In response to the bathroom wall

I’m in a bathroom stall, wondering about a couple of things. The first, why do bathroom doors open inward? The second, who brings sharpies into the bathroom with them? And  third, where is the respect for ourselves?

I’ll explain. Bathroom doors really should open outward, otherwise you’re stepping in the stall and over the toilet just to make your way out.

What is important, though, are the conversations being etched permanently in Sharpie onto the walls of the bathroom stalls.

I can’t speak for the guys on campus, as I’ve never been in the men’s restrooms (except once on a road trip … the situation was dire), but if you’re a woman spending more than a couple of hours at a time at Murray State, you’ve probably been in one of these bathroom stalls and you know what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about the posters on the back of the stall door informing us of the dangers of eating disorders. This is great and I applaud the effort. What concerns me is the vile commentary taking place on the walls in response to said poster.

With my Sharpie out, here’s my addition to the discussion.

Let me address one comment in particular, a comment that struck to the heart of the body-hating war consuming our society:

Why does everyone need to be fixed?

Wow. Just wow! Little did Miss Cursive know, she hit the nail on the head. Maybe she was trying to condemn others with her sarcasm, trying to accuse the poster advocating a healthy lifestyle of fat-shaming, but she brought up a fascinating point. That point is this: we see ourselves as broken, but don’t want to be “fixed.”

Fat shaming. Skinny shaming. It’s not about looks. I’m going on record with my Sharpie in hand to say it’s not about any of these things. It’s about realizing your health is a gift.

Your spirit, your mind, your body. All of these account for your being and they all make you incredibly amazing.

Here I am, feeling sluggish and tired and depressed and I can’t figure it out. I’m thinking it may be the way I eat and the way I don’t care for my body, but people on one side are yelling “Love who you are,” “Be content,” “Why do you have to be fixed?” On the other side people are listing the impossible – unachievable heights I must climb to reach the golden precipice of health.

Our society does not make it easy to be healthy – that is true. In fact, we are fed the wrong information about what health is the majority of the time. What spins my mind in circles is that we live in a society where people write on the bathroom walls, “Why does everyone need to be fixed?”

I’m not going to say there isn’t a health problem, because that would be a flat-out lie. But the comment transcends body image and health. It addresses self-image. If people see themselves as broken in any way whatsoever, why would they question their need to be fixed? Where is the respect for ourselves? People in bathrooms are questioning our desire to change, voting that we stay apathetic and unhappy.

What if self-respect is the first step in your personal journey of a flourishing, healthy life? Instead of asking “Why do I have to be fixed?”, we should ask “Why would I want to keep myself broken?

Column by Kaylan Thompson, Graduate student from Murray