I have been sitting on this post for months now, unsure if I should ever hit publish. I’m getting pretty personal today, but I decided I would go ahead and share honestly with you all, so here goes…
I’m a really skinny person. I don’t mean to be, I certainly don’t try to be, I just am. It’s a fact of my life and it’s a something that every one around me feels the need to comment on. We are a skinny-obsessed culture, and it really shows.
People make remarks about how much weight I’ve lost since having kids. Some people say nice things, some people say rude things disguised as compliments and others make innocent comments not realizing that I’m cringing a little inside.
Let me ask you this: How am I supposed to respond when some one says “you are so skinny!” or “you don’t look like you’ve had two kids!”
Do I just say “thanks” and look like a stuck up weight obsessed person? Do I try to laugh it off? Should I try to blame it on living in a 3rd story apartment and having to lug my kids and groceries up 2 flights of stairs multiple times a day? I can’t say “oh, I don’t even try to lose weight” (thought that’s the truth) because then I really look like a jerk…It’s an all around awkward situation that I’m faced with All. The. Time.
I usually just laugh nervously and try to explain that my body did change after having kids… but this usually doesn’t work. People just go on and on about my tinyness and oftentimes their lack of tinyness; and there is just no good way for me to participate in that discussion.
I do weigh less than I did before I got pregnant with my first baby, and the truth is I don’t mean to. I don’t even want to. I have to work hard to keep weight on. It’s not the problem that most women struggle with but it is still a problem for me. Constantly hearing things like “you are so tiny” or “gosh it doesn’t even look like you had a baby” gets old.
I know that most people intend these words as compliments, so I do my best to let them roll off me (though I’m still baffled at what an appropriate response could be).
Honestly though? In my life I’ve face a huge battle with eating “issues”. I’ll never know for sure if I had a clinical eating disorder because I never sought medical help for it, but let’s just say, it was a common thing for me to find myself at 5pm realizing I hadn’t eaten a thing for the entire day. I’m past that now but I still don’t “enjoy” eating the way a normal person would. I still have to remind myself to eat 3 meals a day and I try to drink extra protein shakes between meals to maintain a good body weight. There are a lot of deep rooted reasons that I’ll never be a food-obsessed person (none of them having to do with my own weight) but even when I’m eating decently, I just don’t gain weight.
mostly innocent people make comments about my thinness they have no way of knowing how discouraged I am that none of my pants will stay snug anymore. They have no idea how hard it is for me to remember to eat, or how much I was desperately hoping that I was doing better, that I was gaining weight. They don’t mean any harm, but harm comes anyway.
In the past few months I’ve slowly become okay with the comments that I’m constantly receiving. They don’t usually hurt anymore, I understand why they are said and I don’t let it get to me. But I’m still baffled that, although every one knows that you shouldn’t mention the weight of a plus size girl, people seem to think that a skinny girl’s weight is fair game to loudly and publicly discuss.
So, I thought it might be helpful to know: telling some one she’s “so skinny” is not always the compliment that you intend it to be. Sometimes, that skinny girl is trying to gain weight and it can be discouraging to her because it’s like you’re telling her she’s failing.
Maybe instead of commenting on a girl’s size (regardless if she is skinny, average or plus size) we could all just start commenting on her beauty, or even better, her character.
“you are such a kind friend”
“you look great today”
“I love that top”
“you speak with such wisdom”
“that’s a really flattering color on you”
“I love your smile”
“I value your input”
Using phrases like the ones above, that truly compliment the person instead of inwardly comparing them to yourself/others in the room and causing them to feel awkward.
I’m all for being healthy and even for having a health body weight, but can we please stop objectifying skinny people? I am more than my skinnyness and for that matter, skinny doesn’t always equal healthy.
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