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Updated: May 10

Tina is among the most beautiful, intelligent, funny, sassy, engaging, full of life, courage, and joyful people I have ever met. But the main thing I noticed about her when we first met was that she was fat. It took less than five minutes for her powerful personality to shine and her clever sense of humor to take over the room. We worked together and quickly became friends. 

A few months after we met, Tina had to go through breast reduction surgery for health reasons. Like everything else, she made the best of this stressful experience and took it in the best spirit. A few weeks after the surgery, Tina came back to work. She was glowing and talked about how it feels so much better now without the pain in her back. 

I was truly happy for her and, without a blink, said, “Wow, you look amazing. If you lose some weight, you will be gorgeous.” Tina stared at me and said, “I am gorgeous now.” My heart sank. I have never been more ashamed of myself before or after this encounter. 

Why did I assume that she would want or try to lose weight? Why did I think it was my right to comment on her body? The room was silent, and I wanted to avoid her at all costs since that day. 

Positive Body Image
Body Image & Self Love

The truth is that I didn’t have a problem with Tina’s weight. I did, however, have many issues with my own body (which was size 2-4 at the time), and I inflicted all my insecurities on her. I didn’t realize then how cruel I was to myself by constantly trying to be skinnier. 

Back then, I couldn’t understand how ignorant it was to think that you could only be happy if you were skinny. I was unaware of how hurtful my comments could be until one beautiful, intelligent, funny, sassy, interesting, full of life-, courageous, and joyful person put me in my place and changed me forever. 

Today, at 44 years old and size 12 (at best), I dream of going back to that size 4, which at one point felt fat. I realize now that it has never been about my weight or clothes size. It has always been about self-love and acceptance. It will probably be a life journey for me, but thanks to people like Tina, I am working on it and constantly evolving.

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