Why "You Look Skinny" Doesn't Feel Like a Compliment

I know the intentions are pure. I know it's meant to be a compliment. But "you look skinny" feels more like invasive commentary than anything meant to elicit elation and gratitude. Let me explain.

Over a decade ago, when I suffered from disordered thoughts and began restricting my food intake, those three simple words were indulgent. They practically sparkled, glowing in my mind like lightning bugs trapped in a mason jar. "Skinny" was always the goal, and the more others adulated my frame, the more victorious I felt. I'd beam at the utterance of the word, finally feeling like my physically damaging and mentally exhausting plan was working. I wanted to look pretty, I wanted to be skinny—and adolescence painstakingly coached that one did not exist without the other. I went through treatment and therapy and came out permanently altered on the other side. Still, the struggle, though decidedly quieter and less frequent, remained omnipresent despite my distance from it.