To The Man In The Street Who Called Me “Big”

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.

With love,

Cara

 

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Showing 25 comments
  • Krystal colao
    Reply

    Love you Cara you’re beautiful!! You’re an inspiration and using what you went through to help others is amazing.

  • Tiffani
    Reply

    💜💜💜💜💜💜💜

  • Evangelina
    Reply

    Cara if only that man, men or just people like him would read this post (if only). But I don’t think he will. I’m so glad you posted this because maybe someone in his life is reading this… his wife, daughter, sister, girlfriend, neighbor, co-worker, cousin, auntie… and while they are reading this HE comes into their mind and lets him know what a motherfucker he is. Maybe it wont be this particular asshole but someone just like him.
    XOXO Eva

  • Leigh
    Reply

    Thank you Cara.
    For being real, open, and vulnerable.
    Thank you for sharing your gift of compassion. Thank you for writing with the intent to help. It’s because of you that many lives will be changed. You and I both know this is true. As a woman who was once a teenager who went through exactly what you just shared. As someone who is called big boned by little people, and beautiful by larger people, I get confused. But, that doesn’t matter. What matters is my purpose to serve as a light and an anchor to the humanity I touch. That’s all.

    That man has no compassion. Most likely because never experienced it himself. And when you are shown someone’s misery, all you can do is pray that one day they’ll understand what it is to love and be loved.

  • Kristal
    Reply

    Amazing. Real. Honest. We all need to hear this because we all struggle with something. Thank you for being transparent. You never know who needed that extra bit of encouragement.

  • Nikki
    Reply

    What a jerk! But so glad you did not let him ruin your entire day. People like that feel the need to try and make others feel bad, in order to make themselves feel better.
    I watched Ashley’s video yesterday and I LOVE it. You are an amazing and beautiful women-inside and out.

  • Rae
    Reply

    Although painful, thank you for sharing this post. You are beautiful, we all are, and no one can take that away. Certainly not that man or any man. Sending love.

  • Corie
    Reply

    Cara –

    I want you to know that your emails and blog posts usually come at a time when I need to hear exactly what you are saying! You have helped me on many occasion more than you know. Today, I am so very sorry to hear that you had to endure one of the MANY insensitive, clueless losers in this world. Sadly, we all do at one time or another and it’s exactly as you say – it is HOW we choose to handle that encounter and WHAT we do with it that makes all the difference. Kudos to you for letting it out and turning it into the good you do for others! You have a lot to be proud of. It has a been a difficult journey but you have handled it all with grace and strength. Stay strong!! Corie XO

  • Janice Schimmel
    Reply

    Cara you are amazing and I am so glad that I found you! You make me realize that even strong, beautiful women get knocked down once in a while. It’s what you do next that matters. Keep doing what you do because you are an inspiration to so many strong, beautiful women out there!!!

  • Crystal Larson
    Reply

    Cara you are fabulous! This story brought out so many feelings in me that I felt through my life! Girl you inspired me how u got through your feeling then took care of yourself n didn’t quit cuz you’re RIGHT you/we ARE worth it! I tell myself I’m worth it by pampering myself with facials and hand n body cremes and detoxing. You even still went to your cycling class..AMAZINGLY STONG!! You moved me today so I too will learn to tell myself I am worth it by exersize for MY body! Thanks Love!! Crystal💜

  • Shawn
    Reply

    now my eyes are puffy..but my heart is uplifted..love ya Cara

  • Eva
    Reply

    I’m so sorry that this person made you feel like that. Honestly, you are stunning and inspiring. I admire you, your spirit, and your cute, pink hair! Don’t let this fool devour your joy and chew on your glorious self confidence! I can’t help but think of some advice from one of your recent podcast episodes,”Feel it for 7 seconds (or however much allotted time you’re giving yourself) and then move on.” You are wonderful and bright and beautiful, and you have certainly helped me love myself more! This man is a moron and brainwashed!! His problem, not yours 😉

  • Rita
    Reply

    Just beautiful

  • Deborah
    Reply

    Thank you for sharing this with us. You rock!!! It amazes me how the world is obsessed with women’s bodies and that there is this definition of how we are supposed to look or we’re…what!?!? Not good enough…not pretty enough…not sexy… I needed to read this today and watch Ashley Graham’s video (I love her by the way!). I have worked for years on my body image and am currently struggling once again as my body changes because of perimenopause and menopause. As women we don’t talk enough about our bodies and our struggles. So, thank you! Thank you for sharing…for putting this out there for so many to see! xoxox

  • Brittney
    Reply

    Thank you for sharing this with us!! It is stunning how awful people can be, and they never give their actions (and words) a second thought. Kudos to you for handling it like a BOSS, and reminding each of us to do the same.
    Lots of love! Brittney

  • Sofie Von Marricks
    Reply

    Cara! I’m so sorry that this happened to you, but grateful that you have this platform and use it to communicate your pain to free yourself and empower others. Thank you showing what being vulnerable AND powerful looks like.

    I can only imagine the scary, sad and lonely place his head must be to say something so awful and UNTRUE. BYE baldie. Kidding. Nothing wrong with bald guys. Whatever. And I love that your turned to instagram to get INSPIRED and empowered. More of us need to use instagram this way.

    hugs kisses and girl power

  • Jen aka @glamlifer
    Reply

    What a shitty little man. Sending you love and light and healing vibes – he encountered you so you could write this glowing open letter, that we can now all share. Thank you for using your voice – that’s the part of you that is “big.”

  • Erin Berndt
    Reply

    I appreciate your words and how real you are Cara! Thank you for being you.

    -Erin

  • Ashley
    Reply

    Thank you for being strong Cara! Your posts inspire me, but THIS ONE spoke volumes! Thank you so much!

  • Alesha
    Reply

    Beautifully written….you are a wonderful human being and kudos to you for opening up and sharing!

  • Deepa
    Reply

    And here I am thinking what’s he talking about, your not big in any way at all! Regardless you are absolutely right, we need to show more compassion to others and especially to ourselves. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.

  • Marguerite
    Reply

    Wow, how mean of that man- I will never understand how someone like that feels ok with themselves. Very impressive how you chose to rise above by releasing your feelings and then kept looking forward and keeping your mind in a good place. Shame on him, but cheers to you!!
    PS- You are super pretty and def NOT big!!

  • Rebecca
    Reply

    Sending so much love – this piece is SO powerful <3 <3

  • Courtney Bentley
    Reply

    This post spoke so many words to me. I am so glad you posted this because so may women come to me as a personal trainer because someone called them big or told them they weren’t thin enough to wear a certain dress and it literally breaks my heart. I always start them off with a self-love meditation because showing up to prove something to someone that doesn’t even matter is not a good start for a fitness journey. I hope that someone shows their boyfriend/husband this post and they share it with their friends, body shaming has no place on this earth and I am grateful that you took the time to share your story although painful I know it will have an impact! Sending love to you and your beautiful gorgeous body that flows you through spin walks you around and holds your head high.

  • Cort
    Reply

    You are so amazing Cara! I am so hurt by society’s BS attitude that it is okay to insult people’s size. We are all unique yet somehow there are so many people that haven’t quite accepted that yet. Studies have shown that because of the popularized (and ridiculous) idea that all women should be stick thin, people are more biased and prejudice towards someone’s size than they are towards race, ethnic background, gender, socioeconomic status etc. Crazy! I know that you are one of the strong ones and you make other women feel some of that power to make themselves stronger. I truly love and appreciate that about you so, so much! BTW there are not words to describe your beauty inside and out! Keep up the stellar work of empowering us babes! XOXO – Cort

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