When I Dated America


Do you think they’ll notice?

Do you think they’ll notice how I

so carefully excuse myself before it’s time to eat?

Or that when I do, before I’m done, I’m out of my seat, on my feet, into the bathroom

fingers throat deep?

Do you think they’ll notice my teeth?

Chipped from accidents bent over pearl white porcelain

I feel like a slave to this

Will they notice corroding fingertips wizened by acid ripped through my esophagus

 that drips from my bottom lip?

Do you think they’ll know I was doing this for you?

The person supposed to be my refuge from this country’s microscope

 scanning me head to toe

dancing on my self-esteem like dosey-doe

 so I’ll dream to look like a video hoe or sell me magazine's media clones

Girls all skin and bones

with their new nose

Your mother should have named you America


Will they know that 2 years, 4 months, 3 weeks, and 5 days brought me to this place?

Where I’d expect a slap in the face before a loving embrace

Because it’s true what they say:

You only accept the love you think you should take

So how did I get here?

Maybe it was your constantly reminding me that I was unworthy

Never to deserve the respect and love a young woman should be given

And maybe the media had you brainwashed too,

 making you believe that beauty meant being pore less, hairless, and flawless

That thighs that rub together,

 arms that move long after a wave goodbye,

and stretch marks that sprout and take over like kudzu made me ugly


Your mother should have named you America


But I stayed with you

 For 2 years, 4 months, 3 weeks and 5 days

Listening to you justify cheating

That the girls you were smashing should inspire me to get off my lazy ass

Because you chased the skirts I “couldn’t fit into”

And when you said “Fat girlfriends are not something to be proud of.” 

Why did I stay with you?

Why did I try to mold myself after your bullshit ideals?

Maybe because you accept the love you believe you deserve

and that ain’t supposed to be much

if you’re a woman with curves...right?

But there was a moment

when you looked at me

 as if you didn’t see a size 14 jean

We were lying on your bed

On the precipice of legs being spread and I thought

“He finally thinks I’m beautiful.”

But it was a moment short lived

You acknowledged the thighs that rubbed together,

arms that moved long after a wave goodbye

and stretch marks that sprouted up like kudzu and took over me

 and told me to leave

That the last 2 years, 4 months, 3 weeks and 5 days were a waste

That before God made me

He had never made a mistake

Your mother should have named you America


And I wonder, do you think I’ll ever get your voice out of my head?

The one that plays on cue every time I want to look in a mirror and smile,

accept a compliment

Or not feel like shit for a while?

Do you think this vicious cycle of loving a man who puts me down,

 binging and purging to lose a few pounds,

 never knowing I’m a queen so I don’t wear my crown

Will be in every chapter in the story of my life?


And if I have a daughter, will she do what I taught her?

To love herself and not be bothered by the little boys named America

That we don’t measure beauty with tape around waists,

 comparing faces,

 wishing to trade places with the girls on the TV screen

But that true beauty is measured on the inside where the heart lies

And though you’ve given me a thousand reasons not to,

 do you think I’ll ever look in a mirror

and love me?

Saying “I know I’m beautiful America, so fuck what you see.”

Because I can’t do this anymore,

 not for another 2 years, 4 months, 3 weeks and 5 days

I need to be free

So I can speak truth to the youth:

That the average American woman is 5’4 and weighs 140 pounds

And that whether you weigh more or less than that, you have value

Your color, stature, and size does not define you

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

 So pick yours up and go show America



As a woman I can tell you that this piece is inspiring to me. Thank you so much for writing this. 

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