Dear Teen Vogue,
You know, I’d be a lot prettier if I were 6’2
Because then, the thickness of my thighs would be non-existent
They’d be shapely. Toned. Long. Lean and Stunning
And that number I’ve been trying to change for the last three years would have never been an issue
So for once, I’d be one of those under-weight beauties they place on your cover.
You know, maybe if I wore more make-up I’d look like Jennifer Hudson
Because then, my face would be so caked with *coagulated concoctions*,
That no one can see the bags under my eyes
And that even when I’m trapped in the dark corner between reality and expectations
You can see my cheek bones glisten in the embers on their spatting.
You know, this is all true.
But this is not me.
For the last three years I had been flipping myself through magazine
In search for an average girl who resembled what I had to offer to the world.
There was none,
So I looked in yoru advice column in search of some answers.
There were options for short girls to make them look taller,
There were options for the thick to make them look smaller,
There were options for the tall so that they’d look taller all the more,
And for my well-endowed sisters, there was a way to hide your twin blessings.
But what about me?
What about the girl who used to stare in the mirror wondering what kind of body she could possibly be cursed with.
Big features. Small Hands.
Went to the doctor. Oh, that’s natural.
‘Excuse me Doctor? What Kind of body do I have?
Well my dear you are a very unique concoction of small hands, thick thighs, short waist, no hips, small waist. And you will have larger feminine features.
A.K.A a Butt.
What does that mean doctor?
My dear you are a sportcellospoon.
Yes, you’ve heard it, doctor prescribed Sport-Cello-Spoon and for three years
I was haunted by it.
Dear Teen Vogue—you’ve changed me.
Dear Teen Vogue—you’ve maimed me.
Dear Teen Vogue—you renamed me.
Because of you, in my own mind, the name Morgan Taylor Lloyd was merely a façade
And Sport-cello-spoon became my true and only identity,
And boy, did I try and change that.
When I was little, my mom always embraced my over active-imagination.
I would lay out all of my stuffed animals across my bedroom
Making valleys and provinces all under my domain.
And I queen of the canopy beds with her picturesque pink butterfly wings would rule
It was my noble duty as queen to protect them from each other and the terrors of a miniature poodle dragon-dog named Max that loved to claim them for his own.
I was magnificent.
And at the top of my curtained castle I would lead crusades across the canvases on the paper I used to steal out of mommy’s copy-writer when she wasn’t looking, to write and sketch about all that was under my wing for hours on end.
At the time, yes, I was merely a girl, but I was a smart one
For when I discovered that being called a “girl” in the dictionary was an offensive term I decided I would become a woman that same day.
This worked until I met you Teen Vogue
by your own definition this Queen was never a woman to begin with.
I would starve myself so that I’d be skinny, but then get so frustrated by my lack of results I would eat
Dare I say it? Carbs.
I said it.
And I would rip out pages of your hallowed columns so that in the secrecy of my room I would position my developing body in those strange angular poses so that I could emulate what you made me think the world expected of me.
I couldn’t. I was depressed. I questioned everything.
But rest assured Teen Vogue, I’ve learned my lesson.
I can no longer emulate what it means to be a woman, because with being a woman comes womanliness and womanliness means servitude according to Merriam Webster.
And I refuse to serve anyone.
So frankly, if I can’t be a woman and I can’t be a girl then sure enough
I will be a lady.
Because in the dictionary a lady is a woman of high prestige,
Dearest Teen Vogue.
And it is certainly in my blood that I will forever by a lady for I, just as many other girls that you’ve excluded,
Have come from queens.
And this little body that you scrutinized day-in-and-out is the product of perfection.
Want to know why?
It is because of my mother who ticks in and out
In and out
At her computer at the community center and as all her yenta co-workers recite Hamotzi and through parties on Fridays,
She is too busy working to come home and relax.
And even on the holiest of days she can still come home after hours of 7am-12am at work tired in her own success.
It’s because of my grandmothers my Gam and my Nana.
Single Mother-Mother-Daughter-duo who labored together so that they would raise my father to be such a gentleman that on his first try to find his soul mate in third grade he succeeded.
And he still loves her and has kept her ever since.
It is my great grandmother, the young single mother,
in the segregated North Carolina scraping by to raise all seven of her children because her husband was dead.
Two of which were twins.
One girl I was born from.
The other’s maiden name I now wear proudly as my middle.
And dare you not call them workaholics, for a queen must do what it’s necessary for her kingdom to survive.
Dear Teen Vogue, this sport-cello-spoon is a product of these powerful bodies that made her.
And if you dare say that is wrong you have something else coming.
Because frankly, last night, I’ve taken your pages and folded them up
Creasing them in their own lies and created paper planes of faulty illusions and sent them flying out of the windows of my consciousness.
Dear Teen Vogue, I don’t care what you think of me any longer.
Because I am a lady.
Oh, and make sure to tell all your little friends. I’ve regained my confidence.