The last time I saw my grandmother, she looked at me concerned and said, "Can I offer you a monetary amount to lose weight?" I was stunned. I told her that I was happy and healthy, and that's what should matter. But on the inside, I was questioning whether I was happy. How could I be happy when people were constantly telling me I wasn’t good enough in some aspect, even since I was little? When I was eight, I cried to my mother because I was 80 pounds. When I was in middle school, the boys called me thunder thighs.
To be clear, I am average weight on every index. Society considers me "thick," whatever that means. I am perfectly healthy. I have days when I hate my body, and I realize it's because of people that have told me repeatedly in nonchalant ways that I fat.
I am told by society that I am overweight, yet I am healthy. Since I was young, I treated myself as though I was some lesser individual just because I had bigger thighs than the rest of the girls around me. It has taken years to undo what I grew up to believe. Imagine what children and teens growing up would be capable of if they never felt the pressure to be thin. It goes deeper than the urge to have washboard abs and look good in a bikini. It has to do with confidence. These kids are being told that they aren’t good enough because of the way they look. Because they aren’t addicted to working out. Because they like eating delicious food. And what’s the point in delicious food existing if you’re supposed to feel guilty eating it?
Here’s the thing, there are worse things to be than fat. Why am I so concerned with a number on a scale and extra skin on my body? I could be ignorant. I could see everyone as lesser than me if they didn't look like me. I could be unintelligent. I could have no drive or passion in life, and throw my life away to live in my own little world. We should be less jealous of those with ultra-speed metabolisms, and more jealous of those with doctorates.
With confidence, kids believe they are capable of anything and in fact, they are! They can be their generation’s best president, the head of a charitable non-profit or the scientist who finds a cure for cancer. Tell them they don’t look up to par, and you crush that. Tell them they weigh too much, and they’ll believe that the only thing that matters is the number on a scale. They will believe the only important factor in life is how we look, and that is all they will aim for.
I don’t want to hear about overweight women who “find” their confidence. Of course, I’m happy for them, but why did they have to find it? Why could we not have been born with it? It’s because society tells us you can’t be fat and be successful. Instead, encourage everyone to embrace their confidence from the beginning. We are so much more than a number on a scale and a size on a rack. We are intelligent, thoughtful, passionate people. You can be all that and overweight.