I’m Fat: The Phrase that Even Worries Little Girls [Poetry]

by Myranda — August 16, 2020
Little girl looking at a grape, worries "I'm fat"

The feared phrase, ‘I’m fat,’ shrouded in hatred and shame by females of all ages, explored in poetry form. Sadly, children are inheriting our body issues.

Body Blow

a poem by Myranda

“I don’t ever want to be fat.” 
I can’t freeze as the words fall  
out of my niece’s mouth.  

We are driving in my car, talking about 
what she wants to be when she grows up 
(“a power ranger, a singer 
and dancer like Camila Cabello 
only better”) 

“But not fat. I’m never going to be fat.” 
She’s five years old. 
Who taught her to hate, 
the kind of body I inhabit 
so early on? 

(I think of my mother, 
diligently counting food as points 
and not nourishment
who can’t help following her comment 
about how delicious 
a meal  
I want to make her sounds 
with another on how many  
it must contain.) 

(Who taught our mothers this?) 

(I think of how many times 
has welled in my throat,  
like now,  
as I pause at a stop sign.) 

I think about telling my niece 
about how the medication I take 
makes it hard to look healthy 
even when I have been making good choices 
and that my options are to try to  
love myself  
while fat
or stop the medication 
and stop loving myself 
or even wanting to be alive 
and that these are her genes too, 
a choice she may have to make.
She is too young. 
(I think of how I might make  
that choice easier for her 
if she one day has to make it.) 

“You love me, even though I’m fat?”
The words sting to say, 
but I say them anyway, 
school my face to neutral.
“Yes,” she says, 
because she has not yet realised  
how this will pull at her, over time. 

I swallow back 
a million things 
(fear hate shameshameshame) 

(I do not love my body I cannot hate my body 
and carry on.

Main photo: by Anna Shvets from Pexels

[Editor’s Note: Click here for 7 Ways to Help Your Daughter Love Her Body on A Mighty Girl.]

In what ways can you help the girls in your life love their bodies?

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