the weight of a word

Last weekend I ran into an acquaintance whom I met 2 summers ago through a friend of mine. This person and I rarely see each other but when we happen to we say the usual “hello. how are you” and that’s about as far as it goes. Which is fine for both of us.

On this particular night I was standing with the friend and said acquaintance came over for the usual friendlies. We had our usual side body hug, said the usual hey, and then…something unusual happened. Instead of going with the flow into the ‘how are you’ portion of the conversation, the acquaintance said “You’re looking skinnier!”.

You’re looking skinnier
Now, let me explain some things. I’ve never been a girl who was obsessed with my weight.  I never really needed to be. My entire life has been filled with outdoor activities and sports that kept me in pretty good shape. I was also surrounded by people who loved me unconditionally and somewhat sheltered me from things that would influence my self image{all things I am eternally grateful for}. In college I gained the usual “Freshman 15” but it filled me out in a good way, more than anything. I still stayed pretty active but it was much more of an effort once college came. I knew that if I wasn’t conscious of my weight, it had the potential to get out of control. It still wasn’t something I really obsessed over though. If i skipped a day at the gym it wasn’t ever a big deal to me. And of course there are things that I wouldn’t mind having…a flatter stomach, thighs that don’t touch, smaller feet…but over analyzing these “flaws” seemed somewhat pointless in the long run. I’m not fat but I’m not a toothpick either. I’d like to think I have an athletic build.
 After college was when I started to notice some bad weight appearing on my body though. I didn’t have the same gym access and wasn’t participating in sports anymore. These factors combined with being introduced to beer(I just love the stuff) and my Italian love for food–therefore being able to eat even after I’m full–made for some unhealthiness. At my worst point I had gained 6ish pounds since college and over 10 since high school. Now, this doesn’t seem like much, but I’m only 5″4′ so it’s pretty hard to hide weight gain like that. 
Last summer I moved back home and around Christmas time decided enough was enough! I asked for a gift card to a local gym for as a Christmas present and was pleased as punch to receive one! I hit the gym and I git it hard. I knew I couldn’t be lazy about working out if I wanted to feel healthier again. And it paid off. After almost 2 months I had dropped 10 pounds and couldn’t feel happier about it. Mainly it was nice to know that I could make it happen.
–>So…back to the acquaintance: I met this person the summer after I graduated from college and before I started my theatre internship aka got lazy and gained the weight. At the time I wasn’t really keeping track of my weight so I ate whatever I wanted and didn’t go to the gym. I hadn’t reached my heaviest though.
–>Fast forward to this past weekend: When I heard him say the comment, I laughed and made a joke about it, not really taking it into consideration. It wasn’t until later in the evening that I started to dwell on it more, and it’s been coming up ever since. I’m sure the person meant it as a compliment and when I think about it, I don’t really have bad feelings towards it or him. I guess it’s really the ‘skinnier‘ that really gets me. 
Three little letters….ier. If he had said “you’re looking skinny” I don’t think it would have stuck with me like it has. But he didn’t say that. He used the word “skinnier” which implies that I was once not as skinny. And I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little effecting by it.
We don’t always think about the weight of our words….and particularly the words we choose in certain situations. Three letters can change what would have been a wonderful compliment into a thought provoking review of my bodily form over the past 6 years. It makes me think about the words I have chosen in the past and if they have effected people in the same way. Being the talkative person that I am, I’m sure it’s happened more than once. 
So I will make an effort to 1) compliment people more often and 2) make sure I say what I mean to say in the most wonderful way.
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