Guess what. Most days, neither do I. The way my thighs jiggle when I run, and the “wholesome” curve of my fat arms. You don’t like my body. I don’t like myself.
Just another fat girl. The chubby friend. The girl who is fun, and interesting and creative, but c’mon, you’d never date her. I mean, have you looked at her?
Yeah, plus-sized models are sexy. I mean, OMG look at Kim K and Ashley Graham – I’ll take some of that please. But Fat Amy over there? C’mon. I mean, I don’t want to be rude, but you know we’re both thinking the same thing. Right? Right?
You don’t like my body. You don’t like my body. You don’t like my body.
I don’t like myself.
My skin is too dark. My hands are too masculine. Wearing sandals in the summer gives my feet tan lines. My chest isn’t big enough, but my shoulders make me look like a Viking.
I’ve forgotten, you see, that my body has changed over the years. I forgot the year in high school when I lost so much weight I went down a whole size in my favorite jeans. I forgot the times my mother wasn’t home and I had to come up with something to eat. I forgot that when I was 15, all the girls were my size, and then when I was 17, they suddenly weren’t. I forgot the time I had my heart broken and no one to talk to. I forgot all the boys who said they liked my curves, and all the girls who wished they didn’t look anorexic. I forgot that this body is more than my failure.
The wide hips and strong legs admired in the past are heritage – passed down to me from my grandmother’s blood. This body is family, along with the big eyes, and full lips that you love so much.
The way I’ve bulked up in the last year? I survived having my heart blown to smithereens, and I am still here. This body is proof. This weight is a remnant of being at war with my nerves. This body is strength. The thick hair I have pulled out – of my eyebrows, of my arms, of my chin and my legs – that’s not easy. You don’t like my body, and I pluck and pull and rip and rub. You don’t like my body.
I’m not at risk for heart disease, and yes, they do still carry my size at every clothing store I go to (albeit sometimes it’s shoved in the back). This body is a size 12, a size 14, a size 16. But this body is more than a number printed onto my denim. The acne scarring from the face wax to get rid of my mustache is covered up by my favorite foundation, and now you say you can’t trust women wearing makeup, and makeup shaming has actually become a thing. Are you kidding me? And still, you don’t like my body.
When you sideways glance at my tugging my shirt down over my stomach, or make a sexy big booty remark and wink at me across the room, I forget that I am more. I forget that I would rather have played my video games instead of picking out black heads, and putting eggs in my hair. I forget.
I forget that while I suck at dieting, I am a better cook than most others. I forget that while I can’t find the motivation to get up for a 6 AM run, I’ve circled the world through great literature. You think I don’t exercise, but I am not afraid of washing my own dishes, mopping my own floors, and doing my own laundry. You think I don’t care, but I have a full length mirror that replays all the things you assume I didn’t hear you say.
I wear makeup because I love it. My foundation is marketed as Better Skin, my chapstick is “your lips but better”, and my concealer gives me a “natural” highlighted “glow from within”. You say I am too fake. That I should look more natural. But in a flurry of activity, like a mad woman, if I unzip, untuck, unhook, and wipe off everything you call fake, you don’t like my body.
I forget that this isn’t a war I should be fighting. I forget that this isn’t a war anyone is ever going to win. I forget that you aren’t the enemy. I forget that I don’t need your validation.
You don’t like my body, but sometimes, I really love it.
I love it when I go to the doctor and he says that I am perfectly healthy. I love it when I order my double-patty burger and I love it when you’re not talking about how I need to lose weight.
You don’t like my body. I’m focusing on loving the world, one day at a time.
Disclaimer: This post was written to support a friend who struggles with body image issues.