I share this story because as much as these two boys are alike, if you saw their moms together the opposite thought would come into your head. I like to say I am 5'6", but the truth is that I am 5' 5 ¾", and she towers over me at 6 foot tall. She has long, blond, wavy hair, and my straight as a board brunette hair gets shorter everyday. I have always been a little self-conscious of my abnormally short legs, while her long, slender legs appear to go on forever!
In addition to all this, my friend can eat non-stop without hardly gaining an ounce, while I honestly think I can gain weight by just looking at fattening food. But even with all these differences, we are so much alike that it is almost eerie.
For one thing, both of us have been self-conscious of our weight for as long as we can remember. While I have always obsessed about being too heavy, she has spent most of her life trying to gain weight so her ribs and bones don't stick out too much. And I know it us hard to have sympathy for someone who is as tall and thin as my friend, but she spends as much time concerned about eating enough as I do about over eating.
We also both have portions of our bodies that we have come to realize will never be perfect no matter how many hours we spend at the gym trying to improve said areas. I have shared the fact that because of two c-section scars, my stomach will always have a flap of skin that millions of crunches would never tighten. My friends thighs are so thin that I could probably wrap my hands around them and have my fingers touch. And the truth is that I could probably fix my problem area with a tummy tuck, while in her case, unless they start doing thigh implants she may never get the larger, muscular thighs she works so hard to achieve.
And we both hate the whole process of shopping for clothes. My body shape makes finding clothes that fit very difficult. The combination of large rear end and tiny waist means that most pants I try on always flair out at the back where even a belt is of no use. Also, my short legs send me to the petite department because then I don't have to hem them up. Imagine being size 18+ and trying to find pants that fit you in the Petite Women's Department...that was my reality for more years than I would like to admit. This process got so painful that I began buying clothes I thought would fit without ever trying them on at the store. I found it easier to go through the long process of returning clothes to the store rather than seeing my reflection in a department store dressing room mirror. Even thinking about those days brings back very painful memories.
When I was sharing this memory with my friend, she, too, feels the same way. And while she can't relate to my visits to the petite department, she does have difficulty finding pants that fit her correctly. Same issue, different problem. She has difficulty finding pants that are long enough for her legs. And like me, once she finds a pair that fit her, she buys then in every color she can find. She shared a funny story yesterday of finding cute pants in the petite department, only what would have been full length pants for me, were the cutest pair of clam digger length pants on her frame.
And my friend is not the only person who I have met that has had difficulty gaining weight. One of my high school buddies could not gain a pound no matter how much she ate. I remember having these conversations with her where I could not sympathize with her at all. I could not fathom how it would possibly be a problem to be too skinny. After all I was in the throws of bulimia and at 130 pounds I thought I was huge!
What I have learned from being every size from 24 to 8 is that no matter what your size is, you can always find fault with how you look if you allow yourself to go there. I am not saying that we should not strive to be healthier, but what I am saying is that we need to stop nitpicking every little flaw we perceive. At some point, we need to make peace with our little flaws and realize that no one else is as critical of us as we are of ourselves. I don't profess to have the answers to how we go about loving those flaws, but maybe in pointing out how my friend and I at different ends of the spectrum both have the same body issues, just maybe we can stop judging ourselves so harshly. We are beautiful just the way we are!