This hit it spot on.
Too many people have told me “You look so great though!” after being informed of my chronic disease. I’ve received comments like “yeah that sucks (referring to disease) but at least you’ll always be skinny! You won’t have to worry about getting fat! (which isn’t actually how it works).” Or they’ve compared my body weight to theirs. I’M SO DONE. NO. ok. no. I looked great before I lost weight from a disease. And fuck those people, because at the time, I sure as hell didn’t FEEL great when I left the hospital significantly skinnier. It infuriates me that people even notice my weight. That people get excited for me or upset with themselves for not losing weight like I am. fuck everybody. I get the most comments on my weight when my disease comes up. Or questions about what I eat and how often I eat, like they’re going to start only eating baby food because that’s how I lost weight right!? I’m the only one who should care about my weight and not because of how I look but because it is a sign of recovery or failure. I wish people would stop comparing what I use to look like to what I look like now, even if they think it’s an “improvement.” Or people comparing/studying my diet, exercise, life style to theirs like they’re learning something from me. Eat what I eat, (NO). Exercise how I do (NO). And although I have no idea what their reactions will be when I gain the weight back, I certainly haven’t appreciated the comments and comparisons on how I look (as opposed to feel) or my weight.
Beauty comes in many forms and health in lots of sizes. I feel like shit when my friends compare themselves to me and then think less of themselves. That I’m thin, so why can’t they “get it together” and eat healthy and/or work out. I don’t want that. I don’t want my body and goals and life style to make someone else feel like shit in comparison. That’s a guilt I should NOT have to bear.
Not a single one of them do it on purpose. It’s just how we are wired. I know my friends never meant to upset me or make me feel so guilty or so incredibly sad for something I can’t change. Which is why I’m not angry with anyone. They simply don’t realize what they’re doing. I want my friends to feel good about their health and their body image. I want to feel good about my health and my body image. And I think that will best happen we all stop looking at each other.
Ooof. My sister is the most self-aware, body-positive teenager I know.
Props for recognizing (1) what is going on, (2) how it is making you feel, and (3) figuring out a way to respond. You’re definitely right - that is a guilt you should definitely NOT have to bear. It’s totally up to you how you respond - but if you feel up to it, every once in a while, I would just calmly explain with a sentence or two like:
"Look, I acknowledge what I’m sure you intended to be a compliment. But I’d rather not talk about my weight, and I’d really rather you not frame my current weight/figure as "success." Because I do work very hard to figure out what I can and cannot put into my body. But I do so mostly because I have a disease that can be very debilitating and I’m trying to live my best life. Please do not compare our situations, as they are drastically different and mine often involves medical intervention. And please realize that it makes *me* feel sad when you compare our bodies. I did not choose this and my body’s state does not reflect/determine my emotional/mental state."
Or, you know, have something to that effect printed up on little postcards with: “STOP DOING WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND LOVE YOURSELF” written on the back in calligraphy.