This is one of those posts I “should” stay away from. Just sort of skip over as if it were some kind of puddle in the street that I don’t want to ruin my shoes with. I distincly remember getting advice from a seasoned coach who told me, “You can ruin your reputation with one post, tweet or Facebook status. Be careful what you say online….”
I remember when I first started exposing myself about my disordered eating and exercise. I was astounded when I would get emails from women thanking me for what I wrote, or that they could relate, or even asking me for advice. I thought, “Are there more out there like me? That were or are still suffering?” The more I spoke out and researched the more I found out that yes, there were hundreds of thousands, if not millions like me. Girls that hate their bodies, obsess on various parts, wishing they looked differently. Thinking that if only something was different: flatter stomach, bigger boobs, smaller thighs, skinnier hips, something, anything. If it were different, “it” would all be better.
“It” would work out.
“That” relationship would be better.
“I” would be…..different.
And the whole time, I was thin. Skinny. What this culture deems as “ideal”. And been shit on for admitting that I had body image issues.
Before my head starts spinning exorcist style, let me get to the point. I truly believe in my heart that for some women there is a sense of shame for those who have always been thin and have suffered from any kind of eating disorder to speak out and seek help because they are afraid of the judgement against them. Judgement for having what our society sees as “ideal” and not being happy about it.
Now, I am not a therapist or psychologist and I am well aware that eating disorders are complex and have many layers. But, I do know that the disorder doesn’t have hardly anything to do with weight. Or, at least we sure as hell think it does and when we finally get help, or learn to help ourselves is when we realize it doesn’t. Negative body image has to do with ourselves. Who we think we are and who we think we want to become.
Ladies, the world is AWFUL to us right now. We are objectified and picked apart constantly. We are still valued far more for the way we look rather than what’s in our hearts and minds. Our daughters desperately want to be thin at any cost and are highly over-sexualized. Girls and women are dying to be thin. And if there is someone, anyone out there who feels as confused and complicated as I once did (and sometimes still do) about finally speaking out and saying, “I’m fucking sick of this shit. Sick of not feeling like I’m good enough or thin enough.” And being afraid that someone will say, “Why would you feel that way? You’re already thin. You’re already beautiful.” But deep inside, you don’t feel that you are either of those things. Or maybe you do, but it sure as hell doesn’t make you happy. And no one should expect it to.
Everyone has their shit. Everyone. Everyone has gremlins that say awful things. But, just because someone was born thin doesn’t mean that they have a sign taped to their back that says, “Feel free to assume my life is easy and freakin’ awesome!”
Pain is subjective. Physical and emotional. Joe Schmo has no idea how much my internal scars hurt enough to make me starve myself as punishment just like I have no idea how much it hurt any woman to push out her baby.
We are a complicated culture and yes, we have different challenges based on race, body type, age, religion, etc, but as women….let’s just support each other. Again, it bears repeating: Everyone has pain. It's what makes us human. And there will always be someone that has it worse than you or I. But, that doesn't mean that your pain or issues or suffering should be dismissed just because you might have been born with what our culture has labeled as ideal.
My main point is that if you are a woman who thinks you might have a problem with disordered eating or hate your body as a whole or parts of it or anything that is not simply loving and honoring yourself and your body, and you are ashamed or embarrassed to articulate those feelings or if you're afraid of the backlash– I can tell you that keeping it all inside will never serve you. Your spirit is worth everything you've got. If you have pain and need help, that's it: You have pain and need help. It shouldn't matter if you are fat or skinny or anywhere in between.