These moments of pure acceptance with yourself don’t come around all that often anymore. Each day we grow older and become wiser, but we also become more and more aware that life isn’t as fairy-tale as it seems. When we are children, all we care about are who are friends are and what time we needed to be home for dinner. We were too focused on hiding from our parents and enjoying the freedom that comes with being a kid. We didn’t care about who looked like what, who wore what brand, and who was the skinnier bitch. We didn’t have tabloids and fashion magazines to obsess over and television ads basically telling you if you’re not skinny, you’re unhealthy. We were free to be whoever we wanted to be and nobody was able to tell us differently.
It was when we were in middle school that everything changed. Cliques were formed, the ideal images were set, and if you didn’t fit in that mold, you were considered the outcast. I was somewhere in the middle. I wasn’t popular but I talked to a few of them from time to time. I wasn’t alone though, either. I was lucky enough to have friends who accepted me at the time, for who I was, not who I was supposed to be and vice versa. I was just happy to call them my friends. It boggles my mind that we started so young when it came to focusing on our body image and not on our inner selves?
Today there are ads, TV spots, and internet trolls that basically define you as a wasted piece of space if you’re not in a “healthy state” and “not-skinny-but-fit”. There are ads constantly berating the body size of women (and yes, men too) instead of putting focus on the fact that these “abominations” are human too. They have families, they have feelings and they most definitely can read your comments you post on absolutely everything you find revolting on the internet. Body shaming is a thing yes, but why can’t we focus on body acceptance instead? Encouraging comments can and will go a lot further than anything else you say. The amount of degrading, rude and extremely heartless comments I see these days is absolutely breathtaking.
Do these trolls not understand the concept of “everybody has their own story to tell”? Do they not realize that not everybody sits on their ass and eats bags upon bags of junk food just because they can? Granted, yes, some people are indeed like that, but let’s face it, most people have a reason behind their choices. Maybe it’s a medical thing – thyroid issues, quitting smoking and birth control can cause you to gain weight. Or maybe it’s a mental issue: maybe the person you’re harassing on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram was emotionally abused as a child and turned to food as a coping mechanism. Maybe they were in an accident which limited their mobility and ability to exercise; maybe they just have a bigger bone structure. Maybe, just maybe, they are in the middle of a weight loss journey and have already lost 100 lbs. WHO. ARE. YOU. TO. JUDGE?
“That’s not a valid excuse”, is something I can hear most of you saying right now. And while your opinion is your own, you are in fact, very wrong. What if the tables were turned? What if it was someone talking about you? Or your daughter? Or wife? What if it was someone making fun of your hard time after you decided to share your story for the world to see? What would you say then? Would you go on the defense or would you just sit there and let it happen? What if you were the one struggling with your weight? Would you want your family members, and friends to comment and make you feel worthless? Would you expect them to berate you and tell you what you’re doing wrong? If you were in that situation, I would like to think you’d be feeling the exact way you’ve treated everybody else.
All people are human. Skinny, fat; petite, tall; black, brown, white or olive. We all have hearts, we all have brains and we all have feelings. Do you really want to be THAT person who contributed to someone committing suicide because your words were their breaking point? Do you really want to be the reason why they shut down completely and refuse to talk to someone – anyone? Do you REALLY want to be the reason why these people don’t get the help they need because they fear whoever they turn to will judge them instead of help them succeed?
I didn’t think so.
I myself battle with self-acceptance, with self-esteem and self-worth. There are days where I feel great, confident and proud of who I am, and then there are days where I don’t. I feel like I don’t belong because I’m not your perfect image. I’m not skinny enough, or healthy enough. I’m not the perfect contender for your ideas of a perfect world. People like you are the reason why I don’t put myself out there. I don’t confidently go up to someone and say hello. I’m always wondering if they’re judging me, if they are thinking “oh my, she should eat more salads.”
I eat to enjoy food, but I also use food as an emotional outlet. If something upsets me, makes me mad or sad, I turn to something I KNOW will be there without judgement. I struggle every single day to eat healthy and to exercise so to those who assume I sit around and do nothing – you’re very very wrong.
I don’t think I, or anyone else for that matter, will ever truly feel beautiful until you change. Sure there will be moments, but I can guarantee you, even the most confident people will falter. They’ll hear a snicker, or read a comment from a stranger and it’ll all fall around them. Confidence is like a wall: it’s built brick by brick and is strong and mighty, but it can be taken down in the single hit of a sledgehammer.