To those who think they can make remarks about a skinny person’s weight without hurting their feelings, let me assure you it’s not true.
I’ve had women, on occasion, make remarks about my weight. Most remarks are about how I could stand to put on a few pounds and others have been in response to my own thoughts of wanting to eat better and exercise. In addition to being hurt, I was shocked to realize how narrow minded and ignorant these women must be. It’s as if they can’t fathom the idea of a skinny person having cellulite or loose skin? It makes me feel like I have to convince them I am not anorexic or have distorted thoughts about my body image. In fact, I’m very realistic in relevance to my own appearance. I’ve never had an eating disorder and never thought I was overweight when I wasn’t. In fact, at this very moment, I am too skinny. And this is not my first time. I’ve been underweight a handful of times throughout my life due to illness. My weight has always fluctuated between 90 - 98 lbs. To put things in perspective, I am only 4’11 and 3/4. Occasionally, maybe twice, it’s been below 90 and above 100 lbs. Right now I’m only 88 lbs., and I’m trying my hardest to pack on the weight. I feel healthiest anywhere between 95-97 lbs. With that said, I have a lot of work ahead of me.
SKINNY PEOPLE HAVE FEELINGS TOO
IT TAKES HARD WORK AND EFFORT TO GAIN WEIGHT
I hate to assume, but I’d have to be pretty naive to think there aren’t people out there that are probably thinking something along the lines of “woe is me” or “cry me a river” at what I’ve chosen to title this paragraph as if it weren’t true. Let me remind you, this isn’t a competition. Sure, I don’t know how difficult it is to have to lose weight, but I’d never compare the two, and I most certainly wouldn’t discount anyone’s feelings. I empathize with both the underweight and overweight equally.
So, here it goes. I wake up every day and have to fight with myself to eat. Not only am I not hungry, but most foods, the thought of them and the actual consumption of them, make me nauseous. This is also true for liquids. Drinking is just as difficult for me as it is to eat food. In fact, most drinks, even water, make me either nauseous as well or, worse, give me stomach aches that have me hightailing it to the nearest bathroom. Not a pretty sight, but I can’t paint you a partial picture and expect you to understand. And just when I’m done consuming one meal, It takes at least a couple of hours to talk myself into being hungry, or in the mood, for the next meal. My portions are usually very small and don’t consist of a wide variety of foods. To ensure I am getting the nutrients essential to keep me healthy, I’ve been relying on my multivitamin. It’s a constant battle. And even with my consistent effort, the weight continues to take it’s time showing up on the scale. I can’t understand for the life of me that even when I know I’ve been eating better than the previous month that, instead of gaining, I lost additional weight. I’m dumbfounded and impatient. Then before I know it, I’m frustrated, hopeless, angry, and depressed. What’s worse is that my future is predictable. I’ll wake up tomorrow and have to do it again. From experience, I know it will take, at the very least, months to get back to my target weight.
Now, does this sound easy to you? Fun? Effortless?
BEING SKINNY DOESN’T EQUAL HAPPINESS
I feel like a lot of people think they can make remarks about a skinny person’s weight because they think a skinny person is automatically happy. It’s as if a skinny person wanting to exercise is immediately translated into “I need to exercise to lose weight.” Like I mentioned in my previous paragraph, that’s not the reason I want to exercise. Most of the time, it’s to feel healthy, energetic, build muscle, and to tone the areas that tend to carry more weight than the rest of my body. Even when you are skinny, parts of your body carry more weight than others. Examples of these body parts include your glutes (particularly the lower part of the gluteus muscles that merge into the back of the upper thigh), the back of the upper arm, otherwise known as your triceps, the lower belly, and the sides of the upper thighs. I think now is a good time to recap some of the benefits of exercising. Benefits other than to lose weight may include:
1. maintaining your weight,
2. building muscle (which is essentially weight),
3. increasing your energy,
4. toning up,
5. strengthening your heart with cardio,
6. enhancing flexibility,
7. reducing stress, and
8. improving quality of life.
AND WHAT’S WITH THE DOUBLE STANDARDS?
More importantly, can we rise above them? So society says it’s socially acceptable to be skinny. In fact, skinny usually equates to beautiful. Just look at our current models or the ones that are competing in some of today’s most popular modeling TV series like America’s Next Top Model with Tyra Banks and The Face with Naomi Campbell. Personally, a woman can be as skinny as she wants, but I don’t think that automatically makes her beautiful. In fact, some of the girls on these shows I consider average at most. If I had the chance to have Kate Moss’s body or Marilyn Monroe’s, I would choose, without hesitation, to sport the curves of Marilyn’s full figured frame.
HYPOTHETICAL CIRCUMSTANCE 1
Imagine, as a skinny person myself, I made a remark to an overweight friend that she go to the gym or on a diet. Maybe, at a family gathering, I tell an obese cousin she should skip dessert or the reason she’s sweating so profusely is because she’s carrying all that extra weight and she’s out of shape. Maybe I could be so blunt as to bark at an overweight stranger on the street to move her fat ass so the rest of us can get by. CAN YOU IMAGINE? I shudder to think of the people out there that have the audacity to say things of this nature. I’ve never even used the word “fat” and there I was witnessing this abuse. Haven’t they ever heard of the saying “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” Something tells me they have, they just don’t care! It would be easy and almost justified calling someone who insulted an overweight person a “bitch” or a “bastard." I realize, the profanity wouldn’t be necessary, but as a person witnessing it, I feel like those words would have the most impact! In fact, I’m sure most people would find that defending an overweight or obese stranger would be worthy of appraise, applause, or, at the very least, an admirable act of compassion.
