When you’re half Latina and half Barbadian in a catholic school full of stick thin white girls, it’s kind of hard to feel positive about anything. Except the days left until graduation.
So I hid myself in loose fitting clothes, and kept my head down, even after I did graduate, and started 9th grade in a high school that welcomed me.
My rebellion started in eleventh grade, somewhere after I revealed my bisexuality to my cadre of completely unsurprised friends. We then discussed our AP Chem homework and how much coffee we’d need to get through the week.
It started when I realized I didn’t need to walk around hiding my loathsome figure in jeans and polo shirts, that I didn’t need to be invisible. That 220 was just a number, and it didn’t define me as an individual.
Features I’d before dismissed gradually came into full focus. A pretty face. A narrow waist, full hips, and long legs that could stop men (and women) in their tracks.
I threw out my jeans. I threw out my foul pairs of sweatpants. I threw out my sweatshirts. In the winter of 2009, I vowed I’d never wear pants again unless I ran out of laundry. Skirts, wool stockings, and hiking boots. Fuck it.
I discovered confidence and eyeliner. Exuberance and pairs of bright pink stockings. I had always been a vivacious person, I just needed time for my clothing to catch up.
During my last year of high school and my first year of college, I dropped 40 pounds, mostly from stress. Some people would be gladdened by this. I was annoyed because all of my fluorescent-hued clothing no longer fit me right.
I bought myself new clothes, though.
Sometimes, even now, even as I strut through the wind in small dresses and thigh-high boots, I don’t feel pretty enough. Sometimes I scrutinize my pimple-scarred face and my bushy hair and my untamed eyebrows. Sometimes I stand naked in the full-length bathroom mirror and stare at my rolls, at the stretch marks criss-crossing my hundred and eighty pounds of self. I grab the fat on my arms and curse it.
But then I see the sensuality of an hourglass figure, the legs rendered muscular from walking the smog-choked streets of New York City. So what if I can’t always find my clavicle? It peeks out from the woodwork every so often.
My fingers, inelegant, and chubby, can start fires. Words, gestures, touches, and caresses, if applied properly, ignite like tinder.
Words, so easily given, yet so heavy. If I live to be a hundred, I’ll never forget what my old girlfriend said to me in her low-lit apartment when I was sixteen.
I stood before her in nothing but an unbuttoned blouse, shaking, tremulous, apprehensive about being so obscenely bare in front of anyone.
“You’re beautiful,” she breathed, eyes shining. She was dark, like the coffee she drank each morning - rich and unadulterated by cream or sugar - but her eyes were positively incandescent.
I turned my head away from her, away from her toned arms and the flat plane of her waist. “I’m fat.”
She came over, undid the last button on my blouse, and slid me free from it.
“Who says you can’t be both?”
And I am.
submitted by pussyfindingtrapezoid