Welcome to Part 2 of The Body Series: “I Weigh More Than My Dad…” If you missed Part 1, you can catch up here: “You’re Rather Masculine, Aren’t You?”
“She’s the BIG girl.”
“The big-boned one”
“A lot bigger than her sister”
“Who in the family does she get her size from?”
Ladies, it’s time to talk about the elephant in the room. (Couldn’t resist the pun).
I’m referring to the ‘BIG’ words we’ve been dressed with our whole lives; and perhaps even subconsciously worn… without really giving them our permission.
It’s important to address how we’ve absorbed these ‘big’ words, in a world where (whether we like it or not) it remains mundanely popular for women to fit a set of physical norms which don’t frequently include surface area.
Yet we are certainly embracing a time where refreshing new role models and body-positivity movements (#BoPo if you’re hashtag-savvy) are within reach to all of us. They’re snowballing in visibility; they have a powerful voice, and their diversity is finally helping us to update our internal programming for the better.
In our recent Tall Guides poll, we were inspired to that some of our community embrace the positives that come with the connotations of being a ‘bigger’ person. One of our contributors shares, “I disliked being tall when I was younger, but now I absolutely love it! I am a big human, tall and plus size. Big isn’t a negative, it’s just a word!”
Another #teamtall member writes, “Calling myself big in a proud way helps me feel good about not being little”.
However, holding 2nd position across overall poll votes is the concurrence that many of us have felt negatively about being called ‘big’.So what’s the ‘big’ idea?I’d love to tell you that I’ve grown up parading my ‘big’ badge around, but it would be a lie. Because for me, carrying around the word ‘big’ meant that by default, I believed I was also the heaviest person of all time; and at a time when #BoPo wasn’t quite so ‘#Po’ it was hard to steer away from comparing every inch of myself those around me (who perhaps, had slightly fewer inches).
And I’m not alone in this experience, either. 50% of our voting population agree that they’ve compared their weight to their shorter friends negatively, irrespective of their physique.
One of our poll contributors also shares, “I haven’t owned a set of scales for many years (I go on dress size) but when I was a teen, even though I was stick thin, I remember wishing I could (and trying to) weigh the same as my friends. I couldn’t even get close! Being taller, we’re always going to be heavier and in hindsight, I’m grateful that life moved on and I didn’t develop an eating disorder.”
Reading this story took me to a teenage flashback; sucked back in time to a maths lesson where we were asked to use our heights and weights to complete an activity… By walking up to the front of the class to weigh and measure ourselves… In front of everyone else. (This horror story was also experienced by my male friends, who were still desperately yearning for puberty to kick in).
I will never forget one of my classmates taking her turn and wailing, “SEVEN STONE!? Oh my god I am SOO heavy!” Whilst I quietly shrivelled myself into a corner to avoid being called up; bizarrely calculating in that moment that her weight went into mine 1.5 times.
(Thought process: “I could fit one and a half of you IN ME”, as I proceeded to die internally, and wishing I could wear tiny clothes, too).
I have to mention right now that I’m sat here chuckling at the new update on this calculation; particularly seeing as I have overtaken my dad on the weigh-in front. Yep – my DAD. And the guy isn’t 5’1’’.
Growing up into our height means, surely, that we can begin to rationalise the logic behind these comparisons. Being tall, big or heavy don’t necessarily represent our state of health, happiness, wellbeing or body image… Yet for some of us, comparison has become an annoying ‘tag-along’ which frankly, we could do without.
Comparison, single-handedly, is responsible for some of the most crippling insecurities we might ever experience. But the truth is that comparison is largely inaccurate; a mere con-artist of rose-tinted reality, and a coat that we can begin to take off; slowly, but surely.
The fact of the matter is, the way we learn (or unlearn) how we see ourselves, is a very BIG deal.
And as much this can be our greatest challenge, it is also our greatest solution.
Part 3 of the Body Series coming soon: Rewriting the Script for Tomorrow’s Tall Girl