Leave My Skinny Body Alone

I’ve always had French fry-shaped body. And I’m just learning that that’s okay.

When I was younger, I never had a problem with my self-image. I played sports, my parents fed me healthy food, and I felt good. I didn’t think about my straw-like figure at all. Ever.

But eventually, both my classmates and the adults around me (especially the adults, how messed up is that), started to make me think something was wrong with me. Whether they deemed my weight a good thing (“You’re so skinny, you could be a model!”) or a bad thing (“You’re so skinny, you should go eat something!”), I was suddenly extremely aware of my freakishly skinny self.

The comments started in middle school and never stopped. To this day, I hear things like this:

When I offer to share my snacks: “No, you eat them. You can afford the weight.”

When I go to the gym: “You don’t need to exercise. You’re so thin already!”

When I wear a bathing suit: “Wow, I never realized how skinny you actually are.”

There was even one very recent time when someone told me that I look like I am anorexic. That was nice.

So naturally, I developed this completely ridiculous complex. I almost felt guilty for being thin. It was firmly planted in my mind that I needed to gain about 10 pounds to be “normal” and to stop people from commenting on my weight. And much like the people spewing these comments at me, that thought has never gone away. Until now.

I started thinking: why is it okay for friends, relatives, and even complete strangers to comment on my popsicle stick figure whenever they please? And why is it not okay for me to tell a fat person to lay off the brownies? What am I, not allowed to be healthy?

You might say that it is a compliment to be called skinny and an insult to be called fat. But who are you to decide what I should take as a compliment? The way I see it, calling me skinny is the equivalent of telling someone that they have a big head; it’s not necessarily an insult, but there’s no reason to draw attention to it. And after a lifetime of everyone pointing out my unfortunate crayon shape in the middle of irrelevant conversations, “compliments” about my body are far from welcome.

I don’t see why my body should enter a conversation unless I bring it up. And I really don’t understand why other people feel the need to tell me how much I should exercise or what kind of portions I should eat. I’ve seen people shaped like hot air balloons, people shaped like lollipops, and people shaped like the Earth. But I have always kept my mouth shut, because 1. I am a human being with empathy and manners, and 2. who the hell cares? Let’s talk about something else. What’s your favorite episode of Seinfeld?

So today, I accept that I wear a size small at Forever 21, and I am proud of the fact that my arm is small enough to pick up that thing you dropped behind the TV.  No one can shame me into finishing my lunch. No one can make me feel bad about my Twizzler-shaped body. And absolutely no one can make me feel guilty for being skinny.

About Crystal Small

Crystal is an advertising copywriter in San Diego, California. Ask her about all things pop culture – especially Seinfeld, Nickelodeon or Serial. When she’s not writing, you can find her at dance rehearsals or at the beach reading mystery novels. Follow her on Instagram @seesmalls or visit her website: crystalsmall.com. See All of Crystal’s Posts

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