By: Emma Anderson

The first time someone called me fat was in the 1st grade.
I have always been chubby, and I knew it.
Moreover, people around me never let me forget it.
The hollow shadow of my figure beckoned my insecurities.
Each one jumping out to me from the mirror like lightning bugs on a hot July night.
I hated my body before I knew long division.

I remember asking my mom if I could go on a diet at age 7.
I do not think she knew how to respond.
I seemed like a happy kid, I mean I was a happy kid, but
I could never shake the feeling that I took up too much space,
That I needed to look like my peers in order to be loved.
That I needed to fit into a size 2 in order to be liked.
I think that is why I’m always so scared that people hate me,
For I think my appearance is a repellent for human attention.

I have lost track over the years of many times kids have called me fat.
But one that sticks out was a coworker, he said
Don’t you think you’ve had enough, PIG
When I was getting a bag of popcorn.
I did not know how to respond.
I had been building a wall around me my whole life for protection,
And that was the last brick.

My body did not feel like mine.
Stretch marks danced across my stomach like evil purple rivers.
My thighs could not fit around my hands.
I could never fit into the trendy clothes my friends bared.
I felt like damaged goods.
Something that was unlovable, undesirable, displeasing to the gaze of others.

I am trying to shift this narrative.
I am trying to see the good in myself.
I am trying to see past the glowing number of