"You will never have to worry about having that issue, "I said to my friend Cathi last week. We were on the phone discussing the health issue of a mutual friend. “Because,” I continued, "you are as fat as a doublewide."
The phone went silent on her end. However, I paid no never mind and continued on discussing our friend's issue, one that has everything to do with her hereditary and nothing to do with weight.
I have known Cathi for over twenty years, and in that time, she has repeatedly expressed her insecurity about her weight and body. I can't believe I called her fat as a doublewide.
Oh wait…..I didn't.
Here is the actual conversation.
"You will never have to worry about having that issue, "my friend Cathi said to me. We were on the phone discussing the health issue of a mutual friend. “Because,” she continued, "you are as skinny as a rail."
I went silent on my end of the phone, stunned. However, Cathi paid no mind and continued discussing our friend's health issue, which has everything to do with heredity and nothing to do with weight.
Cathi has known me for over twenty years and in that time, has seen me struggle with my weight and body. She championed me as I went into treatment, and she has followed my journey through reading my blog. I can't believe she called me "skinny as a rail."
But she did.
When I first wrote this post, I intended to point out that skinny shaming is a thing. It made me shiver when I wrote about calling Cathi "fat as a doublewide" even though it was a fictional conversation. But "skinny as a rail?" It barely gave me pause. As I started writing though, I realized it goes deeper than just weight.
Cathi's comment did not bring forth feelings of hurt or shame as they would have in the past. Instead, I got pissed as hell. Not just for me but for, for….everyone.
I am fucking over it.
I will admit there would have been a time when I would have let this interaction slide. I would have found compassion and justified Cathi's statement by chalking it up to her body insecurity, reminding myself it has "nothing to do with me." I would have locked it away in my journal, letting it get buried in the pages that came afterward. But right now, I don't feel like tiptoeing around this issue and would rather be straightforward.
Stop commenting on other people's bodies.
Up until now, I would have been afraid to write about this for fear I might seem overactive. Fearful people might think I have not dealt with my “issues.” Ha, I'll be dealing with my body stuff for the rest of my life. But it's not just about me. It's about every person who is insecure about their body. Here's the thing. We already know how we look. We see if we fit into our fat or skinny jeans. We are well aware if we are shorter than average, or if we have a receding hairline. We know if our nose is too large or our feet are too small. If we have a zit on our chin or less than perfect posture. For people like us, even an intended compliment only serves to highlight the areas of our body that constantly weigh on the forefront of our minds.
And as my friend Anastasia lamented after a significant weight loss years ago, "God, everyone tells me how great I look, which makes me wonder how bad I must have looked before."
Want to comment on someone? Tell them you admire their strength and courage. Let them know how you appreciate their wicked sense of humor or that you wish you had their topspin lob. Give them a boost by sharing how polite their kids are when you see them in public or that you would love the recipe to their quinoa salad.
Best yet, tell them they are one of the best people you know.
As for me, unless something caught in my teeth, I kindly ask you to keep your thoughts about my body yourself.