How I Responded When a Child Commented on My Body Size
Thanksgiving is about a lot of things. It’s about family. And food. And drinks. Oh, the drinks. I don’t just mean biological family either. I usually spend the holidays, or at least Christmas, with my best friend and her mom. This year I joined them for Thanksgiving too. It was also with her new baby, their two roommates and the roommates’ three kids ranging in age from 3 to 8.
The youngest, the 3-year-old, is sweet as can be. But he’s also extremely honest. We were standing outside when he said the magic phrase: “Your body is big.”
Unclutch the pearls. He’s 3. He’s honest. That’s what kids do. Especially at 3. Now years ago, this would’ve ruined my whole holiday. I would’ve cried in the bathroom. I wouldn’t have eaten anything at dinner. I certainly wouldn’t have had any pie, and I love pie. You see, he’s right. I’m fat. Only now? I don’t think that’s such a bad thing. It’s a part of me. It’s who I am. I’m short. I frequently have blue/purple/pink/whatever hair. I’m also fat. This little boy saying my body was big made me realize how far I’ve come on my journey to self-love.
Once upon a time I hated myself. I tried dieting. I tried just not eating. But then I realized the biggest thing I could do to improve myself, was love myself. I looked at him and I said “that’s true. It is big. Because bodies come in all different sizes.” His response? “Yup!”
What if I had told him not to say that? What if I had shushed him and told him not to comment on people’s bodies? I would be furthering the negative rhetoric that being fat is something to be ashamed of. I would’ve planted a seed in his mind that you’re not supposed to talk about weight. My journey to self-love is not only about me. It’s about changing the minds of those around me. All bodies are beautiful, no matter their shape or size. And I’ll be damned if I teach a child that you should be ashamed of being fat.
I’m fat. And I love myself.
Photo courtesy of the author