Sunday, May 3, 2015

Off My Chest (a non-stitching post)

I would really like to get something off my chest. Something that happened yesterday that has been bothering me since. And although it might seem an insignificant thing, it has larger ramifications.

Yesterday I changed my profile picture on Facebook. Not really a big deal. It's what happened next that has me in a bit of a kerfuffle, so to speak. Within minutes, a certain individual thought it was imperative to let me know that I looked like I had "gained a couple of pounds." I haven't. In fact, I've lost a couple of pounds. I am, however, wearing a somewhat baggy jacket in the photo, which is actually an older photo of me:

I'm not here to defend my weight, honestly, though it is a bit of a pride issue, too. The point is, I don't care who you are and I don't care who you're talking to, you have absolutely no right to say something like that to an individual, especially not in a public forum. Obviously there are exceptions (like medical) but I stand by what I say.

All of us have malicious thoughts. Whether we're seeing a person who may have been mean to us at a certain point of our lives or a friend who may have put on a few pounds, we can't help thinking to ourselves sometimes "oh, wow!" or "they look different" or something along those lines. That's natural. From that thought, though, we have a choice. We can choose to share with them our negative impression of their body or we can choose to keep it to ourselves and go by the mantra "if you don't have something nice to say." I prefer the latter, personally.

Nobody is perfect and sometimes we can't control the thoughts that pop into our heads. But as long a those thoughts stay there, no harm is done. It is when you make the conscious decision to body shame someone that I have a problem with.

Now, this isn't the first time something like this has happened to me. A lot of people seem to think that because I'm mildly attractive and on the fitter side of life that it's okay to talk to me in any way they see fit and comment on my body, because I obviously have a lot of confidence and I won't be offended by it.

Wrong. Wrong, wrong, WRONG. Everyone is insecure to an extent and hearing constant criticism regarding the way you look isn't the best way to maintain a healthy body image. I feel like a fair number of people would be shocked, or at the very least surprised, to find out how I really feel about myself. A lot of people have even said to me that there's a fair number of people who would kill to look like me, so I'm not allowed to feel poorly about myself. To make an exaggerated analogy, I feel like that's akin to saying, "you're not allowed to feel hungry because people in this world are starving."

So, what I'm trying to get at is think before you speak. You don't know how words that to you may seem harmless may affect someone else. You don't know what that person is going through. Maybe they're feeling really, really terrible about themselves and you've now sent them over the edge. Maybe they're struggling with serious body dysmorphic disorder and just needed that one little push to fall into full anorexia. Or maybe they were having a really great day and now it just got a bit sour. I'm not saying you're responsible for the mental health of everyone out there, but you are responsible for your own actions and choices, and deliberately trying to make people feel bad about themselves shouldn't be a choice anyone makes.

I could have told this person off. I could have turned right back around and made a snide comment in return, designed to hurt back and hurt worse. But I didn't. I deleted the comment, and I blocked the person. And that was my choice.

Sorry about the serious, and perhaps depressing, tone of this post. It's a widespread issue that I feel truly passionate about and I just needed to get it out of my system.


Annie said...

WELL SAID! If people cannot say anything positive, they shouldn't say anything at all!!! And chances are that the person who wrote that about you wouldn't say it to your if one is allowed to say ANYTHING online.
Take care and stay strong!

shazzump said...

Thats part of the reason my profile pics are never of me. someone always has to be either rude or inapropriate. it always amazes me that people always have to bring people down especially when they don't even know the person in real life. I don't see anything wrong with that pic, you look a healthy size to me. ignore their ignorance

Heather said...

I've never had an issue with pics I post luckily but you look great! I'm glad you didn't let them get you down. My BA is in sociology and body image was always one of my topics of choice when I did papers. Keep doing you :)

Kaelyn Angelfoot said...

I recently had someone make a snide comment about mine and my husband's educations, because we didn't go to an "elite" university. So I know exactly where you are coming from. If people can't say something nice, they should just shush up!

Linda said...

I'm sorry to read this Ewa. I think your a great person and I only know you through your blog. I think you look great.


Kate said...

Beautifully said! And being there's enough cruelty and stupidity in the world, there's no law that says you have to let it in your life just cuz somebody has to let it rule thiers.

sharine said...

It's so sad. And the thing I doubt they would have said that to your face but seem to think it's ok to type it. Confidence is such a wobbly thing and even the most confident people have days off and doubt their every action.
You have worked hard and should be proud of yourself.
And not bothering with answering back back you just as awesome on the inside as you are on the outsidexx

Lady Stitch-a-Lot said...

Oh I know how you feel honey =/
I once had a real fight with someone I knew from university because he kept making comments about my body (like I should do more sports and that my hole belly looks like a great wobble when I am laughing and so on). I told him that I really don't lie when he does that and that I am quite sensible about that, but he just continued. At the third time in a few days I nearly lost my temper (I mean doing something wrong can happen, but continuing after being told about it...) and told him that he has no right to say anything about my body, that he is in no position to judge my figure and that I don't care about what he thinks about my figure and that it's a no-go to continue to say such things after I told him to stop (it's insulting on purpose). I even said that I can't imagine a friendship when he does things like that.I just don't get what people are thinking (or are they thinking at all) when they say such things!

Ewa, whenever I see a picture of you, I think that you are really beautiful. You have beautiful stunning eyes and such a warm and heart opening smile. I actually think your figure is nice, I mean you are slim, but you also have curves, it just fits perfectly and I can't (and don't want) to imagine you any other way. And the most important thing s that there is just one person in this world who should decide if your figure is good the way it is - and that is you. The only thing that matters is that you feel good in your body. And remember, we are the most beautiful when we smile, which is a nice side-effect of being happy or confident about ones body =) So don't let anybody get you down on this! (If they continue just tell me, I'll fly over and "talk" to them)

StitchyDon said...

Well said !!! We focus far too much on appearances in this society and how dare someone feel the need to comment on what you look like especially when they probably wouldn't say it to your face. You have reacted with dignity !!! Keep smiling !!

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

What a cheeky moo! As you say, because you're attractive people think they can make personal comments.
I'm not pretty but I am slim so people think they can comment on that - "oh look at your skinny little legs" - "actually I've lost a stone and half through stress and I don't appreciate having it pointed out!"
It's what's inside that important and you are a lovely person and a good friend too.

Deb said...

Yeah, unfortunately some people type faster than they engage their brain. I think you look fantastic. My GD recieved the same treatment by wearing a cowboy hat and someone said she looked like a boy.... Think you handled the insult with flying colors and didn't give the person the satisfaction of knowing the comment was more than annoying. Well done!