I am a thin person. I have always been. There were times I was not as thin as I am now, I carried a few more pounds, yet I always was considered thin in what I guess you would consider the public’s opinion (or more correctly said, the media’s opinion). I hear a lot about curves this, and curves that, and those memes on being more shapely: ‘this is my body, if you think it’s too big then you can’t handle it.’ Etc., Etc. Megan Trainors’ lyrics: ‘I’m bringin’ booty back, go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that. No, I’m just playin’ I know you think you’re fat.’ Seriously, when did we start pitting thin against thick? Are we not supposed to support each other as women through the THICK AND THIN? Can we not see we are all UNIQUELY beautiful?
I understand the bigger girl dilemma, I truly do, I have many beautiful ‘larger’ friends who are some of my most nearest and dearest friends. I find them absolutely beautiful in many ways, inside and out. I never thought weight made a person beautiful. I always felt it to be true, that it is, what is on the inside that matters most in another person. It really does not matter how your body is shaped, if someone is ugly on the inside they will always be ugly on the outside, if someone is beautiful on the inside it will always shine through. More importantly- when it comes down to YOUR body (now take a moment and just FORGET about everyone else’s)- YOU have got to love it for yourself, and no one else, that is what will make YOU feel the most beautiful.
The first time I was called skinny was middle school. Yes those horrible years we all wish we could wash clean from our bad 90s haircuts. I was always a twig growing up. My parents often still tell me, “You RAN everywhere! You just ran and ran and ran and ran. We were just glad you had your sister and brother because we couldn’t keep up!” This always makes me laugh. It is definitely true. I loved being outside, playing in the woods, climbing trees and building tree forts, running through fields and picking wildflowers, biking and roller skating up and down our long country road…and the list goes on and on with my running feet. Most of all I was that little runner my parents remember me as, and it always felt good to feel the earth at my shoes or bare feet and the wind in my hair.
Now back to that first time, it was the first day of gym class (once again remember this is back in middle school), all the girls and boys were sent to their respective locker room to change. I was just throwing off my shirt when a few girls start staring and talking about me: “You are so skinny!” “I can see your ribs!” “Do you even eat?” I had never been critiqued like that, and it hurt. The remarks made me uncomfortable, I began to question my body: Was being thin a bad thing? Why did the other girls have curves where I wanted them? Was something wrong with me? After that first day, I then began to change behind the curtains in the locker room, hiding my body away from anyone who might look my way.
On top of being a size double-zero, tiny- teenybopper going through hormonal hell, I was also awkward, clumsy, and what most boys told me ‘annoying.’ What was going on? Obviously, middle school was going on. I was too skinny for the girls, too annoying for the boys, and it was all too harsh for me. I stopped talking and I started getting in my head. I got depressed. I felt as though I did not fit ‘the norm’ mold. Worst of all I felt misunderstood.
I have never been one to feel sorry for myself, so instead of wallowing in self-pity and self-doubt I took action. I began to look inside of myself. I began to write in my journal more often about how I felt and wanted to feel, most of all listing the positive traits of myself and what I loved about me. I discovered self-help books about self-love, and began to read and read and read. Oh and you know what else? I started to eat more, A LOT more…and every size I went up I celebrated! I was filling in, in all the right places.
I held the weight through college, a personally staggering 140lbs at 5’8” and I was not longer called skinny, yet I was still considered thin. Boys began to call me beautiful. I started to wear makeup, I always liked dresses, and I was a natural beauty. I saw myself still as that awkward middle schooler, who was shy around boys and afraid girls would not like me for the body I wore. Yet, as I learned from one of my college psych classes, ‘when a girl looks in a mirror, no matter their age, their self-image stays primarily that of the image they saw of themselves at age 13 (MIDDLE SCHOOL AGE! Coincidence? I think not.).’ Which makes one think: is that how traumatizing middle school is? Hahaha. Honestly this fact made me realize what image I was seeing myself. I made up my mind, I was not going to look at myself as that 13 year old anymore, I was no longer on those stomping grounds anymore and I refused to stomp on myself. There was so much more to me than what was on the outside…on the inside I had a huge heart, I loved people! People loved me! I was smart, funny, and fun to be around. I began to love myself, which was the best thing I had ever done for me, and it felt good…wait it felt great…wait, wait for it, it felt AMAZING!
Today, I weigh about 20 pounds less now than I weighed in college. I blame it on the positive fact that my husband and I quit drinking alcohol over 10 years ago, also I have a beautiful son I RUN around with daily, he is definitely following in my running shoes. I now hear that ‘skinny’ word again sometimes, but it rolls off me, because I now own my own self-image of my body. This is ME. This is MY BODY. If I am happy, and I love myself, no one else’s words can change that. I have some words for those people who like to comment on other peoples bodies, a few words we all learned in kindergarten (and seem to have been lost, for some reason, in middle school): ‘If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.’ Oh and Megan Trainor: Yes I am skinny, and no I do not think I am fat. Plus a small reminder to all the ladies out there: LOVE YOURSELF, because YOU ARE and ALWAYS WILL BE uniquely, beautifully YOU!