There are a lot of things I don't understand.
Big things like war and why there are children in America who are starving. Why people vehemently support a particular singer on a television reality show but won't vote in a Presidential election. Why people get so angry about things that just mean so little. What is going on with Phil Spector's hair.
I don't pretend to understand these things. I think there are probably things I am just not meant to understand.
You know what else I've been questioning a lot lately?
Why do people think that just because they have a certain experience that means everyone else has the exact same experience?
Plus-size women have been in the news a lot lately. Take, for example, Tess Munster.
I imagine if you haven't been following her for years, like I have, then you've at least known about her in the past month or so. She's 5'5" tall and a size 22 and she just signed a major modeling contract.
She's beautiful (I particularly love her hair color and wish that making mine that color would make me similarly beautiful). She is successful. She has a child and a love life and I'm certain plenty of money. She really doesn't care what you think about any of this.
Also? People spend hours a day online tearing her down. I've literally seen thousands of comments about how she's unhealthy. Largely they are from people who have anecdotal evidence of why she's unhealthy.
"If she really worked out four times a week she wouldn't be so fat! I work out four times a week and I'm a size two!"
It's not possible that, just perhaps, her body isn't exactly the same as yours?
Shocking, right? I know.
I have no evidence that this individual is or is not exercising four times a week. There is no way I can know this. In my opinion there is no reason not to believe her. As someone who has worked at losing weight for years, literally years, and is still not where she wants to be despite really, really trying, I see no reason not to believe her.
But that's just my anecdotal evidence, right?
Then there is Ashley Graham. I have loved this model since the very first time I saw her, probably in a Lane Bryant advertisement because we take all our Big Girl pain down to Lane. She's stunning. I have, more times than I care to admit, purchased things SIMPLY BECAUSE SHE WAS MODELING THEM and then sadly realized that, alas, just wearing the same items that Ashley Graham models will not make me look like Ashley Graham. Hard lessons have been learned. Exchanges and returns have been made.
Anyway, she's the first plus-sized model to be part of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. She's a size 16.
People are pretty pissed about this.
I mean, not everyone. I think it's great because she's so beautiful and when I look at her I don't even think she looks plus-sized or anything. I think she just looks normal. I'm really jealous of her stomach, because it's so pretty and smooth looking.
"But she's promoting obesity!" they are shouting via their keyboards. "Being fat is not okay!"
She's wearing a bikini and looking beautiful. That does not make me want to eat cake. It just doesn't.
I read an article recently about Whitney Thore. Have you heard of her? About a year ago or so I saw a video of her dancing and I thought she was just amazing. Girlfriend has moves. The video, if I recall correctly, was called "Fat Girl Dancing".
She has a television show now, on TLC. I haven't seen it, but I've heard it's funny.
The article I read was about Whitney having PCOS. If you aren't familiar with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, it's a huge bitch that can cause all kinds of problems. Whitney gained 200lbs over the course of one year and she attributes that to her PCOS.
People are pretty pissed about that too and the general consensus from the Keyboard Warriors is that she "sits around on her fat ass eating pizza" which is the true cause of her weight gain. Further, this team of Internet Doctors has decreed that "only 10-20" pounds of this weight gain could have possibly come from PCOS and the rest is ALL! HER! FAULT!
They know this for a variety of reasons. Most people know some shadowy someone who has the same disease and this third-hand knowledge makes them somehow an expert.
I have literally no idea if this person has a medical issue or if she just eats too much or some combination of the two. Neither do any of these people who are shouty about it on the internet.
I can tell you (anecdotal evidence again!) that I have PCOS and it has made it hard for me to lose weight. I have lost weight, slowly. It has not been easy. I have cried many tears about how my efforts did not translate to what I wanted to see on the scale. I have walked so many miles that I have lost toenails. I frequently vomit after Bootcamp because it's so challenging for me. I have serious hip pain and think I might have bursitis. I gave up eating bread and cake and pasta and all manner of delicious things because they don't my body any good. It's frustrating. I've spent the last eight years in a state of almost constant frustration because I have, literally, with my own eyes seen a lot of other people have a much easier go of this whole weight loss thing. I have blogged before about the girl at my gym who lost 50lbs in the same time period that it took me to lose 20. While we were doing the exact same workout at the gym, on the exact same days. I'm sure the possibility exists that she was starving herself or running fifty miles a week as well, but given the enthusiasm with which she consumed Taco Bell WHILE AT THE GYM I have doubts that she was doing anything other than the minimum.
But you know what?
People. Are. Different.
Bodies. Are. Different.
I can't expect anyone else to have the same experience as me.
It is not impossible to believe that someone else had a totally different experience than you. You don't have the same hormones. You don't have the same metabolism. I'm almost 100% positive none of the women I've mentioned today are existing just to piss you off or get you in a tissy regarding health. They probably actually don't care about you at all. Not even a little. Not even if you use ALL CAPS ON THE INTERNET.
I think it's okay to be skeptical. It's normal to be. But when it comes to bodies, we can just never know.
So try not to judge, okay?