I have been skinny my entire life. I still remember standing in front of the mirror with friends in second grade before a pool party and wondering why my ribs stuck out and theirs did not. It didn't bother me, but I also didn't understand why I was different. I've never disliked my body, but I've never liked how others react to it either. Whether it's compliments or criticism, people are always commenting on my size.  

My Size

According to BMI charts, my height and weight combination did not exist. I have been 5'8" since freshman year of high school, but I weighed closer to someone who was 5'0". I didn't have an eating disorder because it was not psychological, nor did it have anything to do with body image or control, but my size was not healthy. Between a fast metabolism, a small appetite, and a height in the 97th percentile, I was bound to be thin—but my size was more severe than I realized.

I remember sitting in my pediatrician's office junior year and being lectured (again) about my weight. I tried to explain to her that my portions now are much larger and healthier than they used to be. It was her response to this that really struck me.

She told me that although I eat an appropriate amount for my age now, I have to compensate for years of damage from not eating enough. After that appointment, I did my best to make a better effort to eat more despite feeling full. I chose to try to gain weight to be a healthier human, not to fulfill social expectations or to hush the whispers.   

How Others Reacted to My Size

When I was younger, most kids would try to count my ribs or give me piggyback rides, but as I got older my size sparked conversation. I still remember overhearing a group of my classmates whispering about how they shouldn't pass the volleyball to me because my scary skinny arms might just snap. Needless to say, gym class was not my favorite subject freshman year.

While some students whispered, others just offered their unsolicited opinions. I can't even count the number of times I heard someone say "Wow, you're so skinny," or even worse "You're too skinny!" Not everyone's comments were negative, but regardless of what they were saying I was not interested in hearing what other people thought about my body. 

People constantly made assumptions about me. If I wasn't hungry, people assumed I was anorexic, and if I scarfed down a dozen chocolate chip cookies, they were surprised that I wasn't. I always took issue with the term "skinny bitch," but if I spoke out then I was told that skinny shaming wasn't a real problem. I support all shapes and sizes, so I couldn't understand why no one would accept my size.  

My Size Today

Today, I am a freshman at Fairfield University and I am happy and healthy. I'm certainly still thin, but no one has referred to me as scary skinny either. I have found a balance where I can eat ice cream because I want to and not because I have to, but I can still eat it guilt free. My small size was always a huge weight on my shoulders. I still have to be careful not to slip back into old habits, but for now my main concern is declaring a major. 

No matter what the number on your scale reads or how tall you are compared to others, it's hard to be different. Remember, it's important to take care of yourself and respect that others are just trying to do the same. Always be unapologetically you!