United States
39° 16' 15.2256" N, 84° 19' 40.4724" W

When I was born,
the doctor gave me a length
and a weight
and these numbers
said I was healthy.
So he sent me
into the world.
Now I am seventeen
with a length and a weight,
and these numbers tell me
that I am sick.
You can’t be a ballerina, silly,
your breasts won’t fit
into the leotard.
Don’t even bother trying it on.
Only thin girls could pull that off.
She is petite
so she is effortlessly desirable.
You… might need to go to the gym a few times.
But wow,
you have such a great personality!

There is a choking sigh
building up inside my throat;
one that gets a little louder
with each pound,
a little bigger
at the sight of every
glossy paper girl
in my mother’s magazines,
a sigh that echoes elastic waistbands
and baggy sweatshirts
and thighs that brush together while walking.

I have let my belt out a notch
or two,
and my jeans don’t fit the way they used to.

I can look at myself
with a mind determined to lie
and say, “You’re thin.”
“You look fine.”
But I can’t erase the look
on my mother’s face
when she realized that I,
her only daughter,
would never fit into her wedding dress.
I can’t slap away my little brother’s fingers
as he pinches the blubber of my stomach
and laughs,
“Yours is bigger than mine.”

But these things can’t be said aloud;
how dare I complain?
There will always be a girl
with hips a little thicker
and arms a little wider
who will glare at me
with hate burning in her eyes
and spit,
“Shut up.
I wish I looked like you.”
As if
that would make me feel better.

I have let my belt out
a notch
or three,
and the stretch marks on my thighs
are a deep
aching purple.

I knew I was in trouble
the day my weight exceeded my IQ.
I had always cherished the size of my mind
but never the size of my body;
Now my footsteps bring miniature earthquakes,
and I am growing tired of this world
where I count the pounds
like whip lashes,
and the inches around my waist
are the circles of hell.
I wish I was a glossy paper girl
or a sketch on notebook paper
that someone threw out;
a two-dimensional fiction,
but skinny.
Finally skinny.

I danced through youth
as light as air,
always assuming I could take flight
at any time.
But sideways glances
and the weight of being average
have nailed my feet to the ground.

I have thrown my old belt away
because it left marks on my hips
and gotten a new one.
The tag says LARGE
in bold, offensive letters
and I guess
that’s what I am


Need to talk?

If you ever need help or support, we trust for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741