I’ve read a few blog posts lately, and have seen several posts pop up over Twitter and Instagram that respond to those ugly, hateful messages that public figures see in their comments sections, or find in their inboxes target at their bodies.
In an interesting twist of life events, I’ve personally had a sudden influx of those myself. Because, for some reason, my weight and body has become a sudden topic of conversation for those around me. Not just here, in my personal life in hushed whispers when my back is turned, but for the world outside my door too.
With the growth in popularity of social media has come the growth of those feeling the need to give their unsolicited opinions, advice, and the likes (#keyboardwarriors).
It’s not uncommon for me to get a message every now and then in my Instagram inbox or even my email now that it’s linked, a message that targets my appearance. Just this past summer, I had two very hot, scathing messages about the fact that I had opted on one hot day at the beach, do snap my yoga challenge pose in my two piece. In that pose, you can only see my shoulder tops, my arms and legs bare. I’m bent in a way, facing the camera, that you cannot see my bare stomach, my pitiful excuse for cleavage, or anything else.
But it was, to these two people who claimed to follow me because of my pro-body acceptance and positive messages, it was too much.
During the winters here, I’m often found in big, cushy socks, leggings with leg warmer style socks, thick and bulky sweaters, or slouchy tops. Up here where I live, we like to really give that Stay-Puft-Marshmallow man a run for his money. But we’d rather be warm and comfortable, than freezing just so we “look good”.
As it warms, we shed clothes. It hits 50-degrees, I break out the sandals. My spring jackets have a much more flattering, fitted cut than my winter jackets. Gone are the bulky clothes. Even my workout clothes trim down.
I’m sure on the outside looking in, it looks like I’ve dropped 50-pounds in a matter of seconds. And part of me would love to think it’s the seasonal transition that’s sparked the sudden controversy. The illusion that I’ve suddenly shrunk right now (when in fact, I still weigh the same).
Too small. That can’t be healthy.
Think of the example your setting for you son.
With my public social media profiles, and this blog, I understand that I’m on display for all to see. To judge.
Honest moment time: your judgement of me really means absolutely shit. Great, big, steaming pile of poo. Courtesy of my fabulous parents (although I don’t think they even realize the role they played in my strong, powerful mindset of my looks and body), I’ve got that mindset that the people who matter to me, know and if you don’t know – you don’t matter and neither does your opinion.
Unfortunately, society isn’t okay with this and women are raised to buckle under the pressure of what other people think. How their appearance effects others should be of utmost concern. And this is where I tend to go into Mama Bear mode.
Thankfully, there’s a shift happening. More and more women are saying “eff that noise” and doing their thing. Letting those harsh criticisms of their bodies roll of their shoulders and leaving them in the street behind them.
More women are grabbing that bikini and strutting their fabulous bodies of all shapes and sizes down the beach, holding their heads high because they feel fabulous – and they don’t care what you think.
As a woman of postpartum, knowing how society wants us to look at and feel about postpartum bodies, I know exactly where the heart of the hushed whispers around me come from. Where those harsh, sharp words in those messages sprout from.
My body isn’t the “standard of postpartum” (who the hell comes up with this bullshit anyway and why does society just roll with it?).
And it’s 100% okay that it’s not.
My belly still jiggles from the stretched skin of my pregnancy. That skin probably will never, ever go back to being taught.
And that’s okay.
“You’d think with as much working out as you say you do, you’d do something more to tighten that up.”
No. It, aside from my cesarian scar, is the only remaining trace on my body of the miracle that happened inside my body. Proof that after four years of infertility struggle, dealing with PCOS, I overcame. My belly jelly is more than welcome to stay. I’ve got a hell of a set of abs under there, if you’re that concerned about my workouts and feel you need to know. I’ll give you that much. However, I really, highly doubt the elastic of my skin will snap back any more than it already has (and given that the weight I did gain while pregnant was pretty much concentrated to that specific area? I think we need to take a moment to applaud the fact that it snapped back as well as it did. The body is an amazing machine).
I guess you’ll just have to deal with my jiggle. Don’t worry, you’ll live to see another day. I promise it has no plans to blow your home up. Soda in your gas tank. Or put a penny in your cigarette lighter (do cars even still come with those?).
“What diet are you on? You’ve dropped a lot of weight since having your baby, how many calories did you drop daily?”
If you’ve been following me even for a short while, you know that I’m anti-calorie restriction, anti-diet, anti-fad-anything and pro-eat all the foods. Carbs are friends. Eat. Eat. Eat.
“You’re just too tiny, that can’t be healthy. You should be setting a better example for your son.”
As a matter of fact, at my last doctor’s appointment, roughly a month ago, I weighed 133lbs – at 5’4″ in height (there, I answered the great weight question that EVERYONE seems to be so adamant to know! Huzzah!). I consume over 2,500 calories a day. I eat chocolate. I eat pizza. Tacos and I are best pals. Have you ever tried the Fruit Loops with marshmallows?! AHmazing! I exercise a whopping 40ish minutes, four times a week. Although, to be honest, sometimes that 40ish minute workout takes about four hours to complete #toddlerparentlife.
“What does your husband have to say about your muscles? It’s not very feminine or attractive.”
Who are you to define what feminine or attractive means for everyone? Don’t you realize that it’s defined on an individual basis? We’re all different. We all think differently. We all love differently. We all sound different when we laugh, talk, cry… It’s what makes humans pretty fascinating. Even twins, for as much as they’re alike, are different. Fascinating. The great thing for you is, you’re not the luck guy who is my husband. So, again, why are you so concerned with something that doesn’t effect you?
Stop judging books by their covers. Never assume you know just by seeing a photo.
Really, really think long and hard before you send that message. You don’t know anyone’s story (I’m pretty transparent, but there are a lot of things from my past that I’m still working on getting the courage to share).
Not everyone can be the type to just roll their eyes, maybe laugh about your message and move on with life. Granted, the volume is getting louder as more and more women are grabbing the bull by the horns and saying “enough is enough, my body, not yours!”
But there are people who still struggle with the journey daily. Your words have power. Your words can literally crush someone. Crush someone who is already possibly struggling with the dark days. Don’t add to the shit their dealing with.
Have a little damn compassion. Stay in your own lane (although maybe a beep, smile and wave wouldn’t hurt every now and then. You know, be nice). Eyes on your own plate.
If you’re struggling and you are sending that message only to project your own insecurities onto someone else? Don’t. It makes you a very, very ugly person.
Instead, reach out to that person and be like “Hey, me to. I feel you. You’re not alone.”
It’ll make them feel better, brighter. It’ll make YOU feel better. You may even make a supportive connection.
Pump the breaks, stop feeding the crazy machine. Instead of “worrying” about what someone else is doing – worry about why it bothers you so much (#inwardreflections).