I was inspired by one of my favorite bloggers, Elizabeth of Delightfully Tacky, to share my body positive story. My story isn't like most that you hear with negative body image issues. I never wished I could be as thin as the models in all of the magazines...because I was as thin as they were. I had the thigh gaps. You could clearly see my ribs.
Growing up, I was always naturally very skinny and underweight. Don't get me wrong, I ate and still do. I just never gained weight. I didn't really have curves and I couldn't fill out my clothes. In the photos above, I was 17-19 years old, 5'7", 95lbs, size 00. I know what you're probably thinking, "I'd kill to be that size!". I never felt that way though. When all you hear growing up are things like, "Omg, you're like a stick!", "You'd look better if you put some meat on your bones", and "You look sick", it doesn't do any favors for your positive body image. One time, at a restaurant, I even had a friend who casually said, "Oh, when you went to the bathroom, I just always thought you were going to throw up your food...".
It could seem like this too-skinny issue was a good problem to have, but in my mind, it was just as bad as larger girls being called "fat" and being told they should lose weight. It's no different, it's just the opposite side of the spectrum.
I heard a song on the radio when I was in the car with my husband the other day. The song was meant to be about having a positive body image mentality for girls with extra curves. She was celebrating the fact that she wasn't one of those stick figure girls. Basically, she was teaching the listeners that thin is unattractive and we should all be proud of having larger, thicker bodies. In part, that's perfectly all right. If that's how your body is, you should be comfortable with it. After hearing that song, I asked my husband, "What about those girls (me) who are/were thin and can't help it?!" How is that supposed to make us feel about our bodies?
I think people have fought against the glamorization of thin-ness in the media so much, that they neglect to think about the women who are naturally underweight. It's forgotten that some women are actually that size/shape and are perfectly healthy. Obviously though, if you're not naturally that way and you force yourself to lose weight in a harmful way or completely fake it with Photoshop (like magazines and media tend to encourage), yes, that's bad. Also, if you teach people that there's only one size or shape to be, that's not right either.
When I was around 21, I decided that I wanted to try to gain weight. Maybe 15 pounds or so, just so I could fit in the "normal" or "average" category, and possibly take the shape of what society says a woman's figure should look like. So I started eating even more and packing on the protein and carbs. I just wanted to be a normal size person in society's eyes. I didn't want to hear anymore back-handed compliments about how skinny I was.
I got up to 125lbs... still thin, but closer to average. Since I wasn't entirely used to this size, I often had moments when I felt fat or thought I looked fat. I knew I definitely wasn't, but it was not normal for me. I had to make myself this weight. It didn't come naturally for me.
Nowadays, I'm generally comfortable with my body. I enjoy being thin. I don't like what society did to my self-esteem when I was growing up, but I have learned not to find my confidence in society's opinion. God didn't make a specific cookie cutter shape for all of us. We are all unique creations. Every shape and size.