Every body is beautiful. That’s not a typo. I’m talking about every person walking on this planet is beautiful in their own way. It doesn’t matter what size or shape they are, they are beautiful. While you might disagree with me, it’s taken me a long time to come to this place in my life.
My friends all range in body size and shape, from waif thin to big, beautiful women. They are all beautiful.
However, now matter how beautiful I’ve always thought my friends are, I’ve never been able to look in the mirror and say “Hey, Lisa. You know what, girl? You’re pretty damn attractive. In fact, you’re beautiful.”
Until I made myself do it. This morning.
I threw up. (Something my husband doesn’t even know, until now. Hi babe.)
You see, I’m a big girl. For years, I’ve been shamed for my size. Even when I could still fit into the high end clothing sizes of haute couture (size 12), I was told I was too fat and wasn’t acceptable.
Let me put things in perspective. Sports Illustrated Swim Suit cover model Kate Upton is a size 12.
Who told me I was too fat and unacceptable? Everyone. Boys. Girls. Family members. Sales clerks in stores. People on the street. Oh, a lot of them might not have said it to my face. But they told me. I’ve had their looks. I’ve seen them turn away from me. Sales clerks will willingly help my “normal” sized husband, but they pretend I don’t exist. Servers in restaurants don’t assume my husband and I are together and always ask if we’d like separate checks or just bring us separate checks.
No. I’m not kidding you.
But, I’m also not the only person with this story. There are a million other big women with this story. There are also just as many women, thin, medium sized, and all sizes in-between with the same story. Either you’re too thin and need to eat more to gain weight, or you’re too fat. Even my friends who are amazingly fit, triathletes, who run marathons, have 12% body fat, are told they are “too thin”, “too butch” and “not soft enough”. Some have even been told they are too fat.
So who fits the mold? Many would say celebrities and models. But wait. Don’t we tear them apart, because GASP! they have cellulite? Or if they are bloated from their period, the tabloids use that as fodder to say “so and so is pregnant” or is “hiding a baby bump”. God help them if they gain two pounds, because the world is going to end and they’ll never get another role, nor be in another magazine, unless it’s one shaming their weight gain. If they have a baby, they’re screwed if they don’t appear in their skinny jeans two weeks after giving birth, sipping the latest green juice and looking as if they just came back from a month long tropical holiday.
Let’s face facts, it doesn’t matter what size you are, people won’t accept it unless you fit into their preconceived mold.
Yes, there are problems that come with being overweight. There are also problems that come with being too thin. There are problems no matter what size you are. I have a physical issue (polycystic ovarian syndrome) that is part of my weight problems and there is no cure, just treatment, which to date hasn’t been successful. That’s not what this post is about. It’s not about the health ramifications, even though I’m not naive enough to say there are none. My mother is in the medical profession, believe me, I know all the issues.
What I’d love to see is love. That we love the people we see on the street. We don’t point fingers. We don’t call people skinny minnies or tell people who are overweight how “disgusting” they are.
But what is it going to take for that to happen?
It’s going to conversation. REAL conversations between people who’ve set aside their judgments to sit and listen to each other. As much as we all want acceptance by others, the conversation will be stronger when we discuss both openly and honestly. The more we learn to have self-acceptance, the less others opinions will affect us. Yet the more others lift us up instead of cutting us down, the more self-acceptance we’ll have.
I’ve had those real conversations. Even I have been guilty of posting the pictures on Facebook of Marilyn Monroe and how a “real woman” should look. That is, until I sat down and talked to my dear friend, Heather, who is a super-thin gal. She is tall. Reed thin. Beautiful. Everything I always wanted to be. Heather also has a hard time finding clothes to fit her and is more likely to lose weight than gain weight. It’s just how her body is geared. Just like mine is genetically pre-dispositioned to look like a linebacker for a professional football team.
I don’t know what it will take for the conversation to start. I’m not sure where we go with the conversation. I wonder if people are too set in their ways to follow through and have a cordial discussion about such a heated topic. But, I have to set my worries aside and do the hard thing. I have to start the conversation. If I wait for others to start, it might never happen. And not taking a chance on changing the world would be irresponsible.