This week’s Glee was “Born this Way.” In the 90 minute episode, the Gleeks were having some self-confidence issues, so their assignment was to sing Lady GaGa’s “Born this Way” and think about just what label they were worried about.
So people, what would your shirt say? What is it about you that you’re insecure about?
I admit, I’m a pretty confident person. I know who I am, and I’m pretty happy with Whitney – but there’s one thing that I’ve worried about my entire life. My weight. Not necessarily because I’m not happy with it, but because the outside world isn’t.
Toothpick. It’s who I am.
I come from a long line of people who are pretty slim. There’s a wicked metabolism gene that I’m told I’m blessed to have. And yes, it’s meant that I stay slim without a ton of effort. But there’s a downside. I have to eat constantly. (Before you say that it’s a problem you’d like to have, please keep reading.)
From high school onward, I’ve been plagued with rumors of eating disorders. Well meaning people who barely knew me, watched me down a cheeseburger, fries and milkshake, and have told me that I should see someone about my bulimia. In college, I actually had someone ask me who my dealer was – because they assumed that I must be using some sort of drug to stay skinny. When it was a combination of genetics and the exercise I was getting from working at Disneyland.
Being sick is a drag. I’ve learned that I can’t ever mention that I vomited to anyone outside my family, because usually that person will assume that I’m lying about being sick to cover up an eating disorder. If I drop weight from being sick, I know better than to mention it to anyone- I will get no sympathy about being underweight. Instead, I’ll face months of judging looks while I eat some extra calories to try to help build up a healthy layer of fat again.
I’m sure you think it’s mostly in my head. But that’s the point, isn’t it? People say cruel things and it gets to the point where it becomes what you worry about. I’ve steered away from buying slim cut dresses, worried about what people would say if I wore skinny jeans, and agonized over whether every outfit I’ve worn for the last 16 years has made me look too skinny.
So to everyone who loves to play the which-celeb-has-an-eating-disorder-game? Knock it off. It’s easy to mock celebs, but then it becomes easier to start judging everyone you see. While yes, there are people who have eating disorders who do need help and support – there are plenty of people who are labeled as being sick when they aren’t. As a society, we do plenty to encourage people to be more understanding of people with curves – from those who are simply curvy to those who are heavy and obese. Maybe we should simply accept people of all shapes, regardless of what they are.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t worry about whether or not someone has an eating disorder. Eating disorders are serious things, and I’ve known plenty of girls who were affected by them (oddly enough, some who weren’t noticed by the same people accusing me of having them). But accusing strangers of having them does a lot of damage, too.
I’m skinny. I can’t help it. Deal with it, America. But don’t make me change who I am because you don’t understand me.
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