The Skinny on Skinny

I am fully aware that I run the risk of ridicule (and possible hostility) for typing this post.

Whatever.

So, here’s my public service announcement for the day: calling someone skinny is not a complement (unless of course you are on a weight loss program… at which point you might consider “skinny” a term of endearment). Being skinny means you’re unattractively thin. Gaunt. Emaciated. Scrawny. Think about it: would you ever walk up to someone and say, “Ooh, girl… you are wearing that dress! Lookin’ good, with your scrawny lil self!” Doesn’t sound too endearing, does it?

I have been called skinny most of my life. From being called a No. 2 pencil throughout my school days, to the Target cashier exclaiming, “Oh, you skinny b*!#%” while ringing me up (I’ll address that in another post), to the neighbor who had the nerve to jokingly ask if I had HIV… I’ve heard it all. Not to mention the number of folks who casually hint that I must be anorexic. Give me a break, people! I know we live in a country where nearly 70% of adults 20 and over are either overweight or obese, but come on! Just because I don’t look like most of America doesn’t mean I’m sick. And for the record, just because someone is their ideal weight doesn’t mean they’re healthy. Shoot, you can be obese and highly malnourished!

While it’s obvious that I’m thin, I have never considered myself to be an unattractively thin woman. I may be slim (slender, lean), but I am not skinny. My bones are not protruding. I am not underweight. I am naturally thin. That’s all. Like most women who are naturally thin, I am not anorexic. I don’t skip meals in an attempt to lose weight. I eat cake and ice cream just like everyone else. I even have cellulite and jiggly parts- probably from the gluttonous amounts of cake, ice cream, and other fatty foods I’ve consumed during most of my pre-health-conscious life (I haven’t “arrived” yet but I’m definitely making progress in this area!). When I work out, it’s to tighten, tone, and build muscle- not burn fat and look skinny. If I go to the gym 3-4 times a week, it’s not because I’m obsessed with being thin- it’s because I’m determined to be flexible, strong, and fit. I’m trying to take better care of my body, that’s all. Losing weight is never my goal or desire.

And while I’m ranting, let me also say this: Being slim doesn’t mean I was born to model or that I’m “better” than you or that I think I’m better than you. It doesn’t mean I have perfectly sculpted abs, or that I don’t have to watch what I eat… we must all watch what we eat in order to be healthy- not thin- healthy. Being slim doesn’t mean I’m weak (physically, mentally, or emotionally)… I can probably handle more weight than most assume. I do not possess- nor am I in pursuit- of the thigh gap. And just because I’m not voluptuous doesn’t mean I’m not a “real” woman. Oh, and I don’t need to come over so you can feed me and fatten me up. I have plenty of my own fat. No need to be greedy for more!

Although I would love to be about 7 pounds heavier (to regain the weight I lost earlier this year from race training), I am not ashamed of my size like I used to be. In middle school, I would wear several layers of clothes just to appear a little more “normal.” I’m so over that now. I’m slim. Slender. Gracefully thin. And I’m cool with that. I’m a 5’7″ size 0 and I’m building my way back up to size 2. That’s my normal. If me being comfortable with my size makes you uncomfortable, that’s not my problem. There’s nothing wrong with being larger, but I want to be what’s right for me. Being healthy is what matters. That applies to weight as well as self-esteem. And at the end of the day it’s not about the size of your dress, but how fabulously you dress your size. 😀

I’m sure some will view this as pure semantics and that’s understandable. But skinny is not a complement (in case you missed the whole point of this post). It’s really an insult. I’m just giving you the skinny on what annoys us naturally thin women. Slim and thin? Cool. Skinny? Not so much.

So, to all the culprits of this contempt, the next time you fix your lips to call someone a skinny anything, ask yourself this: would you be OK with them calling you a ____________ somebody (fill in the blank with your favorite insult)? I rest my case. 😉

Have You Seen Her?

