To The Boys I Wasn’t Skinny Enough For

When I was younger, I felt like I was constantly being watched and critiqued. Despite seeing some good qualities in myself, I had this lingering feeling that I was missing something – I wasn’t pretty enough or skinny enough or athletic enough.

Whatever I was, it wasn’t enough.

As I got older, I became more comfortable with myself. But I guess it doesn’t matter how confident I am – that won’t stop boys from wanting me to know that this or that isn’t good enough.

When I was younger, if you had told me you didn’t like rap music, maybe I would’ve said, “yeah, me neither,” discretely deleting my favorite songs from my playlist.

If you had told me I looked better with makeup, maybe I would’ve worn it.

If you had called me fat, I would’ve remembered it, the words etched into my mind and holding greater importance to me than all of the good traits I knew I had. Because why would it matter if I was smart or funny or interesting? Johnny likes skinny girls, and I’m not skinny enough.

Back then, those boys thought they could change me and unfortunately, maybe they were right.

But years have passed now. Now, I don’t care if anyone thinks my taste in music is uncool. I don’t care if many people wear makeup – I do what I want. I don’t care what “kind of girls” Johnny likes. With all this change though, one thing remains the same: it seems boys and men still feel oh-so-comfortable telling women what to do and how to be.

I want to be able to say that I tune it out, but part of me still hears them sometimes, no matter how much I don’t want to listen.

The boys I’m not skinny enough for will tell me they like me. They like this and that but wait, maybe I should change a few things, take off my glasses and lose a few pounds.

Women are not made of legos. You don’t get to choose the bits and pieces that you like and discard the rest.

I know the movies showed you that the nice girl will take off her glasses to be hotter and more impressive to men. But I do not exist to impress you, and frankly, I am not impressed that you don’t seem to realize that my face is the same whether I wear glasses or not.

You will continue to pretend that you like me and care about me, but telling someone how to be and how to look isn’t about love. It’s about control.

There’s a difference between liking me and wanting me to be a girl you would like. If I am not already a girl you like, I never will be. I unfortunately still hear you sometimes when you tell me hey, you would look better with lighter hair or have you thought about trying to lose weight?

But I won’t take off my glasses. If I did, I’d be losing sight of what’s important: who I am as an individual and what I want for myself.

To the men who think I’m not skinny enough, that I should take off my glasses, that I should wear this or do that:

If I made my life into a movie, the plot would certainly not revolve around you and what you want me to be. It doesn’t matter if we’ve talked a few times or we’re friends or we’ve hooked up or we’ve dated – this is my face, my body, my life. This is me.

This has nothing to do with you.

You tell me I’m not enough of this or that like it will somehow matter to me, like I was just waiting for a man to tell me “you could lose some weight” before getting a gym membership, or “you look prettier without glasses” before starting to wear contacts.

I’m not skinny enough for you?

Alright, that’s cool – I don’t need to be enough for you. I’m enough without you.

Images via tessa pesicka

Paige Sheffield

Editorial Contributor, Central Michigan University Major: Journalism Her heart belongs to: Coffee, sarcasm, live music You can find her: laughing at her own jokes and trying to be in a million places at once

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