I got called out (and I totally deserved it)

It started a few days ago, when a nude picture of Amy Schumer started circulating around the internet.

via CNN Style
via CNN Style

One of my initial thoughts upon seeing the picture was, “that is not flattering at all. Just, why?”

I immediately hated myself for thinking that, and tried to pretend, every time I saw the picture circulated again, that I didn’t think that the photo was unflattering, or that I’d be too embarrassed to let the world see my tummy rolls.  But it sat in the back of my head.

I fought with myself over that picture.

And then, the other day, when I was at a pretty rigorous training, I spied a tall woman wearing a bright pair of leggings.  I immediately checked out her bum, because that’s what I do, and was less-than-impressed.  I sent a snarky comment about the leggings and the bum to the group chat, and put my phone away.

Thank God for good friends.

I thought the comment was sort of funny, and the others would share in my laugh, but instead, a friend of mine in the chat pointed out to me that not only was what I said unkind, but that the comment made her question what sort of things I might be saying about her and her body.

I was a little blown – of course, she had to understand the comment was meant to be funny, right?

But was it?

And 30 seconds into me trying to rationalize my wretched comment, I realized that she was completely correct, and that I’d made a mistake.  A big, mean, nasty mistake.

The woman’s leggings were not affecting me in the least.  They didn’t take away from my workout.  Her body was a strong, healthy, functioning body.  So why, oh why, for the love of all things holy, had I felt the need to snark?

Because I don’t always feel 100% about myself, and I was picking apart in her, the things I don’t love about myself.

I’m preoccupied with my stomach – it’s the first place my body will let me know that I’ve gained weight, and I feel like I’m the only woman in the world who gets the donut when she’s wearing a bikini and bends over.  (I know, in theory I’m not, but stay with me).  My butt has grown since I’ve started lifting heavier.  Though I’m tall and thin, sort of that ecotmorphic shape, I have wild stretch marks on my thighs that have been there so long that I almost don’t notice them any more.  My boobs are bigger than I’d like, and I take care to hide them – I was actually (very kindly) told by a photographer for the Y recently to put my boobs away when they’d escaped my top.

And THIS is why I pick other women apart.  Because, in a really fucked-up way, I pick myself apart, and when other’s don’t abide by my rules of what’s flattering or what’s sexy, I can’t handle it.

And that’s not right.

I’ll conclude by saying I’m disturbed by my behavior, but that I know I can be better, I know I can change my thinking, and I plan on starting like yesterday.  And in making a pure, concerted effort not to pick part the bodies of others, I will start to forget those little things about myself that are, in my mind, less-than-perfect.

Thanks for reading.


33 thoughts on “I got called out (and I totally deserved it)

  1. Thanks for sharing this! We need to continue to change that way women talk to and about each other, but it’s a hard change to make since our default is usually set to pick each other apart. You’ve got great friends!

    1. I really do. And part of it is that we’re so used to hearing people default to attacking someone’s looks when they don’t get their way.

      I am so thankful to my friend for calling me out for such an asinine comment!

      1. Oh, and don’t get me wrong I am 100% guilty of this kind of comment and thought too. Kudos to you for sharing it on the internet that can be a not-so-kind place sometimes.

  2. Absolutely awesome post! You looked at the girl and saw what you think are your flaws!

    What immediately caught my eye in that picture was her pronounced rounded calf line and thought ‘yes, I have that too, and is that weird/gross/a turn off/ or acceptable in this society these days?

    1. Also sad that we ask whether it is *acceptable* or not for our bodies to look a certain way. These are our bodies! They do amazing things, including keep us alive.

      1. Yep! There are rules in our heads. Like if I’m this big, I’m not allowed to wear a bikini. If I’m this big, I shouldn’t wear a crop top. If I have these stretch marks, I should’t bother wearing cute underpants. It’s a shame!

  3. That’s great of you to acknowledge this and share your realization of commenting on others’ bodies. We’ve all done it — we’re human — but I wish more people could admit that it’s just not fair and so unnecessary.

  4. I think the big thing we as a society need to understand is that style, personal body type preference- for ourselves and potential mates-, and apparel trends all evolve. They evolve because we tire of materials and patterns, and the way things fit or accentuate body parts and because the fashion and fitness industry need to sell shmatas and workout articles in fitness magazines. And if people don’t evolve with the times and their peer group it’s easy to become cynical and hurtful because you could feel left behind or abandoned.

