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Health and Wellness

A forever on the hips

My weight isn't my worth, and neither is yours.

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It's 2018, so you'd think people have better things to worry about than what dress size I wear.

Here's the thing: my family is very southern and relatively old-fashioned when it comes to looks. This on its own holds very little significance, but when my family gets together, it seems as if they can't talk about any other subject without first addressing the physical appearance of everyone in the room and everyone they've ever met. "Oh sugar, you've gotten so tall!" "Sweet pea, what are you doing with that hair? It looks like a mop!" And "You know, so and so's daughter can't keep her paws of the sugar, and it's going straight to her hips," in hushed tones. I always cringe when they finally get to me, because I know they're going to bestow upon me what they consider the pinnacle of compliments, "Oh, look at you, you're so thin! What size dress do you wear?" And I'll of course reply and someone will then chime in, "Oh, that can't be true, wasn't your prom dress much smaller," correcting me and assuring me that I'm much thinner than I give myself credit for being.

My problem isn't the fact that they're calling me thin; my problem is the emphasis they put on it. If I eat a second piece of pie, I'm met with "a moment on the lips forever on the hips," or "remember, you won't be able to fit in all your pretty clothes if you keep up those habits." If I opt out of dessert, it's automatically assumed that I'm watching my figure. A piece of information no one seems to take into consideration when they make these comments is that I do not care.

For a majority of my childhood, I was worried about putting on weight because what it no one thought I was pretty? What if my family and others started whispering behind my back the way they do about various cousins and siblings? What if they don't love me as much? As I got older, however, I realized why bother? Why bother worrying and stressing when weight is such an arbitrary thing to prioritize or have as a source of pride. The only reason my family even cares so much is because in their day, there were really only a handful of ways to be pretty. I'm healthy and active and as long as I stay that way, gaining a little weight, whether it be muscle or fat, it won't end my life. Even if my weight was somehow tied to my worth, I've got enough other good qualities where if the worst thing about me is that I'm chubby, then I'm living a pretty good life. Worrying about my weight isn't going to make me money, happy, or a better person, and therefore, I don't have time for it.

I have been a size two and I have been a size 10, and I have been just as amazing at my smallest and my largest. I am in no way afraid of gaining or losing weight because my size has nothing to do with my worth. It has nothing to do with how pretty or desirable I am, and it has nothing to do with the way I see myself. I'm not at all disappointed when I can't wiggle my thick hips into a small skirt when lord knows all the butter in the world won't get the fabric past my upper thigh. I don't need someone to convince me I'm stick thin when I know I'm not because in their mind I'm being self deprecating. I know what I look like and as long as I'm healthy, I'm happy with it because thin and fat are just adjectives, not measures of worth.

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