I see you all the time. You’re tugging on your ill-fitted clothes and fidgeting with your hair hoping to fade into the background. You pray that no one sees you or says anything so you can have a good day. Society has made it clear; you shouldn’t be out and you are not acceptable. You only deserve to be noticed only if you’re being shamed.
They think they know your story by reading your outside.
All the time they tell you you’re unhealthy, unattractive, unwanted, and unloved. They think they know your story by reading your outside. The story they think is the same as what’s shown on TV in reality series and ridiculous game shows. You’re disgusting and eat donuts all day while swimming in lakes of Cheetos, they say to themselves. They’re wrong, but don’t care because you are fat.
You smile and struggle against the current of endless negative stereotypes and merciless jokes made at your expense. Only when you are alone you end up a sobbing mess in a puddle of tears and ice cream. It doesn’t make the pain go away — it just makes it worse and you hate yourself more.
I’ve been you, I am you, and I truly see you. I sit across from you on the subway, or in restaurants. I shop with you, I work with you, and I feel your pain. It’s palpable. The pain is written on your face despite the forced smile. I see the dings to your dignity from the snickers we hear and looks of disgust as people pass by. I wish I could hug you and whisper “DON’T LISTEN, YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL”. I wish I could say “It has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with them!”.
I understand how you may feel like a hostage in your own body, though it doesn’t tell you how to fix it or what ransom you need to pay. I’ve starved, cried, screamed, kicked, and abused myself like you. It’s torture.
Today someone uttered “are you sure you need seconds?”, or you overheard strangers comment “God she’s disgusting”. I wish I was there to say “Don’t believe it! Don’t listen!”.
You are more than a body.
You are loved by family, friends, and strangers.
You deserve love
You deserve to exist
And you deserve to be happy above all else.
YOU ARE IN CHARGE!
Tomorrow you decide to stop listening. You take the first step and walk through the crowds with your head held high. You ignore the looks and the snickers, because they are strangers you’ll never see again or even care about.
Those barbed words were never meant for you, they are a reflection of their own lack of self-worth.
You decide to give yourself permission to be happy and a little less harsh to yourself.
The next day you may fail, and that’s ok. You failed because a stranger or a “concern” bully got to you. You decided to eat that pint of ice cream and ended up in that puddle of tears again. You hate yourself for being there, being that person, and giving in. They achieved what they wanted — they wanted you to fail. They wanted you to feel the way they feel about themselves. They say worse to themselves and want you to feel it too. DON’T LET THEM!
Those barbed words were never meant for you, they are a reflection of their own lack of self-worth. They don’t care about your health, your life, or who you are. They just don’t want you to feel ok with who you are if they don’t.
You decide to start again.
A week on you start feeling stronger and standing on your own. You’ll drown out and ignore the chatter from strangers and your smile will become genuine. You’ll start feeling an inner warmth you want to never go away. Someone will look at you in disgust and instead of looking away in shame you look them in the eye. They look away quickly with their own shame, knowing they aren’t allowed to be judge and jury. You’ll realize they are just small, shallow people who are slaves to some ideal.
You will begin to wonder who makes these “rules” and ideals. Who dictates what you should look like? And why do you have to adhere to them? More questions will come and less answers appear.
You realize it’s all a scam. It’s all to sell diets, pills, clothes, lifestyles, and self worth. They just want your money. If you’re miserable and hate yourself, maybe you’ll spend whatever it takes to make it all go away. It never works.
Finally, you step on the scale you need to know the reality in order to take a step forward. NO FEAR. It’s a number you tell yourself. You reflect on that number as tears well up and it seems so impossible. You resign to change because you have started to love yourself. ALL OF YOURSELF!
Six months from now you are more comfortable in your body. You’ve begun losing weight; it’s slow, but it’s something. It all becomes less impossible despite illness and medication — you are taking over. You may never be thin, and that’s ok, but you sure will be healthier than when you started. Your mind will be happier and the mean voices in your head will be quieter. Your body will feel better for it. People will continue to judge you but you have figured it out. You feel like you’ve discovered a secret that no one knows and you smile because of it. You find power in knowing you aren’t like them. You have apologized to yourself and learned to love you. You look in the mirror without tears or drama, you step on that weight scale and acknowledge that number. You buy that cute dress or bikini because YOU CAN.
And the world doesn’t end…. life goes on and it’s a little bit easier.