Pass the Pie, NOW This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     I guess I should be used to it by now. I mean, I am 17 and it hasn’t changed at all, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still sting a little. In fact, it drives me crazy. The looks, the comments and, worst of all, the categorization: I’m the skinny girl. I’ve always been underweight for my height and when I reach a “normal” weight, I always grow another two inches. It never fails.

The real problem isn’t me. It’s you. There’s nothing I can do about genetics. I won’t alter my body to make you more satisfied with my appearance. I’m 5'11" and less than 125 pounds and I don’t care who knows it. Today I accuse you of my demise in spirit. Not the world ... just you.

I know you see I’m different. I don’t look the way you do. I’m caramel-coated, chocolate-eyed and ebony-haired. I’m a wild Amazon in a world demanding polished princesses. I can’t go shopping with you. I couldn’t find a pair of pants that fit me if I tried, and believe me, I have. The few I own I order special, extra long, making them much more expensive. Regular pants that are long enough are much too big to fit my waist.

I feel like a three-year-old trapped in her mother’s closet. I should not feel so bad about the material things. So why am I so angry? One word, dear friend: guilt. You make me feel guilty for being me. You glare at me when I eat in front of you. You chide me when I don’t. Teachers I trust demand to know if I’m eating enough and I have to defend myself by shoving a donut in my face. And you choose to re-ignite the flames, declaring how many carbs you had or how fat you feel, then looking at me and squealing, “Oh, what do you know about that anyway? I mean, look at you.”

Can you tell me why? Is it something I did? Is it because I dance? Maybe the fragile ballerinas you saw on TV skewed your view of me. I’m not a New York prima ballerina; I lack the discipline, and besides it can’t be because in the dance world I’m overweight. Even now, my dance dictator will sneak up behind me, poke my thigh and declare, “I found my missing furniture. Stop eating couches before class.” No one ever says anything to him. He’s mean, you say? Well, perhaps because he is a famous New York dancer straight from the Alvin Ailey School. But now I ask, what makes him worse than you? So you didn’t demand the safe return of your prized leather loveseat, but you did judge me. I don’t see a difference.

So I guess I can’t look the way I do. Maybe if I were shorter, you’d overlook me. But for now, I will wear the heels that make me a foot taller than you. I will wear the skirt that shows off the legs meant for walking runways (although the rest of me isn’t ready).

So save the explanations and the pleas that you’re not intolerant. Or that political correctness is overrated. I never asked you to stop bashing my race or creed, I asked you to be my friend. I asked you to be sensitive and care when I needed you. You would have melted away had I done the same to you. So here’s your chance. I shine the stained mirror back on you and I’ll wait until you see the light. I will smile when I stand next to you and laugh at your jokes. But when we go out, I’m eating that second piece of pie because I am who I am. And that’s the only person I know how to be. If you ever find yourself locked in this cage with me, just realize you hold the only key. See yourself as perfect and that’s all you’ll ever need. Now, don’t you want some of this pie?

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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CSJS! said...
Jan. 29, 2010 at 4:20 pm
I kind of understand where you're coming from. I'm 5'9 and 130 pounds, not quite as small as you, but I'm starting to tire of people being so jealous of my weight. It makes me feel really uncomfortable around some of by bigger friends because I know they're feeling bad about themselves when there's no reason to. I mean, I eat tons every day! It isn't my fault.
 
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