Okay, it’s time for a 180.
ACTUAL EVENTS 1 - 3
Based on my own experiences…
I walk into a store and the sales clerk asks me what size I am to assist me in finding a dress for a special occasion. I say, “zero” and the next thing I know I’m dead on the floor. Well almost. If looks could kill, I would have been. It’s not like I flaunted my size zero waist with spandex or walked in with my bikini on. In fact, I was more than happy looking for clothes on my own. She asked; all I did was answer. The rest of my shopping experience in that store was very unpleasant as the sales clerk brought armfuls of larger sized dresses to my dressing room insisting I try them on and that they would fit. Let’s just say she was a hell bent on letting me know that either I wasn’t a size zero or didn’t look like one. Like, who was I kidding? Apparently I needed to be smacked off my high horse. The one I had no idea I rode in on. I ended up walking out.
At a family BBQ, someone makes a remark along the lines of “good for you; you’re eating dessert!" The implications were many. One, was that I make it a habit to skip dessert. That couldn’t be further from the truth and this person was well aware of that. Two, was that I could use the fat and calories because, obviously, I was too skinny according to them. Lastly, I was afraid that the members of the family that didn’t know me well, as the remark was made publicly, might think of me as shallow and that weight was the only thing on my mind. This made my blood boil. Even if this remark was made from genuine concern and not intended to be hurtful, it still implies that the person thinks I’m too skinny. Have they ever considered I may be thinking the very same thing about myself? Or did I confuse them when I didn’t sit in the corner of the yard all antisocial acting sad and depressed like I hated myself? Do I need to do that for them to believe I do have issues with my body image? I shouldn’t have to prove anything to anyone. Nobody should.
I make mention to an acquaintance that I’m going to start exercising. Before I can even get the entire word “exercising” out of my mouth, she immediately pipes up and responds with “What do you want to do; waste away to nothing?” and “You don’t need to exercise!” My first thought was “why not just call me a bag of bones”? Did I mention I’m not a big fan of people who assume they know why a person chooses to exercise. And to voice her opinion with such certainty that she knew what was better for me than ME was not only inappropriate, but none of her business. What’s she’s done here is disguised an insult with what someone may mistake for genuine concern. It almost makes the person that has been insulted questioning the insulter’s motives. If I snapped back and defended myself, I could easily risk looking like a bitch, and if I didn’t do anything at all, I risk earning the reputation of a doormat. It’s a no win situation.
When an overweight person makes a hurtful remark to a skinny person, I feel like it’s tolerated by society and the person at the receiving end more than when a skinny person makes a hurtful remark to an overweight person. Society continues to make it worse for the skinny and malnourished. They’ve made it easy for people, most of which are women, to be angry with us by consistently introducing unrealistic standards of beauty. They’ve also taken our freedom to defend ourselves without being stereotyped as a bitch, insensitive, and ungrateful. We must be bitches if we can’t understand how lucky we are to be skinny, even if we are malnourished and unhealthy. And while there are bitches out there let’s remember they are not all skinny. Bitches come in every race, color, and weight class. As long as society keeps putting us up on pedestals, it’s human nature for the ones that aren’t on those pedestals to want to tear us down. What the ones that sit below these non existent pedestals refuse to see is that we didn’t put ourselves up there. I can’t speak for all skinny people here, but I don’t think I belong on a pedestal. In fact, I don’t believe anyone belongs up there! I have a healthy sense of confidence, but I have to work at it constantly like now when I’m undernourished, too skinny, and unhappy with the way I look. Before you make a remark to a skinny person, I hope you've considered they may have an underlying reason for their weight such as diseases like Anorexia, Bulimia, Cancer, Depression, Anxiety, to name a few. Just because they may look healthy, are well dressed and groomed, doesn’t say anything about what they looked and felt like yesterday or what tomorrow has in store for them. Even unhealthy people have good days. Never assume a skinny person is confident. Never assume a skinny person is healthy. Never assume they’ve had an easy life. And never make hurtful remarks to anyone.
Sometimes what people are on the inside is completely opposite of what they choose to show the world on the outside. If you walked past me on the street, you’d see a 5 foot, 95 lb. girl. I have dark brown hair and eyes. On most days, my body is proportioned and body mass index is where it’s supposed to be. I choose clothes that flatter my figure. I enjoy putting makeup on and having my hair colored. I like the occasional manicure and pedicure. If someone I knew were to describe me, she or he would probably say I was cute, beautiful, pretty, ethnic, or petite. And while most days I have a healthy sense of confidence, there are those times, like now at 88 lbs., that I feel ugly, malnourished, bony, unmotivated, tired, hopeless, and depressed. I just hide it well.
So I’m skinny; GET OVER IT, 'cause I’m sure trying to.
If you can relate or reassure me I’m not alone, please feel free to let me know. I’d love to hear about it; maybe we can help each other.