I am guilty of this. I don’t want to be but it’s something I’ve always done often with my mother.
With my mother we used to comment on people’s appearances and their clothes. I remember it mostly in terms of noticing other people’s clothes that made them look good. Mostly positive comments although with the odd negative as well. I suppose from that I learned to think about how I looked to other people rather than whether I felt good wearing clothes of my choice.
I still will walk down the street and notice people’s clothes but I’m much more likely to mentally label people fattie or thinnie, with the “she doesn’t look healthy” reserved for the ultra thin people who look as if they’d break if you touched them. I don’t want to be valued as fat. I am fat; I’m not pretending otherwise but I don’t want to be judged on it. And, to be fair, I’m not judging people negatively when I think fat or thin, I’m just noticing and commenting in my head.
But why am I noticing, why am I marking people by their size. What does it mean to me? My mother was always hyper-critical about her weight, wanting to lose weight but not being able to. At times she found it difficult buying clothes that fitted and also found it difficult justifying buying new clothes when she was hoping or expecting to go down a size shortly.
My father ignored all this. He is thin, has always been thin and doesn’t see that weight is an issue: if you want to lose weight, stop eating as much. He always said that my mother was always perfect. He bought her clothes; once he retired they went out together and shopped. He enjoyed dressing her in this way.
He did always comment on what we daughters wore, he didn’t like us in trousers and my sister (2sis) to this day will wear a skirt or dress when going out with him. He used to tell us that we looked nice, or at least that’s the word that springs to mind. Maybe this desire to please by looking nice rather than feeling nice or even being nice sunk in. I would say that all 3 of us probably think about our appearance too much in one way or another (but what is too much?).
So I notice people’s size, just like I notice their hair, eyes or any other interesting feature. The difference is that I don’t look at someone’s hair and wonder how they manage to live with curly hair but I do wonder whether people are comfortable being fat. I look at clothes on thin people and think “yes that looks good, but it wouldn’t work on someone who is fat”. Never the reverse.
I remember a friend who always wore light blue leggings to work. They made her already large bottom look twice as big as it actually was and I always admired her for not caring, saying they were practical and comfortable for working in.
I know I shouldn’t see people and note their size but I do. I do try and stop my thoughts but it’s very deeply engrained and I need to really realise that I am not what I look like, and neither is anyone else.
Beautiful You, by Rosie Molinary, with 365 thoughts and challenges, is available at Amazon (click on the picture) and her website is Rosie Molinary