I will say, pigs are also adorable though I don't think that's what he meant
It was about a year ago that a man commented on one of our Instagram Reels and, in reponse to what I looked like, said "GO TO THE GYM YOU 🐽" - a direct quote that I wrote all about in THIS post. I was reminded of it this week for two reasons:
1 - I'm getting slammed with "lose weight" ads since it's a new year and this is when gyms make their $$$. Now, I am all for going to the gym and I am all for making healthy choices. If you get winded climbing the stairs, want to get on the floor to play with your kids, are training for a marathon, love the endorphins that working out gives you - things like that - I'm into it.
What I'm not into is the voice that says "I'm not worthy of xyz if I don't lose weight", "please don't take my picture - I'm too heavy to be photographed", "I would look so much better if I was skinnier". When we kick our value to the curb if it isn't tied to a certain number on the scale, measurement or size of pants I think we're doing ourselves a disservice. AND I GET IT. I really do. I have yet to meet a woman who hasn't been made to feel less than because of her weight - not matter what her body looked like.
I remember being in high school and doing synchronized swimming where it's hard to tell who's who as we're all in the water, hair in braids, wearing identical swimsuits. Someone close to me said with affection, "I could always tell which one was you because of your chubby thighs" and I wanted to sink into the floor. I was a size 6. We've all had those scenarios.
But the next time you duck in the back of a group photo so no one can see your tummy or refuse to buy new clothes that would make you feel lovely because you "should" fit into your old clothes I'm going to ask you to give that lady/gent a break and challenge the notion that you're not worthy because of what you look like.
2 - a group of brand founders I'm in was expressing frustration in being trolled on social media (hello!) and how putting themselves out there felt vulnerable, scary and not worth it. And y'all - that's what those trolls want. To keep folks in the shadows, off of their screens, and out of their view. But that's because they've been programmed too. Which, to me, means we need more diversity - more body types, more skintones, more ages, more hairstyles, more of everything!
I remember after the pig comment a friend and I were talking and she had a hard time believing that the comment hadn't hurt my feelings because it would have hurt hers. As I share in the blogpost I had a moment of self doubt but it was quickly replaced with "oh no - we're not doing that - and we're going to talk about it!" I will say, that's because I've gotten a few comments like these before and at a certain point they either break you or you climb on top of them and keep going. So I've chosen the latter. Otherwise I would need to winnow my waist down before it was acceptable for me to film anything to share on social media so that I could be acceptable to particular people's eyes.
If you want to go to the gym because it'll make you feel better, it's good for your health or you just like it, great! But I would love it if we could love our bodies, right as they are today, and give gratitude for what they do for us - being able to walk, carry things, see the world, hear music, tell stories, and more because some people don't even have all of that.
And just this morning my friend, Merrady, sent me this quote from Joan Didion and I had to hop in here and add it because it sums up everything we've been talking about so beautifully, -"We flatter ourselves by thinking this compulsion to please others an attractive trait: a gift for imaginative empathy, evidence of our willingness to give...we play roles doomed to failure before they are begun, each defeat generating fresh despair at the necessity of divining and meeting the next demand made upon us... To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves...there lies the great singular power of self-respect."