They Said, You’d Be So Pretty If You Just Lost Some Weight

woman red coat
Photo by Dimitar Belchev - Unsplash

When I was younger
They told me,
“You’d be so much prettier
if you just lost
some weight.”

So, I carved at my thighs
with a butter knife, I smoothed down
my cellulite with the back of a sugar spoon,
and grew frustrated with the hunger
of my soft stomach. I wished
it all to vaporize
like water does from
skin. I learned to compare until it was habitual.
Didn’t matter what about
as long as there was a silent rivalry between me
and whoever.

So, I ran around tracks, I ran
around parks, I even ran
around beaches that only invited me to rest.
I camouflaged easily
into a folding chair, poking and prodding at
my body, a specimen.
When I was younger they told me
“You will lose enough
weight that you will love
your body.”
Years of pursuing a precise collar bone,
a line of ribs when I raise my arms.
years of trying to will my body
into a smaller existence.
So, I swallowed diet pills,
did what I thought was good for me,
watched hours pass on an elliptical machine,
did what I knew was bad for me,
and taught myself how to judge.
My confidence veiled so thinly over me
that it looked like a whisper.

Now I am older and my body has been
confused by its job.
So, I wrote a eulogy
on the waxy side of a candy wrapper.
The old thoughts a savoury toxin that dissolve easily
on the tongue, but sit languid afterwards
inside my body. To get them out
is necessary for survival.

Without them, my body
dances and swirls
like honey in a coffee mug.
It cherishes loved ones in hugs
and spoonfuls of thick syrup on slow mornings.
It is a strong body that has the privilege
to lift what is heavy
and strengthen in nourishment.
The body that pumps blood through my organs,
that look red and plump,
the same as any.
It is unfair, all the ways
women have been taught to hate ourselves
and each other.
There is not one without the other.
“You’d be so pretty if you
just lost
some weight.”

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