I am petite. Struggling to get/stay up to 100 pounds petite. It is due to a genetic condition where one of the (many) less serious characteristics is a high metabolism and difficulty gaining weight. It is a struggle similar to being overweight, although on the opposite side of the spectrum. It comes with labeling, stares, whispers behind my back, and people "hating" me for being skinny. About 10 years ago I found out (from someone other than my mom) that people used to ask my mom if I was anorexic. I don't remember if I ever asked my mom about this; but if it was true, how sad that people would ask her that. Anyone that knows me, knows that I love to eat. I eat a lot, and I eat often. It's actually a challenge sometimes because my high metabolism leaves me feeling hungry nearly all.the.time. Anorexia is a very serious condition, and while I have never been anorexic, I feel sad for those struggling with it because it must be painful not to eat and to view yourself as "fat" when you really are not.
It comes with dirty looks and comments when I am out with my 5 year old daughter and 4 year old son (I'm guessing they think I am a teenager...with two kids, which even if I was-still not ok to be rude); my favorite non-dirty comment was in the grocery store a while back when an older couple whispered to each other after I passed with my two children in the cart, "she must be the babysitter". Nope. I'm their mom. I just laughed to myself as we rounded the next aisle.
The two times that I was actually able to gain weight was during my pregnancies. I had polyhydramnios (excess amniotic fluid) with both, and gained 55+ pounds with each time around. I was HUGE. And it was mostly baby related. My former co-workers at the college would always tell me that from the back I didn't even look pregnant, and then I'd turn and WHOA! Watch out! :-) Several of the students that I helped there had asked if I was having twins; I was even asked once or twice if there were triplets in there! I loved being pregnant; gaining so much weight didn't bother me at all, and neither did the comments and questions. It was such an awesome experience. I had hoped some of the weight would stick around, but, it didn't. Here are a couple photos...let's just pretend I didn't really share these :-)
(left) Baby #1 - 39 weeks - May 2007 (right) Baby #2 - 39 weeks - July 2008
Being petite also comes with the difficulty of buying clothes that fit. I'd love to buy cutesy, fancy, dressy tops that
many people my age wear may give me a more grown up appearance, but I'll just say I'm small all around and they just don't make them for people that can't fill them properly. So, I stick to mostly t-shirts, tank tops, and every once in a while find a "fancy" shirt that looks ok. Pants are similar; I don't have any hips to fill in the gaps. I had been lucky finding jeans at Old Navy the past couple years, but have grown tired of having to always cut off several inches from the bottom to hem them up.
I solved this problem on Sunday as I headed over to the 'girls' section. Yes, girls. Not juniors, not womens... I should note that I didn't feel I even needed new jeans (I have two pairs I bought after Christmas, hemmed up, and rotate) but I was out with my mother-in-law and daughter to do some school shopping, and apparently my hubby had told my MIL to try and get me to buy something for myself :-) I should also note that I enjoy sewing and I do have my sewing machine handy after our move (I know, I know, I was going to write about that...I'm a little 'off topic' here :-) ) but I just wanted to not have to go that route for once. Anyways...I tried on a couple different sizes and ended up buying a size 12 plus. In girls. It's crazy. They even have those buttons on the inside of the waist with the elastic to adjust the size, which comes in so handy for young children, and now, apparently ME. The size 14 was still too long, and the size 12 waist a bit snug, but the size 12 plus was perfect. The waist is similar to the 14 (and yes, I am taking advantage of the elastic in there) and the length is perfect. They feel great and fit great! And the best part is no one will know that I bought them in the girls section...well, except for anyone reading this ;-)
We all judge from time to time, whether it is spoken to another, or in our heads. Just be careful when you judge, you don't know why a person is the way they are, or in the situation they are in.
If you see a 'skinny' girl don't feel envious of her, she may be struggling as well. If you see a 'skinny' girl, don't label her as anorexic, she may actually eat more than you. If you see a 'skinny' girl, don't stare, it may deplete her self-esteem. If you see a 'skinny' girl, say "hi", she could be a good friend if you really got to know her.
We are all different in our own ways; there is no normal, there is no point of 'perfection', we should never assume we are better than someone just because they are different than us.
"Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You." Dr. Seuss