I am big

May 12, 2017
By , Montgomery, IL

I am seven years old when my mom tells me
that I need to stop eating so much
and when she drops me off at my grandmother’s house the next day
she tells my Nana to only let me have one cookie instead of three.

I am 11 years old when my mom takes me to see a nutritionist.
I didn’t want to go but she insisted–
saying she didn’t want me to be
overlooked for jobs
like her.
I had never thought she was fat,
I thought that she was beautiful.

I am fourteen when I walk into gym class and my teacher’s voice
bounces off the walls,
it pierces my chest
and announces that we will be measuring our body mass index and
while the pretty, slim girls giggle and step onto the scale with ease
I hide away
so that I don’t have to hear another person talk about
how big I am.

I am 15 and I am crying in a dressing room
because the largest size in the store doesn’t fit.
the dress feels like a cage,
chains wrapping around my body
pinning my arms to my torso
as I try to break free.
the sound of my gasps
worming through my fingers
as I cover my mouth
with my hands,
muffling my cries as
tears streak down my cheeks, revealing
the pain I am trying to hide.

I am 16 and I can’t find clothes in my size because I don’t
into the society that has been created
by models and magazines full
of unrealistic expectations, page after page
as fragile as our hearts.
we idolize bones and romanticize unhappiness,
the outcasts, the unwanted
crying on the frigid tile of the bathroom floor
the echo of droplets
filling the bowl
just so we can
fit in.

I am 17 and now we praise girls for being “thick”
but the only definition of thick that is acceptable
is having big boobs, a big a**, and a flat stomach.
I am 17 and the first “plus sized model” on the cover of Sports Illustrated
is a size 14 and the average size of women today
is a size 16.
I am 17 and I am tired of believing that I am not beautiful
because I have thunder thighs and a barrel stomach.
I am tired of believing that my stretch marks,
jagged and rough,
mark me as insignificant and unworthy.
they aren’t signs of weakness,
they are strength.
they are my warpaint,
and I will not stop fighting to be seen
as something that is worth more than
the punchline of a bad joke.
I am tired of being made to feel small just because I am

yes, I am big
but so is my heart
and my determination
and I will not stop crusading
until every ‘big’ guy and girl
is allowed to be comfortable
in their own skin.

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