Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Confessions of a Skinny Girl

In our culture, if you said to someone, "You're so fat," you would be chastised -as you well should be. But if you said to another lady, "You're so skinny," no one would give it a second thought.  This is just one of the many words that has reverberated through my mind trying to adhere to my identity: "Skinny.  Twig.  Stick.  Bony."  Growing up, none of my peers--or even their parents--felt any remorse calling me these things.

I have what you might call a "fast metabolism."  I've often had to pull that phrase out in order to defend myself.  No matter what I eat, no matter what my exercise habits, at 5'8" I tend to hover between 110 and 120 pounds.  I have never caused myself to throw up, nor have I ever denied myself food (I have enough trouble denying myself cheetos and oreos).  I just don't gain weight.  In fact, I at times I struggle to maintain a healthy weight.

In America, being thin is idolized.  Our society is weight-obsessed.  Fad diets are a dime a dozen.  The media portrays healthy, beautiful women as too big.  How does a girl that is naturally thin navigate this world?  Truth be told, I've struggled with insecurity about my body much of my life.

You might think that in a culture that is hyper-sensitive about weight,  a body like mine might be celebrated.  That hasn't really been my experience, especially growing up.  Instead I got nicknames like "Twiggy," "Cheesestick," and "Whalie," (for the sake of irony).  I've had boys say they wouldn't date me because I was "Too bony."  And somehow "What if Chelsea gained 100 pounds?" made the "What If" section of the student-printed newspaper every year.

Through the God that says "You are fearfully and wonderfully made," and a husband that revels my pale skin, subtle curves, and freckles, that has changed.  I have come to see myself as beautiful.  I no longer wish to go up a couple dress sizes (or bra sizes).  I know that my true beauty radiates from my heart that was intentionally crafted by my Creator.  But that what's on the outside is also good.

If you are a skinny-mini like me, learn to accept yourself for who you are.  To be fair, there are some advantages.  Like we can eat that second piece of pie on Thanksgiving and know for certain it's not going straight to our hips--though it might be clogging our arteries.  We can pull off most fashion trends.  Dressing modestly is easy as we never have to worry about being too cleavage-y or that dress making our butts look big.  You and I are lovely just the way we are.

If you know/meet someone like me remember that it's not all it's cracked up to be.  I have to fight to keep weight on.  Let's face it, eating lean proteins and green veggies makes me look my best just like they make you look yours.  I still have body image issues.  I've struggled to believe that being shaped like a pencil can truly be beautiful.  I've been teased about my looks, too.  Don't wish to be me.

Most of all please don't call me "skinny."  "Thin" is a positive word.  "Fit" is a positive word.  "Skinny" is no better than "fat."


Christina said...

I applaud you for voicing your story. You're right and I am definitely guilty of saying things like "god I wish I were skinny like her" or "I wish I could eat whatever I want and not gain a thing". But I often forget that the grass is always greener because we're brought up in a media-driven society that tells us we're not enough on our own. But we are. Like you said "You and I are lovely just the way we are." <3

Eleanor said...

Chelsea, I love how eloquently you phrased that. I hope I can get closer to the point you are at in accepting my natural body. Meanwhile reading things like what you wrote help me feel a little bit better about myself.

anne taylor said...

You're so right. The word "skinny" is just as rude as "fat." I really struggle with why people even think they have the right to talk about one another's bodies in such a pointed way. You look this way, you look that way. Like we have to be categorized and have every detail observed and talked about. I'm so glad that you shared your story because it is so important. So important that you use your voice, but also important that people see another side of the spectrum. That we all struggle with self-acceptance, no matter what. I'm so glad you participated in the linkup!

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