I want to share with you a poem I wrote earlier this year about my body (I hope it doesn’t upset anyone). This Mental Health Awareness Week is about Body Image and Social Media, so I wanted to share this poem about my body image issues…
I remember when I used to be able to see my ribs pressed up against my skin. A reminder that I was slim, perhaps skinny; the right thing to be. But now, as I lift my shirt, I can’t find my ribs. I see rolls of brown like waves rippling up to my heavy breasts – not sexy, but a burden.
I fantasise about how I used to look, fooling myself into believing that I could ever look that way again. This imagined-self is confident, head held high on a slender neck, no multiple chins to comfortably rest on.
It’s as if someone took all the toxic thoughts, the negative beliefs, the self-loathing, mistakes, fatigue, and sadness within me and rolled it up into a ball and stuck it on my outsides; or more accurately, perhaps, they ground it all up into a black liquid and put it into a needle and then injected it into my thighs, my belly, my ass, and my face.
I never ate the burger, I promise. I didn’t eat my emotions, I swear. I didn’t sit here and wait for the weight.
But you don’t bother to ask me, do you? The evidence answers the questions you don’t bother to ask. My dress doesn’t fit, that’s all that matters.
Pregnancy jokes, aren’t they just a delight? When in reality, it is the very opposite that has filled my body up like this. Ballooned, as my mother says, because I chose not to get pregnant – because I inject my body with hormones.
Big is beautiful. Yes, it is, but not me, right? Not her. Not him. Big is beautiful but it’s not allowed. Not really. Thick, now that’s the one. Be big in the right places, honey.
I’m not saying I should be allowed to be overweight. Big is beautiful, but unhealthy is not OK. I just hate that you see me as ugly. That I see me as ugly, because of you, too.
“Have you gained weight?”
Yes, thank you for noticing.
*If you have felt this way, maybe you’re like me and you gained a lot of weight due to birth control, or maybe it’s from other life circumstances, you’re not alone. You are beautiful. You are seen. There is nothing wrong with you. Don’t hate yourself because of how you used to look; don’t hate yourself because you don’t look like Instagram models that are airbrushed and made to look “perfect”.
Perfect is you, just as you are. Look after yourself with love.*