Two years ago and I simply couldn’t imagine what it must be like to finish a goddamn bagel.
Imagine, here, it’s Sunday morning and I’m treating myself. My hair in the kind of ponytail that reeks of gin and no shampoo whatsoever, and I have the aluminum foil on my lap, and I’m gingerly wiping the cream cheese on it and leaving chunks of bread everywhere. Why? Fuckin’ carbs. Somebody—a friend’s mom—once told me a bagel had a whole day’s worth of carbs and it stuck to me like a flytrap. Fuckin’ carbs and what do they mean to me? A whole day’s worth sounds like a lot for one meal. I plan on eating uncooked spinach with my hands later while punching my thighs and watching something on Tyra.
Two years ago, treating myself was torture. Believe me, I had a lot of outdated jokes about how Kiefer Sutherland’s 24 character shouldn’t cut the fingers of infidels off, he should give a guy three bites of fried chicken and then let him worry about where it might go on his body. It wasn’t funny it was REALLY sad, but most of my jokes went the same way—girl loves thing, girl loses thing, girl stares longingly into thing as she tries to fit into a leather skirt whilst going jogging. I have plans for my stomach, I think. Like I plan on making it disappear! I would be the Tony Soprano to my Italian Character Actor of a Stomach.
I didn’t even blame glossy magazines. Now, don’t think I didn’t KNOW that every guy would drool over Mila Kunis posing with a slice of pizza over her French lingerie. I had read Maxims in bathrooms, cover story TIT MODELS. But I’m not aiming unrealistic here. I was more of a self-hater than a Photoshop aimer. I couldn’t even tell you what my ideal would be, in the end. Prettier me. Better me. Less me. Mostly it was just somebody who wasn’t so annoyed at herself and didn’t crave sorbet. Or this bagel.
It is Sunday again, and here I am, staring at the unbit. The beast on the bagel’s back. I never finish anything. I can have nibbles of lasagna. Other people’s cookie crumbs. I’m not sure why I am doing it, except that I am doing it. I have whined about how unattractive I am. I have thrown out food. I have done a lot of stupid things, all for the odd desire to have less of me. I wasn’t even considered overweight by anybody who wasn’t trying to hurt my feelings. It wouldn’t make a diference if it was. I just really enjoyed disliking myself, and there was a time I was VERY VERY good at it.
Cut to two years later.
I am not enlightened. I just don’t give a fuck anymore. I am too tired. I have found enough flattering skirts to fit my body and the joy of taking the stairs. But mostly, I am way too old and too tired for this shit. I was hungry, mostly. I was also tired of insulting myself. You get the flies with honey, and sometimes that honey is drizzled on cheese or baklava and I wanted to shove it in my face and I don’t give a FUCK.
I eat a lot. I eat a lot of salad. I walk a lot. I finish the bagel. I order the cheese fries. But again, I’m not better than the struggle, or the old me. I’m just different—I refuse to give a honkin’ honk because two years ago, I didn’t know what I wanted to look like. I would answer “skinnier.” That’s all I had. Now, I just want to be happy. That’s my real answer.
Which is not my point. I’m not here to tell you how I got out of the tunnel or how you should too. I’m not here to sit on my high horse of burger wrappers and pretend like I love every ounce of my body.
All I want to do is tell you I think you are very pretty. I see you on the street in your good outfit, a carefully chosen lacy dress or a solid boot and I think you look nice. I enjoy your hair and your makeup. I think your legs look great. I want to tell you that I see you in the bistro with your goat cheese salad, or your ten pounds that you hate or your skinny margarita or on the hunt for a good jacket. I hear your laugh. I bet you are kind and like good books and specific things in your coffee. You are so real to me. And I think you are beautiful. I know how odd that is to hear. I know how foreign it might sound to you.
I see you there, but I don’t see you in the bathroom crying, or I don’t see you in the kitchen munching on carrot sticks even though you are hungry, or in the fitting room squeezing into something too small just for the insult and the fuck of it, or at your mirror measuring your thighs, or on the couch with a bagel. But I know it happens. I know it does.
And I still think you are beautiful, even if you cannot see it yourself. You look real nice exactly the way you are—and no boy who doesn’t call or girl who says bad things about you can change that. Even you—with the nastiest insults of all—can change that about yourself. You look good, kid. I think you look good.
This is just to remind you that somebody does, if in the event you need that kind of thing tonight.
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