Growing Up Skinny

Growing Up Skinny

skin·ny /ˈskinē/ adjective 1. (of a person or part of their body) very thin. "her skinny arms" synonyms: thin, scrawny, scraggy, bony, angular, rawboned, hollow-cheeked, gaunt, as thin as a rake, skin-and-bones, sticklike, emaciated, waiflike, skeletal, pinched, undernourished, underfed;

Growing up I was always called skinny and it never bothered me, because as a young girl it was always considered a good thing.

There was one incident in high school where I was performing in a musical. My friends mother heard another woman saying that I was anorexic to which she responded, "that girl eats like a horse". Before I heard this story I never considered that people thought I was under nourished or unhealthy because this was the body I was born with and the body I've always known.

If we look at my family history both my parents were very tiny not to mention it goes all the way back to my grandparents. Nanny always reminds me, "I was 98 pounds on my wedding day." So good genes have had a huge hand in creating the body I have always known.

To supplement my good genes I was a dancer for 18 years. Dancing builds lean muscle so while I didn't appear to be gaining weight it was because I was gaining muscle weight. I still miss and admire my dancer legs and I've been working to get them back.

The point being, I was blessed with a great metabolism and to this day it is no easy feat for me to gain weight. This is where all the women reading this post grumble, "lucky skinny bitch", but the truth is that I am probably as self conscious about my bones as some women are about their rolls.

At some point throughout my 24 years being thin turned into a horrid, ugly and negative thing. But, calling me "skinny" is no worse than me calling someone "fat" they are both ugly disgusting words that can be incredibly hurtful to an individual. I have seen it pop up more and more on social media with images such as these:

This photo bothered me most. It spread like wild fire all over social media and most were saying that the women on the bottom were “real women” not the women on top… I am definitely going to have a problem with that. I am in fact a real woman and have been for 24 years but I don’t identify with any of the women on the bottom but I can relate to the women on top. The unfortunate comments tell me I’m not a “real beauty” and I don’t take being told what I am or am not very well.

I think if I had to sum it all up, Cassi Van Den Dungen said it best:

I’m naturally skinny, I eat what I want, I don’t starve myself, and I am beautiful. So why are you allowed to love your “curves”, but it’s wrong for me to love my “bones”? Why is it okay for you to call me anorexic, but horrible for me to call you fat? If you can feel beautiful for being big, I can feel beautiful for being small.

In the past few years I have become less confident in my body than I once was and it began to affect me psychologically. I went through a time in the past few years where my body image interfered with my regular eating habits. I developed anxiety, I think a small part of it has to do with my body image, the other part has to do with self-esteem issues I'm working on from a past relationship. 

My anxiety manifests itself in nausea and more specifically eating. When I'm out with friends, on a date and even sometimes with my family I suddenly am overwhelmed with nausea, my heart beats a thousand times a minute, I get really hot and feel flush and sometimes all of it results in me running to the bathroom to vomit. Let me be clear, this is not a case of bulimia. 

This problem was definitely elevated in my last relationship, since we parted ways it has become easier but it still rears it's ugly head every now and again. I told my doctor about my situation she prescribes a very low dose of antidepressants and began seeing a councillor. Seeing the councillor really helped, while she didn't fully understand what I was going through it felt like she did. I think the problem stemmed from people constantly saying, "you're so skinny!", "do you even eat?" and "go eat a burger!", it made me furious and it still does, only now when someone calls me skinny I call them out on it.

Everyone has body issues and everyone can find something wrong with themselves, no one needs help finding more flaws. I really just want everyone and especially other women to know that as #FierceFemales we should support each other, celebrate our differences and be proud in our own skin because we can do anything.

Vance Joy

Vance Joy

Michele Shuster

Michele Shuster