If you’ve been following my work over the past few years, you know that my content is often raw, uncut, and unapologetically transparent.
But I have to admit something to you; storytelling is my therapy. I often share my personal stories of triumph and failure, well after the events have taken place.
I feel safer this way. I feel protected if I share once I’ve overcome the obstacle or learned the lesson.
It’s much easier to be transparent when the content isn’t fresh emotionally. It’s easier to share once I’m healed and the words of testimony flow articulately.
But today is different…
When I think about weight, I get emotional. I’ve been wanting to write about this for years but I didn’t have the right words.
My ego definitely didn’t want me to address it, so I know I need to, and I truly believe that someone needs to hear this, right now!
Full-Figured Beauties, Naturally Slim Stunners, and Everyone in Between
Regardless of where we stand on the Body Mass Index (BMI) chart, I think it’s safe to say that our weight has concerned us at some point in our lives.
Growing up I was called “slim jim” “sticks” “bony” “skinny minnie” and any other word that resembled a slender frame.
Though I hated these nicknames, I never really had a good comeback for them. I realized that being skinny has been a standard for beauty in our country for the longest, and because of this, I often felt guilty for being skinny.
I tried “old-school” methods in order to gain weight quickly. I drank ensure, got on birth control, ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before bed, but nothing worked. My metabolism is just fast… it runs in my family. My mom and grandmother had the same struggles when they were my age.
The Skinny on Being Skinny
At a young age, I noticed it was socially acceptable to call out, criticize, or interrogate a skinny person.
“Wow, you’re so skinny!”
“Girl, why are you so skinny?”
“Do you eat? What do you eat?”
“Does being skinny run in your family?”
“Must be nice being skinny.”
“You should be grateful you’re so small.”
The funny thing is, I have always desperately wanted to gain weight. Growing up as a black young woman, being skinny has never been appealing to me.
I couldn’t wait to be “grown” so I could fill out and embrace my womanly curves, but they never came.
I don’t talk about this often because when it comes to weight goals, I’m the minority. More people want to lose weight than gain it.
When skinny people talk about weight, others in the room start to eye-rolling and side-eyeing.
When it comes to body goals, people have told me that they envy the body that I’ve hopelessly wanted to outgrow. So this alone, has silenced me from sharing my unique struggle.
At the end of the day, we all have our struggles. We’re all in this together!
I’m sharing my story to shed a little light on the overlooked #skinnygirlstruggle but by no means am I ignoring the struggle of the women who are desperately trying to lose weight.
When it comes to body image, we have to remember not to project our feelings and opinions onto others. It’s not right or wise to assume that we know how someone else feels about themselves, based on how we perceive them to be.
Ladies, we should never speak down on another woman, let alone because of her weight.
Society already does a damn good job of this!
Learning the Same Lessons Twice
Over the past decade or so, I’ve invested in my self-development and self-esteem. I’ve learned to love myself and my size, despite my unfaltering desire to gain weight.
However, this past year I’ve been struggling with my appetite. Between the huge life events that have occurred for me (getting married and moving across the country), traveling for speaking engagements and family stuff, and the stress of managing my business and my day job, my appetite has been non-existent.
I’ve fluctuated between 115 lbs and 120 lbs, and at 5’5… this is incredibly too small for me!
I know that I am not defined by my pants size and I know that we are all beautiful just the way we are, but sometimes we have experiences in life that remind us that we may need to revisit a lesson or two.
Enjoying Where You Are on the Way to Where You Want to Be
A few months ago I had a speaking engagement at a college on the east coast. I met a 14-year-old student named Nora, who inspired me deeply.
Nora was me when I was 14. A size 0, very skinny, and a little tall for her age.
She pulled me aside and told me that she too wished that she could gain weight. Her classmates teased her and said she had no butt, she was flat-chested, and shaped like a little boy.
My eyes filled with tears as I gave my younger self advice on how and why she should love her body just the way it is, and I too was reminded that I need to love my body just the way it is, even if I have a desire to gain weight one day.
As we goal map and unapologetically chase our dreams, let’s be grateful for:
- The body we’re in, even if we want to lose or gain weight
- The job we have, even if we plan to pursue entrepreneurship full time
- Our dwelling, even if it isn’t the perfect home we envision ourselves residing in
I have a habit of saying “I’ll be happy when _____.” The blank is usually filled with “I pay off my student loans” “I’m working for myself full time” “I have more time freedom” “I’m at my ideal weight” And so on and so forth.
I heard a speaker once say, “Stop waiting to be happy when BLANK happens. Be happy now. Be happy in the moment. Embrace the journey and be happy about where you came from and where you’re going.”
Don’t rob yourself of current happiness waiting for future happiness.
My challenge to you:
Watch the video below from motivational speaker, author, and transformational coach, Lisa Nichols, and complete her Exposing the Lies activity. It’s not easy but it’s definitely worth it. I completed mine this morning!
What has your body helped you do in the last few days? Share below!