This is not a blog about how heavy I am and how badly I want to lose weight. This is not a blog about how I wish my boobs were higher, my ass were smaller, my thighs were slimmer or that my arms didn’t giggle.
This IS a blog about how I overcame thinking all those things were important for confidence and self-love.
Friday my family and I went to our community pool and we were all in our swimsuits, of course, and while standing with my daughter waiting for my son and husband to join us a woman (sitting, clothed) decided to spew venom my way – looked me right in the eye and uttered the word “DISGUSTING” and looked me up and down. My daughter immediately asked me what she said and I replied with “nothing important”. Truthfully, it was not important. How could I let a person who was clearly living her life on the sidelines with such disdain for herself impact me? Why would I give credence to someone so reprehensible? Please don’t get me wrong, my blood was boiling and a small part of me was completely embarrassed to be in my bathing suit. However, I knew that I had every right to be standing there, just the way I was. Just as she had a right to be there, but where she lost her rights was in speaking her ugly mind to me. In front of my child. In public.
She is the disgusting one.
This is particularly personal for me. Throughout my life I have felt less than beautiful when not completely covered up, even when I was younger and slim, fit and even muscular. I’ll never forget the moment that changed my own perception of my body; I was 16-years-old and in a bikini (looking mighty hot, may I add) when my “friend” told me that it would be best to cover up. She felt that my body was something to be ashamed of. It was interesting because quite frankly I had people peppered throughout my life that called me Bubble Butt, Thunder Thighs and Cankle Girl – not amorous words in the least but I never actually felt that I was any of those things. I know that these hateful girls wanted me to think that of myself but deep down I knew that I was NONE OF THOSE THINGS. Yet, at 16 when we are so fragile and our identity, self-esteem and value is developing I believed those words….”Cover up Sherri”. It was something that brought me back to all those hurtful comments and from that point on I don’t think I ever felt comfortable in a bathing suit or even shorts ever again until a couple of years ago.
My body is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but it is strong! This body that some narrow-minded FUCK thought was disgusting conceived, carried and birthed 2 beautiful & healthy babies. This body allows me to wake up each morning and play with my children, run with them and jump and dance with them.
This body is going through a hell of a lot right now BUT all that woman could see in her sick head was FAT. She could not see the beauty that lies beneath it.
The thing that strikes me most is that I don’t really think of what I don’t like about my body when I live my life; I walk with confidence most of the time. It is really not until I see a mirror (don’t spend too much time looking in one) or someone makes a comment that it ever really dawns on me that I am not the ideal weight or shape. However I have truly come to love the vessel that carries my sole.
In my lifetime, I wish that we would stop focusing on superficial beauty and really place our emphasis on what counts: internal beauty! It may seem cliché to some, and don’t get me wrong as I love clothes and make-up but it just emphasizes or enhances the canvas but is not used to hide it.
I am my children’s role model – they are constantly told how strong, smart and kind they are. It is with each day that passes that I remind my daughter in particular how extraordinary she is because of her great sense of humour, her intelligence and strength.
The responsibility lies within all of us to place the emphasis on the right things so that women like the one I encountered will be few and far between. I am not naïve to think that there will not be more women like her but I choose to believe that should I encounter one or should my children, they will know better about themselves.
I posted this incident on my Facebook page and the outpouring of love & support was quite overwhelming. The irony is that some who shared words of support had once been perpetrators of similar hateful words. It was nice to see they have grown and matured. To those who feel that they could not overcome or handle a similar public situation, I say we all have the power and strength within us. Dig deep. NEVER LET OTHERS HAVE MORE POWER over your own self-perception.
By Sherri Rabinovitch
Wise Women Canada, by Liz Wiener and Lisa Brookman, is a lifestyle blog that aspires to bring the community together by sharing the stories that make us human.