The Skinny Saga
I very recently read and “reblogged” a very impactful blog written by a darling I know and it was amazing to see how similar her account was to mine. Strange, since we are complete opposites in relation to this topic (and I guess since there is an indirect battle between plus sizes and size zeros) but I can totally relate.
Someone once asked me, “Is it really an issue?” The fact that this question was even asked is revealing, since to many this is of little concern or significance. “Being skinny” to the wider world is a blessing; it’s what everyone wants to be, models are skinny, clothes are made for slim people…bla bla bla… but what do we really experience? This is my experience.
Where I come from your size and shape is very important because “too skinny” or “too fat” and Caribbean ideology don’t really go well together. It’s very difficult to please John Public when we barely have any control over what God gave us as our bodies. Brittney, in her post, mentioned how difficult it was growing up with her size and it may have been equally difficult for me since friends, family members and even perfect strangers usually greeted me with “Wooow you’re really skinny!” or “You haven’t put on a pound” or out of the kindness of their hearts, dish out some extra of whatever was being served…..all the time. How sweet of them; they were never satisfied.
You would imagine a girl’s high school graduation dinner would be an exciting day for her but mine wasn’t as nice. I wanted to look pretty (I was leaving school for goodness sake!) but there was barely anything for me to choose from because every time I walked into a store and approached something I liked, an assistant would greet me with a “Hi, this is….” (she’d call some ridiculous price) “But you wouldn’t get any to fit you”. Shopping was very annoying for me; SKINNY jeans (pencil pants) came out and guess what guys….they didn’t fit (yes it was that bad).This didn’t fit, that didn’t fit and the seamstress quickly became my mother’s bestie. When money was short, I even learnt to stitch, crop, tuck and pin-up my own stuff. Baggy clothes looked weird while fitted clothes made me look like a walking stick; I was never satisfied.
I was constantly conscious of my body. Passing by buildings with glass doors and windows made my eyes burn at the sight of my skinny-ness. It was terrible because I knew if I could see it, other people could see it too and they’d murmur. My legs and arms were my enemies; they were unsightly to me. I never liked raising my arms (not even in church) and I disliked anything that had to do with showing legs; short skirts, bath suits, leggings, tights, short dresses. I had no problem where modesty was concerned because I was so self-conscious.
As I mentioned before, people were a big problem; they always had something to say. I was always called names by school mates like “Giraffe” (being tall and skinny is a completely different thing all together), lamp-post, daddy-long-legs, anorexic and the list goes on. Of course family apparently has license to inflict whatever harm they feel fit and say what they please. I felt like I was ugly, that no one would like me; I tried, for no good reason other than to appease other people, to gain weight. Yes, people Google weight loss techniques and I sought techniques for weight gain. I began eating a lot but nothing worked; my blessed metabolism just kept burning it all away but no one cared about that, they kept on with their jokes and so I kept on trying. Being a teenager and facing those challenges was especially difficult. I can remember a guy said to my face when someone suggested that he could take me as his girlfriend, “Nah!”, as though I was disgusting to him. He even added, “She too skinny, she have no meat on her bones”. Those things cut into the depths of me and I wasn’t the talking type, so a sum total of zero persons knew what was going on in my head.
In a world where skinny women are not considered “real women” *rolls eyes* and where we constantly have experiences like those mentioned above, it is clear that, in response to the question referred to at the start, there is indeed “an issue”. And no, being skinny is not the issue, neither is being fat; we are who we are and the real issues here are self-esteem and self-worth, insecurities, inconsiderate people, self image… identity. Since we aren’t taken seriously when we do express how we feel, or it just doesn’t seem as pressing an issue as something else, it gets swept under the carpet and many young ladies keep their hurt bottled up inside. That should not be acceptable under any circumstance.
In the article I referred to earlier, the young lady said she found peace in her Lord, in Jesus and so did I. That was when I understood that it really wasn’t my fault that I am the size I am; that it wasn’t that I was late to the ”shape and size” line in heaven and just got the leftovers. God in His infinite wisdom molded and shaped me into this body that I have and all that He created, He called “good”. If the almighty God is pleased with me as I am, then so am I. My responsibility is to take care of the gift that He has given to me and even though I sometimes to this day battle with those insecurities, I know that God loves me even with my imperfections and that I am fearfully and wonderfully made by Him. It really doesn’t matter what people say and they only have as much power to hurt you as you give them. I have learnt a lot in my journey out of the place where I used to be; I learnt forgiveness, love and patience. Now, if it doesn’t fit….well that’s too bad for it .
Just remember to Love yourselves; God made you beautiful.