Sunday, June 29, 2014

Hip Bones

My body challenges have been something I've always dealt with. I'll go ahead and be upfront with it now, because, hey, this is my blog and I can say what I want. But I had a slight eating disorder my freshman year and it was one of the hardest parts of my life (and if we're being honest, only about five people knew this up until this point). I needed control and it was something that shaped who I am. Regardless, a lot has happened since I eventually got over those really bad eating and workout habits.


I learned to love my body for what it does and love everything about it. I've written about body acceptance before, but I really think this year was the first time I learned to not care. Maybe this was bad because it caused me to neglect working out some, but I wasn't worrying about every calorie and looking at my thighs hating myself. God made me 5'11" and gave me some long legs and big hips. I can't change what I was born with, and I sure as heck am not going to try to cover it all up with every worry of how people will look at me. I really didn't care if people saw me eating at a party or the amount I was eating-- I shouldn't have to make excuses for being hungry. I'm not saying that you should abuse your body or not consider it a temple, because the things you put into it are important. But what I am saying is that you shouldn't worry how people view your body. You shouldn't worry about the tags in your clothes because as cheesy as this sounds, if you feel good in what you're wearing, it actually doesn't matter. So long are the days of every girl trying to be a size 2 (ummm, I'm not sure if I’ve ever fit into any size 2 in my life), because if it ain't flattering on you, go up or down a size. It’s about how you look and feel.

The day I learned to love my body and all that it was capable of was the best day. I don't know when it happened or if it was gradual, but that acceptance and general attitude of not caring if I was at the heavier end of a healthy 10 pound range is the best.

And then I went through a hard time and lost my appetite for a few days. I knew it wasn't good for me to not have eaten anything but a couple of crackers, but I knew it would eventually return. I didn't want to eat anything, which almost made me angry because I could feel hungry. I knew it wasn't like me to feel like this. Inevitably, though, I lost weight and looked thinner. 

I was so caught up in what I was dealing with that yes, I noticed I was thin, but it didn't bother me because I knew I was going to gain the couple of pounds back at some point. Then I went to an event, wearing a more fitted dress that fit a little bit better than it had before. Two of my friends told me that I looked "hot and like a goddess" and I laughed and thanked them, though I'm pretty sure they only told me this because they knew what I was going through. Then at the end, another friend, one who I've shared weight concerns with, told me I looked "so skinny" .....and I thanked her. Isn't that every girl's dream? To be told they look skinny? Doesn't every girl consider a weight loss as a good thing, even if it wasn't necessary? Don't we all equivocate "skinny" with "beautiful"? 

I thanked her because it seemed like it was the only thing I knew to say right then, but she didn't know how hurt and upset I was feeling on the inside at the time because of something completely unrelated. It wasn't her comment that bothered me, but the fact that she thought I was comforted by the fact that I was skinny. She didn't know that my skinniness was only due to a really sad point where I physically could not eat anything. Yet I thanked her, because thin is supposed to mean pretty. I considered it the same sort of compliment as when my two friends told me I looked good, when really, it shouldn't be the same thing at all. Skinny is a fact, beautiful is a compliment.

And when I mowed the lawn the next night, I could feel my hip bones hitting against the lawn mower. I know it's an odd reflection, but I'm a big girl. I don't normally feel my hip bones, so pushing that lawn mower, still in the dumps, it was a low point. Hip bones don't mean anything, no matter what some Tumblr or Twitter fitspo account tells you. My hip bones resembled the dolefulness I was feeling at the time and not anything positive. While some yearn for those extruding hip bones, I could only feel sad about them.

Or I think about spring break, when I got so sunburned that I was throwing up every meal and couldn't eat anything substantial. I lost a lot of weight in a short period of time because of an illness, and boy, I think everyone knew how badly I wanted to eat, but I couldn't. It wasn't glamorous or romantic to only eat a little bit, it was sad (and I got cranky and hungry). Some of my friends, not on the trip with me, kept saying how they wished they had sun poisoning so they could be that thin. And I cringed because I could and would never wish that kind of horrible feeling upon anyone. Again, the emphasis on skinny with the reason behind feeling like a pile of poop. How funny that when I was the sickest I'd ever felt, that I was the thinnest I'd ever been, and that was supposed to make me feel better? It only goes to show that that weight isn't my natural weight.

