I was planning for another post today, however, after an incident this past weekend, I decided without a second thought that I wanted to share something serious but oh so relevant in this world today.

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My two cousins (9 year old and 4 year old) from North Carolina visited my family this past weekend. They left NC on Thursday morning and arrived in DC (where I live) at around 4 in the afternoon.

My 9 year old cousin named Lily and I were in my room and we could hear our mom’s cooking dinner downstairs. Lily mentioned something about how it smelled good downstairs and I replied back, “I know, I’m so hungry! Aren’t you?”

“No. I’m not hungry at all. I didn’t even eat breakfast or lunch. I’m fat,” Lily simply answered as she poked her stomach to indicate how “fat” she was.

At that instant I was shocked. As someone who is still recovering for over a year from restrictive eating, I was not expecting my 9-year old cousin to say that.

I of course know eating disorder is a prevalent thing these days, but I never expected someone as young as nine to be thinking those things. In my mind, 9-year olds should be enjoying life. They should be able to eat what they want and play tag, go swimming, and go outside without the burden of “burning calories.”

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Out of shock, I immediately started ranting to her about the importance of eating. I don’t know how coherently I spoke because at the end of my rant, Lily was looking up at me dumbfounded. I was embarrassed to wit’s end. Did I go too far? Maybe she was saying that she was fat as a harmless thing but I overthought it.

Luckily, our mom’s called the house for dinner so Lily shrugged her shoulders and left the room. I stayed there for a few minutes just trying to process it all. Now mind you, I’m an overthinker. I think way too much. And I do think that’s what kind of happened that day.

However, Lily’s words stuck with me throughout the weekend. And I kept on thinking over what Lily said. As Lily is a rising fourth grader, I went back down memory lane to when I was in fourth grade.

I remember in fourth grade how when we sat criss-cross applesauce on the carpet for morning meetings, I would compare the size of my thighs to other girls thighs.

As we would wear black watch plaid shift dresses as uniforms at my school, I remember counting how many checkered squares fit across my body and then how many fit across another girl’s body. The less squares, the skinnier, the more squares, fatter.

And so while all this time I thought that Lily was way too young to be thinking these things, I realized that I too fell under this trap when I was her age.

Even more so, I remember when I was in kindergarten relishing on my skinniness. Until third grade, I was the lanky kid. I was the girl who would eat a lot – I would seriously eat two bowls of rice for all three meals – but all that food went vertically but never horizontally. I was super tall (although not anymore) that I always had to wear clothes that were 4 ages up than my actual age. But while these clothes fit in length they gave no form to my already formless body. And I remember feeling good about myself for being skinny when I saw one of my best friends who was a little bit on the chubby side.

I don’t know why or more importantly how I became to think this way. My mom definitely did not teach me that. But somehow, the human brain, learns instinctively that being skinny is good.

 

But why oh why is that?

 

I truly fell under this trap as I lost 20lbs. last summer based on the sole reason that I believed I was fat.

 

But with those 20 lbs., I lost my confidence, I lost my happiness, and I lost the ability to think for others and my wellbeing. A demon and monster grew inside of my head. My actions were solely based on being skinny. I became angry at my parents when they took me out to dinner because I knew I would binge-eat. I became angry at my mom when dinner was a couple minutes late because I was starving from not eating enough calories. I backed out of social events and movie nights with my friends since I knew there would be junk food. I started living a meaningless life. Who was I living for? Certainly not myself.

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It’s a well-said phrase and for good reason because it’s true: We’re our harshest critics. We bash our thighs. We bash our stomachs and the list goes on and on. I don’t know of a way to solve, but I hope that we can remind ourselves today and really everyday that we’re are beautiful. Beyond beautiful and unique for words. Girls, oh girls….

 

How do you deal with society’s pressure on body image?

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

6 thoughts on “Girls, oh, girls

  1. What an absolutely heart-wrenching, truly eye-opening read. I think every girl (or at least most) have dealt with this at some point even if they were not deemed to have an eating disorder. I appreciate your vulnerability in being able to open up about the issue because there is a glaring one! I especially worry about young girls now with their exposure to Instagram and all other media outlets that praise the era of fit and thin. It’s important to be healthy, but I think our society likes to take anything to extremes, or maybe it is just our human nature. Regardless, thank you again for opening up this conversation. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the sweet message! I was a bit apprehensive when I clicked the PUBLISH button of this post since I wasn’t sure of what kind of reaction I would get. As much as there’s girls who are struggling to fit into a thinner type of themselves, there are equally as many girls who are struggling to fit into a curvier body – and I didn’t want to come across as speaking ill about those who are naturally skinny. But yes, I do agree with you that as the younger generations become more tech savvy, they see more of the media and consequently, its portrayal of beauty. I struggle with it too, but adopting the attitude of healthy over skinny I think is so important. I volunteer at the hospital over the summer and when I see sick patients, I’m embarrassed by how harsh I am to my own body. It functions perfectly fine and helps me to do my daily tasks but I keep demanding more from it. Once again, thank you – for deepening this conversation and letting me know that it was worthwhile for me to open this issue up.
      Much much love,
      Stephanie

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am so glad you hit the PUBLISH button…. You truly articulated everything in such a raw, honest, and yet non-judgmental manner. It’s so interesting, too, what you said about how your perspective shifts in the hospital. I know exactly what you mean but have never actually expressed those thoughts in words. It’s amazing how thankful in those clinical rotations that I become thankful for the ability to simply eat, walk, and even breathe- and I begin to wonder why I constantly critique every little thing in myself rather than having gratitude for the ability to do those simple things! Keep writing, you are changing lives and perspectives! Xo

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Aw…this just made my day. Thank you so much for all the support. I am hoping to venture out into more volatile/touchy but important topics on my blog this year. I’m glad I’ll have at least one supporter! Love, Stephanie

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yep! I am behind you, 100%. I look forward to reading more more of your thoughts. I know it’s hard to mention anything that can be touchy, but many times those can be some of the most important things to address! You go, girl! xx

        Liked by 1 person

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