A small project started by a teen turned into a full blown life mission. A cathartic creative outlet, mixed with body positive discussions, sprinkled with sass. Here is our delicious self-love cake. Want a piece?
It started when I was six years old. I got a haircut I regretted the moment I opened my eyes. I told my mother I wanted bangs Because Hannah Montana came out that year and I wanted to be just like Miley Cyrus. I figured my hair could stay brown But the fringe could be just like her alter ego. And after I looked into the mirror at the salon I started to cry. Suddenly I knew what it feels like to hate the way I look. I knew that this would give the boys at school another thing to throw at me, Creating puncture wounds Cuts Scrapes That I changed the band-aids of for almost nine years.
A year later Seven years old Second grade I got my first zit. Those blasted bangs against my oily forehead caused nothing but trouble. I was the first kid to start puberty before knowing what my vagina was While the boy sitting next to me knew what a penis is. I hid my forehead with make up and my hair The bangs being my worst enemy And yet the ally I wanted most in the foxhole. Every adult told me to wash my face twice a day Not knowing that everything I ever tried just made my sensitive and oily skin worse. By the end of the year it wasn’t just my forehead covered in pink dots.
In third grade I was the first to get a bra. Girls avoided making contact with me As if puberty was contagious And not something they would get in a year or two. Boys would take the strap or waist band And before I felt a difference Let go. Boy I felt a difference, then! They caused bright pink marks against my skin. I noticed other pink marks on my tummy Not knowing these were called stretch marks Boys calling me fat Telling me to not eat so much Even though the skinniest girl in our class ate more than me at lunch. I started to listen to them And believe that I wasn’t wanted Because no one picked me to be on their team in P.E.
When I turned nine later that school year I cut my hair again This time in a pixie cut. My father told me I would live to regret it While my mother supported me and was even inspired by me to cut hers, too. Dad told us people would think we were gay Not knowing that I had a crush on both a boy and a girl at the time. Friends didn’t recognize me Telling me they thought I was a boy from a distance. I started wearing more pinks and purples after that Trying to hold onto a gender that I didn’t always feel like I belonged in But society told me I was born with a gender And that I have to fit into that role. I become the fat butch girl who burned up on a cloudy day. I was the kid who cried too easily Picked on every time the teachers couldn’t hear And even when they could. Told “Boys will be boys” when I tried telling people they called me fat, ugly, worthless All that shit. I was told I brought it upon myself for being an “easy target.”
I tried dieting in elementary school Yearned for diet pills Wanting to be loved Willing to die because of the desperation to be skinny. When I told friends and family I was fat They looked into my green eyes and told me “You’re not fat, you’re beautiful.” That was when I learned before hitting double digits That I can’t be both. I stopped eating lunch on most days And if I did I felt guilty because I knew that meant I was eating calories. I dreaded P.E. because people would see how slow I was Nobody running with the fattest kid of their grade Because that kid kept them from proving themselves as something above a fat classmate.
Middle school was when I learned that putting yourself down Is supposed to raise others up. I didn’t need the bullies from my old school anymore Because I was my worst bully. In order to make my older friend feel beautiful I was willing for her to find me ugly Though I dreaded the day she believed it. She got me to read Seventeen magazine Which was were I got confirmation that I needed to be different what I was. I started eating even less and started loving Ana. The only times I felt beautiful Were when people noted on the weight I had lost.
Even after recovery I cried myself to sleep Obsessing over every little stretch mark. I dreaded P.E. more because I was supposed to change in front of a quarter of my grade. The only thing that made me feel better Was knowing I wasn’t the fattest kid anymore. Two of my friends were larger than me And while that is not why I love them It made me feel a little better to be the “hot friend” according to society. I found myself sucking in my stomach Wanting to lose weight like my runner of a mother was Insisting I was still a size 12 while I was really a size 14. I cried in changing rooms Left bruises on my skin from trying to somehow push down the fat without going back Back to the anorexia Back to not eating what I wanted Back to trying to become a skeleton. When I told my friends they brushed it off Leaving me to feel more alone than ever.
If self worth is on a scale of one to ten I started high school with a three. This was when I realized I needed to change But not like how I thought I needed to when I was just a child. I started forcing myself to love each freckle on my body Run my fingers over the stretch marks that made me look like a white and pink tiger Looking at myself in the mirror longer than made people felt comfortable with me doing. I told myself I was beautiful And I started believing it that March. I realized I could wear the makeup I wanted Wear the clothes I like Love who I love Be whatever gender I feel like that day. I cut my hair just before turning fifteen because I no longer care what people think. And now I’m in high school with a self esteem of nine Which I haven’t had since I was five years old. It took ten long fucking years for me to believe I’m practically perfect, again. That I am beautiful.
If I could go back to my younger self I would hold that child in my arms And tell them that they are beautiful. I know that if I saw myself now when I was six I would believe it Because I am beautiful inside and out. I would go to the boys and tell them that they are beautiful, too And to become friends with that weird girl and know that we all deserve so much better. And maybe I wouldn’t have had to go through the nine years of hell Because