She sees the curves of her body
from top to bottom.
Some are pleasing, some annoying.
Images of beauty scroll past her mirror,
they reflect perfection; perfection and beauty.
It makes her think of PE uniforms in 7th grade:
changing without a training bra and
that first comparison:
“your calf is bigger than mine”.
It was her best friend.
So began the twenty-three year saga:
she’s skinnier than me, am I skinnier than her, etc. etc. etc.
Her body didn’t fit the mold, not in high school
when all the girls suddenly wore B and C cups,
shit she could’ve worn a training bra till graduation, if she wanted.
Her legs were curvy so were her hips.
But she was beautiful still and she knew it in glimpses—
not every day, but now and then she’d walk past a mirror and see the truth.
Still a part of her chased and chases that unrealistic perfection—
wanting a six-pack,
wanting a splits,
wanting a paper-thin body in her bikini.
It remains a small part of her, but it’s there still:
her 12-year-old self wishing for a different body.
It’s a small part, but it can easily take over–
if she lets it.
So she practices, daily in front of her mirror:
finding the curves that define her beauty.
Seeing herself as a woman who has lived through
of deep, deep sadness and lived to tell the tale
of grand, grand travels and lived to tell the tale
of challenging times and living out her dreams—
and lived to tell her tales.
She stands and twirls to see her curves
from front to back to side to side.
They’re hers and hers and hers and hers.
A woman is she, no longer a girl.
Maybe a lil rounder, maybe lil softer,
and definitely a lot smarter.
A real woman is she.
**Yesterday, I friend of mine from middle school passed away from her struggle with an eating disorder. She tried to fight it for 22 years and passed yesterday. It got me thinking about how easy it is for me or anyone of my girl friends to be in her place. We all struggle with body image and it infuriates me that our little girls are growing up in a world where this still happening.
This year I gained 10 pounds. It was devastating at first and for a long time. And if I were being honest with myself, I can still obsess over it now, if I let myself. However, the truth is: for me life happens and my weight fluctuates which is okay and normal. Every body is of mine is still beautiful because it got me through each phase. I got through a really hard spell of depression, so 10 pounds is a small reminder that actually I made it through.
So to E whom I laughed with throughout our 8th grade year. Whom I shared so many great fantasies with about our crushes. Who tried to live her life in a positive way. I hope that you have some peace now. You have inspired me to change and more than that to do something about it!
A student of mine wrote about her struggle with her eating disorder, bravely, on our class blog last year. Read it here.