A Letter to a Random Girl on Instagram

Dear Stranger,

I saw what you said.

“u know when all ur friends have there bellys out and your the chunky one in the middle, literally me :(“

If you don’t remember when or where you said this, I’ll help remind you. A few days ago, you posted a comment on a photo that a well-known company shared. The company shared a picture of 15 girls wearing their latest workout clothing line. These girls were ending a weekend of a lifetime, making sure to thank this company for believing in their community and for sponsoring this incredible weekend. These 15 girls were my friends and myself. The chunky one in the middle was literally ME.

I’m not going to sit here and pretend that reading your comment didn’t hurt. I’m not going to act like I didn’t read it over and over again, crying harder each time. I’m not going to lie to you and say that I easily brushed it off. What I will do, though, is use your unnecessarily upsetting comment to shed light on a situation much larger than mine.

I’m hoping that by sharing the comment mentioned earlier, you were trying show that you can relate to the “chunky girl in the middle”, rather than sharing it because you were trying to hurt her (A.K.A. me). Regardless of your intentions, your comment DID hurt me. But fortunately, I’m not the same girl I was years ago. I’m a healthy and strong human and I have an endless supply of love and support coming from the empowering community of women that I’m surrounded by. I was able to walk away from your comment (although it did take some time) feeling stronger and more empowered than ever before. I wish I could say the same thing about every other girl who has been affected by comments like yours.

The crazy thing about the internet is that EVERYONE has access to EVERYTHING. People who you have never met before can see pictures of you and vice versa. What these people choose to do when they see pictures of you is up to them, which is pretty scary when you think about it.

Because everything and everyone is on the internet these days, you don’t know 99% of the people in the pictures you see on a daily basis. You don’t know their names, you don’t know their story, you don’t know their struggles. Whether this person is “insta famous” or a random girl who was standing next to a distant high school friend in a picture, it’s safe to assume that you’ve only seen a tiny glimpse of their lives – and that glimpse is only what they want you to see. You don’t genuinely know these people.

You had no idea who I was, yet you chose to post a comment about my body anyway. What if I was someone who struggled with depression? Or someone who suffered from an eating disorder? Or maybe someone who struggled to appreciate the person I’ve become? A comment from a random girl on the internet could have broken my already broken spirits even more. Thankfully, I’m none of these people. But I can’t say the same about other girls out there who may be struggling to love themselves. There are girls out there who DO suffer from depression, eating disorders and a lack of self-appreciation. You may not realize it when you post things like that, but what you say can and does affect these girls, regardless of whether or not you know who they are.

So next time you think you need to share a comment that may not be kind or empowering, do us all a favor. Keep it to yourself.

Naturally,

Ari.

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61 comments

  1. People can be cruel. I think everyone in that picture looks amazing.

    And man, I hate when people leave comments like that and don’t even bother with proper grammar. It basically shows what sort of person they are.

  2. I’m so sorry girl! I don’t know what on earth makes people want to say mean stuff online. I think that photo of all of you is empowering and awesome. I wouldn’t think twice about she said. You know all those girls love you!

    xoxo
    Celeste
    ohhelloceleste.com

  3. I can understand your hurt… however, to be honest, I took her comment to mean that she related with the girl in the middle. This is what is so hard with the internet in general… you can’t hear tone or really know what people mean. It causes SO many problems.

    I think everyone looks great and I love the photo!!!

    1. I think it’s so easy to misinterpret comments on the internet, which is why people should definitely be aware of how their comments may be perceived!

  4. I am hopeful that the person that left this comment wasnt doing so to be cruel… but nevertheless, no matter the iNTENTION… the impact was still brutal and unnecessary. Thank you for sharing this letter and your story <3

    1. I hope it wasn’t intended to hurt someone’s (my) feelings either! Regardless, it’s important to still be aware of how your words may impact someone else. Thanks for the love!

  5. Ari, you’re a bad ass for bringing attention to a REAL issue. The issue of women body shaming each other. I can see how the comment might be misinterpreted too. But when we put ourselves out there(social media) we are leaving ourselves open to nasty comments and good ones too. I think we need to be aware that our words can hurt someone before we type them out in a comment section.

    1. Thanks Andrea <3 I agree completely - while body shaming is something that shouldn't even exist, I've noticed a huge problem with the "Us. vs. Them" mentality between women of different sizes. In this day and age, it can be so hard to be a woman and we sure don't need other women pointing out our flaws! I think you may have inspired another blog post ; )

  6. I think it’s a great picture and I totally believe that if you can’t say something nice – shut your big fat mouth!! People can be so cruel and sorry that her comments hurt you!

    1. I agree – what ever happened to that saying?? I hardly ever hear people telling their kids/students/other people “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. I grew up hearing it all the time! Thank you for your love and support!

  7. So people are so rude it’s sad. I just don’t understand people. You have to wonder about the kind of life they must live to go out of their way to say something rude about someone’s weight like that. Hold your head high and smile because you are beautiful and have class. Also, I’m always the chunky girl in the middle and I’m totally ok with that. Not only do I love my curves, it makes me harder to kidnap. lol Smile and God bless! 🙂

    1. HAHA I guess being harder to kidnap is definitely a perk. But I agree, I definitely wondered about her life for her to feel comfortable with bringing others down. Thanks for the love! <3

  8. I agree totally Ari. The advice my Mom-and probably a lot of other parents gave-is really what everyone should do–“If you don’t have something nice to say–don’t say it”. You really do not know how you may affect the person who wrote the article or even some who may be just reading it!

