Hating My Skinny Friends Didn’t Make Me Skinny. It Just Made Me Sad.
I’ve spoken in the past about how my best friend is a Size 2.
If you didn’t get a chance to read “A Normal Relationship With Food,” you may want to start there, since it gives you a little insight into our friendship.
A freakin’ Size 2. And subsists, almost exclusively, on Dum-Dums, Pixie Sticks and all the fun stuff you wanted to get on Halloween when you were a kid. She’s got a weakness for body-conscious Max Azria gowns, and never misses an opportunity to dress up, usually wearing a dress that wouldn’t have fit me when I was 12. We go on vacation and she’s got a different bikini for every day, and I doubt she’s EVER had to worry whether or not her heels would fit based on how much or how little she weighed that week.
You’re hating her a little bit right now, right?
Well, I have a request, and you’re probably not going to like it. STOP doing that! And not just because she’s my best friend, but because she’s representative of ALLLLLLLLL of our skinny friends and they didn’t do anything but eat responsibly and exercise, and they’re not living their lives with the goal of making us feel bad about ourselves.
They’re our FRIENDS! They’ve loved us through bad breakups, plus sized, under-sized, adult acne, terrible jobs, terrible childbirth and they never said (in their best Valley girl voices), “Wow, she’s a Size 20, so she’s OBVI an inferior person.” They just loved you for you, and they loved all of you, no matter what size.
Recently, I was reading a Weight-Watcher themed Facebook group, and I saw the following post and subsequent responses. To be fair, about 25% of the respondents thought like I did, but the majority were ready to jump on the bandwagon to tar & feather the friend:
I admit, I was completely shocked at the vehemency of the responses, and my response was, “Who are you or any of us to judge this woman for going through the SAME journey as the rest of us? Your friend is feeling bad about her weight and shared with you that she’d like to lose 10 lbs. She feels unattractive, but the fact that at least her husband still loves her, no matter what size she is, is a comfort for her.
None of that was about you. It was about her. And a good friend would support and encourage her friend to do whatever she can to feel better, not twist it to make it a negative reflection of yourself.
As women, we have got to STOP knocking one another or tearing each other down when we’re being open, honest and communicating our needs. We are superwomen, multitasking mommas with careers, ambitions AND families. We need to support one another – whether it’s 10lbs, 50 lbs or something else entirely.”
Yes, I know what it feels like stand in front of the mirror and cry because you don’t want to go to the beach with friends because you’re uncomfortable about your weight. And yes, I know what it’s like to wear black dresses and cardigans a la Wednesday Adams, because you’re praying it’ll help you look slimmer on Girls’ Night Out. And yes, I know what it’s like to look at your friend and wish her body wasn’t QUITE so perfect.
But in all of those situations, in all of those scenarios: the swimsuits, the clothes, the wishing she was *at least* at Size 6, I’m left with the realization that it’s just sad. My behavior and I are just sad. And we’re not being the type of friend I’d want to have, let alone be.
Her bikinis don’t fit better because my tankini doesn’t. My dresses aren’t black because hers are pink or green. And her freakish metabolism isn’t running on sprint because mine isn’t. Her body is NOT about me.
But MY BODY is absolutely about me.
And so that’s request to you. Let’s take the energy we spend into hating on our skinny friends (or the girls at the gym with the skin-tight boom-boom shorts who run in front of me every single Saturday), and put it into building OURSELVES up. Rather than feeling bad for ourselves, let’s create short-term weight-loss or exercise goals. Rather than projecting our own discomfort and being angry at our friend because they can wear a bikini, let’s buy a suit that makes us feel GREAT, or develop a workout plan to get us there! And let’s remember that our skinny friends have loved us through thick and thin (literally), so we should focus on being the types of women, and the types of friends, who deserve that loyalty!