Do you ever notice how things just kinda show up when you need to read them ( or see them, hear them, whatever)? Today is one of those days and this just happened to show up in my newsfeed:
“Sometimes you gotta keep it real.
When you grow up, you realize that being an adult means confronting truths that are often unpalatable.
For instance: There is no Santa Claus, some people are just poopyheads, and you don’t always get whatever you want.”
… and sometimes people are just people and we just REACT instead of RESPONDING.
Comments can just slip out and you may not realize how they can be construed until it’s too late. The cat’s out of the bag, so to speak.
You didn’t mean anything by it, did you? Of course not. No one wants to deliberately make someone feel ‘less than’ just because of how much bodyfat someone carries around.
I’ve been on the receiving end of being overweight and body-shamed, and I am now on the receiving end of being skinny-shamed.
Body shaming doesn’t care what you look like.
Body shaming comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s not just directed to those with higher body fat percentages, it’s also directed to those with lower percentages, too.
“Why don’t you just eat a cheeseburger and fries already”.
“Do you even eat ____?”
“Hey skinny minnie…”
No one would want to be called something that has a negative connotation, nor do they want to be told eat or not eat foods.
It would never be acceptable for someone to say…
“Why don’t you just eat a salad.”
“Hey, fatty patty…”
Of course not.
I know that if someone walked up to me and said “hey, skinny minnie, how are you”? is not deliberately trying to hurt my feelings… but it did.
Here’s why it bothered me.
For the last four years, I have been dealing with GI issues and if you have ever tried to see a specialist, you will know that appointments are rare due to the doctor’s busy schedule. When you factor in the trial and error involved when you are trying something, seeing if it works, then waiting six months or longer for another appointment to try something new, progress is at a snail’s pace. Currently, I am on an elimination diet because I am reacting to almost everything I eat. My choices are extremely limited and my energy level is a fraction of what it normally is. Needless to say, I have lost weight. I am not happy with how I feel or how I look. Having someone greet me as ‘Skinny minnie’ or another telling me I need to eat a cheeseburger is insulting and hurtful.
I tell you this story because I’m sure that if you knew, you would never make comments like that to someone, no one deliberately wants to upset someone else, right?
We come by it honestly
As a society, we judge people by their appearance, good or bad, it’s what happens.
“Hey Jane, you lost weight, you look good!”
We say it even if it’s not true. Why do we do that? What if she was sick? What if she lost so much weight she no longer looked healthy? What does healthy really look like?
I can be guilty of it too and I try to be very aware of my language but I can inadvertently mess up and upset someone too.
Would you ever hear someone say… “ hey John, you gained few pounds. Be careful, you don’t want to let yourself go. You won’t look good anymore.”
Have you ever wondered or thought about where these thought patterns come from?
Those patterns are ingrained in us from our experiences from the time we are babies. It’s on the TV, magazines, billboards, and we see it at home as we grow.
I know my life growing up shaped my views on ‘normal’ and ‘beautiful’. I remember I was told by my mom that I had ‘shapely’ legs. My sisters were taller than me and they called me ‘fat and ugly’ as a child. I used to associate curves with fat so no matter what I did, I couldn’t get skinny enough.
That started a roller coaster, with my weight and issues with my health, not to mention the bouts of depression and anxiety. Like other young adults, I struggled with eating disorders and self-esteem, wanting desperately to be considered attractive and fit in.
I know firsthand how awful it is to be shamed for your size, how you eat or how you look but unfortunately, those aren’t the only things people can be shamed for.
SKINNY shaming is just a bad as FAT shaming and it’s a REAL thing.
I do my absolute best to ‘walk the walk’ and help people learn to love themselves, take baby steps to improve their health and build their emotional and physical strength. I believe in building people up and not breaking them down.
True BEAUTY and good HEALTH come in all shapes and sizes. It’s OK to have a fat loss goal and a fat gain goal. Hell… you can have whatever kind of goal you can dream up. Don’t ever let your self-worth be wrapped up in a number on the scale or the size of your clothes you are so much more than that.
I wrote this post four years ago and so much has changed. Mostly for the better and all things with good intentions. We have a long way to go.
I can’t and won’t comment on anything other than this… please try to be mindful of how your comments can be construed. If you aren’t sure, something that has helped me is this… Would the comments your child hears make them feel confident and loved no matter how they looked?
Maybe you don’t have a child, so then think about a friend or a family member who’s going through a tough time. A little compassiona and empathy can go such a long way.