The other day, I was talking about how much I weigh
and how this affects my life,
and the person I was talking with said something to me.
“but you carry your weight so well.”
At 200 pounds, five foot five, eighteen years old-
“You learn to carry it.”
I responded softly.
You learn to carry the weight
by pouring through magazine articles
that say they will teach you fashion;
make-up; social skills-
You go online to learn how to handle a smudge brush,
how to crimp your eyelashes
and pluck your brows.
You find comfort in controlling the liquid liner,
in making your eyes look bigger or smaller,
and contouring your face using foundation and highlighter and toner.
You learn to avoid Hollister and Abercrombie
when you are not yet thirteen years old,
and later on in life know to walk right past
Urban Outfitters and Wet Seal
because they only carry up to a size large.
You find joy in fashion
by shopping at stores that carry your size,
that add Xs to the Ls like kisses.
You shop with your mother because she won’t lie to you like your friends do
when you try on something that makes your legs look big,
or your stomach more round.
And when your mother becomes too conservative,
or too outdated-
you learn how to shop alone.
You stop yourself from responding to people who tell you
“You are not fat”
“If I am not fat, then why does the bed only creak when I jump into it?”
“If I am not fat, then why am I out of breath just walking back from class?”
“If I am not fat, why can I grab my stomach in fistfuls while other people can barely pinch theirs?”
Instead you will shrug your shoulders,
let your mind scream but your mouth smile,
suck your stomach in and say
You start reading books about boys falling in love with girls
and try very hard not to remind yourself
that the girls in the books are skinny,
and so are the boys,
and that books are not real for you,
and never can be.
You make friends with nice girls
who will not make fun of you,
and will not push you out of your comfort zone
of skirts that cover your thighs
and bathing suits that hide your stomach.
You avoid being even just friends with boys
the same way you avoid those stores-
because most teenage boys don’t carry thoughts in your size.
And it gets tiring being a matchmaker
for someone who sees you as not a different sex,
but a different species.
And you start to hate your hands
because they do not look hold-able.
You start to hate your lips
because they do not seem kissable.
You hate your hips even more
because they do not appear touchable.
And then you just-
You force yourself to sidestep the idea of relationships,
because you do not feel dateable.
You avoid the mirror altogether on bad days,
when your body starts to push out of your clothes.
You force yourself into sweatpants and sweatshirts
and place your big, fat body in front of the television
and watch the lives you will not lead,
and try not to go out because honestly?
It feels like shit to be seen.
You stare into the mirror on good days
and give yourself a long, hard look,
inspecting the nice parts of your face.
Maybe it’s your eyes, the way your hair falls,
your nose or how evenly spaced your forehead looks.
You remind yourself of what everyone always tells you-
a fat girl sure can have a pretty face.
You find comfort in words
in other people’s success stories
in plus sized clothing sections
in a whole twenty four hours you didn’t think the world was staring at you-
in the two seconds the cute boy was, and smiling.
You carry the weight by keeping your chin up
-because if you look down,
people will see you have two.