Skinny = Good, Right?

Over the last few years, due to several factors, mainly me not saying no to food, has seen me gain over 60 kilos in less than 10 years.

I thought it let me off the hook if I blamed my circumstances, or my relationships or the fact that delicious food was unhealthy and what not. I hit rock bottom when I saw that I weighed 110 kilos and the shop I usually shopped at didn’t have any bigger sizes of clothing.

I was angry. I was angry at everyone and everything and I refused to acknowledge that I had a part to play in where I was at. It was easier to blame everyone around.

Then came the ulcers toward the end of 2021. The stress of life, managing a full-time job, children, finances all came to a head and saw me in hospital requiring surgery.

I couldn’t eat normally anymore. I couldn’t function as I did before, but hey, there’s always a silver lining…the weight fell off me. I saw myself lose fat by the kilos and I was pleased.

I was finally back to the slim, gorgeous figure that was accepted by society, and myself.

Lockdown brought some blessings, where I could recoup from the surgery, but that also meant that people didn’t see me for several months and when they did, they couldn’t believe how much weight I had lost.

People were taking note and the comments came. I knew that although I couldn’t eat all the so-called delicious junk food anymore for fear of triggering another episode, I was getting noticed and it felt good.

At least initially.

People, some of whom wouldn’t give me the time of day when I was a tubby fat chick, all of a sudden were making their way to me to ask me how my day has been.

“How are you doing? I haven’t spoken to you in so long!”

You actually haven’t spoken to me in….never! But go on…

“You’re looking fabulous!”

“You’re looking so amazing!”

“You must tell me what you did!”

…and so I did.

I told them about my struggles that led me to this point and I was shocked at the response. Some women, beautiful, strong women would tell me, “I wouldn’t mind getting what you have if I could look like you!”

Then it hit me. All the comments began to irritate me.

Was I not fabulous before?

Was I not beautiful before?

Was my beauty only based on my clothing size?

I was still a mum of 2 amazing kids, I still had the same job and I still dressed exactly the same- in jeans and a t-shirt, and yet somehow, I was more beautiful, gorgeous and sexy to everyone else because I was no longer a size 22, but a size 10?

It didn’t make sense.

I began to doubt my self-worth because it felt like all those years of hard work, pain, grief, tears didn’t matter because I was fat.

I began to doubt myself and my resilience and strength. Was none of what I had gone through, struggled with, overcome worth nothing because I looked like a beached whale? Was none of it to be acknowledged because I was fat? Was my muffin top and my double or quadruple chins the definition of my worth?

People all around were suddenly going out of their way to converse with me about how strong I was in raising such great kids and the more they spoke about it, the more angry I became.

Somehow they seemed to believe that my current appearance meant I was stronger and more capable of doing everything that I was already doing as a fat person.

I couldn’t, and still don’t see myself as gorgeous or beautiful or anything, because the fat girl with insecurities still lives inside me. I see myself, size 10 or 20, as the girl who struggles with depression, struggles with anger, struggles with a raft of issues, but suddenly I was more attractive to the world because I didn’t have thunder thighs?

I had to go back to what was my familiar place, the Scriptures.

1 Samuel 16:7, “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

It was a confronting verse, because despite my dress size, God still had so much work to do on my spirit person.

While people told me that I was almost like a supermodel now, I still felt broken and weak, and God was reminding me that I had a long journey ahead of me to become the woman that He intended me to become.

While people were telling me that they wanted to go through what I did to look like me, I thought of those nights, regardless of my dress size, where I struggled with depression, OCD, anxiety and suicidal thoughts, and I wish I could explain to them that I don’t see myself as they do and that I’m not the person that my outward appearance seems to portray to them.

I see myself as a shattered pot that only God can put together and how I look is irrelevant in the grand plan that God has.

I still see myself as the insecure fat girl who struggles sometimes to get by, and each day is a struggle, but I know that just because I’m skinny now isn’t going to fix anything.

PC: Photo by Tamara Bellis on Unsplash

“Skinny doesn’t mean it’s better. Skinny doesn’t change the broken. Skinny doesn’t mean it’s all good.”

@cherylchristopher

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