The Chronic Illness Struggle Gigi Hadid Nailed in Her Twitter Response to Body-Shamers


While I was sifting through Twitter this week, I happened to see a story on Gigi Hadid speaking up against body shamers. Having experienced body shaming myself, I immediately clicked on it.

I vaguely remember reading somewhere that Gigi’s mom, sister and brother had opened up about living with Lyme disease. Now she addressed her own autoimmune condition, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, that had been undiagnosed for a time. People were making assumptions based on her appearance and some still did after knowing her health struggles.

That is one thing I have struggled with even after almost 15 years of living with rheumatoid arthritis and a host of other underlying factors. In her tweet Gigi said it best: “Learn to have more empathy for others and know that you never really know the whole story.” A lack of understanding leads to a lack of empathy, and this is a major culprit for why this occurs in the first place.

I have come to learn that no matter how much you speak up, explain or justify yourself, there are still those people who continue to make comments.  Only those who are in your shoes, or know someone who is, can really  empathize. When someone says they are chronically ill, why continue to badger them? Think about it: when someone is sick with the cold or flu, people usually say feel better. That is because in society we all have experienced the cold or flu at one point in time and we know the cause. So, why not give words of encouragement to someone who is chronically ill and leave it at that?

Not everyone experiences an autoimmune condition, though, and society has stamped all these conditions as “mysterious” or “unknown” or “incurable.” So, at the end of the day, who is really to blame? The teacher or the student or both? Why is this any different from the cold or flu? From my understanding these are still mysterious and incurable, too — or so they are advertised that way.

The point is, people feel scared and threatened from the unknown, and when they see someone who doesn’t fit their worldview of how things should look or be, that’s when this situation Gigi experienced occurs.

My autoimmune condition, rheumatoid arthritis, has caused me to lose and gain weight at fast speeds due to several factors such as: conventional  medications that caused me to swell up, get inflamed and retain water, undiagnosed viral and bacterial infections along with candida overgrowth, dybiosis in my gut and a host of other food intolerances and sensitivities.

Like Gigi, I have and still am doing several holistic approaches and a lot of these various herbals, supplements, and the problem your body is trying to fight off, are main factors for weight loss. When I was overweight I never saw people making comments about how I looked. In fact, I was seen as healthy and sexy. Little did everyone know I felt like crap and actually wasn’t healthy at all. Woman have been told to “love your curves.” In reality, each woman has curves. Just because we don’t have what society says is “normal,” doesn’t make us any less of a woman. Now that I am skinny and underweight, I am looked down upon, but at the same time I feel healthier even if I don’t look like it.

What Gigi said resonated so much with me: “I may be ‘too skinny’ for u, honestly this skinny isn’t what I want to be, but I feel healthier internally and am still learning and growing with my body every day, as everyone is.”  Personally, I don’t want to be this skinny either and I have moments when I hate looking in the mirror and become depressed at times. I am not famous and I don’t have random people talking about me so I can’t relate to her on that.

However, I can relate to comments being made about me by people I know. Comments use to bother me and hit my core emotionally, especially when it was coming from people who knew I was sick.

Though there were comments made throughout the years by people who didn’t know exactly what was up and they were coming from a place of genuine concern, it was only when it came from people who I explained my situation to in detail that bothered me the most. Some of these included people who thought I had anorexia, was frail looking, that my arm is too skinny compared to theirs, and so on.

When this occurred I started to think of who was really my true support and in my corner to help or hurt me. Now, I could care less and have learned to direct my energy elsewhere. I am healing and achieving my goals and that’s all that matters to me.

One thing that has helped me is to stop oversharing my health issues in detail. No matter how many times you tell people why you are the way you are, some still continue to assume, say and do whatever they want. I think it’s in your best interest to ignore it, wake up each morning grateful for another day of life, and keep your head held high. No matter what your size is, you are beautiful. Keep on slaying like the badass warrior you already are.

Lead photo courtesy of Gigi Hadid’s Instagram


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