I’m not a very big person (I mean in stature, but sometimes I feel small in other ways too).
I’ve always been a not very big person – in part that’s just the way I’m built and in part that’s because I struggle with food. I struggle with food because I spent a fair few years of my life on a starvation diet in the misguided belief that I rather wanted to disappear completely. Thankfully, I don’t struggle with food nearly as much as I used to and I nearly always eat enough of it every day. In essence I’ve come to an understanding with myself about food and about my weight which, for the most part, works pretty well. I say for the most part because my weight is still susceptible to go up and down a little. Right now I’m hovering around the ‘telling off mark’ which is the point at which my nearest and dearest step in and ask, in so many words, if I’m struggling more than I’m letting on. I can’t tell you how important it is to me that people are looking out for me in case I stop looking out for myself and I am incredibly grateful to have those kind of people in my life. The worst case scenario for me is going back to the dreaded days of the starvation diet – I think it scares me more than anything in the world*
One of my mantras is that being too thin is bad for you in much the same way that being too fat is bad for you. Which kinda brings me neatly on to the point of my ramblings today. When you’re thin people (and by ‘people’ I mean complete strangers) feel the need to tell you you’re thin. Quite aside from this being a major case of stating the bleeding obvious** it’s none of their business and is, in my outraged opinion, incredibly rude. I know beyond all shadow of a doubt that if I was overweight people at bus stops wouldn’t say “My god, you’re soooo fat”. Shop assistants wouldn’t say “Size 24 – that’s MASSIVE”. Waiters wouldn’t say “I’d skip the pudding if I were you”. Yet the opposite of all of these things in a great many variations have been said to me. And I really don’t think it’s okay – in fact, it’s one of my bug bears.
Sometimes, comments like that hit me at the wrong time and can make me ‘go a bit wobbly’ because I’m a bit sensitive about my weight. In some ways, the fact that I’m a bit sensitive about my weight is my problem – random strangers can’t be expected to know about it can they? Then again, even normal people (I use the phrase with my tongue firmly in cheek by the way) can be a bit sensitive about their weight and I think that might be the reason most people wouldn’t dream of pointing out to a stranger that they’re on the large side. We seem to recognise that when people are overweight there might be all kinds of reasons for that fact (illness, medication, eating distress, poor diet etc) and also make the (perhaps wrong***) assumption that they’re not over the moon about it. And so we generally don’t point out to people that we think they’re too large – It’s about knowing it’s none of your business, it’s about common courtesy and it’s about recognising that rightly or wrongly quite a lot of us are a bit sensitive about the size of our bodies.
My point? In a nutshell it’s that a bit of common courtesy for those people we think are too small wouldn’t go amiss either: manners, surely, are for people of all shapes and sizes.
Rant over. The end.
* It scares me even more than moths which, for the record, scare the absolute shit out of me.
**A bit like the famous “you’ve had your hair cut” Good spot Sherlock; I’d never have known ‘cos I wasn’t there at the time.
***But that’s a whole other post.