found on peoplemagazine.com
I saw this cover of People while in line at the grocery store. Upon seeing this I had simultaneous thoughts. Yes I really did think two things at once. One part of me thought “she’s pretty, good for her!” while the other part of me thought “Who employees a size 22 person to be a model?” Not proud of the second thought, but there it is. Later at home, while fixing dinner, I asked myself why I had that last thought, Tess Holiday is beautiful, why shouldn’t she be a supermodel? She also seems very confidant in herself and that, in and of itself, is beautiful. So why did I react the way I did?
As realization dawned on me I stopped beating myself up for my not so generous and rather fleeting thought. I was born in 1978 so I grew up in the 80s to the mid 90s. What seemed to be drilled into me as I grew up is that being a larger person was wrong. Being large meant that you were fat. Wearing over a size 10 meant that you were fat. Supermodels were a size 2-4, anything bigger was fat. I don’t recall the words healthy or unhealthy ever being used, it was fat or skinny. The scale and clothing size determined if a person was healthy or not. What a person ate or if they exercised did not matter. No, not in the era of Cherry Coke and ice cream, when people ate salads, not because they were tasty, but because that’s what you ate when you were on a diet. I have brought those notions with me from childhood into adulthood. I honestly thought I had left them behind. When I started on my get healthy journey I thought I had left those thoughts in the past. After my reaction to this magazine cover I can see I was terribly mistaken.
I realize now that the numbers on the scale and on my clothes have meant more to me than I originally thought. I say this because last year my lab results came back quite good despite my 220 pounds. I wanted to keep them that way, to stay healthy and keep all of my families health problems at bay. I also wanted to be able to keep up with my daughter and not feel like i was going to faint after five minutes of playing. That’s why in January I really started exercising and thinking about the food I ate. That’s why I switched to a semi-vegetarian diet. I understand now that I also did these things to make the numbers move. There is a part of me that wants to be the size 10 or less, a part of me that wants to yell back at the mean people from my past, “See! See I’m thin! I am worthwhile! Will you let me in now?” That poor girl:( she just wanted to fit in, wanted to be like everyone else. She couldn’t see, because they couldn’t see, that she was just like them. She liked music and tv and talking about boys. She was lucky too though. She had a few really great friends. Good thing she did, because I’m not sure she would have made it through those rough years without them.
That girl is 36 almost 37 years old now and she is doing pretty good:) There are days though when she sees magazine covers with size 22 supermodels and she involuntarily goes back to the rough times. Healthy isn’t a size. That’s the thought that jumps out of all this babble. Healthy has no size. A person can be healthy at size 22 or size 2. It isn’t about the scale or the tag, it’s about how a person feels physically and emotionally. I don’t know Tess Holiday, but I know that she looks radiant on the cover of People magazine and that is where my thoughts now stop.