My dear friend, Janet from Going Crazy, Wanna Go wrote this beautiful post for me a while back. I’ve been meaning to post it, but I’ve been a crazy person since the holidays and haven’t gotten back on a good schedule yet. Excuses, excuses. The truth of the matter is, I didn’t know how to open this post and introduce Janet to you. She’s a wonderful, sweet woman who works so hard to provide for her family. I just think the world of her and love her dearly. This post is beautiful and deserves to be read. Enjoy, and please so Janet some love in the comments if you get a moment
I’m a fat, shy girl. As in, over 300 lbs, never says a word to anyone in my office, fat, shy girl. But I want to be loved and I want to love others, just like everyone else. So, I’m using Summer’s blog to talk about how to love a fat, shy girl in hopes that we big, quiet girls get some attention every now and then. This is not only meant for men to read (romantic love), but this is also for friends (or potential friends) of a fat, shy girl to learn how to love (friendship love).
Just as an FYI, I just finished reading Jennifer Weiner’s “Good in Bed” and this post is totally inspired by the character’s magazine article in the book…in case you recognize it.
When I was born, I think I was over 9 lbs. I was a big baby. But, I didn’t stay big for long because I was lactose intollerant and pretty much couldn’t tolerate any other type of formula either. I think my mom ended up giving me watered down Gatorade or something like that. I guess I had eating problems way back then, too.
When I was a younger child, I think I was a little bigger than average, thick, but not fat or even overweight. I never really enjoyed exercise or sports and preferred to watch TV or play inside games. Sure, I rode my bike and my scooter around the neighborhood with all of my friends, but it probably wasn’t my first choice of activities.
As I reached my preteens and teenage years, the sedentary lifestyle and love of anything sweet started to settle in and I was chubby. I discovered a love of fudge one year during the holidays and when I returned to school, I had a teacher ask me if I had put on a few pounds. That is when I really started to notice that I was overweight and became self-conscious about it.
I’m a shy person, always have been. I’m basically afraid of my own shadow (and anyone else’s shadow as well). I love to listen to other people’s conversations and I can engage with others when they talk to me, but I’m probably more likely to stand on the outside of a circle and listen than I am to be in the circle, or certainly not, the center of the circle. My dad once told me that I think too much about what I’m going to say to someone that by the time I say it, the moment has passed. He said this with love and understanding (because he is the same way sometimes), but it’s just so darn true that it kinda stung a little.
How to Love a Fat, Shy Girl
Whether your friend, potential friend, love interest, potential love interest, or sister, mother, cousin, niece, or aunt is the big, quiet girl in your life, here are a few tips for loving her the way she wants to be loved, needs to be loved, and deserves to be loved.
- Tell her she’s beautiful – This may sound like a “duh” moment, but think about this. How many times have you said to a big girl that she would be stunning if she were just a little smaller. Okay, so maybe you haven’t said that outright, but have you ever gushed over your big girl friend after she lost a few pounds, so much more than you ever did BEFORE she lost the weight? A couple of years ago, I lost 90 lbs in about 4 months and people who never spoke to me more than a “hi” were coming up to me and telling me how beautiful I was “becoming”. Yes, I know that a slender body is often more attractive than a bumpy, lumpy one, but come on, folks. If you’ve never told a person she’s beautiful when she was big, don’t start when she loses weight. Love your big friend NOW, as she is, and tell her she’s beautiful, period.
- Listen to her – If your fat, shy girl is anything like me, she has a lot to say, but is scared to death to say it. She is thinking and contemplating and some day she will open her mouth. When she does, listen closely and interact with her. Don’t cut her off or try to share your opinion until she asks you for it. If she needs to complain about being fat, don’t discount her, just listen. If she has a problem, don’t try to solve it unless she asks you to help. Just listen, plain and simple.
- Don’t tell her she’s wrong – Okay, so this is not an “always” thing, but if she tells you she’s fat and ugly, don’t disagree with her…right away. I’m not telling you to agree with her, but don’t be too fast to disagree either. If you jump in and tell her she’s wrong, you are discounting her feelings…and she has really strong ones that she needs to work through in her mind. Go back to #1 as often as you can during the times when she’s not talking down about herself and hopefully those times when she is will be less and less.
- Talk to her, often – If the fat, shy girl in your life is like me, she’s the wallflower at every event. This one is for the shy girl in her. She wants to talk, most likely, but she is scared of saying the wrong thing. Talk to her as often as you can and drag her along wherever you go. If she ditches you, it’s not because she doesn’t like you, she is just scared. Go get her again and drag her along…again…until she starts seeking you out for company. In other words, force her to be your friend! I promise you she is a sweet, loving person and you will love her to death once you break through her shy shell.
- Tell your friends about her so they will love her, too – Your friends are going to love her as much as you have learned to love her so talk about her, introduce her, encourage her to meet them as well. She wants lots of friends, but she’s shy and self-conscious, so give her every chance to meet new people and stay by her side until she looks comfortable. If she’s your girl, show her off and show everyone around how much you love her. Make sure your friends know that she’s not stuck up or snobby, that if she’s quiet, it’s probably her shyness. Once they know that, they will give her a chance, and they will love her like you do.