The Double Standard

I am naturally thin. Always have been and always will be. But for some reason (perhaps childhood bullying), I’ve had this deep-rooted insecurity for years that I am too skinny.

And the thing is, that insecurity hasn’t gone away even into my adulthood. While adults aren’t quite as blunt as kids, they have a sneaky way of commenting on your weight, or in my case, the apparent lack thereof. Maybe it’s jealousy or ignorance, but either way, it’s never okay in my mind to talk about someone’s weight, even if that person is thin.

In my vocabulary, I don’t even use the word skinny because I find it offensive. And for as long as I can remember, there have been have been people in my life, whether they may be complete strangers, friends or co-workers, who have used that awful word to describe me.

I also happen to have a chronic illness where my weight fluctuates all the time. From one month to the next, I can look very different (as in, opposite ends of the spectrum). Over the past five years, I’ve taken steroid-based medications which, through the course of treatment, have caused leaps and drops in my weight of up to 20 pounds!

Here’s my issue: people have no trouble saying things like, “You can stand to gain a few pounds,” or “Wow, you’re soo skinny.” Yet, I would never go up to someone and say, “Hey, you’re looking a little fat today.”

There is definitely a double standard out there, and I’m here to talk about the other side of it. Aside from what popular culture and the media would have us believe, it’s not cool to be labelled as skinny, or at least not in my opinion.

When people make comments about my weight, there’s often a sarcastic or negative undertone there. Of course, there is the exception of my close friends and family who would choose to complement me rather than do the opposite.

I encourage others to think carefully before they speak about another person’s weight, whether that person is of slim, average or large build. You never know how your words are affecting someone.

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Don’t Forget

“Don’t forget to breathe.”

It’s such a true statement, and I believe I heard it from my co-worker a few weeks ago. Where the quote actually comes from, I’m not too sure. We get so caught up in stress, negativity and circumstance that we forget to just stop and take everything in.

Last weekend, my best friend got married, and to be quite honest, I feel like I missed half the wedding even though I was there through it all. I was so nervous, anxious and mildly nauseated (probably due to stress), that I only have bits and pieces of it left in my mind.

And what an incredible day it was! If only I could remember those little details like how dinner tasted or the reaction on my dear friends’ faces when they read their vows to each other or some of the conversations I had with the many wonderful guests who attended. Yup, I definitely forgot to breathe.

Sadly, that wouldn’t be the first time. I look back and think of all those milestones that I waited what seemed like a lifetime to achieve: my first job, my first kiss, my first apartment, my first post-secondary degree…and the list goes on. Do I remember those special moments in time? Perhaps. But did I truly embrace them all? Probably not.

I guess, in a bigger sense, that’s what breathing is all about. It’s not just the oxygen that sustains us, but it’s a matter of living life to its absolute fullest, and absorbing what you possibly can out of every situation, good or bad.

More often than not, I’ve let a stomachache, a bad mood or miserable weather interfere with life. Or in other words, I’ve let the small stuff distract me from enjoying the moments that make my life worth living.

Sometimes, we all forget to breathe, but the great thing is that we have the power to get the air back.

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Attraction

On the topic of love, I’ve been thinking lately about another crucial part of relationships: attraction. You know, the mutual feeling you share with someone where you just want to…(I’ll let you fill in the blanks).

I definitely believe the physical component is essential to a successful relationship. But I also know that much like love, it’s the part that fades out quickly if not treated with attention and care.

Today, I went shopping and bought a super hot outfit, boots and all. And while it was kind of overpriced and impractical, I know how important it is to remind myself that I am sexy – if not for me, then definitely for my partner.

The thing is, there’s always an excuse to let yourself go or to stop caring. This is especially true when you’ve been in a relationship for quite a few years – and I’m not even there yet!

“Oh, I don’t have to shave my legs, he won’t care anyways.”

OR

“Why should I buy a cute new outfit when I have a million others?”

OR

“Who cares about what I eat or whether or not I exercise, he’ll love me anyways.”

OR (likely the most common one)

“I’m waaay too tired for this tonight.”

I don’t have much experience with relationships, but I do know that I want my marriage to last. I don’t want to be part of that 50% statistic that ends up divorced.

And while learning to love and understanding the meaning of it is half the battle, the other half involves basic attraction and  keeping the spark, at the very least, flickering.

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