Skinny Daily Post

Invincible.

Do you believe it? I was surprised – flattered, but surprised.

But it really hit home on a couple of levels. The lovely lady who said this was quite slim and trim. She’s working on losing the next 30 pounds. (I couldn’t see it, but what do I know?!)And amazingly, she’s already lost more than 130 pounds, and has kept it off for about a year.

That’s fabulous – and so very impressive.

But, as we all know, few of us see ourselves as we really are. And there are even some of us who don’t see others as they really are.

Why are we so charitable towards others and so hard on ourselves? Is it part of our desire to be liked, so that we see others with more – what’s the word – forgiveness? kindness? tolerance? respect? Or are we forever comparing ourselves to others, and we never measure up?

I have no answers here. In fact, there are times that I just shake my head with some amusement, and chalk it up to the fact that we’re all wired differently.

But bottom line, at my weight, there’s no way I can be considered skinny, and that’s an objective assessment based on scale numbers and clothing sizes. Toned, maybe, at least on a good day. Not standing out in a crowd. Yes, that, too.

This other lady, who wears about a size 12 or so, I think, and has collarbones showing, is definitely not fat, and doesn’t appear to be overweight.

We all have to develop and maintain some degree of objectivity about ourselves. We don’t have to be judgmental about it, but we do have to acknowledge reality. And that reality has to be based on something that’s REAL, and not a comparison with anyone else. The ‘realness’ could mean hauling out a tape measure and tracking inches. Or the evil scale. Or something as simple as the basic pants-o-meter.

But it’s gotta be something objective so that we can see it. REALLY see it.

11 thoughts on “Someone called me skinny!

  1. cindy says:

    Hi Jane,
    Yikes! This kind of talk makes me so nervous! Awareness of body image—looking and thinking about it—is new to me. I spent YEARS in a fog of denial. Having lost a significant amount of weight (so far), I have had to deal with a new image. People are always commenting on my body, and I HATE IT! I don’t find it flattering at all. Partly becuase what they say (You look great!) is not true, strictly speaking. What they should be saying, perhaps, is that I look great compared to how terrible I looked before (but that wouldn’t be polite!). So I feel that positive comments are really judgments. I don’t feel “great” about how i look, so having someone say that requires either A) an insincere, but polite response (Thank you) or B) an explanation of how I really feel—and that isn’t going to happen!
    I use the scale and clothing to judge how I am doing. I still have a great deal of trouble figuring out where I am in the big picture of body image—like trying to pick out someone in the mall who is roughlt my size. I can’t seem to do it with any accuracy at all… And I am still convinced, nearly every morning that today these “tiny” pants are truly not going to fit—and yet they do. When does that normalize? When will I know who I am and what I look like?

  2. Lee says:

    I think being kind to oneself is difficult, but I think not comparing yourself to others is impossible. Think for a moment how many of the world’s religions and philosophies respect self-direction, and shun comparisions, and it seems like a good measure of how hard it is to avoid on a daily basis.

    lee

  3. Cathy says:

    I quite agree. We are harsher (more harsh?) on ourselves than others, at least that seems to be the norm. This bugs me …why are we (women mostly) so hard on ourselves and yet we are kind, sympathetic and emphathetic to others who may have weight problems. On the other side of the coin, it truly bugs me when others (I know some) who are overweight themselves, make fun of other overweight people. These are adults I’m talking about. They DO NOT SEE themselves, and therefore make comments about others. Urggghhhh…. I love your comment about acknowledging reality! It works both ways…

  4. Cat says:

    Good for you, Jane–no matter what the empirical measure, or our own self-image says, it’s good to hear “skinny”, whether we can bring ourselves to believe it or not. I’m not sure we can ever be very objective about ourselves, but it’s worth a try.

    I get the skinny comment periodically from some of the heavier folks at work, and even though I don’t feel skinny, I smile and say thanks, because I know a) they mean it kindly and b) they’re speaking out of a pain and difficulty I’ve been lucky enough to escape to some degree. What gets me is when my much-thinner friends go on about how “fat” they are. I know that they too are speaking out of their own issues, and that it’s not about me, but one can hardly help but wonder, “So if you think your size-6 fanny is too big, do I look like a whale to you or what?”

  5. Laura says:

    Bravo to Cat’s comment.

  6. PainterWoman says:

    I really needed to read these comments today. I’m not skinny by anyone’s standards… but totally identify with the comparisons, self-denigration, etc.

  7. susan says:

    I try never to comment on someone’s body, weight, size, or looks at all. I mean, saying “Hey, you look great today!” is a nice compliment, but saying “Oh my, you’re so skinny!” is an invasion, IMO.

    I always remember a coworker telling a woman how great she looked, having lost weight, and the woman told her that yes, she’d lost weight. She had cancer.

  8. jonquil says:

    I’m a size 12, at 5’6″, and therefore statistically close to average size, for the USA. Out in the country, where I live, I’m much “skinnier” than most women.

    But in the city, walking into a hip boutique, I get that horrified up and down look: I’m the shopgirls’ worst nightmare– a plus size!

    I’ve obviously gained weight driving into town. Mass = force x acceleration.

  9. stretchy says:

    Jonquil I had to laugh–it is so true! when i visit family in the midwest I am considered too thin, they harp on it non stop and try to fatten me with deep fried foods.but in NYC there are plenty of ‘way way skinnier’ people, so I am just an average blob. so I must lose weight as I travel west…but if i go too far I wind up in L.A. another twilight zone.

  10. m.a. says:

    i’m with susan on this one. i think it is an invasion. kind of like you don’t ask a women if she is pregnant unless you see the baby’s head sticking out.

    you do look fab, jane! and i just need to ask…just where ARE those bright blinded by the light turquoise cords of yours, anyhow?

    i don’t think i have time for reality this go round….i am just freakin happy i fit through the door and can fit into a bathroom stall at wally world.

    life is good, now where is that cake? oh wait, i am suppose to be eating bulger.

    right.
    sure.
    yep.
    ok.

  11. Jane says:

    for the record, those 25-year old turquoise cords are in the basement, in the pile of the rest of the winter clothes that i haven’t brought upstairs yet.

    i was thinking about wearing them on thanksgiving!

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