  9. The internet breeds a lot of bonding and understanding, however, it is unfortunate that some people misuse its power. They do not care to understand a situation holistically and end up making insensitive comments.

    1. That’s for sure. The internet can be such a great place for resources, friendships, networking, etc. It’s a shame that some people see it as a place to bring people down.

  10. First, that’s a great picture! Not that you need validation, you already know that. 🙂 Second, I do think the girl who commented wasn’t trying to be cruel. Based on her sad face at the end of the comment, I feel like maybe she lacks self-esteem, and it makes me sad that she chose to hone in on something that she views as a negative rather than celebrate the accomplishment represented in the photo.

    1. I agree completely! Some don’t realize that they can drag others down in their own pity party – we all should celebrate the wonderful things in life!

  11. Ari, this is a beautiful, thoughtful and very well-written post and I’m definitely going to share this with my followers and my wife. What you are discussing here is SO important for people to understand.

    My beautiful wife, Aliyah, works very hard with me on all aspects of my blog but has been reluctant to add anything about herself to the blog itself because she’s embarrassed and afraid to post a photo of herself. Why? Because she’s very overweight. Aliyah was sexually and psychologically abused from as early as 8 years old by a close family friend while her parents literally looked on. This continued for 6 years until the abuser died. While slender throughout high school, she started actively gaining weight in college to avoid male interest.

    Thankfully for me, my wife gave me a chance and we’ve spent 25 wonderful years together and I love her dearly. I’m deeply saddened though that she holds so much of her wonderful self back because of fear of shaming. As you’ve pointed out, people in public and on the web see only the exterior of a person and know absolutely nothing of their value.

    I hope you don’t mind but I’m including a link here to an article on CNN about children as young as 5, boys and girls, are concerned with their body image. This is very disturbing and all of us have a responsibility to raise awareness and fight this, for ourselves, our loved ones and future generations.

    Sorry for the lengthy comment but I feel very passionately about the issue and am grateful for your openness in discussing it.

    Here’s the CNN link: http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/13/living/feat-body-image-kids-younger-ages/

    1. Thank you so much, Reuven. I love your passion for the subject. In this society, it’s so hard for people to find peace with themselves. I find that having a solid support group that makes an effort to instill values such as self-love has definitely helped me stay strong in moments like this. Your wife sounds like a wonderful woman who should let herself shine!

      Thanks for linking the CNN video about the children! I would love to see a huge shift in the near future that encourages a self-loving attitude in others.

  12. I hope the young lady who left the comment did not mean it in a negative way. I think that is one of the hard parts about sharing our lives through our blogs and social media. We open ourselves up to negative comments and “hater”. I had always been really shy about blogging for this reason alone because a few years ago I was cyber bullied. But I found the strength to overcome it and get back into blogging. Good for you for standing up for yourself and also for being so honest about how the comment made you feel. I think even if the young lady truly meant it as she can relate, she should have worded it completely differently. Best of luck to you! You’re beautiful!!

  13. The Internet can be a weird and cruel place. People think it’s okay to just say whatever they want because they are behind their computer. I’m glad you wrote this post. You have power as a blogger to share experiences.

    Nina
    aworldofdresses.com

  14. What a terrible thing for this superficial individual to say. I was ridiculed and bullied in school for being a bit bigger than the other girls and it indeed hurts and leads to issues going forward. Good on you for posting a letter to this rude fool who will eat her words someday because Karma is what she is – a B***h.

    1. I can only hope she didn’t have any bad intentions behind it! I’m so sorry that you were bullied – I’ve been told that when bullies grow up, they end up suffering more psychologically than those who they bullied! You’re a strong, independent, successful woman now and I’m sure they regret every single word!

  15. Such a beautiful letter to express your feelings & thoughts to someone who you never know as we all have to deal with such comments from strangers as everyone has access to everything these days through Social Media. Such people honestly don’t understand what one has gone through and the pity thing is they never look back at what they are and how they are! Thanks for inspiring.

  16. I am on a weightloss journey and what I choose to share is often carefully thought out. I love myself however the trolls online can really ruin the day. I think you look fabulous and love that you wrote this

    1. It can be so hard to be vulnerable and post things like this but I hope it’s served it’s purpose! You rock – don’t ever let the internet trolls ruin your day! <3

  17. Thanks for sharing this story. I’m always so shocked and saddened to hear about things like this and I hope your post will make someone think twice about what they write. Everyone in that picture is beautiful!

    1. Thank you so much! I hope I’ve made a difference in how someone looks at these situations (whether it’s the person doing the harm or the person who gets hurt!)

  18. I appreciate you putting yourself out there and saying something. You look great and it is unfortunate that people will say something on the net that they dare not say in person.

    1. Thanks Carlee! I figured that since I made this platform to speak my mind, I should use it to be a voice for those who aren’t as fortunate to have an incredible community to support them and show them love in these instances. I’ve been very blessed.

  19. I really like this post and can relate. Sometimes words can really hurt. It’s important to know the story behind the things before you talk out loud.

    1. Thank you! I definitely agree -if we all just celebrated our wins, rather than focusing on our insecurities and flaws, the world would be a much better place.

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