It really saddens me when children have eating disorders. Early elementary school kids who should be worrying about baseball games or popsicles or maybe even nothing at all are instead worrying about the way their bodies look and the way others perceive them. (The 6-year-old girl who keeps a list of “diet foods”. The 8-year-old boy who skips his lunch.)
Words may just seem like letters put together in some abstract fashion- sounds or sights are fleeting and therefore impermanent, but I’d like to tell you that that’s wrong. Words stick to you like leeches, and they stick to children in just the same way. (I am no saint; I have hurt and have been hurt by these same words, but I can at least tell you this much, this much is the truth.)
Society seems kind of impersonal, so I won’t call it that. People, rather, people are the ones who sow these seeds. Anger and doubt and self-hatred grow faster than you would think, and one “harmless” comment is hard to erase when it’s buried so deeply. (Humor is no longer humorous when your self-worth becomes the joke. Children are towers yet to be built, and it’s unfair if their foundations are made of flat lies and your own insecurity.)
But that’s life, isn’t? Unfair, isn’t it? Children, exposed to Photoshopped bodies on magazines that scream out ‘this is your reality’– children, exposed to bathrooms hiding weight loss pills and razors slick with the blood that ‘you are not enough’– children. (How can you call it a childhood when jumpropes are replaced with tightropes, when the song of the icecream truck in summer is replaced with the shrieking reminder of what you should and should not eat?)
I don’t bash healthiness. I bash the senseless slurs, a thoughtless sneer.
“It’s just a word.”
And so? ‘Life’ is “just” a word. ‘Death’ is “just” a word. Words make a difference. Please, be the difference. Be the change this world so desperately needs.
(Children, you are enough.)