I’ve been tiny all my life, born something like a month and a half before I was supposed to be born. 4 lbs and a few ounces. Always sick when I was little. Irregular appetite well into adulthood. But I’m reasonably healthy for someone so small. And I have these moments -weeks at a time - when I can eat like a full-grown buxom man fresh out the pen. I’ve never met a moist chocolate cake that I didn’t like and I WILL eat an entire Entemann’s apple strudel in only ONE (yes ONE) sitting. I’ve heard it all before… “Die, you skinny b*tch. You make me sick.” coming from a larger “friend” who was ‘just joking.’ I’ve also heard, “Ewww, Ash you look anorexic.” I’ve heard, “Girl, please, you have no problems.”
But I do.
I get more than a little frustrated going into a store and not being able to find ANY skirts that fit because I have absolutely NO hips. I get the jealous looks and then I get the looks of pity like, “Poor girl. She must starve herself.” I’ve heard it all. I had a doctor ask if I was making myself throw up once. I had gone for a check up the summer before junior year of high school & had dropped from 123 lbs. (the year before) to 117 lbs. His conclusion was that I was anorexic. Absurd & I was annoyed.
I thought I had gotten over it because I have heard it all my life. Until, about two years ago I went home after being a slave to graduate school life for almost two months without seeing my family. I went to hug one of my family members and he stepped back with a look of disgust on his face. “Aww, AJ (my family nickname) girl you need to eat. You’re nothin’ but skin and bones.”
I know he didn’t mean to hurt me with his words because just as quickly as he made the statement, he engaged me in a totally unrelated conversation about some movie. But I was hurt. And it wasn’t even just because of him. It was because years of disgusted looks/misplaced jealousy and criticism kind of washed over me in that moment. And dag-on it, I need to say that just because I have a high metabolism does not mean that my life is easy. If I had a penny for every time I was on the receiving end of a envious/cold-hearted big girl stare I’d be paid.
I wanted to vent a bit but I also needed to share this particular post because I know there are so many young women who struggle with weight issues no matter which end of the spectrum it may be. We're always too this or too that, trying so desperately to stuff ourselves into a Barbie-sized box standard of acceptable beauty and 'womanness.' Sometimes, we forget that EVERYONE is human. We get so caught up in our own body image drama and problems that we assume someone who doesn’t have our particular problem is living so much better than we are, without a care in the world. And it’s funny because even now I know there will still be some people who’ll think “Girl, please I’d pay to have your problem of being skinny rather than being big.” And I can guarantee you, you’d pay to give that problem right on back. We often judge the ease of someone else's life by what they’re NOT going through or what may not seem ‘so bad’ by our standards. Yet we'd be surprised what some people brave just to get through a day, a week, a month, or a year. Calling someone 'skinny' isn't always a compliment. Sometimes it's a painful reminder.
I have to feed myself positive messages DAILY. When someone mentions how 'tiny' I am. When nothing in the department store fits. When someone suggests I am anorexic. When I obsess about how to gain weight. It's a step-by-step process for some of us 'skinny' girls just as it is for the larger. Don't make it any harder with assumptions & negativity.
Be encouraged. Get lifted.