It was a sunny Friday afternoon and the humidity was quite high that day. I was sweating up a storm while biking home from work, when I encountered the pair. She, a large teenager hugging a larger than life blue slushy. He, a skinny boy with luscious brown hair devouring a large bag of BBQ flavoured chips. They were laughing while slowly walking down the bike path. I was minding my own business, when suddenly, the skinny boy yelled at me: “Go eat something!” His female friend quickly followed with: “You skinny bitch!” They burst out laughing and continued on their journey like nothing had happened.
I didn’t react instantly. At first, I looked at them in confusion as I kept biking. Being the only other person on the bike path with them, it was clearly directed at me. I arrived home a few minutes later and the more that I thought about it, the more I got annoyed. What bothered me the most was not him telling me to go eat something, even though he should have understood that being thin did not necessarily indicate how much of something you actually eat since he was just as thin as I was, if not more. (I personally thought he looked scrawny.) It was her comment that bothered me. Why was it appropriate for a fat person to comment on my weight when I did not comment on theirs? If I would ever tell someone to “go lose some weight, you fat bitch” I doubt it would go well for me. In fact, I’m pretty positive it would not go well at all. I’m an understanding person but no matter what excuses I would make for people who voice their hurtful opinions at others, it would not excuse the fact that it’s unacceptable to bully others regardless of your own feelings towards society or even yourself. No matter the situation, hurting others in any shape or form (mental, physical, etc) is not okay. I want to name call and swear at those people but I’d be an hypocrite for using the tactic I just said was wrong… I’ll just sigh and shake my head for the time being.
I always felt very uncomfortable when large people would comment on my weight and ask what I ate or did to achieve my look. It has been happening a lot this summer since I started biking to work instead of busing. I bike because it’s quicker and cheaper than public transportation, not because it’s a work-out routine but I still get the awesome muscle definition because I am still doing a physical activity whether I thrive for that result or not. I always felt uncomfortable talking about my weight with people who struggled with theirs because I never had to really worry about mine and could always just enjoy all types of food and physical activities without having to put much thought into it. I have tried to indicate that it was natural to some people in the most modest of ways possible but after some really shitty reactions, I started to refrain myself completely. I started lying to certain types of people after getting comments such as: “Oh, you’re one of those people.”, “Lucky you, you can stuff your face all you want…” and even, “Have you ever considered putting on weight?” It always made me feel as though I was not allowed to feel good about myself for being thin because I didn’t work hard for it. I then started reading about thin shaming. It’s just as horrible as any type of shaming.
I vary between a (Canadian) size 2 and 5 and I am 5’2 so I am not a very tall or large human being. I have always been okay with that until I turned 26 years told (currently 28). A few years ago, I started noticing the war between the fat and fitness activists. I always felt as though both sides were extremists and also wrong because no structure is just as bad as too much of it. Why can’t we all just enjoy activities and food in equal ratio and take care of our bodies and mental states in a normal, healthy way? That doesn’t mean that everybody should stop eating meat, dairy, gluten and carbs and start becoming obsessed with everything weight related. It simply means that you should eat according to your activities and thrive to be a balanced person, both mentally and physically. *Activities that do not involve sitting idly for days on end while stuffing your face with donuts and coffee are required for the balanced person state to work. Even though it sounds fun and delicious, it should not be done by any living creature. (This may be based on true events…)
I talked to a friend of mine after the incident happened because I was pissed and needed to share my experience. She struggled with her weight growing up but had been working very hard as an adult to keep the weight off and deal with her head demons. She became a healthier human being, both mentally and physically. I admire her willingness to constantly change and better herself. She told me that when she started losing weight and getting muscles, her larger co-workers and other people would pass judgement with comments like “Skinny bitch”, “You look sick.” and the one that really bothered her, “You’re too skinny.” She told me how annoying it was at first and how depressing it got to be around people who did not encourage her to become a better person. I thought that was horrible and no one should ever be made to feel like shit for focusing on what they really want. You shouldn’t get bullied because you are bettering yourself and thriving to be healthier.
I know that we will always judge others according to our own feelings and behaviours but it’s not a reason to be loud and offensive about it. If you feel the need to judge someone’s weight, do it in your head because no one needs that kind of negativity. As my mother would say, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Mean comments on anyone’s physical appearance, whether fat, skinny or athletic, are highly disrespectful and no one deserves to be ridiculed for looking a certain way. It takes discipline, dedication and focus to achieve the things you are most passionate about in life and weight goals are no different.