Is it really a compliment?

I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in months and as part of the usual catching-up chit chat they asked if I had lost weight. When I replied that I didn’t know they said it looked like I had.

It was clear they meant it as a compliment.

All the way home I was hoping they were wrong

Because I don’t have a scale, I pulled out some jeans from high school and tried them on. They shouldn’t fit me now, and thankfully they didn’t. I breathed a sigh of relief, put the jeans away and went on with my day.

What my acquaintance didn’t know was that I had had bloodwork done earlier that week and was a bit anxious about it. The immunosuppressant drugs I’m on can have nasty side effects so my doctor screens regularly to make sure everything’s working alright.

One thing we screen for is lymphoma and some of my blood cell counts were not the numbers I had expected to see. I’d googled it and determined that as long as I wasn’t seeing any symptoms (which I wasn’t) I was fine.

Unexplained weight loss was one of those symptoms.

That’s why the comment on my weight had made me nervous.

Thinness is so often equated with health and, as I’ve written about before, that is so untrue.

Instead of making me feel good and confident, their comment had just stressed me out for the rest of the day. They had achieved the opposite of what they intended and had no idea. Next time I hope I have a better answer.

Actually next time, I’d rather skip the conversation altogether. Coming out of this pandemic many of us are not the same size we were going in. Rather than commenting on someone’s body shape or size can we all agree to just say “it’s so nice to see you!”?

This is a recent photo of me standing in a field, wearing my favourite outfit: a lightweight sweater I made and a refashioned dress I’ve had since high school that always fits me because it’s basically a giant sack.
This is a recent photo of me standing in a field, wearing my favourite outfit: a lightweight sweater I made and a refashioned dress I’ve had since high school that always fits me because it’s basically a giant sack.

2 thoughts on “Is it really a compliment?

  1. Esther Colliver says:

    You’re so right, Jasmine! Let’s say “Nice to see you!” rather than commenting on weight, size or body shape!
    And I love your sweater! It’s gorgeous!

    Like

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