Body shaming is powerful and devastating

After a fairly lovely first date with a guy I’d met on OkCupid, I received one of the most unbelievable phone calls of my life.

He had just dropped me off at my apartment, only to call me 15 minutes later on the phone.

He started off the conversation saying that he really liked me, but before things went any further, he wanted to ask me something to see what I thought.

He asked me if I would be willing to lose weight to be with him.

I was flabbergasted, mortified and completely caught off guard.

It didn’t help that I’ve struggled with body image and weight issues in the past. I’ve battled with an eating disorder. It didn’t help that during one of the multiple breakups with my ex, he told me that he no longer felt physically attracted to me and wanted me to lose weight. It didn’t help that this was coming from basically a complete stranger who I’d only talked to for a week and had just met in person for the first time.

woman-1326707_1920.jpgIronically just the day before, I vividly remember looking at my body in the mirror and being happy and confident in what I saw. This one phone call, this one question from a virtual stranger was enough to rob me of all that confidence and self-love I had so painstakingly built.

He tried to justify it by saying that he himself was working on losing weight and getting in shape himself. But what right did that give him to ask me to do the same?

I’m ashamed to say I didn’t call him out on the spot. That confrontation didn’t happen until later, after I had cried myself to sleep and spent a full two days not eating.

Sadly, body shaming is a thing that I’ve realized I’ve grown up with.

I’m 4’11” and weight 125 pounds. I feel perfectly average in my body shape. I don’t think I appear to be a person who people would think would be subject to weight shaming. But I am. It happens to people of all shapes and sizes.

For about as long as I can remember, I’ve had family members comment on my body. My mom in particular was harsh about it and had no problem calling me fat to my face or telling me I shouldn’t eat as much.

As a result I go through periods where I eat nothing for days or I throw up what I’ve eaten.

It’s taken a long time for me to heal, and I’m still in the process of healing.

I’m working on wanting to change my body because I want to, not because some boy asked me to or because someone else commented on my appearance.

I still don’t have the confidence in myself that I wish I had. There will be days where I’ll look at my body in the mirror and really embrace it, but those days are still few and far in between.

I’ve been trying to surround myself in more body positive people. One of my favorites is YouTuber and musician Meghan Tonjes.

Her video response to the “Dear Fat People” video shows the extent that negative comments can have on a person. In her video LIFE IS TOO SHORT. WEAR A CROP TOP. she talks about embracing her body despite what people might think.

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On days where I feel my worst and my most hideous, I often turn to her videos and words for inspiration and motivation to love my body as it is.

And I’ve found that important, to surround myself with body positive people who will lift me up and encourage me no matter how I look. And every day I battle to give their words more power over me than the words of those who have torn me down in the past.

You are beautiful. Love yourself.

~ Kayla

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