Me performing my poem “Corporeal” at my school’s first ever open mic night. It was such an empowering experience.
The time in which I loved my body is before recorded history
I’m sure there must have been a point in toddlerhood, childhood, where I tottered along, chubby cheeked angelically blonde and was amazed at the space in the world that I got to take up
I was 7 the first time someone called me fat
It was said with straightforward childlike innocence by a fourth grader on the playground I was standing by the play firetruck and with his proclamation something in me went out
I was a 7 year old child and the size of my body closed in on me like a vice and I still weep for the her that I was because I will never be able to set that right
In the first week of seventh grade I got a new addition to the title of fat when the boy sitting behind me in homeroom called me a “fat pig”
I spluttered back that pigs are actually very intelligent animals and I turned to the boy next to me for confirmation that the christener of my new title was out of line.
He was silent.
In tenth grade, I fought a fierce battle with a monster called depression that carved fifteen pounds off of my apathetic body.
I got congratulations from my teachers, my peers, my friends.
My hair fell out on my pillow and my eyes were sunken and I didn’t want to live anymore but that didn’t matter
What mattered was my weight
What mattered was my slightly flatter stomach
I wish I could go back to that girl and hold her and I still weep for her because I will never be able to set that right.
In the summer before eleventh grade I set lower and lower goal weights for myself. I tracked every calorie with a religious zeal. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Gum. Breath mints. Bites of other people’s food.
I hit my lowest weight and I was never thin enough for people to worry and I was never thin enough for myself and people congratulated me for my fine example of health while I catalogued every exercise I did and every mouthful I ate.
I wish I could go back to that girl and shake her by the shoulders and I still weep for her, because I will never be able to set that right.
Sometime during the past year and a half, I snapped out of it. How much do I weigh now?
I weigh a heart full of compassion.
I weigh two lovely, strong legs, which I use for running
I weigh the hips I inherited from a family of brilliant women with “pear shaped” physiques, women who were lawyers and healthcare workers and teachers and mothers and lovers and protectors and friends.
I weigh one stomach that I feed with good foods and that my cat likes to sleep on when I read books.
I weigh a ribcage containing vital organs, and the fat that cushions those vital organs from harm .
I weigh an entire person who has realized that somewhere in the past 18 months I have learned to love the way I look, the things my body can do, the person I have become.
I’m not sure when self hate left I think he took the walk of shame slinking towards the door some early morning and sometimes he calls but I don’t pick up, and I delete his messages before I can listen to them.
I relit the fire inside myself with flint and determination and the sparks made by running shoes on concrete, and here I am.
I am not thin.
It does not matter.
I am well.
This is for all of you who still have a chance, to set things right.