I have brown hair. I have green eyes. I'm 5'11". And maybe I'm thin. Those are physical qualities. If you were to tell me that I had brown hair, I wouldn't say thank you, because it's not a compliment, so why should we say thank you if someone tells you you're thin?


We women have gotten accustomed to a norm that if you're thin, you're beautiful, and automatically happy. "If only I were thin and pretty would I be happy" is a constant phrase we throw around and agree with. It's easy to look at thin women and think about how much easier their life must be....but because they're thin? 

It sickens me to think this, and I only share this because I've thought it before, too. It was legitimately the reason I had an eating disorder, and I'm just so thankful that I'm long past that and past the appetite loss because I can see how weird of a feeling that was. The fact that we automatically translate "skinny" to "pretty" only encourages the feelings that cause eating disorders and messed up mindsets. 

I want to emphasize that I know all women are of all shapes and sizes. I know that some are naturally thin and some aren't, but every woman is beautiful. I don't want this to come across as if I'm bashing thin women, because I know that some people’s hip bones are naturally like that and there are plenty of beautiful women that are thin. Thin and curvy and bigger and smaller are all beautiful. All we need to do is make sure that we’re not confusing the line between compliments of “you’re so thin” and “you’re so pretty”. Of course we need to tell each other we’re pretty now and then, but when we start to differentiate a simple quality of someone’s body from beauty, that’s where we're making progress.

And hey, I think you’re all pretty hot and all look like goddesses.

What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear!

xoxo,
Meredith

9 comments:

  1. Wow. thanks for opening up about your previous eating disorder. It is interesting that we accept that as a compliment. Whenever someone tells me I look skinny (I naturally am thin) I do begin to worry if I look unhealthy and "skeletal." I would rather be complimented about healthiness.

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    1. Same here! I think it's much more impressive to be noted for the powers of your body in a "I set a new running record, look what my body can do!" sense instead of a "I lost 10 pounds because I didn't eat" sense.

      xoxo, Meredith

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  2. This was such an inspiring post Meredith! I'm 5'11 and my friend and I always joke around about having 'child bearing hips' but as girls, we truly do have problems with self image. I've always been gangly so I haven't dealt with eating problems but I've seen the effect they can have on other people's lives and it's just so sad. I really love how you related hair color to your body shape. It really clicked with me.
    Hope you are holding up with the loss of your Grandpa. I'll keep you and your family in my prayers,
    Eliza

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    1. Hahaha yes, child bearing hips are my distinct feature, too! (But hey, Shakira let us know that hips don't lie). Thanks so much for your sweet words and note about my grandpa, I really appreciate it!! :)

      xoxo, Meredith

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  3. Meredith, this is absolutely lovely. If it's okay with you, I'd like to link this article to my tumblr account (limitless-lizzie). It's centered around a healthy, body positive lifestyle and I just love what you said - and I think at least some of my 4k+ followers would love it, too!

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    1. I'd be thrilled if you linked it, thanks so much!!

      xoxo,
      Meredith

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  4. Wow, Meredith. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I'm sorry that you've dealt with these feelings about image and weight, but I'm glad you've opened up to show others that they aren't alone if they have these thoughts. The other day I had a friend complain about being a certain pants size and said that if she had to go up another size (which happens to be my pants size) that she would just hate herself. It was just kind of a slap in the face. Not that the other side is any easier. I had another friend look at me and say with disgust that she didn't understand why I would go to the gym if I was already "that" skinny. You're right that it shouldn't be a compliment. It shouldn't be something we're so obsessed with. I hope other people think the same way that you do. Thanks for being an inspiration!

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    1. Hey Samantha, tooootally agree about the pants situation. Funny how just a number can be so distressful for one and normal for another-- it's literally just a number! And I'm with ya on the gym, exercising is for my health, not necessarily for my weight!

      Thanks for your kind words,
      Meredith

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Well thank ya for wanting to leave a comment! I love reading what you think! xoxo