Four words, none of them especially long. How can four words do so much more than anyone seems to realize?
Most people probably think that it’s a compliment to call someone skinny, but I’ve been hearing it all of my life I don’t find it to be a compliment. You wouldn’t call someone fat, would you? Because believe it or not, it’s essentially the same thing. You’re commenting on someone’s body in a way that they did not ask for you to.
I think everyone’s story with those 4 words is different. I know that Zoe, a Youtuber I like, mentioned on her blog and in the video that she tried to gain weight, but because of her high metabolism, simply couldn’t. Side note: I’ve wanted to do this post for a while, but those two things are what really got me to do it.
But I think I’ll tell you my story.
I’ve always been a heathy weight (yeah, that’s right, it’s called healthy not skinny). I eat well. I’m not terribly dedicated with my athletics, but I try (kind of). I used to have a very high metabolism, but I think it’s lowering a little now. To be perfectly honest, I probably eat a little more than is necessary and sometimes I splurge, but I do try to not be absolutely ridiculous with my food.
Growing up, I was compared to various people around me. Actually, I’m going to pause for a moment to make something very clear to all of you. Adults in my life were the ones who compared me. They were the ones who first introduced me to terrible issue of discussing weight. Not a magazine. Not a movie or TV show. Adults who I knew and trusted. So now that we have that out of the way, we’ll carry on.
Many times, one family member asked another family member why they weren’t as skinny as I was/am. You don’t know truly awkward until you are sitting at the dinner table, trying to eat in peace, and someone points out someone’s flaws in comparison to you. All I can ask of you is that you never do that to anyone, because it sucks. When I went to bed on the nights where that family member asked that question, I cried. Every time. Because my body was the reason someone else felt insecure about their body.
Then there was the comparison of my body to another family member’s with the positions above flipped. Suddenly I was the one that was too big. I hadn’t gained or lost any weight since being compared to the person above (at least not that wasn’t appropriate to growing a couple of inches). I was simply not as skinny. Not as petite. I think the most interesting part of that comparison was the fact that the person I was being compared to was unhealthily skinny. She wasn’t anorexic, she just had a high metabolism and a naturally slimmer (and shorter) frame.
So, already as a child, I had a negative affiliation with being called skinny.
And then in fourth grade I was playing dodgeball and accidentally elbowed a boy in the collarbone and he called me, “All skin and bones.” I wasn’t offended so much as confused. It was my first exposure to the fact that people who barely know me and are in no way related to me will comment on my body.
People have continued to comment since then. It obviously hasn’t gotten any easier as I’m writing this post.
But there is this other part of it that I think is the worst: I feel pressured to stay skinny. Maybe even be skinnier. When I was in 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, I wasn’t happy with my thighs. I never did that whole “feet touching, thighs apart” thing, thank goodness, but I didn’t like them. They were a part of me that didn’t match with the flat stomach and skinny ankles. And you know what? The only part of them that touched (and still touches) was (and is) about an inch at the very top. That’s it. And I hated that little inch. It took until last summer for me to wear an actual bikini. Before that, I wore skirted bottoms and shorts all the time to cover up in the pool.
Let me rephrase that: I was so determined to keep up that image of being skinny and not have the insults throne at me that I so often see get thrown that I refused to wear a certain type of bathing suit.
Luckily, I finally realized that it didn’t matter and that everyone else was far too absorbed in the things they hate about themselves to notice what I hated about myself. I still don’t particularly like the feeling of my thighs touching, but I’ve decided that being healthy is far more important.
So what I really want to leave you with is that you should never try to loose weight unless your doctor tells you to because your weight is a threat to your health. Because those extra 5 pounds really don’t matter. Trust me on this.
And please don’t say someone is skinny. Say they are healthy. Say they look nice. Say they look pretty. Say they look beautiful. Say they look handsome. Because no one wants your voice added to all of the other ones about their weight.