This one is hard for me. I was putting off writing about this uncomfortable situation I found myself in for a while because I was embarrassed, because I thought maybe the comment made to me was justified in some way. But after a few weeks of processing, I’m realizing that healing is ongoing and keeping quiet and bottling up feelings won’t help me move forward at all.
I have weeks back, I fell during frisbee practice and twisted my knee. I wouldn’t have thought anything of it, except I twisted the knee that I had had surgery on about a year and a half ago for a torn meniscus and ACL so, naturally I was a little worried and told my host parents about it to ask what they thought I should do. My host mom looked at me and said that maybe if I lost some weight, I wouldn’t have fallen in the first place. She said that I needed to eat more vegetable and exercise more so that when I fall, all my of my weight doesn’t fall on my bad knee. She said that she was surprised that the doctor hadn’t told me to drop a few pounds when I had first hurt my knee.
Hearing this, I honestly had no immediate reactions except disbelief. I had never been so blantalty fat shamed in my life. I just starred as she rambled on thinking to myself “this can’t be happening, this can’t be happening” As soon as I could get away, I ran to my room, completely distraught and sobbing. I knew deep down what she was saying was ignorant and that she had absolutely no medical basis for it but it didn’t stop it from hurting. I’ve gone from sad to angry back to sad and back to angry a million times since this happened. What were her intentions of her saying that? What was she hoping to achieve? If she had known about my past struggling with ED’s would she have said anything? Does her own body image have anything to do with what she said? I’ve noticed that in Argentina, a lot of older people have things to say about weight and what it means to be a “perfect woman.” Most believe that stick thin should be the norm, the thing that all girls strive for and, unfortunately, many do, believing the only way to be beautiful is to wear a size zero.
Since that happened I’ve tried to put it out of my mind. I’ve had some luck, mostly because of the amazing support system I have here. I know that my weight has absolutely nothing to do with my injury and I know that this could happen to anyone of any size. I wish I could say I’ve forgotten it altogether, or that I hold no resentment for my host mom. I genuinely don’t believe she thought what she said was problematic but I guess that still doesn’t make it okay. Meal times have been a little rougher since then. I’m constantly worrying, is she judging how much or how little I’m eating? Should I not have seconds even if I’m still hungry? I think the best thing for me, though, was talking about it. I honestly wasn’t going to say anything to anyone because, like I said, I was embarrassed, but I eventually told my mom and some friends in my group and they helped me see how unjustified and tactless her comments were. It helped me get over the initial hump and the processing period has been much easier, although not completely smooth, since then. If you’ve ever experienced shaming like this, whether on a micro or macro scale, all the pain, all the frustration and the wonderment of whether you deserve it is valid but always remember that is it not okay for anyone to tell you how to look. Every single one of you ED (or non-ED) warriors is strong, brave and beautiful. You are worthy of so much love, it is unbelievable just how worth it you are. Never let anyone try to tell you that something out of your control is your fault, and try to never let yourself be hurt by the ignorance of others. We are strong. We are brave. We are beautiful.