The ironic thing about a blog post on body image which should have been published at the beginning of summer to coincide with swimsuit season, is that I was too self-conscious to post it. But I’m skinny so my life must be perfect, right? That’s the assumption thrown my way most of the time.
Being skinny isn’t the end all be all to a perfect life, but being secure in yourself and knowing who you are, is. I’m not saying that I am, but if you are, you might have a perfect life. I watch what I eat most of the time, but I do use food as an emotional crutch when I’m feeling down. Potato chips and anything with sugar will do.
I have a hard time finding clothes that fit me, and I’ve been mistaken for my daughter’s sister. I believe that had more to do with my size than what’s happening on my face right now. Confidence boosters, indeed!
What I’ve learned about self-esteem is that whatever it is you struggle with, you are constantly looking at others and either picking them apart for it, or picking yourself apart for it. Neither are going to bring you peace, but working on acceptance of said struggle will. This is easier said than done.
For me, as I’m sure for many others, body image is a hard topic. You’re always going to piss someone off because whatever their perception is of themselves and whatever triggers they have, you can bet you will hit them with this conversation.
So here goes. I’m skinny. I always have been, and to top it off, I’m petite. I have almost the same body I’ve had since I was 10 years old, only I’m a few inches taller and I weigh a bit more. My boobs never really came in, but that’s never been my issue. I made peace with that a long time ago, and frankly, they’re perfectly proportioned to the rest of me. And since everyone’s getting their implants removed and natural is the new black, yay me for being a trendsetter.
My hips are a little wider because the miracle of motherhood, but other than that, it’s like puberty forgot all about me. Being skinny is not magic. All of life’s trials and tribulations do not disappear because someone’s skinny. In fact, I have just as many body image issues as anyone else, only I’m skinny so my issues aren’t valid and someone usually ends up calling me a skinny bitch, which makes me insecure, which keeps this nasty thing going in a vicious cycle.
I don’t have an eating disorder, but I have been accused of having one. I also know people who have had them and it’s really not something to go around accusing people of. I eat fairly healthy, and I have a fast metabolism.
The metabolism I have no control over, what goes in my mouth, I do. It’s been a game of trial and error figuring out what works and what doesn’t, and kudos to anyone who just doesn’t give a shit. Eat whatever makes you and your stomach happy.
Speaking of happy, a recent study showed that skinny people are more prone to depression. It’s unclear, as it usually is with depression, whether or not being skinny is a cause or an effect. I have also suffered bouts of mild depression for most of my life, which started when I was a teenager. Probably when I realized my boobs were never coming in.
The reality is that most of these body image issues do start in our teenage years mainly because this is when our bodies start changing and we start being critical of ourselves. According to this article, Body Image and Self-Esteem, on Brennerchildrens.org, being critical of our bodies, coupled with the fact that we seek acceptance from our friends as teens, causes us to compare ourselves to others. Comparison is the thief of joy, but teenagers don’t want to hear that.
Unfortunately, this issue may start for many in their teens, but for a lot of us, it carries into adulthood. Several weeks ago on Twitter someone accused Minnie Driver of being anorexic. She came back at the woman pretty quickly to shut it down, saying “Consider the mean shit that comes out of your mouth…” So, yes, consider the mean shit that comes out of your mouth when you ask me if I have an eating disorder or tell me to eat a cheeseburger. I did eat one and it was delicious.
How about we make a pact to stop comparing ourselves to each other and to work on accepting ourselves for who we are. It takes a lot of work, yes, but if you need help, I know a great Bible study on comparison for you…