When I was younger, but still an adult, I was obsessed with my body. It didn’t fit right. I had curves, sometimes too many, was never straight and bony and flat like a flapper or those girls with the right clothes and attitudes, the right everything that I wasn’t.
I’d sometimes lie on the floor pushing out sit-up after sit-up, take off my shirt, pinch my inches and break down into everything I wasn’t.
I’d sometimes write in a room with blue icicle lights strewn around my bed listening to Nina Simone and soak, like lady fingers dipped in brandy, inside the rich velvet of her voice and say to myself everything I wasn’t.
I wasn’t nothing, but what I am.
Two kids and twelve years later I’m looking at myself like a stranger on the beach and thinking things could have gone a whole lot worse. I’m thinking too that if there’s ever a time to break down the walls of self-punishment, this is it. There’s work to be done and it’s not going to happen gibber-gabbering about by-passed goals and things left behind.
All this crap I’m not is just going to have to wait for some other incarnation because I’m busy living this life and raising daughters good enough to know they are worth a whole lot more than an image in the mirror.
These girls, they’re the next generation of women. They’re smart and compassionate and honest and going to go through all the same frustration and agony and hope that we all did, but with one exception–I’m the mama now and ain’t no one going to make them feel fat or ugly or stupid on my watch.
And while I’m at it, I’m going to teach myself a lesson or two. I’m going to learn how to write through my own frustration. I’m going to step up even harder to rejection. I’m going to write and write and write until this story and whatever other story that wants to gets told. It’s only fair. We’re only just learning how to get what we want.