She Told Me I Was Fat

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It happened nearly nineteen years ago and I still remember it like it was yesterday. I was on the playground, a young five-year-old. I was in a purple t-shirt dress, my long curly hair bouncing as I climbed up the to the top of the slide. Suddenly, she looked at me, a girl whose name I will never remember but whose words were imprinted on my heart. She looked right at me and said, “You’re fat!”. That is all she said and walked away. I honestly have no idea if we were friends, or if I even knew her name but even now nearly nineteen years later I remember my heart breaking. I remember it was all I could do to get home without crying. I remember telling my mom and grandmother. I remember my little heart and head couldn’t understand but even at five I knew that fat meant ugly and she had called me fat, which meant I was ugly.

Fast forward seventeen years later to two years ago, I am with a woman who loves me and knows my struggle, yet as we walk across the parking lot she grabs my arm looks at me and smiles. “I am so glad you dropped all that extra weight because you are just too pretty to not be tiny. I am so glad you are your tiny self again. You are just beautiful like that.” I starred at her not believing the words that just left her mouth and my heart and head took me right back to my five year old self who was broken-hearted because someone called her fat and therefore ugly. It didn’t matter that I knew I hadn’t changed sizes, it didn’t matter that I knew that this woman had an Ed and therefore couldn’t speak truth, it didn’t matter that I knew my beauty wasn’t defined in my size, it didn’t matter that I KNEW that fat and ugly are NOT synonymous, it stung. I have wrestled with what she said and  the sting that it cause and why it hurt so bad. Friends I think the truth I remembered in the midst of the sting is worth sharing.

When I was in the deepest darkest days of Ed, beauty meant one thing, it meant being thin. However, no matter how desperately thin I got it, was never enough. I could never see myself as beautiful, only ugly. My view of myself was defined in something temporary, in something that the world tells me is important. My beauty was defined in my physical appearance which is something that will never be perfect. The more I watch TV, flip through magazines, or browse pintrest the more disgusted I am. You see I am a true girly girl at heart. I love anything that sparkles and glitters. I love pretty dresses. I love nail polish. I love lipstick. I love getting all dressed up. And at the same time I love my sweatpants. I love my big shirts. I love throwing up my hair in a top bun and wearing no make up for days. But I have learned that none of those define me. And the more I look at the media and the more I hear young girls and older women talk the more my heart breaks, because the overarching message is this: You are beautiful when… you are size x, you have perfect hair, you have a clear face, your nails are manicured, you have beautiful clothes. And it all is just not truth. As women I believe we have an innate desire to want to feel beautiful but I have learned that beauty in no manner comes from my physical appearance. If you read my post, “Why I Won’t Call You Skinny” you know that I believe, beauty is not defined in a size!

I know you just read that last sentence and were tempted to stop reading because you don’t believe me. You don’t believe that beauty is not about your physical appearance but I promise your beauty does not depend on your physical appearance and I desperately need you to believe that. Because until you do, you can’t fight the lies of the world that tell you otherwise. The statement from my friend and the girl when I was five stung because it defined me solely by my physical appearance, it defined me as only good enough or beautiful enough if I met certain standards, and it hurt to be put in such a narrow, rigid box of lies. And any time someone tries to define us in one way I believe it hurts because we are soo much more than what are face and body looks like. However, I will be the first to say that it is hard to not believe the lies that the world tells us but it is absolutely so much more fulfilling and life giving to fight the lies.

I truly believe that I have the most beautiful friends and family in the world. However, their beauty has everything to do with their heart, their faith, their love for others, their ability to show grace and has nothing to do with their size, their clothes, their hair or makeup. The truth is my hair will one day turn gray. I will have wrinkles and saggy skin. I will probably shrink. My teeth my fall out. I may have age spots. I may gain or lose weight.  And yet I will still be beautiful and so will you. If I prescribed to the world’s idea of beauty, I am not sure how I could get out of bed in the morning. Many days I wear yoga pants, big t-shirts, and my hair in a messy bun. I get zits, my hair normally needs to be washed, more days than not I don’t wear makeup, so if I spent my time following the world’s idea of beauty, why would I get out of bed. Frankly, I would be terrified I wouldn’t match up. But each day I get up, I fight the temptation to give into the lies of the world and I remember that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and am absolutely beautiful, no matter what my physical body looks like.

