Now, in the little turd’s defense she was merely asking a question, stating facts, and inviting me into some nice dinner time discussion.
Kindergartner: Did you know that I am skinnier than you are?
Saying a prayer and tucking my fangs away with my tongue I replied, “Yes, you are. What were you thinking about that made you say that, Sweetie?”
“You take up more room than I do. I was thinking about how you take up more room in the chair than I do,” said my 5-year-old body shamer.
Inhale. Exhale. I smiled with sincerity and gentleness, because I feel honored that she feels safe enough to state such things. “That’s true! But you know what Babe? I’m perfect, and so are you! And so is everyone! Also, we never ever get to say anything about anybody’s body, okay? Because—”
“Because God looks at the inside.” She interrupts with her high-pitched sweetness.
“Yes, because God looks at the inside.”
A few weeks ago I offered up the spare change chattering around my car console to a homeless man. I would’ve offered my Nalgene full of filtered water, but I had already passed it along to a woman holding a sign saying anything helps in black Sharpie
“I have some change if you want it.” When our eyes met the shame-y scales on his irises frightened me. Nodding no, he said, “you should really lose some weight.” And I was even wearing my skinny outfit.
“I love you, and you don’t have to be so angry,” was my reply. If only Lucy hadn’t heard the words, but she did.
Maybe that started some new wheels turning? Maybe that excelerated the spinning of wheels already in motion? Maybe I’ve been distracted and more volatile lately and she needed a little release, a little Mama jab to help ease her hurting heart?
Driving away from the man (who was himself on the portlier side), my quiet tears watered that inside soil, softening my rage, and I started thanking him. Because he spoke out loud the words I speak to myself often as I flash by the mirrors and big glass storefronts that fill my days. I was given the gift of my negative, hateful self-talk coming to life:
“You should loose some weight.”
How rude?! How dare I speak those things to myself! The homeless meany? He is wounded, not wicked, and probably in need of some very focused psychological attention; I can let it slide. He puts a smile on God’s face, so he can put a smile on mine.
But me? I am a throughly-therapied beloved child of God. How dare I? I am without excuse. Thank you, homeless sir, for holding up a mirror to the body I’ve tried so hard to make better, whatever better that means. Thank you for showing me what those words look like in motion, and for changing the discussion I have with my reflection.
My whole life I’ve tried to take up as little room on chairs as possible. The problem is that I’m almost six-feet-tall, I have male athlete muscle mass, and my feet are a size fourteen–mens. God never intended for my size, my presence, to go unnoticed.
The same goes for you.