I’ve always wanted to write about the most stubborn problem of mine: the search that’s stretched across my life story’s outline.
I have been searching for the words since I learned how to use them, but the few I’ve found over the years never wrote something wholesome. Most people can’t relate to my account of what’s happened, so instead I wrote poems on happy distractions. Like young love crush one, whom I moved away from. Or unexpected crush two, with the scruffy hairdo. Sometimes disaster crush three, who fell for a frenemy instead of me.
And all these indirect mentions have served to divert attention… from the open wound on my side, which has been bleeding since I was old enough to realize how my body looked through everyone else’s eyes.
Spoiler alert: this is less of a poem and more of a battle cry.
I have been searching for respect before I knew what it was. When I was in seventh grade, classmates called me paper instead of my name. When I hit grade eight, a girl asked to sit on me to see if I’d break. When a boy promised to take me to his prom before grad, he told me I’d fit in those starving African children charity ads. When I entered college, this guy threw all manners aside and my arm over his head to carry me like a bride. He did not ask me first, nor did he get my okay. His defense was that if I wasn’t so light, people wouldn’t carry me that way.
You see, the only life lesson I ever learned from time was that having this figure is a perpetual crime.
I have been searching for a body like mine since I learned what a beautiful one is supposed to look like: “real woman” curves and supermodel height. Tell me, how many other girls cry in their bedroom at night to hide from the ectomorph they see in the light? Who else throws away all clothing items that cling skin tight? And conducts extensive research on how to gain weight “right” without binge eating or taking mystery pills?
I’d kill to find someone who also knows how it feels to hear “You would look prettier if you put more weight on,” or “Look at this prepubescent boy who tries to put ladies’ clothes on.”
I have been searching for body positivity that doesn’t eventually wilt like a flower; a confidence that lasts longer than being body type of the hour. Yes, the new fetish. Because boys have loved the Athena bodies before, and the real thick girls that get their thighs stuck in their shorts, but never a soul with the bone structure as small as yours truly.
They say, “So let’s try this, shall we?” Like a little experiment—something temporary, because who would want to marry a body so scary? After all, Halloween was all the back in October. The time where folks appreciate skeleton costumes is over.
I am loved only sometimes, never a while. No one pays for subscription, takes only the trial. Myself included.
I have been searching forever, but nothing’s been found, so I’d rather become a love poet for the people around me. Until I can learn to love myself too, and fall asleep soundly.