Too Much Space

Trigger warning: This poem contains mention of eating disorders, which could be triggering.

I’d often curl myself up into a ball at night
Trying to take up less space.
I was often told that the lesser space I took, the better.
You see, I was given a catalogue of faces and bodies that are considered to be ideal,
From Victoria’s Secret models to actresses with the perfect bikini bodies.
No imperfections. Perfect faces. Perfect bodies. Just the right amount of space.
What real beauty looks like they said.
Not one of them looked like me though, I flipped and flipped through the catalogue.
I’d have to pierce myself with a needle, tuck away all the fat to look like them to the slightest bit. I’d have to put my body through immense pain, and it scared me, but not as much as the constant body shaming, bullying and the embarrassment that came with it did.

So, I puked it out and burnt it off
Trying to morph into something so different from my normal state. Didn’t work.
So, I starved it off, melted myself like I was plastic, and poured myself into a Barbie-shaped mould.
I gave up eating to retain this barbie shaped mould, because everybody likes to feel like they belong.
Society had a funny way of telling me how I needed to earn my space in this world.
Starve yourself for a day. You’ve earned a pizza. Run for an hour, and have your sandwich.
Calories this, calories that. Your body has to look a particular way. It didn’t.

My body is mine.
It gives the warmest of hugs, dances with pure passion, holds me when I need to be held, and stumbles with me when I take a wrong step.
It has been with me throughout my life, unlike these people who’ve berated me and laughed at me because they didn’t like looking at me.
My body, on the other hand, has liked me and cared for me.

So, I realised that I have been, to my body, what these people have been to me. Cruel and unkind.
Trying to change it, pinch it, starve it, morph it – when all it wanted to do was exist.
So, I wake up every day, uncurl myself, try to take up space without apologising for it, and promise it, that I’ll try my best to take care of it as it has always been trying to take care of me.

Featured image: Callum Shaw / Unsplash