The first time I was shot was 2013. I needed a top to wear to a friend’s birthday dinner.
After tearing apart my closet, I decided to look in my mom’s. Out came an adorable white short sleeve with pleats all around. I was feeling relieved that I had not only found a cute shirt but also that I would be wearing the cutest shirt of all of my friends. Just then, like a bullet through a beautiful stained-glass window, “You better not stretch out my shirt, that’s a nice top.” I heard my mother say it, but I could not understand the words. “Hm?” I said with an intended attitude. “Don’t stretch out my shirt, I paid good money for it” she says again without missing a beat. It was like my mom had no clue that saying that kind of thing would hurt someone. The thing that puzzled me the most was that we were the exact same size and the exact same weight; five foot three, one hundred and seventeen pounds.
My mother fired the second shot years later. I started a plant-based diet for health purposes and was rigorously exercising for the upcoming Summer. I felt healthier and fresher than I had in a long time. At dinner one night, my mom and dad sat across from me eating chicken tamales. Admittedly, the tamales smelled absolutely delicious; but I was not giving up on my vegan diet, not yet. I ate a bowl of black beans, brown rice, and bell peppers; a meal that, to me, seemed both filling and appetizing. I stared into the bowl, feeling the steam warm my face, deeply inhaling the aromas of the warmed spices. My mom grimaced at my meal and said, “You
need a cheeseburger.” I looked up with a mean look,”What?” I said in an apathetic tone. “That isn't a real meal, you look emaciated.” I had lost weight in my face from aging and working out, but nothing that would make me look emaciated, I felt amazing. The shot went into a preexisting wound. I would say this shot hurt worse but it was a different kind of pain. But still, the thing that puzzled me the most was that we were the exact same size and the exact same weight; five foot three, one hundred and seventeen pounds.
People say the way your mother talks to you shapes your inner voice. My mother is never happy with me. My inner voice is never happy with me. I am never happy with me. Every time my mother cocked her gun and shot her projections of her body dysmorphia at me, she damaged me in a way she could never understand. The pain that I felt spread through my heart and to my stomach came to life a built a mold of a body standard that I would always hope to grow into. A body that is not too big and not too small. A body my mother would be proud of. A body that is five foot three, one hundred and seventeen pounds.