When I was twelve a boy in my class told me

I shouldn’t wear leggings to school

And at first I didn’t understand 

but then I understood 

more than any pre-teen should

from then on

magazines and movies and the voices in my head

confirmed the reason behind 

my constant feeling of dread

and ultimately led to a fear of being fed

a fear of what was and what wasn’t unsaid

academics were not the only thing I learned in school

math was fractions and how to calculate a calorie deficit 

biology was mitochondria and how fat cells make you an elephant

I learned that before I was even on my own

I was paying rent to the minds of people I owed nothing to

trading the acceptable curves of my body 

for a stamp of approval 

in the form of silence and the absence of ridicule

I learned that leaving little to the imagination 

is only okay when it’s something people want to imagine

that compassion is directly correlated with my level of attraction

and their reaction to my distraction is the fault of only my actions

I wish unlearning was easy.

but since my introduction to middle school law

not a day has gone by

where I haven’t looked in the mirror and disliked what I saw

haven’t taken the time to go through my flaws

to pinch and preen and prod

until my person was palpable within the parameters

of what society considered comfortably in awe

It’s so unfair, isn’t it? 

that I figure my figure is an inevitable part 

of my worthiness to exist? 

that the weight on my shoulders has to be 

directly proportionate to the weight of my thighs?

that extra padding does nothing to shield me 

from words like stones and glares like knives?

no one should ever feel a need to become smaller

so that they can be more easily digested

no one should feel as if their weight

is what tips the scale of how they are treated 

there shouldn’t be a fine line between 

being conceited and feeling defeated

and sometimes I feel like my mind was cheated

out of the experiences I could have had

if I didn’t need to drain energy on the idea

that I was given a limited amount of space in this world

and I am taking up too much of it.

if I didn’t feel pressure from the amount of pressure

I was exerting on the floor 

as if the world can’t handle a few more pounds 

when the weight on my chest weighs much more

I can’t tell you that my mind has yet healed 

from the divided thinking I forced it into 

from the dichotomies and discordances 

of loving myself and being larger than a size 2

but I can tell you I know the things I wrote are facts

and I’m trying to make myself believe they’re true

Published by Anne Taylor

Anne Taylor is a freelance writer who loves talking about mental health, wellness, and all things Disney. She resides in Spokane, WA with her dog Pepper and spends as much time in the sunshine as possible.

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