I was listening to a great podcast the other day about letting go of diet mentality. The interviewer asked the question " do you remember the day you became a number?" And I answered out loud "YES!" while sitting in my car stuck in traffic. I had a brief moment of thinking the dude in the car beside me actually heard me yell before realizing that I had not really thought about that day in a very long time.
It is weird to me because I can remember what I was wearing, the exact desk at school I was sitting in and the faces of those around me but I can't for the life of me remember how old I was. It was either grade 6 or grade 8. I had the same teacher in the same classroom for both which is likely why I can't remember how old I was. Our class was going on a ski trip. My family are not skiers and therefore I had to rent skis. A few days before this trip- which I do remember be super excited about- my teacher ( a male in case you are wondering), sat at the front of the class and asked each student who had to rent skis their weight. Now remember that is this around 1990 and I would like to think there has been change in practices such as this since however I am not sure there have been. He asked me "132lbs" I said honestly. I hadn't yet started lying about the number and I had a vision of being tossed from my ski bindings if I did lie. There was an audible gasp- or at least I heard one- from a couple girls around me. I had just listed the largest number out of the class. I weighed more than the boys... which I realized much later made sense because they had yet to hit puberty but at the time was traumatizing.
I had weighed myself before as my parents had a scale in the bathroom but I did not have a reference for that number until that day. "XXXlbs" (decided numbers can be triggers for some so took them out) became "too much" and a weird need to get into the 1XX's began. Although I do not recall actively dieting or anything at that time, I do remember starting to hate my body that day...a hate that lasted many years. There had been flickers of dislike before that day but it definitely increased then.
What would I like to say to my younger self that day? I am not sure to be honest-I think I would just like to hug her and tell her all the amazing things her body can do and be. What would I say to an educator who is supposed to create a safe learning environment for students? So many things to say but....there were many other ways to get that information instead of turning everyone into a number.... Be more aware of the stage your students are in and for the love of everything good in the world remember that one tiny comment about weight or body in today's (or the 90's) society can rock a kid to the core and drastically change how they see themselves.
until next time be unapologetically you....while I be unapologetically me