The skinny on being skinny

A few years ago, I was unfortunate enough to catch a stomach flu just a few weeks after having my wisdom teeth removed. I drove my sorry ass to the doctor for a fever that wouldn’t go away and was promptly taken into the back room to be weighed, poked, and prodded. The poking and the prodding were a piece of cake. It always is. It’s the weigh-in that freaks me out. Especially then, right after barely surviving on applesauce and scrambled eggs for about 3 weeks. But mostly because I’ve spent my entire life getting dirty looks and wagging fingers from the doctors.

“Do you enjoy food?”
“How many calories do you consume in a day?”
“Did your parents show you affection when you were a child?”
“How do you feel about your weight?”
“Did your parents feed you?”
“Are you on drugs?”

See, I’m a skinny girl. I’ve always been a skinny girl. Other girls would stare at me and point at me and say, “God, I wish I was as skinny as you are!”. Do you really? Do you really wish you could be this skinny? Do you really know what you’re wishing for? Probably not.

I didn’t grow up with a positive self-image. When a part of you is constantly being called into question, it starts to become a part of you that you wish would go away. Sometimes being called into your 7th grade advisor’s office to be counseled on your weight isn’t fun. And being followed into the restroom by your teacher or co-worker who suspects you’re throwing up your lunch isn’t fun, either. Oh, no – wait! There’s those people who whisper behind your back about your anorexic body or the snobby girls who always feel threatened by you because you’re skinny and refuse to become your friend. Or having to shop in the little girls’ department at any given store where the only jeans available in your size have the words CUTE or DIVA across the bum or sparkly butterflies sewn on the ass! Hi, I’m in my thirties!

Now I am happy to report that I’ve gained some weight over the last ten months. That whole rumor about gaining weight after you quit smoking is true. For me, it was. I’ve finally broken past and maintained my weight above 100 pounds. And while my body is still small, I can tell where that extra cushion has gone. And I don’t like it! But this doesn’t mean that I’m a complete freak about my body because I never was. It only means that I have to adjust to seeing pudge in places I’ve never had pudge before.

So please don’t be so quick to judge a skinny girl. I remember how much I appreciated concerns about my weight when those concerns were being voiced by someone I trusted or someone I respected. Not by someone who just thought that my weight was a wonderful topic of conversation because, well, let’s face it – they were either jealous or completely in favor of making me uncomfortable.

Sometimes a skinny girl is just a skinny girl.


About Dena

I'm a suburban Clevelander by way of Oklahoma City, by way of North Florida, by way of Southern Maryland, by way of Upper Michigan, by way of Northern Italy, by way of Lower Michigan, by way of Texas. Because of living in so many places, I have something in common with almost everyone I meet. I love reading, writing, and American history (especially reading or writing about American history). I'm interested in culture of place, historical trauma, and writing about the kinds of histories most people don't know about.
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2 Responses to The skinny on being skinny

  1. Sra says:

    The other secy in my office is likewise skinnily afflicted. For our office biggest loser competition, her task was to gain weight. 🙂 Like most of the rest of us, she didn’t accomplish her task very well.It’s just hard for those of us who have to struggle not to gain weight to understand people who don’t. I totally get why this bothers you, though. As a rule, anything weight-related should never be brought up in polite company.

  2. Chris says:

    I am SOOOOO glad to hear someone else say that. People all the time would ask me, “Don’t you eat”and”You must have a tapeworm”and all of those.I was on a high protein diet TRYING to gain weight and people think it’s fine to say that. I always thought it was rude and it pissed me off.Now in my 40’s and still within 5 lbs of my high school weight, I just take solace in the fact I get to eat what I want, when I want.

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