May I call you fat?! Or thick, chunky, healthy looking, or tired because I'm not wearing as much make-up as the day before? No? Then I don't appreciate it either. No matter which way you put it, saying this to someone can be incredibly hurtful. Whether you're saying it because you think it may be funny or a compliment, you don't ever really know the damage it could cause. As cliched as it sounds, be sure to choose your words wisely.
I know, my sister and I love to post happy, positive, and sometimes fun blogs; but we did say every day struggles and triumphs. And so I find myself struggling this past week over a few comments that were thrown around in my office the other day. - It was a simple conversation I was having with one of my co-workers about supplements because she was starting a new diet regimen, and it just came out of her mouth: "Men love short, chunky girls like us because we're not supermodels - we are attainable." And though I know she did not mean it with any ill intention, I felt my heart become extremely heavy and my mood had immediately diminished. I wanted to run to the bathroom and cry my eyes out. But I stood there and held my composure. It's not easy to hear things like that, even if it really isn't a derogatory statement, but sometimes it makes your mind spin - and that can make you do things you never thought you would do.
I have only been called skinny once in my life; and that was my senior year of high school when I never ate, worked a part time job and was involved in show choir and chorus. I kept busy with a lot of things. I was teased as a child for being heavier than my friends - all of the time. I will never forget 4th grade when one of my "friends" had been trying to guess how much all of us weighed at the lunch table. In front of everyone she said: "Patti, you must weigh at least 1oo lbs." I can't even begin to explain the humiliation I felt that day, and days after. I remember I didn't even finish my lunch. I mean, why would I? I was just pegged as being one of the heaviest girls at the lunch table. To a girl in fourth grade, I thought my world had come crashing down. My thought everyday after that was "I wonder how fat I look today." Unfortunately, it is something I still think about every day.
Here is one of my embarassing confessions: I have to get my clothes ready the night before I go to work with at least 5 other outfits planned in my head because I know when I put them on in the morning, I won't like the way anything looks on. And even with these planned outfits, I will change until I run out of time and have to leave for work. When I shop for clothes - which I loathe - I take one of my best friends. We joke about it, but it is serious to me. We go shopping together and I literally have her try on about 75% of the clothes I buy (dresses and shirts). If it looks great on her, I know it will at least look semi okay on me. The only article of clothing that I personally try on are pants. I am not skinny like my best friend; she is taller and much thinner, so for her to try on pants and me to take them home and wear them is just absurd! It would depress me more.
So why tell you this? I shared this with you because it is me. It is who I am. These are the emotions that plague my every thought. I have grown a lot since I was a little girl, but I still struggle every single day with my body image. There will be days I wake up, do my make up, put on an outfit that I think flatters me and then half of the day goes by and I walk by a mirror and ask myself, "WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING TELLING YOURSELF YOU LOOK PRETTY TODAY?!" And for the rest of the day I feel worthless. I feel like people are judging me because of how fat I am, and how ugly I look. When this co-worker stated "Men love short, chunky girls like us because we're not supermodels - we are attainable," it just struck a chord within my emotional being that I couldn't silence. This is how I have felt my entire life: that I am just attainable. I don't measure up to women whom, to me, are tall, thin and gorgeous. Those are the powerful women to me. These are the women whom men respect and think are not attainable because of their beauty. Not plain, fat girls like myself. The question I am still trying to answer is: when did the definition of attainable get so convoluted in my mind?
A downward spiral of emotions from a simple conversation. Be mindful of what you say to others. You never know the hurt it may cause.
Love and Wellness to all