    But even if you evolve, you can still get lost in the sauce. I used to be a thigh gap guy. Then I was a boob guy. Then I was an -insert any ethnicity, religion, and hair color here- type guy. I evolved through all of those generalities, one by one tiring of quasi-obsessing about each of those traits. And then, I came to the conclusion that it’s pointless to pigeonhole yourself and other people.
    It’s also a lot of damn work to keep up with all of the preconceptions.

    It takes time to evolve through all of the flavors and seasons and tun-ons and turn-offs. It’s part of growing old. And were all totally capable of saying painful shit along the way to that level of higher understanding. But when you get there it hits you; that moment of clarity when you finally realize that everyone is someones else’s unicorn and even though you might not see their horn, it’s the most beautiful thing in the world to another person out there.

    I think of it like this. Whenever I hear a really critical diss or an attack being leveled against anyone’s appearance or sexual preference or religion or whatever, I feel like it’s an attack on their horn. And it makes me about as sad as when I hear an awful story about a poacher attacking an elephant for their horns in the wild. That’s the parallel image I get in my head when I hear people talk shit on one another. I dunno, call me overly sensitive. I’m just soooo over people hurting one another. Shit really needs to stop.

  5. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I know that we probably have all struggled with this, but I have to constantly remind myself of Ephesians 4:32, ‘Be ye Kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ sake has forgiven you.’

  6. Love this.

    First of all, I love your writing even the placement of the F-word as odd as it sounds (yeah, that sounds weird…) 🙂 I like writing how I think or talk, so I enjoyed this!

    Second, I’ve done this too. I think I was used to talking to my friends like that on occasion but my husband has called me out recently. I’ll think I’m being funny, but he’s like Sarah, that was just mean for no reason at all. I agree that it definitely stems from insecurity for me too!

    1. First off, THANK YOU!

      Secondly, you have a really baller husband – I think a lot of times husbands are scared to call us out for fear we’ll throw fits. But good for him for reminding you that that was mean for no reason! I encourage all the hubbies and partners out there to do the same!

  7. Kudos to your friend for calling you out and for taking it as a wake up to be kinder to yourself so you can give grace to other women as well. Let’s build each other up for a greater good!

  8. The easiest way to lift ourselves up is to put other people down. It’s human nature, and it’s something we all need to work on not doing. Good for you for starting the conversation!

  9. Great post! I have done, and still do this, yet I’m completely anti-negative body image! It doesn’t make sense but it’s the culture we’ve been brought up in. Well done for accepting the comment of your friend and taking the time to think about it. If we could all be less critical (of ourselves as well as others) I think we’d be in a much more confident place!

  10. Great post! I have done, and still do sometimes, this yet I am so anti-negative body image! If we were all a little less critical (of ourselves as well as others) then I think we would be in a much more confident place! Well done for accepting your friend’s comment and taking the time to think about it.

  11. Awesome post! I am the worst at being critical of myself and all that is wrong with me. I am also trying to be a better person and not judge. It’s funny how my running journey has helped with that. I love how everybody is so supportive of each other no matter their shape or size.

  12. It’s not easy when someone calls you out like that, it sort of stings like a slap in the face. It’s even harder to admit when you’ve been wrong and to work toward changing your behavior.

    I’d say it’s pretty admirable that not only do you want to change your behavior but you put yourself out there by sharing your story and hopefully you’ll help other people see why this is wrong. Part of becoming proud of your own body is being proud of the person who lives in it and you should be proud of yourself. 🙂

  13. I was amazed at how stunningly beautiful Amy Schumer looks in that photograph.She’s gorgeous. I am a heterosexual woman, and I think she looks like one of those beautiful nudes that were painted in the 19th century or before.

    I genuinely feel sorry for you that you can’t see this. Whether you decide to keep your snarky body-shame to yourself (and for yourself) or not, perhaps your next step is to ditch all the body shame, and understand that the standards you have been conditioned to obsess about in 21st century America are not only unrealistic – they’re consuming an extraordinary amount of intellect and emotional energy that could and should be put to better use.

    1. She DOES look like one of those 19th century paintings, you’re right!

      I am working to ditch the body shame. It was really kind of a learned behavior, and I’m having to unlearn it like a bad habit. But it’s not impossible!

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