on being called anorexic

"Being skinny doesn't make me love my life..."

I doubt I’ll ever forget it. I was at a science museum, I was about fifteen and I probably weighed ninety pounds. I was a healthy, happy teenager having a fun day out with my family the first time I heard it. Someone whispering (loudly) from a group of students to my right. “Oh my god.” She gawked at me. “Anorexic!”

My sister and I just kept walking and later laughed about it. Wow! What do they know? I was far from anorexic. As a matter of fact, I often ate more than my friends, who were all average-size if not big for our age. I had no food issues whatsoever. The only thing I was guilty of was having my mother’s genetics and a high metabolism. Today, at age 22, I am not the bean pole I once was. I don’t wear adjustable waist pants anymore and I finally turn the airbag on in the passenger seat. However, it has recently come to my attention that many people still view me as that girl at the science museum did.

I am an underweight, flat-chested, spindly adult. I am also perfectly and completely healthy.

I don’t eat low-fat. I love cooking with butter, getting seconds of bread and I often indulge my sweet tooth. I don’t work out very often. I really need to get back to it, because I want to be stronger and protect my bones against the osteoporosis that runs in my family, but I feel unmotivated a lot of times. One of the reasons I feel unmotivated to work out is because my body changes very little when I stop working out. In other words, I couldn’t get fat if I wanted to. And because of that, you might hate me.

Trust me when I say I have plenty of other things to bemoan in my life. I don’t have to struggle with weight gain to relate to feeling down about my body or unattractive. I don’t have to constantly try to lose weight to understand the pain of striving for unmet goals. Yes, you guessed it! I’m skinny. But my life is not perfect.

You know why? Because (and this may come as a shock to our 20-something minds, but) weight and worth are not the same thing. 

I am a skinny twenty-two year old woman. I have to be the happiest person in the world, right? Wrong. Being skinny doesn’t make me love my life. It just doesn’t. If I could suddenly have the body of a super model and the teeth of a toothpaste commercial and the hair of a viral Pin, I would not be happy. There is something much deeper and more spiritual to life’s joy. Just ask any beautiful, rich, famous celebrity who is overdosing on their depression meds right now.

You know what really makes me sad when people ask about my weight? It’s not that I feel judged and violated (though sometimes I do.) It’s not even that our society is obsessed with thinness (though it is and that’s awful.) It’s that some girls actually do have eating disorders. And instead of treating these words with caution and being sensitive to folks who cannot control how they view their bodies, we call skinny girls “bulimic” because we can’t stand for them to fit into a societal requirement we don’t.

My dad works in a hospital. He has literally seen girls in Central Texas die of starvation because their minds are so ill. They keep nourishment from themselves despite the urging of their doctors and their mothers whose hearts are breaking. And yes, we have the media to blame. We have photoshop and Sports Illustrated and Pinterest and billboards to blame. But it’s also a disease.

A disease I am grateful I do not have. 

If I don’t call you “fat” and tell you to get on a diet, if I don’t whisper and snicker and call you “glutton,” if I don’t flaunt my body like society wants me to and tell you it’s my hard work that keeps me so “perfect,” will you not call me anorexic? Will you not call me “disgusting,” “boyish” and “sick” as I recently heard folks saying about another slim person?

There has recently been a movement to take our obsessive eyes off of being thinnerthinnerthinner all the time. It is great what words from fuller-figured celebrities can do for girls who aren’t beanpoles like I was. These sort of words prevent eating disorders, I truly believe. But, can we not swing the pendelum so far as to hate the thin? Can we stop imagining that every woman in a size 0 is a “skinny b*****” who kills herself to be thin and judges the heavy? Can we please stop singing that song about being curvy so boys will like you? It’s not helping, really. (Meghan Trainor-you are beautiful, but you would still be beautiful if your thyroid went out on you in the night. And don’t change your body for boys. You’re worth a lot more than that.)

So yes, I’m skinny. Yes, I can eat pretty much whatever I want and see little to no change in my figure. No, I don’t imagine this will last my whole life! And no, I do not have an eating disorder. Now if people would stop picking me up and swinging me around when I try to hug them, all would be right in the world.

4 Responses to on being called anorexic

  1. Rebecca November 1, 2014 at 8:39 pm #

    From someone who has worked hard for three years and finally hit the prized 115 mark on the scale, I know exactly how you feel! I even had a doctor accuse me once of being anorexic, and my mother had to quickly assure him that I ate more than my brothers!

    It has taken a little while, but I am thankful for how God created me. My biggest struggles was not so much the “skinny” comments, but people saying, “Oh! You are SOOOO lucky!” :-P

    Because of other health issues, when I have no weight, I have NO enduring energy, so gaining weight has been a bit of a quest for me!

    Enough about that though, you are completely right! God created each and every one of us in a special way, and when we become His children, it is the relationship with Him that gives deep and everlasting joy. I am SO thankful for the joy and peace that God has placed in my life, particularly in the past year. Now I can’t help but bless Him when I realize people are focusing less on my figure and more on my countenance!

    Praise God for what He can do in a small child of His, like me! :-D

  2. Diwakar Wankhede October 26, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

    Hello Everly Pleasant. So good to know you through your profile on the blogger. I am also glad to stop by your blog post and go through your post. You are perfectly created in God’s image and you do not need to worry about what others comment on your skinny body. You look perfectly healthy and beautiful. Well I am in the Pastoral ministry for last 35 years in the great city of MUMBAI, INDIA a city with great contrast where richest of rich and the poorest of poor live. We reach out to the poorest of poor with the love of Christ to bring healing to the broken hearted. We also encourage young people as well as adults from the West to come to Mumbai on a short/ long term missions trip to work with us in the slums of Mumbai during their vacation time. We would love to have you come with your friends to Mumbai during your vacation to work with us. I am sure you will have a life changing experience. My email id is: dhwankhede(at)gmail(dot)com and my name is Diwakar Wankhede. Looking forward to hear from you very soon. God’s richest blessings on you.

  3. lizinstpete October 25, 2014 at 7:04 pm #

    Oh dear! Unfortunately people can be so ignorant about this. I was always quite skinny, and when I got nervous I would lose weight so easily! I could eat a lot, like you…it always annoyed me when people would just assume I ate less, and would give me smaller portions. Now I have a post-partum issue with my abdominal wall, and people ask me if I’m PREGNANT all the time. So now I am on the other side where people just assume your stomach goes down a few months after you have a baby, and mine didn’t. I’m sorry that you have to hear those comments, and I hope you don’t doubt that you are beautiful!

  4. jessiquawittman October 25, 2014 at 3:00 am #

    From one uncontrollably skinny adult to another… preach it, sister! It’s not skinny people against heavyset people. We’re all simply human beings with our own unique issues..

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