I used to be the girl who bitched about the skinny ones at the gym.
How dare they mock me and my curvy-self trying oh-so-hard just to maintain?
Why are they even here? I never asked the question out loud. But I'd usually answer it at home with a self-indulgent pity party for one complete with a pint of ice-cream and whatever else I had pretended I was buying for the non-existent friends waiting in the car at various gas stations on the way home. Then, because I didn't know how else to process, I'd purge until my insides were empty and my thoughts cleared from the fog in which I had lost myself.
What I didn't realize at the time was that others were looking at me the same way I looked at the girls skinner than my athletic 150 pound size 10 body. But because I had hips and ass and tits to spare, I let myself believe I was fat. And this is when I'd like to travel back to bitch-slap myself for the validation I kept seeking from without...
I was looking in the wrong place. I should have been looking within...
Fast forward past the thyroid that went bust when I was 21, causing me to gain 50 pounds in 6 months; the insulin resistance diagnosed at 28 when fertility specialists ran blood tests to figure out why I couldn't get pregnant; the 45 pounds I gained during my pregnancy despite the hellacious full-term hyperemis that put me in the hospital three times during the pregnancy. Fast forward more...past the three hospitalizations in the first six weeks of my daughter's life for severe mastitis (because breast reductions in which your nipples are moved and breast feeding don't always mix, my friends); the inflammation from undiagnosed food allergies triggered during the pregnancy that meant constant bloating and puffiness; and the on-again-off-again eating disordered thinking that kept me in stuck in a never-ending yo-yo...
Hell, I should probably go as a hamster for Halloween. I've got the emotional baggage to pull it off.
Let go of the remote and hit play. We're in the present day and I'm 35 for a few more months. I've got a six-year-old and have no idea how much I weigh because it's better that way. I don't count calories or fat grams and the word "diet" is banned in my house. We eat and are active to be healthy and strong and that's the only truth I want my daughter to know as she grows because I learned it far too late in my own life. I've founded a website with the intention of leading those seeking words they can relate to on a journey of self-discovery to healthy self- and body-image and I will never get off of that soap box.
I'm your train wreck. And I'm okay with you stopping traffic to stop and stare. Need to relate? I'm your girl. And yes, Skinny Girl, I'm talking to you, too.
I've been up and down 100 reasons-lessons-I-mean-pounds in the last 15 years. In that time I've been alternately curvy and hour-glassed and sort-of-at-peace with the circumference of my ass to crying in the dressing room while trying on the size 18 jeans I couldn't zip up. What I have never been, and I'm okay with this, is skinny. It's just not in my genetic make-up. But that, my friends, doesn't mean I need the Skinny Girl to explain herself for not being happy with her body or, even worse, for being proud of reaching her own definition of healthy. It does mean, however, that it's high time I apologized for any undue stress I may have caused you before I got my own shit slightly together and grew up.
Do you hear that, Skinny Girl?
I'm sorry for not getting it sooner that shopping in the plus-size section is not a per-requisite for struggling with body image.
I'm sorry that fat-shaming is frowned upon but skinny-shaming is still acceptable because (and let's be real, shall we?) we women can be some seriously catty bitches.
I'm sorry I was once one of the cheer-leaders of the previously stated cat-bitchery.
I'm sorry that the media has created a give-and-take farcical body-image-obsessed society in which skinny is good and anything other is not acceptable and that you got caught in the cross-fire. Fat women complain that photo-shopped perfection doesn't reflect the average American woman and you, Skinny Girl, are left to your own devices because no one wants to hear you bitch about how you wish your inner thighs would touch.
I'm sorry no one wants to hear about the Skinny Girl being too skinny. I'm sorry that no one believes the Skinny Girl who looks in the mirror and sees a reflection wrapped in fat and insecurity.I'm sorry that you can't be proud of how far you've come without someone else blaming you for making them feel fat simply because you aren't.
You cry in the dark. You either starve yourself because your reality doesn't match your perception and thinspiration is A Thing. You look in the mirror and wish you had more (hips, ass, thighs, meat) because you never feel as if you are enough. You look at the size zero in your clothing and have no one to talk to because we don't want to hear about how the zero in your pants makes you feel as if you don't even exist. Like you don't matter.
But you do. We all do.
Curvy, fat, athletic, not, skinny, and skinnier, we are all connected when it comes to the battle we face when we step in front of the mirror naked; when we undress for the men and women who love us and wish would believe what they say when they call us beautiful because that's what they see. And sometimes, on our good days, we do.
Baby steps = progress. Rinse. Lather. And repeat.