Last summer, I posted this picture on my Facebook wall:
I’d been on vacation in Bermuda with my family, and we were just winding up an awesome day spent snorkelling and kayaking. We all had that sun-weary, sticky, salty skin feeling and this picture perfectly captured how happy we were to have had such a great time together. It was the kind of day you know your kids will remember into adulthood and tell their kids about. I also thought it was pretty funny that my son is holding a gigantic bottle of rum. That’s why I posted it.
I knew I’d get comments. But I wasn’t expecting derogatory remarks about my body, made on my Facebook wall, for everyone to see.
“Someone feed Liz a Big Mac” was one.
“With extra cheese” was another.
All of my life, I’ve struggled with my body image.
For me to post a picture of myself in a bikini was a big deal, because contrary to popular belief, being slim doesn’t automatically grant you a huge dose of self-confidence and the belief that your body is beautiful. I have fought against negative self-talk for as long as I can remember, and those suggestions to eat a Big Mac made me feel bad; the courage I’d mustered to post the picture in the first place was replaced with shame: I knew it, I look awful.
I should clarify that I don’t think there was any malicious intent in those comments. In fact, I think they were likely perceived as compliments.
But I wish people would just say what they mean.
If you think I look fit, or healthy, or good, or happy, just say that.
But if you don’t have anything nice to say, then please don’t say anything at all.