I read a post online from Lena Dunham that gave me actual chills.
I actually haven’t watched Girls since the second season, at first I loved everything about Lena Dunham, she spoke her mind and it was fabulous. I wasn’t a fan of everything she said, but I still have a lot of respect for her and sometimes she says things that really stick with me.
“I’ve accepted that my body is an every changing organism, not a fixed entity – what goes up must come down and vice versa. I smile just as wide no matter my current size because I’m proud of what this body has seen and done and represented. Chronic illness suffered. Body-shaming vigilante.”
This right here is something we need to remind ourselves of on a daily basis. Our bodies are constantly changing, we have been through a lot and we are still standing. Our scars represent the battles we have won.
“So my weight loss isn’t a triumph . . . “
My weight goes up and down in between flare-ups, thank you Crohn’s Disease. These days I’m pretty much around a size 6 (US size), compared to the barely size 0 back in the day, which was awful. Skin and bones. Now, anytime I drop a few pounds, people who don’t really know much about me will comment on my weight loss if they notice it. Congratulating me. Weight loss isn’t a celebration for everyone. It’s not something I celebrate, it’s something I fear.
I’m not talking about people who choose to live a healthy life and get fit. That’s great and I know not easy. Weight loss celebrations aren’t universal. All of our bodies and health journeys are different. Weight loss isn’t the ultimate achievement that everyone needs to strive towards, being healthy is the goal. Celebrate health.
When I was first diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease I was severely underweight. I remember when I hit 100 pounds, my mom and I had a little celebration. It was a struggle to stay about 100, every flare up would hit hard and knock five pounds off, if not more, easy. Five pounds on a tiny 100 pound girl is a lot. I was always so weak, it made it difficult to fight the flare ups.
It wasn’t until 10 years after my diagnosis that I hit a normal healthy weight. I had to buy bigger clothes, which was a good thing. I used to purchase clothes from the little girls section, and while cheaper, the styles weren’t always meant for a 21 year old. Having some curves and feeling stronger was such a relief.
Even though I’m no longer underweight, if I get hit with a bad flare I easily drop 10 pounds and I’m close to being underweight again. Some people who don’t know what is really going on don’t mind saying things like, “Oh wow, you dropped a few pounds, good for you.” I know they mean well, but ugh, stop. I’m battling a chronic illness and it’s getting the better of me, I don’t need your mindless observations. Weight loss isn’t always great.
One time during that first year after being diagnosed, a person who I will not name here, also an actual blood relative and someone who had the same disease (not my mom) actually told me, “You can never be too skinny.” Are you fucking crazy? Yes, you can be too skinny, being underweight is an actual problem. People die from undernourishment.
I know, most people don’t know this so that’s why I’m talking about it. Weight loss isn’t always a celebration, weight gain was always the goal for me. Trust me, there have been comments like, “Just eat more,” or, “Wish I could borrow the disease to lose a few pounds.” Even better is when people tell me I’m so lucky because I can eat whatever I want and not have to worry about gaining weight. Stop, just stop.
It’s so common to celebrate weight loss people just don’t even think about how our bodies are so complex and different and not everyone has the same physical goals.
“Because my body belongs to ME-at every phase, in every iteration, and whatever I’m doing with it . . . “
My body belongs to me.