Former Top 5 WTA player Jelena Dokic recently took to Instagram to address body shamers who have been criticizing her weight gain. In a raw and honest post, the Australian shared her personal struggles with abuse and trauma, and explained why she’s embracing her current size.
The 40-year-old Dokic started by asking a question she’s been hearing a lot: “What happened to her? I can barely recognize her.” She then went on to answer that question in detail, sharing her experiences as a refugee, survivor of domestic violence, and someone who battled anxiety, depression, and PTSD. She also explained that she was beaten and called derogatory names by her father since childhood, and almost committed suicide.
Despite all of these challenges, Dokic managed to achieve great things, including being a Grand Slam semifinalist and the fourth-ranked women’s tennis player in the world. She also became a bestselling author, commentator, and speaker. She emphasized that her size and weight don’t define her worth or success.
Dokic shared two images of herself, one when she was a size 4 and one when she was a size 16. She explained that the smaller size was when she was scared, beaten unconscious, and suffered from bulging shins due to being kicked all night. The larger size, on the other hand, represented her healing from trauma and thriving.
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She made it clear that she would choose her current size over her past size any day if it meant being happy. She also acknowledged that turning to food was a way for her to cope and survive, and that she’s still healing from her past.
In the end, Dokic reminded everyone that beauty isn’t about a certain size or weight, but about having a beautiful heart and soul. She ended her post with a powerful message:
I went through hell and back and I survived and today I try to help others. That’s what happened. And for those that still don’t get the point, well that says everything about you.
Overall, Dokic’s post is a powerful reminder that we should never judge someone based on their appearance or size, and that everyone has their own struggles and journey. Her vulnerability and honesty also make her a great role model for those who are going through similar challenges.
I know Jelena has received a lot of praise for speaking about about her emotional issues and the trauma she has suffered, but I wonder if it might serve her and everyone else better if she just got on with her current life and didn’t try to defend or explain herself to these people. She was a great tennis player, she is now a really great and very popular commentator, and it seems to me she can achieve an awful lot just by being who she is and she doesn’t necessarily have to crusade all the time. The likelihood is that the people who are trolling her are not going to be influenced by what she says anyway. They are nasty stupid people who have no empathy and an articulate argument is not going to change them.
It’s important to remember that everyone processes trauma differently and has their own way of coping. For Jelena, speaking openly about her experiences may be a crucial part of her healing process.
It’s possible that some people who make insulting comments about are not intentionally malevolent, but rather lack the social awareness to understand how their words can be hurtful. As a society, we should strive to be more mindful of how our words and actions affect others, and work to create a culture of empathy and kindness.