Recently I was called "very overweight" in a public manner on social media. Their words--not mine. I was immediately embarrassed and hurt. This was a person I trusted and naturally, I felt betrayed. After I had time to think about it more, my feelings developed into anger.
In medical terms, yes, I am defined as overweight/obese. But NO WOMAN wants to be called that--especially on social media. What men fail to realize about women is that we are held to different standards. We may have grown up our entire lives with body issues and we may have birthed children which altered our physical appearances. We feel pressured to look a certain way and we are inherently trained to be self-conscious. Most of us are struggling to accept ourselves and the way our bodies have developed through the years.
Am I being overly sensitive? Maybe. I have been trying to lose weight for my own medical health and for longevity with my children, but not for appearance reasons or to please anyone other than myself. I personally have struggled greatly with body confidence over the years. I've been judged and made to feel "less-than" because of my weight SO MANY TIMES. "Wear long pants and long skirts to cover up your legs" was something I heard a lot while growing up. "You'd be so pretty if you just lost weight" is something I've heard multiple times since college. These words (and many more) play on a loop inside my head when I'm feeling insecure. I've shed way too many tears over hurtful words about my appearance. Dismissive comments like telling me to "get over it" or "don't worry about the people who judge you at the gym" are not helpful. Humans have many psychological layers and a one-size-fits-all weight loss mentality isn't realistic. Just when I think I'm feeling confident about myself, I get torn down. It's a vicious cycle.
What I've come to realize is this--years of body shaming has driven me to overcompensate in other areas of my life. Am I a workaholic? Yes. Do I keep myself busy to drown out the hateful comments in my head? Yes. Is my outgoing personality a mask? Possibly. I think all women want to feel beautiful and be desired in some manner. At the very least, respected as a person.
So here's where I'm at today. Writing my feelings in blog posts like this help me to sort out my emotions. I choose to publicly share my thoughts in this manner instead of writing them in a journal for a reason. I know that I am not the only woman with negative self-deprecating words rolling around in their brain. If this post simply gives encouragement to one woman, I've done my job. So, if you struggle with body issues like I do, know that you are not alone. You are enough. Don't let anyone make you feel otherwise. You are strong and you are beautiful.
To the person who made me feel fat-shamed, I forgive you. I know your intentions were good and you did not want to hurt me. But I hope you can now understand why I felt the way that I did.
I am still working on myself and being the best version of me I can be. But today I'm choosing to accept myself as God made me. I'm posting photos of my perfectly imperfect body to remind myself that I am a confident woman with a lot to offer this world. I have flaws and that's okay. I am enough.