i had an interesting thing happen to me today; something that i would never really have considered sharing, however i feel strong that it needs to be said.
earlier this evening when i got out of my barre class and was walking back to my car, i had a man speed up behind me in the road. i went to move out of the way, only to have the gentleman yell as he was passing by “get your *expletive* fat ass out of the way”. woah now. seriously? if you know me, you would know that my initial reaction would be to yell back “*expletive* you”. because i am classy like that. but i didn’t because, what good would that do? so i let him pass and be on his merry way.
as a woman who has struggled with her weight, not to mention self esteem, her entire life, this hit me hard (the photo is an attempt at irony … i don’t eat bacon, although i wish i could). it hasn’t been until the past year or two that i have finally reached a place where i feel marginally happy when i put on clothes … not to mention a bathing suit … and feel okay about myself. i, just like anyone, can tend to fluctuate a few pounds here or there, but that just makes me work a little bit harder when i do. i make sure to get that extra run in every day, even though i just want to take a break. i don’t get to eat all the fun things that some people do – and that can stink- but if i want my pants to button, i have to just say no to that brownie or bowl of ice cream. so for someone – albeit a total stranger – to have the audacity to say something like that … to another complete stranger … just made me think.
i am a tough girl, i can take hurtful words. put them in a box. and get past them. i have strong and powerful women with real bodies, like mindy kaling and lena dunham to look to as examples of being healthy in the real world. but what about all of the kids that are in school right now. all those kids that don’t know how to put words in a box and turn the other way. kids that get called fat one day and then have to see that same person the next day only for it to happen again. kids that don’t have exercise to turn to as an outlet, so instead they turn to food. what are we doing for those kids? how are we helping them?
it has been a long time since i was in school, but i remember even back then how hard it was just finding the strength to be yourself. i always turned to humor and sports as safety blankets, which fortunately allowed for me to make it out of those difficult years stronger and seemingly unscathed. however i feel that for so many people the result just isn’t that easy. our society has become a place where it’s so much easier for all of us to just turn the other cheek when we see something wrong. with no confrontation comes no risk. if it isn’t affecting us directly, then why bother saying anything, right? wrong. by not saying anything we are consenting that the action is acceptable, that we agree with it. when really we are all just being the cowardly lion. i don’t know about you but i don’t want that for myself. i wasn’t raised a coward and i do not want to be a coward. i am strong, and i want that to be reflected every day of my life. when i see something wrong, i will say something, not because i want to be recognized for it, but because it is the right thing to do. and i challenge you to do the same.
i titled this post “be kind. for everyone you meeting is fighting a hard battle” (words by the ever so wise plato) because it is true. we come in contact with people every day of our lives that we know nothing about. we don’t know their story, just like this man earlier tonight did not know my story. had he known my weight loss journey, perhaps he would not have chosen to speak the harsh words that he did. or perhaps he would have; there is no way to know. however, in that instance he decided to let his words speak for his character, and for that, there is no excuse. we cannot continue to allow words to be thrown around like water balloons, with little to no thought behind the impact they make upon hitting the target. so often we do not know the battle that a person might be fighting and the impact that a certain word or phrase might have on them. we do not know how strong or weak they are, or what they have persevered to get to where they are today. we do not know their story.
i often talk about how i keep the unrelenting faith that one day i will meet a man that will love me for who i am, both inside and out. someone that will not care if i have a pimple on my face, or if my weight fluctuates a pound or two here and there. but will love me because i am unique, and funny, and know the words to every rap song on the radio. we must get to the point where we can accept ourselves for who we are, both on the inside and outside. that isn’t to say it isn’t okay to continually want to improve, becoming better versions of who we are, but there must come a point where we can all turn to the mirror and say “i love myself, and my body, for what it is”. for myself, this is a continual work in progress. i must wake up every day and decide to work hard, eat healthy, and stay on the right track, knowing that i have the love and support of those around me. i challenge you all to do the same by learning to love yourself, striving to be healthier, and above all learning to always be kind. for everyone is fighting their own battle.