Honestly,  I wish I could say that everyday, every hour, every minute, I believe this truth but I don’t and frankly some days are just harder than others. Some days I fight the lies of my past life with Ed and the lies of the world. But I remember that I am aiming for grace, not perfection and each time I remember the truth and live in the truth, that is beauty. Beauty surrounds me in the smiling faces of those who love me as my messy broken self, beauty is in the scars of battles won, beauty is living in freedom and not bondage. The world lies and tells us beauty is in the face but I am hear to tell you it is in the heart. Beauty is all around you and I dare you to see it and live in it this week. Whether you are wearing sweats, a prom dress, a swim suit, a wedding gown, or pajamas, you are beautiful.  My prayer is that you will discover how truly beautiful you are this week, because that is freedom, that is living in truth. And in case no one has told you today, you are absolutely beautiful inside and out just the way you are. Believe that truth this week friend and live in the freedom of discovering real true beauty.

All my love,

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25 thoughts on “She Told Me I Was Fat

  1. I love this post so much! People are so consumed with physical appearance. Some of the most “beautiful” people I know aren’t so pretty on the inside. Thank you so much for sharing, I hope everyone who reads this can learn to love themselves for who they are and not what others think about them.

  2. Found this through the Peony Project, thankyou for opening up and sharing your strory, I understand how hard it is to e vulnerable, but i loved this and your heart! Following 🙂

  3. I’m so glad your post was above mine on The Peony Project! It is amazing how those thoughtless comments, even from children, ring in our ears long after we’ve heard exponential compliments from our loved ones.

    I, too, struggled with Ed for years (I was a compulsive overeater, and I went through phases of starving and purging, as well), and my physical appearance consumed my life for so long. I’ve been free from my compulsions for three-and-a-half years now (as long as I’ve been married, praise God!), and now I know what it’s like to actually LIVE. I’m celebrating with you on your own journey!

    The verse that sinks in deeply when I let it is Proverbs 31:30: “Charm is deceitful and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” I’m with you on focusing on what matters, and not what the media tells us should matter; it’s all perishing, anyway! Thank you for sharing your heart and encouraging me and others!

  4. I absolutely ADORE what you shared! I especially loved this line, “I fight the temptation to give into the lies of the world and I remember that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and am absolutely beautiful, no matter what my physical body looks like.”

    As a woman in the fitness industry, I know all too well the pressure to meet a certain physical standard of beauty. I actually made a YouTube video about body shaming last week, because I’m so tired of hearing other women criticize each other over their appearance. I love 1 Peter 3:3-4 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

    Thank you for sharing your heart with us! I’m sharing your post on social media. 🙂 #peonyproject

  5. As a woman and a mother of a little girl, I am a big believer that size does not matter. I started my blog to inspire other woman that we are all beautiful!!!! Thank you for this beautiful post

  6. This is such a wonderful and couragous story. You have brave to put a post about it. Children can be so mean. I would love to know what happened to that girl in the playground. Something tells me that she may have had weight issues of her own. Sometimes, it is those who are struggling with their own image that lash out at others. I have seen your posts and some of the photos you have posted. You are radiant beauty that comes from within. Great post and I am bookmarking this for inspiration.

  7. Great post, and so from your heart, I have realized as I have grown older that it is really ourselves that need to be happy with ourselves, no one else. Some people just don’t realise how hurtful some words can be. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  8. Ah this breaks my heart. I have a five year old daughter now, who is a little on the “healthy” side (healthy is little kid slang for a little overweight). It makes me so sad to think of someone telling her she’s fat 😦 😦 I hope I’ll be able to do all I can to help her self-esteem.

  9. The burning essence of another’s words on your spirit can cause so many trials and tribulations in a life. People don’t realize how impactful their words are on another. We often don’t have the capacity to protect ourselves from the words of others. I’m happy that you have found that shield and the words of others don’t consume you!

  10. Wow! I can so relate! I have been overweight my whole life and after surgery this past year I am finally losing weight but more importantly getting healthy. I have really be strive to not judge my worth based on my size but it is hard and the media doesn’t help us any. thank you for sharing your story. I have begun documenting mine on my website jennhecker.com and I know how hard it is to put yourself out there sometime.

  11. Martha, these words are beautifully said and so true! You write and express your heart so well, and I always enjoy reading your posts! Love you,

    Cathy

    Sent from my iPad

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