rubbed her back and said,
"There's a human word for boys like him," he said. Sari sniffed and asked,
"Asshole," he answered. Sari sniffed again and allowed herself a small giggle. She reached around and wrapped her arms around Prowl, happy to have someone to finally talk to about her problem. Prowl responded by asking her when it happened.
"Last month. Just before Prom. I had a crush on him forever, so when he told me he didn't date fat girls, I went to the bathroom and forced myself to puke up whatever I had eaten that day. I hated doing it, because throwing up feels gross. So I decided to stop eating altogether."
"Okay," Prowl said, "I understand. Thank you for telling me this. How do you think we can help you?"
"I'm really hungry," she admitted, "but I'm too scared to eat. I feel like I'm gonna faint. Well, sometimes I don't feel bad. Sometime I don't even notice I'm hungry."
"We'll help you start eating again. If you want, we can look at healthier foods rather than the junk food you used to eat with your friends. It's okay to eat a lot of food at your age, Sari. I read that teenagers are supposed to eat a lot."
"Yeah," she laughed, "my friends eat all the time. Like, a million times a day."
"Sari, you know you weren't fat to begin with, right?" He had to ask the question; he had to know if she was aware.
"….I know," she said honestly, "I guess what that jerk said just hurt so much that I didn't know what to say."
"And you know that even if you were larger, there's nothing wrong with being bigger?" She was silent for a moment, contemplating the question. She thought about it, but she could only reason that being fat meant being ugly, and being ugly meant being unpopular. Being unpopular meant being hated. She voiced this to Prowl, who listened carefully and thought up a realistic situation.
"Let's take a moment to consider Bulkhead," he said, "He's the largest Autobot here. What do you think of his size?"
"Well," Sari answered, "I don't really mind it. I mean, that's who he is. I like him that way."
"So let's say I told him that I thought he was too big. How do you think he would react?"
"He would be angry with you. And he might wanna make himself small like you so that no one could call him fat again. He would stop…how do you guys eat, anyways?"
"That's not important right now. Let's say he did, however, stop caring for himself and started to avoid 'food' at all costs. What do you think would happen to him?" Sari thought about it, then said,
"He would go…off-line? He wouldn't function properly?" Prowl nodded.
"Sari, what if Bulkhead succeeded and he became small like me? What would you think of him and his self-esteem?" Sari was starting to understand where this conversation was going.
"I would think that he lost himself somewhere along the way. He would let your comment get to him and he would end up only hurting himself in the process. And he wouldn't be Bulkhead anymore. He'd be…he'd be you."
"Exactly," said Prowl, "Bulkhead just wouldn't be the big 'bot we all love. We'd all be upset that we lost him. Now, you don't hate him or think of him as ugly or anything like that because of his size, correct?"
"No, I don't," she answered, "I love him too much."
"Then you believe me when I say that you were never ugly, fat or hated, or any of those other things? That a person is beautiful and wonderful just the way they are? Including the bigger people?" Sari hugged him tighter and allowed herself to cry as she answered shakily,
"Y-yeah…" She sobbed into his chassis and squeezed him tighter. Prowl returned the hug gently and let her cry for as long as she wanted.
It was past midnight when the other Autobots arrived at the base to find a sleeping Sari curled up against Prowl, holding onto him tightly as though letting go would mean certain death. The ninja was on-line, and he acknowledged his teammates with a nod. Optimus opened a link with him and they spoke wordlessly so as to not disturb Sari's sleep.
"How is she?"
"We had a good talk. She told me that she developed the disease after a male at her local learning facility refused her offer for a 'date'. He claimed he did not 'date fat chicks'. His comment hurt her so badly that she thought that avoiding food would make her thin and beautiful. It took a while, but I got her to open up about it. She wants us to help her. I also told her that even if she were bigger, she would still be beautiful. I used Bulkhead as an example, and that seemed to work. This was clearly all about self-image. Humans can be so cruel."
"Yes," answered Optimus, "They are. We saw a couple of younglings attacking another group of younglings. Captain Fanzone had to come down with his force and take them off our hands. I don't understand where the hate and violence comes from, be it verbal or physical."
"Hmm. How's Bumblebee?"
"Still upset. I think he'll be all right when he sees that Sari is okay. He went to his room—he didn't want her to see him so upset. I'm assuming she's asleep and not just closing her op—eyes."
"She cried for a bit, and then just slumped into recha--sleep on me. For the first time, I can't move, but I'd really like to." Optimus nearly laughed out loud, but caught himself and said through the connection,
"Let me help with that." He walked over and kneeled down, lifting Sari in his arms and giving Prowl a chance to move off the couch. Optimus then replaced the sleeping girl on the couch, with Prowl placing a pillow under head and a blanket over her.
Ratchet and Bulkhead stepped forward to look at her. Bulkhead smiled and sent a connection to all three of them:
"She'll always be beautiful, no matter her size."
AW! Yes, I know, another short one. I have eating problems myself, so I figured, since no one really listens when I talk about it, I'll just write about it. And it feels awesome. If any of you guys have an eating disorder, PLEASE get help. It can kill you if you don't take care of it. The Internet has a ton of help, you can anonymously email the Samaritans, you can call hotlines, like 411 and ask for help.
And remember, you are all beautiful!