Last week, I had an opportunity to speak to a wonderful group of middle schoolers at the Latin School of Chicago. I told them a little of my history, plus a story that included a bit about a day that some kids in my middle school program called National Butt Day.
I won't tell you the story now, but it included someone in my grade calling me a fat bitch on a crowded subway train in New York. In short, I told the students this story because I wanted to let them know that as stinging and hurtful as that comment was, I managed to move on from it.
I didn't let it ruin my person-hood or my humanity. I had a pretty solid understanding of who I was by then, and again--although it was painful to have someone call me that--I grew up to be a fairly confident, self-loving and respecting person.
Before I left, however, I posed this question on my public Facebook Page "Fatgirlrunning":
If you were a middle school student, what message on body image would you appreciate the most?
I have to say that I really enjoyed the multitude of truly awesome messages that people wish they had heard as middle schoolers. I wanted to share some of those responses:
Everyone looks different. It's what makes us special and unique. Embrace your uniqueness!
thankful every day that you have a body that works. You will also look
back in 20 years and wish you could tell yourself how beautiful you
really were. I know I wish I could. Focus on the beautiful things about
You are a perfect YOU!
Do what makes you feel good and listen to yourself.
Eat to nourish your body.
Love YOUR body...it's ok to be different.
That the words we say to ourselves are important. Positive self-talk is part of being healthy.
You are beautiful and you have every right to feel that way. Do not ever give away your power!
right now your body is going through so many changes it can be
overwhelming. But it just means you are transitioning from a child into a
young lady that will grow into a wonderful strong woman. Focus in what
makes you happy and remember always be kind and uplifting to one
judge yourself based on other people's comments about you. People who
criticize are often the ones that have the lowest self-image. Compliment
others and it will always make you feel good. If you love yourself, you
will be a positive role model for someone else.
Being healthy and beautiful for that matter doesn't mean conforming to one specific body type.
-Tribe Called Curl
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO YOUR MIDDLE SCHOOL SELF?