what i wish i'd said


A few weeks ago I was at dinner and as I was walking to the restroom, I noticed a very happy couple sitting nearby. They were laughing over their chips and queso - leaning in and looking into one another's twinkly love eyes. I smiled as I passed them, my heart warmed a bit.

But then, as I was washing my hands, I saw the girl come into the bathroom and, without hesitating at all, make herself throw up.  I stopped in my tracks - my heart suddenly hurting for her. I wanted to wait for her and tell her: you don't have to do that to yourself.

But it felt invasive to wait outside her stall in a Mexican restaurant on a Friday night. Maybe it was the socially acceptable thing to do to let her be, but I haven't been able to shake her from my mind. And because I was too chicken to tell her then, what I've wanted to tell her ever since is: You don't have to do that to yourself. You're not fat. You're perfect how you are and the way he is looking into your eyes is not because of the way you make yourself throw up after a meal, but because of what he sees deep inside you. I wish, so much, that you could see yourself the way he does.

And you know what else?

You don't have to go to the gym every day. You don't have to be a slave to the treadmill. You don't have to count your calories. Or cut carbs, either. You don't have to skip dinner on the nights you know you're going to be drinking alcohol. Or skip meals all week so you can eat more on the weekends. You don't have to take laxatives. Or do a cleanse. Or eat raw foods only or only juice.

You don't have to do any of that. Because you're so much more than a number on a scale. You're so, so much more than you give yourself credit for.

But I didn't say any of that and I pray, pray, pray someone else is saying it to her. I pray someone else is braver than me, as I walked slowly back to my table, shaken by her pain, looking at her boyfriend anxiously waiting her return.

Since I can't say it to her now, I hope if you need to hear it, you can believe it. Because I mean it.

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