July 25, 2018 I’M TOO SKINNY / I’M TOO CHUBBY!!! Hey Readers! So, first of all, let me give you a little behind the scenes. Every week when I’m picking which letter to feature here on the website, I open up the email where the Ask Brandon questions come. And there are a LOT. So many. So I try to pick questions that I think will be interesting to more than just the person who wrote in, since I don’t have time to answer them all. Sometimes I read through quite a few before I pick the perfect letter. So this week, I was going through the latest questions, and I am not even kidding you, these two letters were BACK TO BACK in my inbox. Here are the two letters: Hey Brandon, I’m a girl and I’m really skinny. I don’t look good in any dresses I wear and being skinny is bad for your health. I really want to put on weight and I’m 12 years old. By the way, I don’t like my height either!!!! HELP!! Skinny & Skeptical Dear Brandon, I’ve been judged about my weight and sometimes it gets to me and I don’t know what to do about it. Sometimes I cry on the way home and run up to my room. Kids would call me names like whale, Santa Claus, and hippo. Sometimes I wish I were skinny so I could fit in. What do I do?! PLEASSSSE HELP!!!! So Over Being Overweight Okay, wouldn’t it be wild if both letter writers actually went to the same school and like, saw each other every day on the bus, and curvy girl looked at skinny girl and skinny girl looked at curvy girl and they were both wishing they could look more like the other one? That might not be true, but I CAN guarantee that if you’re feeling uncomfortable about your body, you are NOT the only one. ESPECIALLY in middle school or high school. It’s just such a weird, self-conscious time. And I can tell you it’s weird and self-conscious for boys, too. But I DO think it’s harder for girls. I think there are just more expectations put on girls to look a certain way, and a big part of that is body shape. It’s 100% unfair. I’m really sorry. And I’m honored that you guys would write in to ME about that. So first, health. Skinny And Skeptical mentioned being concerned that it was unhealthy to be too skinny. Someone who’s overweight might also have similar concerns. But in most cases, it’s probably just your natural body type. You shouldn’t take my word for it! You should go to your doctor and talk to them. If they feel like there’s any reason to be worried about your weight, they’ll help you make a plan. But probably? They’ll tell you it’s your body type, and also that your body shape is going to keep changing as you grow through your teenage years. But you’ll probably feel better if a doctor tells you not to worry about the health part. And if you don’t feel comfortable talking to your doctor or asking your parents to make an appointment for this reason, try talking to a school nurse about it. Second, fashion. Skinny And Skeptical mentions feeling unattractive in dresses. And there’s a volunteer at Fuzzy Friends who’s a little bit chubby, and she complains when it gets hot because she says she doesn’t look good in shorts. So, this is another problem lots of people have, no matter their body size/shape. I’m no fashion expert. But what I’m pretty decent at is using the internet. 🙂 I searched on Google and found out what to wear if you’re too skinny, overweight, too short, etc. I looked at the search results for the body types and they give lots of tips for fashions that will look best on each body. I don’t think you should use these searches as RULES, like if you find something that says chubby people shouldn’t wear shorts, FORGET THAT. Wear what makes you comfortable. But if you’re trying to figure out what fashion styles might flatter your body type the best, turn to the fashionistas and fashionisters of the internet! They’ve got your back! Finally, name-calling. This is the worst. I’m really, really sorry if people are calling you names because of your body type. That is AWFUL. It’s bullying, and if it’s happening at school or somewhere else with an anti-bullying protocol, I would encourage you to use those resources. But I also know that a lot of times kids don’t want to report bullying because they’re afraid that will make it worse. In that case, try as hard as you can to not react when they call you names. If they get a reaction out of you, they’re more likely to keep coming back because you’re an easy target. And later, when you’re hurting from what was said, try to find a way to express yourself and get your frustrations out, whether it’s by talking to a trusted friend or grown-up, writing in a journal, doing some art, hanging out with a fuzzy friend, or whatever. I hope this helps. I also hope it helps to know you’re not alone. Do you struggle with body image? How do you react if someone calls you a name? Tell us in the comments!