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.
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
“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
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,
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
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.]