Skinny? Call me slim
Growing up I was never the pretty one. Instead I was typecast as the freak who everyone loved to hate on. You see in the precious hierarchy that my school created I didn’t fit in. I wasn’t popular, had opinions that went against the ‘popular kids’ code of conduct and worst of all would stick up for the so called losers. Admittedly I wasn’t the best at choosing friends but at least I had some semblance of loyalty that others didn’t seem to have. In short I was a misfit and I hated it. I hated feeling different and I hated the attention that it gave me. All I wanted to do was blend into the background but instead each day there would be fresh hell to encounter. While many of the insults would be centered around my surname ‘De-Jesus’, others would concern my appearance. Rarely were the insults racist, although the occasional ‘you look like a paki’ and ‘are you foreign?’ would be tossed around-instead it was the way I looked that would be the focal point.
As a young girl I was notoriously slim, had crooked teeth, frizzy hair and ungroomed ‘facial hair’- all these assets were something my bullies loved to pick up on. They used to play a game whenever I would come near and use gestures to point to a ‘problem area’ in my appearance, calling me ‘no fun’ when I didn’t play along. How could I laugh at something that caused me physical pain? Even boys that I used to date would make fun of me, telling me they preferred someone ‘who had a little bit of meat’ on their bones. Instead I-their substitute girlfriend as they were not ‘cool enough’ to snag the popular girls- would be their ‘plaything’ to pass the time. After all, they told me that they were only going to get ‘hotter’ and I was going to stay ugly forever. Sure I was half decent when I had make up on but I had the chest of an eight year old boy and a figure to match it. At least that is what they told me and I was conditioned to believe that I would never be good enough.
It seems so petty for our society to be concerned with ‘personal appearance’ but the truth is no matter how judgement free we like to be, we all make assumptions based on first impressions. Some of these bullies didn’t even know me, all they knew was that I was quiet, geeky and slim. I began detesting the word ‘skinny’ and even today I correct people and tell them that I am ‘slim’. You might think that your complimenting someone by saying ‘your so skinny’ but stop and think. Just like the word ‘fat’, skinny is a word that is designed to hurt and has implications surrounding unhealthy body image. The bullies made me hate my body so much that I withdrew into myself, hoping that by keeping quiet they would move onto someone else. But they never did; you look so bony they would say, you look anorexic and ironically it was those who were larger than me who would insult me the most. The teachers did nothing about it, after all they had their favorites and I wasn’t one of them. I wasn’t the cool kid or the prettiest but even the popular kids were not teased about their weight. Where was the justice in that?
There seems to be a double standard when it comes to name calling; if your uncool and are a popular kids doppelganger, your physical appearance would be called into question. Lets call her R, R was popular, tanned and had similar characteristics to me. In fact R was slimmer than I was but because she was ‘popular’ her weight was never called into question. We shared some classes together and I thought that she was super sweet and nice until I realized that she was as fake as the tan she plastered all over her face. Because I grew up in care my personal identity had to be kept secure from certain ‘people’ and I was legally not allowed to join any social media sites until I was 18. That didn’t stop me seeing the abuse that was posted about me and my only true friends N & K would show me the endless tweets and statuses that were written about me. It was cyber bullying pure and simple and R would be the female ringleader, laughing about the way I looked on Twitter.
I became obsessed with taking countless selfies and while many saw it as narcissism it was in fact a way to try and boost my self confidence and pretend that I was happy in my figure and the way I looked. But who was I kidding, I wasn’t happy and the sadness threatened to overcome me. I was sad that all around me friends were becoming ‘hot property’ and I was stuck alone in the corner trying to pretend that I didn’t stick out like a sore thumb. I hated my small breasts and tiny frame and the word ‘skinny’ became poison to my ears. I would spend what felt like hours capturing my figure from countless angles trying to kid myself into thinking that their venomous words were bulls**t. The words felt hollow and I knew that there was something very wrong with me. I would look in mirrors and cry, the words of my tormentors ringing in my ears. Every time a guy looked at me I would feel myself panicking, wondering what I had done to warrant such attention.
So here is why you should never call me skinny. Because of this one word I have BDD, a disorder that has knocked my confidence and I am only being able to deal with now. Because of your insults about my weight I became anxious and depressed, thinking that I could never match up to societies ideal standard of beauty. And because you called me skinny I become prickly when a guy flirts with me, thinking that his motivation for talking to me is not motivated by passion. When I have sex I am conscious of my body, scared that I don’t look womanly enough to be considered attractive. I hide my ribs, aware that they are showing and push my butt out to look more curvaceous. I feel self-conscious in a bikini and am aware that my collarbone is more prominent than it should be. But do you know what, acknowledging that I had BDD and what caused me to have such a distorted perception of the way I look finally helped me come to terms with my SLIM not Skinny figure.
I guess I just have one more thing to get off my chest. You may have wounded me with your words and caused me to have low self-esteem but day by day I am improving . I no longer feel the need to give a s**t about what you guys think nor do I think that my weight is unhealthy. Sure I am slim and sure I am part of the itty bitty parade but do you know what? Like I said in How River Island Helped Me Embrace Small Boobs, I am learning to love my body more and more and its a journey that shows me to appreciate what we have been given. After all isn’t there more important things to be concerned about? Why should I let some losers affect the way I feel in myself, even if some of them used to be my friend. After all the past is the past right? No matter if you are slim, athletic or curvaceous love the body that you are in because if you can’t love yourself how the hell you gonna love somebody else?
Wise words RU Paul…
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