I’ve been an advocate for being comfortable in one’s skin for as long as I can remember. I believe that everyone is beautiful in their own way and nobody should be body shamed or pressured to change the way they look. For this reason, whenever I meet people who are insecure about their appearance I do my best to make them feel confident. Nevertheless, even with all the confidence it’s easy to get affected by body shaming comments especially when they are coming from people that matter to you. I am 5′ 3” tall and for several years, I’ve always argued with people who called me small because I didn’t see myself as small. In my head, I was this huge young lady. Okay, maybe not huge but definitely not small. I didn’t see why people would choose to call me small and call the next person average even though we were of the same height. People always perceive me to be younger than my age probably because of my stature. Many people would have addressed me as a 17 year old girl and talked down on me before realizing that I’m a grown woman (I’m 24yrs old by the way). My face doesn’t help either; a lot of people think that I’m a child, only people who know me from school or work know that I’m not a teenager. I must say that I get offended sometimes but I usually just shake it off.
I’ve always seen my stature as a gift because who doesn’t want to look young for a long time? My stature also comes with so many benefits e.g people always offer to help me even before I ask; this can get annoying sometimes though. My mum constantly tells me to eat and get fat but I never took it seriously because I felt she was just being a caring mother. Recently, she became too pesty about it and one day she said something that made me realize that she actually sees me as small and was trying to change that by encouraging me to overeat. According to her, I’d look a lot bigger if I became fat (in her words, more fleshy). Hearing that really hurt my feelings. It’s not the fact that she thinks I’m small that breaks my heart but the fact that she thinks that I need to be ‘fixed’. Let me add that I do not have an eating disorder; I eat the amount of food that someone my age is expected to eat, sometimes even more. My size has nothing to do with not eating well. The only difference I have with most people my age is that I’m concious of what I eat; I always try to eat healthy. This isn’t my first time of hearing comments like this but having it come from my mum was just heart breaking. For the first time in my life, I saw myself as petite and started to try to gain some weight in order to look bigger. In a few days, I began to feel bloated and uncomfortable because I was eating more than my body needed. I knew I couldn’t go on like that; I had to call myself to order. The whole thing made me realize that I have been living in denial all these years and I had to come out of that. Being small doesn’t mean that I’m weak or inadequate. Being petite is beautiful and I do not need to convince people that I’m huge. I have accepted that I’m a petite young woman and I’m proud of that. Being small comes with it’s benefits and downsides just like every other body stature and I’ve decided to embrace them all. I’m glad that my mum finally voiced out what she felt because it helped me to accept who I really am and I became even more confident as a result of that. I’m not going to change who I am to meet anyone’s expectations; not even my mum and I’m definitely not going to eat to stupor to gain weight because I want to look bigger. Being small is one of the many things that make me beautiful because that’s who I am and I won’t change that for anything.
Whoever you are and whatever features you have that seem to be inadequate in your society, I encourage you to accept and embrace them all. You’re beautiful the way you are, you don’t need to change anything. The truth is that you cannot please everybody; even if you change that feature, you’ll still meet people that’ll condemn your new feature and ask that you go back. There’s no joy in living your life based on the judgements and expectations of others. Embrace who you are and love yourself. Others will learn to love you when they see how much you love yourself and even if they don’t, that’s their loss. Focus on the positives that come with being you and you’ll be happier for it.
If you’ve ever been body shamed please share your experience. I’ll love to read your comments.
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