I remember the very first time I became conscious of the way my body looked at certain angles. I was probably about 11 or 12 and sat down to talk to my mom when I looked down at my legs on the chair. I remember looking at them and pausing before I told her that “wow, look at how much fatter my legs are once I sit down!” At the time we both laughed about it because that’s such a funny little phrase for a 5th grader to say, but in reality, how horrible is that? From the youngest age we’re trained to look at our bodies as blobs of imperfection, but each of us is actually an individual miracle.
As most of you know I ran track and cross country in high school. We had practices everyday after school so we would all just change in the bathrooms before we started. We would all change in the open space in front of the stalls because the bathroom was so crowded and the giant mirror above the sinks reflected each person’s imperfections. I can’t even count how many times I would hear “Ugh my body…!” “Ew I look…!” “Do you see how fat/gross/ugly I am?” And how could I forget, one of the most hurtful insults I’ve ever gotten: “Elizabeth you don’t understand, you’re already skinny, it’s not fair.” Yes, I may be a size two, but it doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with what I look like. When you’re a size two you don’t have big boobs and the slightest pouch in your stomach is multiplies in a tight dress. Sometimes I feel like I’m awkwardly tall or that my nose is too big for my face or that one of my little squinty eyes is smaller than the other. My point? I can’t help that I was born and blessed with the bone structure that I have. As a size 2 I struggle just as much as a size 10, we both just struggle in different ways. I can’t even begin to describe how irritated I get when people tell me that I don’t understand how to feel. It bothers me even more when they try to tell me it’s my fault that I don’t have the same body structure as everyone else. Even though you may not notice it, telling someone that you “hate them because they’re skinny” is just as offensive as telling someone you think they look fat. Many people don’t realize it, but even though I was blessed with my body, I work to keep it the way that I received it. Everyday I either run 4 to 5 miles or do an ab workout, and that’s not always the easiest. It makes it even worse when I get online just to see a new video promoting the “healthy” image. I may be skinny, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not healthy. It’s so irritating to hear. A lot of people need to stop promoting what they think is beautiful, and just work on accepting all types of bodies. God created us each in His image, so each of us is modeled after perfection, He has done no wrong.
I guess I just wanted to post this so everyone who has ever said any of these things in the past knows how offensive they can actually be. Growing up with nicknames along the lines of Twiggy Bird, Stick, or Slim hasn’t ever been fun and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone else. Be mindful of your words, they may not reshape someone figure, but they reshape how they view it.