To the man in the street who called me “big” and told me I took up too much room, after almost hitting me with your car…
I don’t think you have any idea how powerful words are. I don’t think you have any idea how long I have struggled with my body image. Unsuccessfully trying to crack the code of why I can’t seem to just be a “normal” weight. Do you see me in the morning when I stare at myself in the mirror, obsessively picking apart every inch of myself? Do you see me when I struggle through my spin class, crying into my towel when I can’t keep up? Do you see me as I log every single calorie that I put in my mouth, hoping and praying that maybe – just maybe – this time it will work?
Did you see me as the 11-year-old girl at her first Weight Watcher meeting, desperately trying to learn how to control her eating habits so she could escape the bullying she endured at school? Did you see me as the high school girl who starved herself for entire days and took Advil to cure her hunger headaches? Did you see me as the 22-year-old girl whose boyfriend told her not to wear certain outfits because she looked too fat and was embarrassing him? (She spent 5 years in therapy recovering from that emotionally abusive relationship, by the way). Did you see me as the girl who called out sick from work because her eyes were so puffy from crying after trying on clothes for 2 hours?
No. You saw the girl standing in your way, as you flew through a stop sign. You saw me with disgust, and felt the need to insult me and hurt me, because you are disgusted with yourself. You are angry, and you are pathetic. And your words brought me to tears.
I sobbed in the street (after I called you a bald motherfucking loser, because, #Brooklyn). I sobbed because as confident as I feel in my own skin, salt still stings an open wound.
And I am one of the strong ones.
I can only imagine the other women you have treated this way – especially the ones who are close to you. My heart goes out to them.
Women develop eating disorders because of people like you. They remain tortured physically and psychologically because of people like you. Girls die because of people like you.
Wake up, and realize that hurting another person will never cure the hurt in your own heart. Wake up, and take responsibility for your actions. Because not everyone is as strong as I am.
And this man isn’t alone. Our culture has a serious obsession with women’s bodies. And people feel they can hurl insults and comment freely on the topic. It’s sickening, and it needs to stop.
Here’s what I did immediately following this incident: cried my eyes out some more. Because I don’t believe in hiding your feelings, ever. Ice rolled my face (seriously takes the puffiness RIGHT out). Honestly? What I really wanted to do was cancel my SoulCycle class and pour a big fat glass of wine. But I didn’t. I took a shower. Made some coffee. Showed myself some serious compassion – thought about how hard I work at being healthy. And realized that is ENOUGH. Then went to Ashley Graham’s Instagram and watched her latest video with Glamour magazine about insecurity (seriously – go watch it, it will help you feel less alone). I thought about all the strong, beautiful, confident, curvy women that rock what they’ve got. I thought about what they’d say to me. And then I thought about what I’d say to you. And I’d tell you that you’re stronger than some angry man in the street. You’re more powerful than someone else’s dysfunction. And you’re so much more beautiful, bright, and wonderful than you give yourself credit for.
And you’ve got work to do, so let this shit go and move on.