When I started up this blog, I received quite a few messages from friends and acquaintances. They offered support and talked about their own struggles.
Upon receiving a couple of these messages, my first reaction was "huh?". I received messages from beautiful, confident women whom I never would have guessed had encountered challenges when it came to their weight or their body image. They are the kind of women I look at and am jealous of. Yes, I admit it, I am absolutely jealous of women whom I perceive to have an easy time with their weight and body image.
But that's the thing, isn't it? It's all about perception. In reality, I had no idea what struggles these women had with their weight or otherwise. It's far too easy to judge people based on what we see on the surface. Even assuming someone else is judging you is a form of judgement.
In the past year, I've heard more then one friend talk about their difficulties in gaining weight. In some ways, these women have it the hardest. Utter a single complaint about weighing too little and they are bound to be shot down with "I wish I had your problem!"
Likewise those that have less weight to lose. It's easy to look at a woman only wanting to lose 10 pounds and thinking that I have nothing in common with her. Yet, I have no idea how that 10 pounds is effecting her self esteem. I have no idea the struggle she may be having with it. After all, aren't the last 10 pounds the hardest to lose?
It's not always about weight either. I remember a time in my early 20s. I sat down with someone close to me and told her about some of the issues and challenges I had dealt with in my teens. She related to me the difficulties she had encountered - not related to weight or body image. This is a person that I had long been jealous of, but after hearing her talk, I will say that I would never have wanted to experience her struggles instead of my own.
I do believe that our society has a problem with discrimination based on size. I actually think the problem is getting worse rather then better. With so many other stereotypes becoming politically incorrect (as they should be), it seems size is one of the few remaining "acceptable" stereotypes. And, apparently it is more acceptable to judge people on this because people have a "choice" in the matter. But I think this is also an area where we tend to judge others as a way to protect ourselves.
We have to remember though, that the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence. And even if it is, we have no idea what the gardener went through to make it that way.