I have a story I need to blog about! I was standing with a bunch of women at school one day and as we were waiting for the kids to burst through the doors to greet us, we started the usual awkward talk. On a side note, why is adult conversation among strangers/casual acquaintances often so awkward? There’s only so much you can say about the day’s weather…yes, we are all tired of the snow and the frigid temperatures. Panic! Now what do we say? Insert the group-grabbing of cell-phones as we are all so “Super” busy to actually talk about something other than the weather. I’m such an awkward small-talker…I must change this.
Anywhoooo, the ladies I was awkward talking to were of all shapes and sizes. The only reason I noticed this is because of what transpired through our conversation. The women were talking about how they had gained weight during the Christmas holidays and how hard it was to work off. I decided to add my two-bits as I figured we were among the same circle of women standing in the same place everyday awaiting the arrival of our same children. So I said, “I hear ya, this Christmas I overdid the Ukrainian food and my jeans are now so tight that I’m quite uncomfortable as I stand here talking to you.” One woman, looked at me oddly and said “Well, good thing you are skinny, so it’s really not a big deal for you is it?”
In that moment, I realized she was judging me the same way I had judged other women back when I was 242 pounds. She sized me up as one of those “skinny chicks” who could never understand what it is to be overweight or what it is to struggle with body-image. I can say this with confidence, because I used to put women into two groups: The Skinny and the Overweight. The Overweight came with understanding, and the Skinny lacked understanding. I wasn’t sure how to feel when she used the word “skinny” as it’s certainly not how I view myself, but it was the way she said “skinny” like it had a rank smell attached to it. ha ha
This was not the first time I encountered the two different sides of this “pigeonholing” fence. A friend of mine eventually told me after we became close that when she first met me she thought I was one of those “skinny bitches”. She meant no offence by it, she was just being honest, but it really made me pause and think. It also made me sad, that at one time that’s how my perception was as well…full of stereotypes and judgments. Speaking from personal experience, it was because I wanted to be someone different.
I struggled, and continue to struggle with confidence. I am thankful that I’ve been able to live at an unhealthy weight, and also a healthy weight for me. I’m not making a judgement on any other person’s weight. I’m talking about my weight, because at my heaviest I had high-blood pressure which had to be controlled with medication. I also did not eat properly so I lacked energy and if there was a sickness to catch in the office, I caught it. I don’t get sick all that often anymore, and I no longer have high-blood pressure. To me, this is evidence of the benefits of eating healthy and exercising.
Here’s the way I am choosing to look at this issue now. We are all just people. The women that used to intimidate me, no longer do. It’s not because they have changed, it’s because I’ve changed. It’s not about how you look on the outside. For me, the standard of beauty comes from experiences, who you are as a person: your heart, your mind, your soul. It’s not external. I appreciate a difference of opinions. I appreciate different outlooks on life. I love when people speak their mind. Forget about conformity! Just be you! I appreciate kind, soft-hearted people who give of themselves first. I believe that’s one of the most beautiful traits one can possess.
Now, let me take off my rose-coloured glasses for a moment and explain that I don’t think everyone is good and kind. However, all one can worry about is their own heart and mind. The next time someone looks down their nose at you, just smile. It’s OK! Be confident in who you are as a person. Does it REALLY matter what someone else thinks of you if you know in your heart of hearts who you REALLY are? Continue being authentically you. You will attract like-minded people who adore who you are.
I’ve heard women say (and I was among those women at one time), they didn’t feel comfortable going to the gym because their fitness level didn’t match others at the gym. You know what? I finally got to a place where I didn’t care anymore! I will lift my low-weights beside the muscular dude who lifts weights the size of my head. I will run slowly for 30 minutes beside that marathon runner who has run for over an hour (sometimes I want to stand and watch in amazement). I will be the red-faced sweater beside that cute girl with perfect make-up barely breaking a sweat! My butt jiggles when I run, her’s doesn’t…whatever! It’s OK, because we are all just people! We are different, but we are also the same (if that makes sense). We all have a right to go where ever our passions lie.
So the moral of this story: Hold you head high. You are perfectly imperfect. Listen to that inner voice that leads you to be exactly the person you were meant to be. You are stronger than you even realize. You have a gift, we all have gifts. Now, get out there and share them. 🙂
I only wish I could have realized this back then, but I guess if I knew that then, I wouldn’t have learned so much along the way. There’s still so much to learn about life! I would say that’s pretty exciting.
I’m not a “Skinny Bitch”. I’m just me, just as I was me back when I weighed more, and when I weighed less.
From my heart to yours,