WANTED: Attractive, ambitious, stylish, generous, passionate woman filled with grace and class and confidence and humility. She’s patient and poised, witty and bewildering. Full of life, she lives in the moment and loves into eternity. Her lips are glossed with the praises of her Lord and her eyes smile with loving-kindness. She’s brilliant. Bold. Comfortably imperfect. Fabulous. She was my best friend and she’s missing. Have you seen her?

We lost touch a while ago. Seems life pulled us into opposing directions. I tried to keep up, but as life beat me down, my pace waned in defeat. Some days I see her face so clearly; most days she’s a distant memory, blurred from my consciousness. I’ve tried reaching out to her, tried catching up with her, but she’s too far gone. I’m too far gone. Lost. I fear she couldn’t take me anymore so she slipped away. She ran away. She’s so far gone. Have you seen her?

I used to see her at church. We would sing, and dance, and lift our hands in worship. It was good to me. Life and love, and God, and church… it was all so good to me. But one storm after another… one pain too plenty… one heartbreak too many… and I gave up. I shied away from church ’cause the spiritual attacks only grew worse the closer I got to God. And I got sick of hearing the preacher talk about “praising my way out” and “just believe and receive your deliverance.” Is my faith somehow defective? I have fasted, and prayed, and repented, and where is my deliverance? Am I doing something wrong? I stopped going to church ’cause the Saints made me feel crazy. Besides, I didn’t want anyone to see me like this… just a mess of the former me… the better me… the healthier me. The weight of the world was on my shoulders and I couldn’t let them see me like this. Felt like I was being punished. I miss the old me. Have you seen her?

Oh, but why bother to search? I’m sure if you cared you would have shown me. You would have called or wrote or prayed without trying to be all up in my business. You would have listened to my heart without judgement. You would have reached out to help me when you saw me slipping into the quicksand of my mental abyss, drowning in the blood of my own tears. You would have found a piece of her inside of me. You would have taken the time to show me there is hope. Wouldn’t you? You would have fought for me. Am I not worth fighting for? She would have fought for me but she’s long gone. Have you seen her?

Surely by now you would have seen me knocked down. This didn’t happen over night. It was the steady, gradual blows that did me in. I’m too tired to fight on my own. Worn out. Overwhelmed. Fatigued. My passion lies in the comfort of my bed. I’m safe here. I don’t want to get up. Don’t want to get out. It’s too cold outside. There’s no risk in laying still. I can evade disappointment. I am the soul of sorrow. I feel so worthless. Ugly even. But every now and then I think of her smile. I’d give anything to see her smile again. I wonder if she’ll ever come back to me. Have you seen her?

I can’t do this anymore. I can’t pretend that I don’t believe I’m not worthy of peace. I can’t laugh to keep from crying. Hurts too much. My face is scarred with tears and you’re own selfishness blinds your reality of me. Am I invisible to you? I wanted to talk. I wanted to open up but I lost my voice in the volume of your needs. I have given all that I have to help everyone else and it’s left me nothing but loneliness. Just can’t do this any more. I was the encourager. Who’s gonna encourage me? This pain is unbearable. You’re dismissive words are like daggers to my soul… “You’re strong. Don’t worry. You’ll be alright.” “Just pray about it.” I’m all prayed out. Can’t pray for anything other than the end of me. I’m just so empty. Disconnected. And no, I’m not strong. If being strong means I lie about my pain just to ease your mind, then I don’t ever want to be strong again. It’s not worth my sanity. I miss my saner self. WANTED: My saner self. She was beautiful. Tell me, have you seen her?

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I wrote this in observance of October 10th… World Mental Health Day. Depression is not rational and it doesn’t lead to rational decisions. One in 10 adults suffers from depression. How many of them do you know? Have you overlooked their cries for help? You can’t heal them but you can help them find hope. If either you or someone you care about is suffering from depression or any other type of mental illness, there is plenty of hope to be had! Click here for tips on how to make a difference. To speak with a trained counselor, call A Place of Hope at 1-888-771-5166.