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Being Skinny

She sits around a bonfire with her closest friends having a great time, and then one of them makes a comment, meant to be a harmless joke, about how she has no boobs. She gives a small laugh and jokes about how at least she doesn’t have to deal with back pain, but little do they know that comment would hover in her mind for the rest of the night.

She is scrolling through her Facebook notifications and comes upon a comment on a photo she took of herself (that she felt good about) telling her that she needs to eat more, but little does the commenter know that the girl’s doctor tells her that she is at a perfectly healthy weight. Even then she still struggles to eat more and gain weight. People make it sound so easy, but it isn’t. Being small doesn’t leave room for a lot of food. She can only eat so much until her stomach fills up and becomes upset. It is thoughts such as these that echo in her mind.

This is the life of a skinny girl. This is my life.

What is sad is that when I get comments like these, they usually come from people close to me, even people I love. They are comments typically not meant to hurt me, so I brush them off quickly with ease, but that doesn’t mean they don’t hold that power. It’s a lonely feeling to get this kind of reaction from the people closest to you. Like my best friend in unintentional attempt to open insecurity like a wound at a football game when she tells me that I don’t have a butt. I’ll never forget that even though years have gone by since her passing comment. Or my sister’s boyfriend among others who constantly tell me that I eat too slow, like it’s a bad thing. I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I was participating in a race to scarf down this sandwich.

Being skinny and 5’3”, people form this impression, this idea in their minds that you are little and adorable… as well as weak and unable. They tease you about it like you’re a doll—not even a person. You are picked up by people constantly like a helpless, little puppy, even when you don’t want to be. The person doing it might figure, “What’s 100 lbs or so?” They want to know if they can lift you with ease. But he or she doesn’t take into consideration whether it’s something you want. It makes you feel weightless in more ways than one. Like what you want or don’t want doesn’t carry any weight to it either due to the fact that you already carry such little weight physically. It’s crazy that your size can have that effect on, not only your perception of yourself, but someone else’s perception of you. Someone’s inability to take you seriously as a human being… all because you’re tiny. Like you barely take up any space and are less valid because of this.

People need to understand that skinny shaming is just as real as fat shaming. My struggle to gain weight is just as real as someone else’s struggle to lose it. I read an article the other day about how skinny shaming is nonexistent and that by being skinny I am in some way “privileged”. This absolutely blew my mind. I was dumbfounded at the ignorance, and frankly, a little hurt that someone out there wrote this to tell me that I have no right to feel how I do. Because having a fast metabolism is completely in my control, right? Because I never have to hear about how real men want curves and “only dogs like bones”. Because I have not been made fun of in every imaginable and thinkable way a petite girl can be made fun of in addition to all of the examples I have already mentioned briefly in this article.

My struggle to gain weight is just as real as someone else’s struggle to lose it.

Going off of the whole curves thing, I am so sick of… I honestly think this is the one thing that bothers me most. I’m skinny. I get it. I don’t have curves. Most of us smaller girls don’t. Sorry if my butt and chest aren’t favorable to you, but frankly, I could do without the derogatory comments and jokes (and boy have there been plenty). Or the ones about how I look like a prepubescent boy because I’m a 34A or whatever. My body isn’t here to please you. In fact, I’m f*cking glad it doesn’t. Because I’m not a sexual object. I’m not a piece of meat. I don’t exist solely for your pleasure; I deserve respect. And what sucks is the stigma associated with being flat chested. Push-up bras with a crap ton of padding in every Victoria’s Secret ad, boob jobs being done left and right because somewhere along the road we were taught that small breasts are undesirable. Newsflash: I have little to no control where my body decides to store adipose tissue or how much of it. I should not be made to feel any less of a woman because of that, and certainly should not be any less respected by guys either. Every girl is different, and every girl is beautiful.

…somewhere along the road we were taught that small breasts are undesirable… I should not be made to feel any less of a woman because of that…

In my senior year of high school, two friends and I wrote and performed a slam poem about body shaming in general in our English class. It made multiple people cry, which is kind of a success when it comes to performance in my mind. I think that’s how you get to people when it comes to such an important topic as this one. Through their emotions and through inclusiveness. That poem wasn’t biased towards “skinny” or “fat” people. That poem targeted all people. We made sure that it would, and I’m very happy it did.

I wrote this today wanting to touch a little bit on what I go through internally and externally as a smaller girl. I wanted you, the reader, to see the effect certain things can have on a person’s life as well as the lesser known side of body shaming. Ultimately, I’m honestly not that affected by skinny shaming or any comments people make regarding my size at all. I learned a long time ago not to be. I can’t afford to be. I’d lose my freaking mind. You need a balance when it comes to others’ thoughts and opinions of you. I know when to allow myself to feel things and how much importance to place on what people say before it becomes too much importance. It’s good to be vulnerable and open-minded, but you have to be wise in doing so. In the end, what matters most is what you think about yourself. Brush off the negativity if it’s uncalled for, and keep going. When it comes down to it, the importance of your outward appearance pales in comparison to the importance of your health. That goes for everyone. As long as you’re eating right and being active, you’re doing what you should be. Your body will follow suit, or at the very least, you can be proud of and happy with a great lifestyle. Take care always.

-the skinny girl who continues to be happy in spite of negativity

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