I’m sure that people are offering a compliment when they look at me and say “You’re so skinny!”, but honestly, it isn’t always received as such. I have always been on the thin side when it comes to my weight and I eat well. I didn’t reach 100 lbs until I was a senior in high school. I’ve also had 5 children and yet I am still thin compared to most women my age.
Now I am at a point where I love my body, but this hasn’t always been the case. As an adult, a lot of women tell me that they wish they were my size. I love it. When you say it like that, yes its a compliment that I will gladly accept.
As a child, I was teased for growing up skinny. Everyone knows how cruel kids can be. It shouldn’t have bothered me. But the more I heard such negative remarks towards skinny/thin women, the more I felt like something was wrong with my body. In this case, I don’t appreciate your amazement at how skinny I am.
When I was in school, I was picked on for years. Other children used to call me anorexic. I was also told that I had “the body of a white girl” because I had big breasts and a flat butt. I absolutely hated it.
Then of course I couldn’t wear trendy clothes like bell bottoms because they didn’t fit me properly. Theres nothing worse than baggy bell bottoms. (That one even made me laugh). Belts didn’t help either. It just made the situation even worse. Baggy bell bottoms being held onto my body by a belt wrapped almost twice around my waist. I was so happy when I discovered the size 00. Can you say game changer? And even now, I am so thankful for the skinny jean trend. Lets hang on to that until I die, ok?
Real Women Have Curves
Back then and even now there are so comments and illustrations of how real women have curves. I love black art. The vibrant colors, the beautiful skin tones, the curves? There are so many pictures of black women being drawn that show full, curvy figures. I’m beautiful, I’m black, I have slight curves but not like these. Does that mean I am not a real woman or better yet a real black woman because I lack these features? F*&$ that!
I’m Not Hungry
People are always telling me I need to eat. Especially older women, my Mom included. Sorry Mom, but she does and it annoys me when she or anyone else tries to force me to eat more. Newsflash there are fat vegetarians. *gasp* Yup I said fat, because if you get to call me skinny, then I get to call you fat right? No…none of it is ok. I eat just fine. I’m not starving myself. There are certain things that I choose not to eat, but that’s no different than anyone else. I’m not a picky eater, I just don’t put everything in my body. Furthermore, I shouldn’t have to explain myself on that.
Now if you start to see my bones through my skin, and you never see me eat ever. Then we have a problem. Feel free to have an intervention. We can have a true come to Jesus meeting to help me. Until then, all the plate pushers can back up off me.
Skinny women are body shamed just as much as any other body type. You saying how skinny I am is not a compliment to me when I have had so many negative reactions associated with it. How someone feels about their body is fine. IT’S THEIR BODY. We don’t have the right to tell someone that they should feel bad about how they care for themselves.
I’m sure all of you have heard the jokes they crack about super models and how they starve themselves to be that skinny. I must admit that in some cases they do and it is never ok to deny yourself nutrition and proper care for your body. On the contrary, some people are just naturally skinny *raises hand* and those people eat and are completely healthy.
Side Note: When my sister and I were younger, my uncles used to call us Tyra & Naomi. I didn’t realize how they were empowering us. These are two beautiful, successful, women and I wish I knew then the magnitude of this compliment, but I know now. (Shout out to Uncle Knuck & Derrell)
What the World Says
You may have heard of a comedian by the name of Monique. She was huge when I was growing up. Figuratively and physically speaking. Monique played in tons of movies, TV shows, and stand-up comedy. Monique was also a very heavyset woman. Part of her comedic routine was to talk about “skinny bitches” as she would call it and now she is one. Those kinds of things stick with people. It certainly stuck with me. This was a famous comedian in the black community telling everyone how being skinny was such a bad thing.
I get crazy looks when I make comments about my own body. Giving birth to 5 children has created stretch marks. I don’t like them and that’s my opinion. I also don’t like how my lower stomach protrudes in comparison to the rest of my body. To some people, I’m overreacting, but it’s the opinion I have about my body. I don’t think I’m fat. Let me say it again for the people in the back, I don’t think I’m fat. There are a lot of people who have things they want to change. You don’t shame them, so don’t shame the skinny folks either.
A New Me
As of today, I still can’t wear certain trendy items. There are these really cute thigh boots I see everyone wearing. Not me though, simply because my thighs are small, but I love my body. I admittedly get joy when I come across people who used to tease me in high school but they look terrible now. I think it’s funny that there are clothes in my closet that I’ve had for over a decade. ***Note to self: you might need to update your wardrobe.
Going forward, there is a right way to compliment someone. Saying something like “You have a great shape” is a nice way to compliment someone’s body without offending them. The phrase “Wow you’re so skinny” can be perceived a little judgmental and you never really know how someone feels about their body.
We all need to be more conscious of how we speak to one another. The internet has given us too much exposure to the world. Suicide rates are unbelievably high and in many cases it is due to low self esteem. People feeling as if they aren’t pretty enough because everyone on the internet is so perfect.
Although your compliments have offended me in the past, I am learning to love and accept my body. I am hoping that men and women all over the world can do the same. Sometimes it’s can be difficult to embrace, but we are all beautifully and wonderfully made. Accept those compliments from others. Train your mind to find the good in what people say to you regardless of how that message affected you in the past.