I remember the first time I felt ugly. It was in the eighth grade when a girl I went to school with called me "anorexic". I knew I was thin. I knew I was too thin, in fact. But it hurt. Up until that day no one had made me feel wrong for being so small, I was treated like any other normal child. My grandparents fed me plenty whenever I went to visit and my mom didn't really say anything about my malnourished body. It is true that I was sickly thin. When I bent over you could see every bone in my back, my knees and elbows jutted out uncomfortably, and a strong wind knocked me over.
But I was comfortable in the skin I was in. Until one day, for no reason, a girl threw out a word in my direction that would change how I saw myself. Every time someone pointed out how skinny I was, I took it as a personal affront to my being, even if they were actively trying to compliment me. When someone told me "wow, you're so in shape, I wish I could be as thin as you" I heard "you look wrong. Why are you so small? There's something wrong with you". I felt like my arms and legs were too lanky, my body too awkward.
And then, after I no longer lived with my mother, I gained weight. I wasn't being starved, I was no longer malnourished, and I gained weight and began to look like a normal teenager again. And guess what? People had a ton of stuff to say about that, as well. Suddenly there was a lot of questions about when I gained so much weight, comments about how big I had gotten, and sly remarks and suggestions that maybe I should lay off the potato chips and candy. Do you know how much I like candy? SO MUCH. But all these comments hurt, too. Because before, I was too skinny. Now, at a normal weight I was too big? I was a size five through most of high school and saw myself as the dumpy, fat, friend. I never felt as pretty as my other friends. I felt unwanted, insufficient. Because no one could leave me alone when it came to my weight.
And even now, as a grown woman, who I feel should be allowed to live my life in peace without worrying about body shaming, I still hear comments on my weight. Comments from people wondering if I should stop eating this or that, if I should exercise more, if I should really be wearing that certain thing with the way my body looks. None of those comments help. Those comments in fact only hurt my self-esteem.
So for years, on top of all the other things I've had to worry about, I also had to carry around this weird self hatred. I preached body confidence and looked in the mirror and hated my own reflection. Sometimes, I still do. And like I said, it started with a girl in the eighth grade making a nasty remark that she probably couldn't remember today if she tried. What you say today will affect someone for the rest of their life. Don't forget that.
It is no one's business how much I weigh, or what I look like, unless I'm dancing naked on main
street, and then the main concern would be public nudity, not the fact that I have a few extra rolls that I have been lamenting for the past year. Being curvy does not equate to being unhealthy. Having cellulite does not mean someone is over weight. Being lanky does not mean someone is anorexic. And what someone else's body looks like is none of your damn business. You know what is your business? Your body. And your life. And your character. It is entirely none of your business what I look like and how much I weigh, because I have a good heart (literally and figuratively!) so stop talking about it like it matters! Let me live my taco bell loving, diet failing body, and I'll afford you the same respect.
"Your body be usable
Your body be suitable
Your body beautiful
You don't need anything different"
-Watsky, "Drunk Text Message to God"