Being skinny is not as great as society cracks it out to be
21 February 2013
The Weight of Being Skinny
“Mom, can you get me hot Cheetos from the store?” “If you want to get the food you want, you and your brother have to come with me.” I groaned, but reluctantly accepted her offer. I was 16, and my brother, Andrew, was 14. We definitely did not like going to the grocery store with our embarrassing mother. While we were there, we ran into one of my mom’s old college friends. She introduced us and her friend replied, “Oh Andrew, you must be the older brother.” Kind of angered by this I responded, “No, as a matter of fact I am the older brother.” She looked at me in disbelief and said, “Oh wow, but you’re so small and skinny!” I was both outraged and embarrassed. I decided it was best to keep my mouth shut because I did not want to make my mom look bad in front of her friend. I kept calm, even though I was boiling with rage on the inside.
How was it okay that she could so openly comment about my weight? Was it even necessary to comment about my weight? She could have just said, “But, you look so much younger.” I still would have been mad simply because I am the older brother and I do not like being told that my younger brother looks older than I am. I feel that she crossed the line when she commented about my weight.
One reason I have always thought people considered it to be okay to openly comment on a skinnier person’s weight, is that American society has made being skinny desirable, so you can comment about it and it would be like giving that person a compliment. This is definitely illogical because what guy wants to be called skinny? Men are supposed to be big and strong, not small and scrawny. Many times people comment on someone’s weight without thinking about whether someone is self-conscious about their weight, but when you meet someone for the first time you should not comment on possible insecurities, “Oh my, you have so much acne!” or “Those jeans do make your butt look big.”
Why do some people, especially when they are just meeting someone, so openly comment about weight when it involves a skinny person? I believe had I been obese she would not have said, “Oh wow, but you’re so fat!” I was very insecure about my weight just like many people are, so why would anyone feel the need to acknowledge it? If this were not a regular occurrence for me, I would have just assumed that people were inconsiderate, but this was happening frequently to me by the time I got to high school.
When I was a sophomore in high school, in my class of over 700, I was one of the smallest kids, if not the smallest. I was just over 5 feet tall and weighed about 85 pounds. I was tiny. I had a baby face too, so I looked like an elementary school boy. I was so insecure about my size because I felt that I was always “That tiny little twig” and not just “Philip”. Upon meeting for the first time, many people would start off with a comment like, “Gosh, you’re so skinny!”, or, “Gee, you are so small!” I used to think that they were making fun of me, but now I realize they were just pointing it out. I still feel however that it is not okay to publically call someone out on their weight, even if they are skinny.
Although many people wish to be skinny, I wish I were not so skinny. When I talked to my close friends and even family about my weight problem, they would usually respond with, “At least you’re not fat.” I was appalled by how they disregarded my feelings and basically said at least you don’t have worse problems. Just because I did not have the worst case scenario does not mean I was insensitive about people talking about me being skinny.
Looking back on myself, however, when people would say things to me about my “looking like a twig”, I realize now that I was like a twig in more ways than one. The most obvious way is that I was small, skinny, short, and weak. I was also like a twig in that I broke very easily. Not in the physical sense of breaking bones, but rather breaking emotionally. I would let an opinion, a mere sentence ruin my day, week and sometimes even my month. I was also a twig in that I was still growing; I still had so much time to grow. Just because I was not a tree, does not mean I would never be a tree.
It has not been until recently that I am no longer a twig. I am not a tree trunk yet, but I can at least hold my own weight now. I started lifting weights and eating properly and naturally grew into a bigger frame. I am also stronger emotionally in that I do not care if someone comments on my weight. Although I do not mind if someone comments that am skinny, short, or small but it still bothers me that they feel the need to say it. I know there are a lot of skinny people who are very self-conscious about their weight, so people should not say be so rude and say it in front of them.
Being a small boy growing up sucked, to put it bluntly. I was the last kid picked in sports and the girls never liked me because they were all bigger than me. I got picked on and sometimes even bullied. I would get “canned” in middle school (where someone puts someone in a trash can), and go home and be sad about it. However, I am very thankful that I was such a small kid and went through those hardships growing up because if it were not for those tough times, I believe that I would still care what people thought about and through those experiences, I grew a thick skin like bark and got used to not caring what people’s opinions were of me. I stopped being a little twig and decided that just because I was small, that did not mean I could not act like a tree trunk.